Haven’t we all dreamed that one day we’ll hit the big one? Buy a lottery ticket and get that million dollar jackpot? If only it was our lucky day (sigh), that’s all we need to turn the ship around and sail into that beautiful harbor of the rich and famous. Is it really luck that makes people rich? I don’t think so and if you think about it seriously, you’ll know that isn’t the way millionaires make it.
Rich people are a minority and there are good reasons for that. They do things and act differently than the average person. The habits of the rich breed success and wealth. Your chances of becoming rich aren’t guaranteed, but your chances are better if you emulate the rich in their success-breeding habits, even just a little.
Here are 9 ways you can improve your chances of becoming wealthy by acting the part:
- Start planning your retirement right now
As is often said, “the early bird catches the worm,” and the same is true in saving for retirement. Time is on your side when you’re young and by starting as soon as you are able, the money piles up thanks to the magic of compound interest. If you work for a company that matches your retirement funds, you should contribute the maximum that they match. If you are self-employed or have no plan at work, contribute to a fund of your own to make an IRA right now. Even if you can’t maximize your contribution at the moment, a small contribution is better than none. You can step up each year and make that small amount larger until you reach the maximum. Rich people plan for retirement when they are starting out and you should too.
Your savings goals and retirement plans will be especially effective if you automate them. Have funds deducted from your pay to go directly into your plan and savings accounts. I know you think “hey, how can I afford that with all of my expenses and needs?” Well, the truth is you can because not all of your needs are needs. Wants consume an awful lot of our paycheck and you need to separate a want or a “feel good thing” from your future goals and retirement. Transferring the funds automatically helps you avoid that temptation to spend it.
- Avoid all credit card balances
Use your credit cards to your advantage only. Discounts and rewards are fine, but only without the cost of interest, fees, and increasing debt. Carrying debt each month is costly and if you have serious problems, your credit rating will be affected. Learn to live in or, better yet, below your means. Rich people have great credit and know what they need to do to keep that rating.
- Rich people live as if they’re not rich
Rich people seem to abound and millionaires are all over the place these days, but you’d be surprised at how many are difficult to pick out in a crowd. That is because the vast majority of them live below their means and don’t spend their money on every little creature comfort they see. While it’s true that it’s easier to do that when you’re rich than if you’re not, you can learn to live with the philosophy of “less is more” as they do. Once you do, your decisions on money and expenditures are more focused and your goals become easier to achieve.
- Educate yourself
Take advantage of the wealth of information available to you to help you make smart money decisions. Spend time each day reading. Rich people do that every day, whether it’s the Wall Street Journal, Money magazine, Newsweek, the latest financial book, personal finance blogs, or even watching financial news networks like CNBC. The more you read, the better equipped you will be to face the decision-making process.
- Avoid temptation
Do not emulate friends, coworkers, family members, or the “the Joneses” when it comes to spending habits and accumulating “things”. The chances are great that they can’t really afford a lot of their purchases, run up credit card balances, and are out to compete with each other. Wealthy people are focused on goals, evaluate them all the time, and post them where they can see and think about them every day. The word “driven” is often used when the wealthy are spoken about and it’s true, driven mostly with serious thought and focused on their long term success.
- Have a sense of urgency
Rich people are doers. They get an idea, research it, and then make a focused plan to achieve their goal. They don’t make excuses or “hope” for the best. They make it happen. How? They network, research, listen to others, then evaluate, and re-evaluate their ideas and plans. The difference between them and you is action. Urgency and action makes things happen. Wishing and hoping just doesn’t do that.
- Get a mentor
Wealthy people quite often say that they had mentors to help guide and advise them along the way. Seek out successful people who you can relate to through business and personal achievements so you can learn from them. You will find that in almost all cases, people love to talk about their successes and how they were achieved and will share those experiences with you.
- Good habits or good luck?
The wealthy practice good work habits. Period. They get up early, do things that make them healthy in mind, body and spirit, and they don’t spend time wasted on “what if” and “if only”. They don’t seek out palm readers and read fortune cookies and take their actions based on them. They simply use their skills and the skills of others around them to plan and achieve their success and financial rewards. The idea of good luck or bad luck does not play into their success at all.
It’s my view that so few of us dedicate ourselves to these fundamental habits that it is the very reason why there is plenty of room at the top for you and I to be just like them. All it takes is for you to start, and on my clock, that’s right now!
What are you going to do now that will secure your financial future tomorrow?
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles on freedigitalphotos.net (with changes)