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What the wealthy do Differently: Wealth and Success-promoting Habits

Many millionaires, for example, allocate their time differently, spending more time on personal development, investment planning, and working and less time sleeping. They also favor similar wealth-building strategies, such as saving as much as possible and generating multiple income streams.


The disparities between affluent and poor individuals amaze me. Is it primarily a problem of class and economic mobility? Are individuals born into prosperity or poverty and doomed to stay there? Or are there discernible distinctions in attitude and behaviour that bring people to certain levels of affluence?


In my experience, it’s a combination of the two.


I am convinced that there are structural concerns that lead to prosperity and poverty. However, I believe some attitudes and practices promote prosperity and success. These attitudes and habits are teachable. They may be used in our own lives to help us create better futures.

My Experience

I grew up in a poor family that had been living in rural Oregon for almost 100 years, just scraping by. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, the things we said and did were “lower class.”


My father, a serial entrepreneur and the family’s principal income reared me in this trailer house. His enterprises fared well on occasion. They mostly didn’t. Even when our family did have a good income, Dad spent it on boats, aircraft, and computers. He failed to save. When hard times arrived — as they always did — he had to sell those toys to put food on the table.

However, boom times were uncommon. Mom and Dad lived paycheck to paycheck throughout most of the 1970s and 1980s. They argued for money. When Dad’s enterprises were struggling (which was often), he worked as a salesperson for several industrial firms. Or he was unemployed. He was unemployed for lengthy periods. We needed assistance from extended relatives and our church. (I don’t recall ever receiving government support, but it’s conceivable.)

Dad called me aside just before he died in 1995 to apologize for how impoverished we were when I was a youngster. “I remember one Christmas when we didn’t have enough money for gifts and you and your brothers wrapped your current toys and handed them to each other,” he said. I was very embarrassed. I’m sorry I couldn’t make your lives better.”

So I’ve been in poverty. Perhaps not as terrible as some others, but poverty nevertheless.


I’ve also had financial success.


My life now is different from what it was when I was growing up. I consider myself lucky (and grateful) to have a strong financial base. That financial achievement was reached by a mix of hard effort and good fortune. (And make no mistake: good fortune was necessary to bring me where I am today.)


My brothers have also managed to achieve a comfortable middle-class living. We are in a better position than our parents. Simultaneously, it’s evident that the three of us still have parts of our old routines and attitudes. (I believe other members of our extended family feel the same way.)


According to my observations, poor people have particular behaviours, attitudes, and expectations. These behaviours, attitudes, and expectations, I believe, differ from those of affluent individuals. Sometimes these characteristics are the effect of being poor (or effluent); other times, they are the cause of being poor (or wealthy). In other words, it is both the “chicken” and the “egg.”

What exactly do I mean? Let’s spend some time today investigating the sorts of practices that promote prosperity and success.

Important note: Before we go, I’d want to emphasize that this is a difficult subject, laden with political, economic, and societal concerns. I don’t anticipate a single blog article to provide a comprehensive examination of the subject. I do, however, hope that this post will emphasize some of my and others’ — including yours — observations. This text is not intended to be a critique of the affluent or the poor. It is intended to emphasize behaviours and attitudes that can increase one’s chances of success.

  • Wealth’s Secret Language and Behaviors

First up, The Financial Diet’s Chelsea Fagan shares eight things affluent people do differently. Fagan deconstructs what she refers to as “the covert language and actions of affluence.”

I thought this video would be corny at first. It isn’t. It’s fantastic, which is why I’ve put it at the top of this page. Fagan’s insights are keen, and she provides plenty of useful counsel to her intended audience of young women.


“Wealth isn’t simply about how much money you have,” Fagan explains. “There’s a whole new perspective to life — not just the financial aspects of it — when you’re affluent, especially in America.”


