In my five year study of the rich, I got to be that fly on the wall.
I asked each millionaire 144 questions, broken down into 20 categories.
The insight into their lives completely changed my understanding of millionaires and how wealth is accumulated.
My disdain for the rich morphed into an admiration.
All of the indoctrination about the rich I had received growing up, melted away under the hot coals of reality.
So, without further adieu, allow me to turn the flashlight on, so that you too can gain a better understanding about who the rich are:
We’re really rich. We are worth at least $3.2 million.
Sixteen percent of us are worth more than $5 million.
We make at least $160,000 a year. Half of us make close to $500,000 a year.
We’re not young. Eighty percent of us are 50 years of age or older.
It took us a long time to accumulate our wealth, depending on the path we took.
Seventy of us were Saver-Investors. It took us an average of 32 years to accumulate an average of $3,260,000.
We made most of our money saving 20% or more of our middle-class net pay.
We then prudently and consistently invested our savings over many, many years.
Most of our savings were invested in stocks or mutual funds.
As we got closer to retirement, we became more conservative and, to protect the wealth we had accumulated, we shifted our investments into less aggressive investments, such as bonds or annuities.
Twenty-one of us were Big Company executives.
Most of us worked for large publicly-help companies.
The rest of us worked for large partnerships or LLCs.
It took us an average of 21 years to accumulate an average of $3,375,000.
Eight of us were also Saver-Investors, which helped to further grow our wealth.
We made most of our income in the following ways:
Stock Compensation – We received significant amounts of qualified and/or non-qualified stock options, stock grants or stock equivalent compensation in the form of stock appreciation rights.
Profits Distributions – Those of us who were partners or shareholders in large privately-help companies received profits distributions that were often significant.
Base Compensation – Our base compensation grew over many years, as we rose up the ladder within our organizations.
For some of us, this compensation was as high as $500,000.
Forty-eight of us were Virtuoso’s. We were considered among the most expert within our industry.
It took us an average of 20 years to accumulate an average of $3,980,000.
Some of us were Knowledge-based Virtuoso’s and some of us were Skill-Based Virtuoso’s.
Due to our unique expertise, we were among the highest paid within our respective industries.
Because we were in such high demand, we were able to make additional income as paid speakers, speaking at national and international industry events.
This speaker income was significant – some of us made as much as $250,000 per year as paid speakers.
Seventeen of us were also Saver-Investors, which helped to further grow our wealth.
One-hundred-eight of us were Entrepreneurs.
We pursued some dream. It took us an average of 12 years to accumulate an average of $7,450,000.
Thirty-seven of us failed at least once in business. But that didn’t stop us from trying again.
Ten of us were also Saver-Investors, which helped to further grow our wealth.
Growing our wealth was very stressful on us and on our families.
We worked long hours and many of us struggled financially in the early part of our journey.
We liked our jobs. Eighty-six percent of us liked what we did for a living. Seven percent of us loved what we did for a living and 7% of us did not like what we did for a living.
The richest among us had success mentors who taught us what to do and what not to do.
For some of us, our mentors were our parents.
For others, our mentors were work-related.
We were voracious readers.
We read every day to learn.
Eighty-eight percent of us read every day to increase our knowledge for our job.
Eighty-five percent of us read a minimum of two books a month.
Sixty-three percent of us listened to audio books or podcasts while we’re commuting to work, exercising or working in our backyards.
We didn’t read for entertainment.
We considered that a waste of time.
Most of us are self-made.
We inherited nothing from our parents.
One-hundred-seventy-seven of us were self-made, meaning we came from either poverty of the middle-class: forty-one percent of us came from poverty. Fifty-nine percent of us came from the middle-class.
Only 24% of us were raised in a wealthy household.
We have many good habits and few bad habits. Seventy-three of us learned our Rich habits from our parents.
We’re competitive. Sixty-three percent of us played competitive sports in high school.
We’re in good health. We exercise almost every day. Seventy-six percent of us exercised at least 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week. We like to jog, run or bike.
We watch what we eat every day. We don’t eat much junk food. We don’t go to fast food restaurants. We don’t eat candy.
We don’t get drunk. We don’t do drugs.
We floss every day.
We sleep at least 7 hours a night. We don’t smoke.
We like to mentor others. We receive grat enjoyment in helping others succeed in life.
We’re charitable with our time and money.
Seventy-two percent of us volunteered 5 hours or more a month at local, community-based non-profits.
We also give money to these same charities.
Almost all of us have financial advisors.
We bounce everything off our CPA.
We also have attorneys, certified financial planners and sometimes estate planners.
Some of us like to pick our own investments but then we almost always bounce investment ideas off our financial advisors.
Same house, same wife and same car. Sixty-four percent of us own modest homes. We’ve owned our home for at least 20 years. Very few of us get divorced. We drive old cars. Most of the time we buy good used cars. We hardly ever lease a car.
We plan our day. Eighty-one percent of us keep a to-do list or Priority List, which helps us prioritize what we would like to accomplish during our very busy days.
We vote. Eighty-three percent of us vote at every election.
We don’t spend a lot of money on vacations. Ninety-six percent of us spend less than $6,000 a year on vacations. Forty-one percent of us spend less than $3,000 a year.
We wake up early every day. Forty-four percent of us wake up at least 3 hours before our work day actually begins.
During those three hours we read to learn, some of us write, others study facts about their industry. We also use some of that time to exercise.
Ninety-one percent of us were decision-makers where we worked.
We’re one of these: small business owner, CEO, senior executive, CPA, attorney, doctor, financial advisor or salesman.
We’re frugal. We seek to spend the least amount of money on the highest quality products or services.
We went to college. Sixty-eight percent of us went to college.
Fifty-six percent of us had to work our way through college. Twenty-five percent of us went to graduate school.
We’re not afraid to take risks. Sixty-three percent of us took a risk in order to become rich. Twenty-seven percent of us failed at least once in business.
We work a lot. Seventy-three percent of us work an average of 58 hours a week.
We love to pursue goals. Eighty percent of us are focused on one major goal at any given time.
We get mad or angry but we don’t express those emotions – we control them.
We hang out with other successful people or people who are upbeat, optimistic and have something on the ball.
We don’t hang out with negative people or people who complain all the time.
We avoid them like the plague.
We hardly ever gamble. Eighty-four percent of us never gamble .
We believe in the American Dream. Our parents instilled that in us. We are living the American Dream.
We obey the laws. Ninety-nine percent of us have never been arrested.
We built teams to help us succeed. Eighty-four percent of us have a team of individuals we rely on every day.
We are savers. Ninety-four percent of us have been saving 20% of our income from the first day we started working. All of us have retirement savings.
We have more than one source of income. Sixty-five percent of us have 3 streams of income. Forty-five percent of us have 4 streams. twnety-nine percent of us have 5 streams.
We don’t watch TV. Sixty-seven percent of us watch less than an hour of TV each day.
We’re optimists. We have a positive mental outlook. We avoid associating with or doing business with anyone who has a negative outlook on life.
We don’t lie, we’re honest.
We weren’t exceptionally smart in school.
Seventy-seven percent of us were either C students or B students in school.
But we got smart after school. We self-educated ourselves.
We never stopped learning our entire adult lives.
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