People look at wealthy people with a variety of notions. They are seen as snobs, arrogant, that they believe they are better than everyone else, or even that they are trying to buy happiness. Of course, many of these notions have been long-standing ones and are held by people who have never known a wealthy person well enough to comment objectively.
Despite the gulf between you and the wealthy, one thing is certain. The wealthy have learned life lessons that have been gained from earning their wealth. These are life lessons that the rest of us have not experienced, but can learn from:
1. Wealthy people don’t start out pursuing wealth.
Rather, they pursue a passion. Henry Ford pursued his passion–a horseless carriage. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Warren Buffett pursued their passions. The thing about passion is this: it drives people to move forward, to continue to push themselves, and to not surrender to failure or discouragement. The rest of us pursue income.
We take jobs that will provide paychecks that will allow us to live comfortably; we get raises and promotions, and our lifestyles improve. We spend more as we gain more income, and so we chase more income to spend more. The wealthy, on the other hand, began with a passion for something–investing, cars, computer technology–and they were willing to starve if it meant that they could pursue their passions.
2. Wealthy people enjoy being uncomfortable.
The rest of us want to be comfortable. Wealthy people are driven by uncertainty, and they are happy taking risks when they do not know the outcomes. Ordinary people tend not to take big risks and do not like it when they are out of their comfort zones. Self-made wealthy individuals, throughout our history, have been willing to take big risks.
3. Wealthy people look toward the future with optimism about what lies ahead, even if it may be uncertain.
Regular people tend to see the “better” life as that which existed in the past. Life was simpler, the music was better, people didn’t live on their devices, and a real man went out and earned a good living for his family. These people look upon the future with some pessimism, often claiming that the world is just “falling apart.” When people don’t look toward a brighter future, they become stagnate and have no big dreams. Wealthy people tend to be more optimistic, and move forward to make a better future.
4. Wealthy people have a Big Plan.
Ordinary people have goals and plans that relate to where they want to go in life, what they want for their kids, and even how they want to spend their retirements. Wealthy people, however, have big plans that do not involve their personal lives. They have plans that will change something in a big way. They want to make the world a better place with their Big Plan.
5. Wealthy people stay confident.
They have developed this confidence in a number of ways, not the least of which is experiencing failure. They fail, they learn from it, and they forge ahead. They cultivate self-assurance because they know this attribute is a great part of the “battle” on the road to wealth.
Regular people lack self-confidence when they are out of their comfort zones, and failure can injure or destroy their self-assurance. As wealthy people succeed, their confidence grows. Regular people who succeed get better jobs and higher income, but those things don’t increase self-confidence. Taking risks and ultimately triumphing, even after many failures, builds their self-confidence. Ultimately, they develop an attitude that there is nothing they cannot accomplish. Henry Ford summed it up when he said, “Whether you think that you can or you can’t, you are usually right.”
6. Wealthy people are careful with friendships.
Once wealth is achieved, old acquaintances and remote relatives will begin to appear in the lives of the rich. Their goals are pretty transparent–to get a piece of the wealth that has been accumulated. When their requests for loans and/or money are denied, they become hateful. Ken Fisher, billionaire owner of Fisher Investments said, “You see an ugly side of our human existence, which is the world of false pretenses seeking your money.”
7. Wealthy people know the older you get, the less value money has.
As the wealthy age, their desires are for a simpler life, for health, and for more quality time. They spend less on themselves and more on others. This is perhaps a life lesson that all people to ultimately learn. Even the average person who was never wealthy, values these things in their elder years.
8. Wealthy people secure everything.
If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly. Those are words wealthy people swear by. While earlier generations of wealthy individuals secured everything in fire-proofed, locked files, today’s wealthy understand the value of having their important personal and financial information securely stored by a featured data storage company. Top notch protection and security for their valuable data is a high priority. They prefer to invest in security in advance, rather then going into huge debt when things unexpectedly go wrong.
9. Wealthy people know that wealth frees your brain.
Wealthy people can dream big; they can envision things that may or may not be possible, but they have these big ideas that they can pursue. Ordinary people, on the other hand, cannot free their brains for the big ideas. They are too mentally consumed with how to make a living, how to support themselves and their families, and when they will be able to afford a new car.