  • “There are numerous unique habits that affluent individuals prefer to follow that are suited to perpetuate their wealth,” she explains. The good news is that you can adopt many of these habits and approaches even if you’re on a tight budget.”
  • These are the eight things affluent individuals do differently from the rest of us, according to Fagan:
  • They do not seek permission. We are socialized from an early age to seek permission to do what we desire. As a result, the majority of us approach adulthood believing that we still require approval to follow our interests. The attitude of the wealthy has moved from one of permission to one of control. “It’s simpler to seek forgiveness than permission,” Fagan says, echoing my buddy Chris Guillebeau. (This is one of CG’s catchphrases.) He swears by it.)
  • They are familiar with their surroundings. In the United States, for example, we are taught that discussing money is impolite. The vast majority do not. The affluent, on the other hand, speak about money – at least among themselves. (This is accurate in my experience.) Talking about money allows affluent individuals to have a greater understanding of the financial environment around them, allowing them to make better judgments. Furthermore, rich individuals actively seek financial counsel and information.
  • They seek assistance with what they do not understand. This one is massive. When impoverished people don’t know anything, they tend to shrug their shoulders and continue about their business, never seeking an explanation. The wealthy are not content to stay ignorant. They have a personal board of directors, which is a limited group of trusted advisors to whom they may go for information and assistance. For example, I recently emailed my accountant for assistance with a financial matter. This morning, I’m going for an hour to see my buddy Michael, who has been a friend and advisor to me for over a decade.
  • They place a high (and rising) value on their time. “Wealthy individuals determine that every hour of their lives has a worth, and they keep to that value while continually seeking to raise it,” Fagan adds. Wealthy individuals understand that time is money, and money is time. As a consequence, they avoid wasting time. This is an area in which I am weak. That’s why, last year, I conducted a time inventory (and discovered I spent twice as much time playing video games as I did writing about money). Fagan encourages viewers to treasure every hour of their life because they do.
  • They communicate in monetary terms. Wealthy people have a higher level of financial literacy than the poor. They have a superior understanding of personal money. They can better advocate for themselves since they know what they’re talking about. They can make better judgments.
  • They recognize that money is a long-term investment. To put it another way, successful individuals understand that there is no sure method to get rich quickly, but practically anyone can grow rich slowly. Persistence and patience are essential. Do the correct things over a lengthy period, and you will reach your financial goals. “It’s not a decision between this $5 Starbucks that will make me happy and this $5 sitting in a sad bank account that would make me feel horrible,” adds Fagan. “The option is between this $5 Starbucks today and the hundreds of dollars it may be when it’s time to retire.”
  • They outsource, outsource, and outsource again. Wealthy individuals are conscious of their strengths and weaknesses, and they play to them. They understand when it is preferable to assign a task to someone better at it. Or they understand when to delegate since their time is better spent elsewhere. (This is just another area in which I stink.) I’ve never worked out how to outsource, so I frequently find myself doing stuff I’m not good at or would rather pay someone else to do.)
  • They understand the significance of recharging. While you may not be able to fly off to a Florida beach home, we can all create time in our life to “sharpen the saw,” as Stephen Covey phrased it in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Allow yourself to not feel overwhelmed. Dedicate time to self-renewal in your physical (exercise, appropriate diet), social (hanging out with friends), cerebral (reading, education), and spiritual lives (meditation, church).
  • The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy People


Tom Corley is the author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, a book that outlines his study on rich and poor habits. (He defines “wealthy” as having an annual income of more than $160,000 and net liquid assets of more than $3.2 million.) Poor, according to him, includes having a gross income of $35,000 or less and no more than $50,000 in liquid assets.)


Corley’s technique is unique in that he interviewed people on both ends of the financial spectrum. While I haven’t read the book yet, I did find an article he published for Success magazine that provides some insight into the findings of his study. Corley claims that:


The wealthy live within their means. “By paying their future selves first, wealthy individuals avoid overspending.” They save 20% of their net income and live on the remaining 80%.”

The wealthy do not gamble. “Every week, 77 per cent of individuals in financial difficulty play the lotto.”

Every day, wealthy people read. “88% of rich people read for 30 minutes or more every day.”

  • The wealthy spend less time in front of screens. “Two-thirds of the rich watch less than an hour of TV each day, and almost as many…spend less than an hour per day on the Internet.” “77 per cent of those struggling financially spend an hour or more a day watching TV, and 74 per cent spend an hour or more a day using the Internet recreationally,” according to the study.
  • Rich folks have emotional control. “Loose lips are a habit for 69 per cent of persons who are financially insecure.” In contrast, 94% of rich individuals screen their feelings.”
  • Rich individuals network and volunteer regularly. “Nearly three-quarters of rich individuals network and volunteer at least five hours every month.” Only one out of every ten people in financial difficulty do this.”
  • Rich folks put forth more effort. “Unsuccessful people suffer from the ‘it’s not in my job description’ mentality… Successful people work hard to attain their employers’ or enterprises’ common goals.”
  • Rich people create plans, whereas impoverished ones make wishes. “Every year, 70% of the rich pursue at least one significant objective.” Only 3% of people who are trying to make ends meet do this.”
  • Procrastination is avoided by the wealthy. “Successful individuals recognize that procrastination reduces quality, leads to disgruntled employers, customers, or clients, and harms nonbusiness relationships.”
  • Rich individuals listen more than they speak. “Wealthy individuals communicate well because they listen well.” They recognize that the only way to learn and educate yourself is to listen to what others have to offer.”
  • Rich individuals stay away from harmful partnerships. “86 per cent of affluent, successful individuals associate with other wealthy, successful people.” However, 96% of individuals in financial difficulty remain with those in financial difficulty.”
  • Rich individuals do not surrender. Wealthy people “just do not give up on their huge dreams.” Those who are struggling financially give up.”
  • Rich individuals put their restrictive notions aside. “Nearly four out of every five affluent people credit their success in life to their beliefs.” They are interested in personal growth.
  • Mentors are available to wealthy individuals. “One of the finest and least painful ways to get wealthy is to find such a teacher.”
  • The wealthy create their luck. “Successful individuals develop their kind of luck.” Their good habits result in chances like promotions, bonuses, additional business, and good health.”
  • Rich folks understand their primary goal. “It’s the final Rich Habit, but it might be the most significant.” Those who follow a dream or a primary goal in life are by far the wealthiest and happiest among us.”

I’d like to see the raw data that lead Corley to these findings, but I don’t believe it’s included in his book. It appears to be written as a narrative, similar to The Wealthy Barber. His website does, however, provide some context for his methods.

  • The Millionaire Mind’s Secrets

When I originally wanted to get out of debt in 2004, I devoured every personal finance book I could get my hands on. T. Harv Eker’s The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind had a significant impact on my future financial thinking.


Eker believes that we all have a “financial blueprint,” an internal script that governs how we deal with money. Our blueprints are formed as a result of our lifelong exposure to money signals from those around us, particularly our family and friends, as well as from our country’s culture and mass media. (I concur with Eker. See my latest essay on financial plans.)


According to Eker, the unpleasant reality is that most of us have flawed blueprints that hinder us from accumulating riches.

“Money is a consequence of riches, health is a result of disease, and your weight is a result.” “We live in a world of cause and consequence,” Eker argues. “Money is never, ever, ever an issue.” “A lack of money is only a symptom of what is going on under the surface.” (This mirrors my advice that debt reduction should be a byproduct of doing the right things rather than a goal in and of itself.)


  • Eker’s “wealth files,” a list of seventeen ways in which the financial blueprints of the affluent differ from those of the poor and middle-class, are at the heart of Millionaire Mind. Eker claims that:
  • “I construct my life,” wealthy people believe. “Life occurs to me,” poor people believe.
  • The wealthy play the money game to win. Poor individuals play the money game to avoid losing.
  • Rich individuals are dedicated to their wealth. Poor people aspire to be wealthy.
  • Rich individuals have grandiose ideas. Poor people have tiny minds.
  • Rich folks concentrate on the opportunity. Poor people are preoccupied with barriers.
  • Rich individuals look up to other wealthy and successful people. Poor people dislike wealthy and successful individuals.
  • Positive, successful people are associated with wealthy people. Poor individuals associate with persons that are negative or unsuccessful.
  • Rich individuals are eager to market themselves and their worth. Poor individuals have unfavourable attitudes about marketing and promotion.
  • The issues of the wealthy are larger than their problems. Poor individuals are dwarfed by their difficulties.
  • Rich individuals are fantastic receivers. Poor people are lousy receivers.
  • Rich individuals like to be compensated depending on their performance. Poor individuals prefer to be paid on a time basis.
  • Rich individuals believe in “both.” Poor people believe in “either/or.”
  • Rich individuals are concerned with their net worth. Poor individuals prioritize their earning income.
  • Rich folks have good financial management skills. Poor individuals mismanage their finances.
  • Rich folks have money that works hard for them. Poor folks labour hard for their money.
  • Rich individuals behave despite their fear. People in poverty were paralyzed by terror.
  • Rich individuals are continually learning and growing. People in poverty believe they already know.
  • According to Eker, most individuals are motivated to make money out of fear. However, it is not referred to as fear. They claim to be driven by security concerns. Eker accurately observes that fear and security are two sides of the same coin. The harsh reality is that money does not remove fear.