10. Wealthy people know accumulating wealth requires self-discipline.
This is especially true during the accumulation phase. They live below their means, wear inexpensive clothing, and do not own new cars and the best home that their income may allow. They know that to become wealthy they must save and invest while they follow their passions. Regular people want to buy things as soon as their income permits, because they have a desire or need to impress others with what they can afford to purchase. They do not save and invest, and rely instead on their retirement funds and social security to keep them comfortable in their old age.
11. Wealthy people do not fear failure.
They know they may fail, and they know they could lose all of their money on a failed venture. They also know that the next venture is around the corner, and it could be the very one that satisfies their passion and makes them wealthy, too! Ordinary people have a fear of striking out. They fear not having enough money; they fear losing their steady income from their job. People who live is such fear will never accumulate wealth. Most of all, however, they fear failure, because it will bring about all of the other things they fear.
12. Wealth helps you find more freedom.
Wealthy people are not tied to jobs and debt. If they get ill, they can afford the best doctors. If they have legal troubles, they can afford the best lawyers. If they want to “winter” on the Riviera, they can do it. The average individual is controlled by his boss, by his government, by his debt, and by his need for security. Once you stop caring about all the possible restrictions, change your mindset and start looking and creating possibilities for yourself, rather then just going with the flow. You are able to achieve the same freedom and some extra money along the way. Change your perspective. Stop thinking about how miserable and unfortunate you are and start thinking of ways you can change. For instance, if your student debt is high, consider teaching English in South Korea or Taiwan. The money you’ll earn will let you pay off your deb by the end on the year, plus generate some extra savings to blow up traveling or starting your own business.
13. Wealthy people tend to make friends with even more wealthy and successful people
Why? Because these are the people with whom they not only have common interests, but as well can learn. While they are often criticized for this, in fact, they are just like every other human in this regard. People who like to hunt and fish hang out with others who like to hunt and fish; people who love sports will hang with others who do. Somehow, it is normal and acceptable for average people to do this, but not for the wealthy. It makes them “snobbish” and “arrogant.” When, really, they are just seeking out people with whom they share something in common.
The one simple, yet often overlooked key to success and wealth is to meet and make friends with people who inspire you and whom you’d like to take after. Become friends with the wealthy, smart and successful if you’d like to become one too!
14. Wealthy people understand the difference between assets and income.
It is the goal of someone seeking wealth to accumulate assets, not income. And once those assets are substantial, the wealthy live off of the income from those assets. Regular people strive to accumulate higher income, not assets. Thus they work until they retire, dependent upon that income. For the wealthy, assets, once accumulated, do the work of bringing in income.
15. The desire for wealth is finite.
As a poor person, you probably think – no way! Yet the wealthy reach a point at which they realize that there really is nothing more to buy to make them happier. How many cars, how many vacation homes, and how many airplanes does one need? At this point, time becomes the most valuable possession. Steve Jobs summed it up like this, “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” Never forget that no matter how many dollars you have on your bank account.
16. Family are not people who love you unconditionally.
Relatives of the wealthy family member often feel that they share the wealth with family members, especially when they are experiencing some financial difficulties. If the wealthy individual does share, it will never be enough. In all of their asking for money, moreover, none of these relatives will ask for investment or asset-building advice. Once you accumulate certain wealth, you quickly realize that not all of your family loves and keeps in touch with you because you are a great person. Some do it just for possible financial gain. Wealthy people know that family does not have to be just about those related by blood or marriage. Family can be those that are there for you, not for your money.
17. Wealthy parents teach their children about finances early
Children of the very wealthy, at least those who are self-made, have spent their early lives not being wealthy. They have thus had the early values training that came before the wealth did. Grandchildren are quite another matter. They have been born into wealth and can easily develop a sense of entitlement and superiority. However, those that became wealthy can be more vigilant in teaching their children how to save, invest, and appreciate hard work.
Featured photo credit: Fashion Male With Vest, Cigar And Smartphone/Ed Gregory via flickr.com