Eker says:

Fear is more than an issue; it is a habit. Making more money can thus simply affect the type of dread we experience. When we were broke, we were probably frightened that we wouldn’t make it or that we wouldn’t have enough. Once we’ve made it, our concern frequently shifts to “What if I lose what I’ve made?”

“When the subconscious mind is forced to choose between deeply ingrained emotions and rationality, emotions almost invariably triumph,” Eker adds. Even if you know what you should do logically, doing it might be difficult since your financial blueprint dictates your ideas and behaviour. To alter your behaviours, you must work actively and consistently to devise a new strategy. This requires practice and time.

  • Millionaires vs. the Middle Class


Keith Cameron Smith attempts to distinguish between the affluent and the rest of us in The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class.


In order of priority, his 10 “distinctions” are:


  • Millionaires consider the long term. The middle class is concerned with the short term.
  • Millionaires discuss ideas. The middle class discusses things and people.
  • Millionaires welcome change. Change poses a challenge to the middle class.
  • Millionaires are risk takers. The middle class is averse to taking chances.
  • Millionaires are always learning and growing. The middle class believes that education ends after high school.
  • Millionaires work for a living. The middle class works for a living.
  • Millionaires feel they must be charitable. The middle class feels it is unable to offer.
  • Millionaires get money in a variety of ways. The middle class only has one or two.
  • Millionaires are concerned about expanding their money. The middle class is concerned with growing its earnings.
  • Millionaires pose inspiring questions to themselves. People in the middle class ask themselves disempowering questions.
  • Some of the elements on Smith’s list appear to be influenced by Eker’s ideology. Despite the similarities, Eker’s list makes me happy whereas Smith’s list does not. I have no idea why.
  • Perhaps the difference is this: In my experience (and yours may differ), Eker’s numerous differences hold (at least in the U.S.). In my own life, I’ve witnessed the changes he mentions. But I’m not certain that the distinctions Smith lists are valid.
  • For example, I know many impoverished people who talk about ideas rather than stuff and people, and many of the same individuals are open to change. Many of my pals like studying, but they aren’t millionaires. And haven’t we seen data that suggest, based on a sample size of
  • I’m sure there are disparities in the mentality of the affluent and the poor. However, I believe they are closer to Eker’s list than to Smith’s.
  • A Quick Rant
  • Without diminishing the importance of personal responsibility (which you all know I believe is critical to success), I’d want to say that both Eker and Smith are overly dismissive of structural reasons for poverty. Maybe none of them understands what it’s like to be impoverished. Some of their observations make logic, while others appear to originate from people who have had privileged lives.
  • “Rich people act despite fear,” writes Eker. “Poor people let fear hold them back.” Why is this the case? Is it possible that the wealthy can act despite their dread because they have a safety net? Could it be that when you grow up poor, you develop a scarcity mindset that is virtually tough to shake? (By the way, this has been my own experience.)
  • There is little doubt that money creates opportunity, both in the United States and elsewhere. Those with more money have more options. The wealthy can take chances, and they are frequently rewarded for doing so. (As a result, “the affluent become richer.”) I have a lot more possibilities now than I had when I was a kid from a poor household. This aspect of “luck,” I believe, is overlooked by both Eker and Smith (and many other people).
  • Ten Successful People’s Habits

Instead of describing the contrasts between rich and poor individuals, I believe it is more productive to examine what distinguishes successful people from failed ones. Maybe I’m being picky, but I think focusing on a financial scorecard misses the point in this situation. It is conceivable to be both successful and impoverished, as well as wealthy and foolish.


I’ll accept that there appears to be a high link between money and success, but the two characteristics don’t coincide.

Looking at my acquaintances and thinking about the tales readers have told me over the last decade — particularly those of people moving from debt to riches — I’ve seen the following tendencies.


  • Individuals that are successful surround themselves with positive people. They restrict their exposure to negativity and doubters, preferring to spend time with optimistic people. They don’t have time to listen to the reasons why something can’t be done; they’d rather figure out how to achieve it.
  • Failure does not perplex successful people. They understand that mistakes are unavoidable and should be viewed as stepping stones to achievement rather than indicators of weakness or excuses to give up. (This is why it is critical to reward character rather than success.)
  • Successful people properly manage their time. They understand that minutes and seconds are valuable non-renewable resources. As a result, they establish priorities and pursue them with zeal. My successful friends, for example, appear to watch less television (and play fewer video games) than my failed ones. There’s nothing wrong with Game of Thrones or Hearthstone in and of itself, but they take up time that could be spent exercising, reading, or taking a class.
  • Successful individuals have a plan. They behave with intent. They understand why they work so hard and save money. They have a mission, even if it’s as basic as paying for their children’s college education, and their everyday activities are in line with their long-term goals. Nobody I know who struggles with money has a clear vision of what they want to accomplish with their lives.
  • Big wins are important to successful individuals. Sure, they build good habits and pay attention to the details. They also realize that if they are careful with their money, the pennies will take care of themselves. The ordinary person saves money on little purchases but is unwilling to make concessions on housing, transportation, or profession. And
  • Successful individuals take on challenging tasks. They don’t put things off. My wealthy buddies work longer, harder, and smarter than my poorer pals. (This is a controversial opinion among some, yet it is true.) They practice postponed gratification, foregoing modest pleasures today in exchange for bigger gains hereafter.
  • People that are successful create their luck. They exercise alertness to detect opportunities when they arise. Furthermore, they act courageously, grasping possibilities when others would hesitate.
  • Successful individuals think they are in charge of their destinies. They take the initiative. They govern themselves from the inside. That is, they recognize that, while it is not their fault that they are in a specific position, it is their job to alter it.
  • Successful individuals develop and evolve throughout time. They adjust. They change. They are not frightened to consider opposing viewpoints. Above all, they are not scared to change their ideas. They seek information and experience, and they let what they learn to shape them.
  • Of course, none of these distinctions is absolute. Most individuals (including myself) adhere to some of these guidelines but not others. Or we merely follow certain guidelines a portion of the time. The most successful individuals I know do everything on this list; the least successful people don’t.

The Bottom Line

That’s a lot of words – about 5000! — explaining how affluent and poor people think differently. While I agree with these generalizations, I believe it is vital to stress that they are just that: generalizations. These concepts do not apply to everyone.

Many impoverished individuals have the appropriate mentality but are hampered by extrinsic conditions. Many wealthy people do not share these ideas yet have amassed riches anyway.


The key lesson for me from debates like these is that, regardless of your circumstances, you can boost your chances of success by modelling your behaviours after those of the individuals you want to emulate. Look for similar themes in the lives of the affluent if you want to be wealthy. Make every effort to incorporate them into your own life. Learn from the lives of successful individuals if you want to be successful.

“You’ll get where you’re going if you don’t alter direction,” my father used to say. When I was in high school, I had no idea what he meant. I now do.


There are frequently default possibilities in life. If you don’t choose anything different knowingly and purposefully, you get the default. Most individuals go through life in automatic mode. They unquestioningly accept the default.


My goal for myself — and you, the readers of getting Rich Slowly — is to be aware of and question the defaults. They’re sometimes fine. However, there are frequently better ways to live. I believe that by studying the behaviours of the affluent and successful, we may all find methods to change course.

What are your thoughts? What are the contrasts between the rich and the poor, in your opinion? What distinguishes successful money managers from those who go bankrupt? Why do some people develop fortune while others struggle to make ends meet while having relatively identical backgrounds? What makes the wealthy think differently? What characteristics do the low and middle classes possess that the wealthy do not? Is it even feasible to make such distinctions? Is it just a matter of chance? (Please keep the discussion polite.) There will be no poverty shaming — but there will also be no affluent shaming.)

Hassan Rajput

Hi! I am Hassan - a blogger. I write on assorted subjects, not limiting just to one specific niche. You will find on this website diverse topics coveraging Fashion, Tech, Health, Academic Essays and Journals, Lifestyle, Political and Lifestyle Blogs and a volley of other important topics. You will find highly-relevant and top-class essaya. Hope this will help you.

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