10 Habits of Successful People

Recently I spent some time with a friend who in my book is well off. Without getting into personal details, I will just say that she was a medium six figures income, owns various personal and business properties and never has to worry about retirement.

During the time we spent catching up, I was able to get to know her better, what she was up to and observe some interesting behaviors that never made themselves evident in the past. Now that I think about her qualities and habits, they coincide with those of many wealthy people. Here are some of the qualities that people who are well off exhibit:

Habit #1: They work hard.

My friend paid her own way through school, worked long hours and never quit at anything. The assumption that people with money don’t work hard is so far from the truth that I believe many of us assume there is some sort of a shortcut to riches.

Habit #2: They live frugally.

I was surprised to learn just how frugally my friend lived her whole life after not seeing each other for a long time. Consistent savings are high priority in the lives of successful people. One of the reasons she was able to do well, was because of aggressive early savings that began during college years and allowed her to buy a business early in life. She bought her first business before buying a house.

Habit #3: They invest early and often.

With a habit of saving early in life, my friend was able to buy her own business as an investment in her own career and real estate. Fast forward many years and she now owns several homes in U.S., various rental properties, a large business park and large stock holdings. Interestingly enough she does her own type of investing which doesn’t fit the mantra of “The Intelligent Investor” that I’ve been reading about.

Habit #4: They don’t rent.

I’m the type of person who likes to rent apartments for my own reasons. I’m also the type who won’t get rich because of it. My friend refuses to pay money into anything that doesn’t generate a return. Renting is a waste of money in her book and I’m a big idiot for doing it. If you want to make money, don’t rent – buy instead.

Habit #5: They never pay more than they have to.

While out at lunch I had a chance to observe my friend’s tipping behavior and noticed something strange. She wasn’t tipping like me – a flat dollar amount with paper money. To most this is no surprise, but to me this was odd. Instead, she tipped an even 10%. Seeing this once was enough to conclude that she tips this way every time no matter the amount on the bill. She even put it on her card, which leads me to the next habit – spending.

Habit #6: They spend with rewards in mind.

Rich people pull out a wad of cash to pay for things, right?

Wrong.

They use credit cards to earn rewards. Any means that will extend the value of a dollar spent is taken into consideration. In my friend’s case, she used a frequent flyer miles credit card to earn bonus miles to help cover frequent flights she takes.

Habit #7: They finance purchases.

Although she doesn’t like to throw money away at rent, my friend is not afraid to take on new debt. She is all too familiar with mortgages and credit card financing. The trick is to act rationally and understand what’s involved. It doesn’t hurt to be financially literate to take advantage of financing mechanisms in a country that’s so eager to lend.

Habit #8: They seek out personal connections.

Whether the connection they make is good for business or good for the heart, people who are well off seek out and then value new friendships and acquaintances.

Over the course of our relationship I’ve come to learn just how many personal connections my friend has. Recently I found out that she has equally as many business connections. She values friendships, gives often to the needy and is extremely compassionate toward all aspects of human interaction. Personal connections with good people drive success.

Habit #9: They strive to achieve their goals.

Confidence, persistence and not accepting the possibility of failure are all characteristics of people who are well off, including my friend. They set goals and take steps to accomplish them no matter what stands in the way. You might imagine it helps to set achievable goals, not broad “I want to be a millionaire” type.

From our conversations it was easy to see that planning and taking steps to achieve goals was one of her strong habits.

Habit #10: They seek being content with what they have.

Don’t confuse this with “content with less”. My friend is always looking for opportunities to make more money, but money is not the number one motivator for her.

Family and friends are.

She works hard to provide for her family, to give to the needy and to enjoy life at every step of the way. If you were to take away all of her financial accomplishments in an instant, she would be perfectly content without any of it because of strong personal relationships she has developed over time. Actual possessions mean little to her which is evident in her frugal lifestyle. It’s the social experiences those possessions enable that make her content with life.

Well Off

Do you know someone who is well off and exhibits similar habits? Do you agree or disagree with anything on this list? This post was brought to you by this website only and no other.

54 Comments

  1. Good post Veronica! I know a few people who could be considered well off and I think you hit it spot on. I think we assume those who’re well off are just rolling around in cash and bathing in champagne, and that largely is not the case. They’re committed to what they want in life and they go after it and they also make money work for them in various ways.

    While they may have more money to do things with, many times you continue to see them spend less than what they make and they’re disciplined with their spending.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Frugal Family: How I Sacrifice “Stuff” to Give My Kids Everything They NeedMy Profile

  2. I think numbers 1 and 10 are key to the whole thing here. For sure. You have to work hard, you’re not going to get rich eating ding dongs and watching reality TV every night. And #10, maybe you shoudl find contentment in eating ding dongs and watchign reality TV every night instead of feeling like you always have to upsize and go “up” in life!

    • Well, I agree seeing how so many people in my life have failed to take the first step of getting up off their asses. All too common of a picture :)

  3. Great post, I think it’s important for people to learn from others who are more successful and these points really illustrate some key things your friend has done to get ahead.

    About the only thing I did that’s on the list that I feel really helped me is investing early. I have played stocks and currencies for close to 10 years now and it has helped me to no end.

    • I kinda wish I was educated on investments earlier. I’m just now having to learn all of it but luckily I found a few good blogs that talk about stock investing quite a bit.

  4. I especially like #1. I hear tons of people say things like, Oh, he lives in that rich neighbor hood or in the case of my brother in law, who is a surgeon. “He’s a rich doctor” like the money just fell in his lap. He went to school and trained for 13 years! If you didn’t make lots of money no one would go through that.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..!Obesity: Taxes In and Taxes OutMy Profile

    • Yep, some people who talk to me say the same things and never bother to consider the expenses and hard work that went into becoming that person.

  5. #1, 2 and 3 are key for me. So many times I hear people bemoaning their lack of success, but at the same time, are not willing to work for it. Especially when it comes to getting jobs. I really get annoyed with friends who complain about having poor jobs but will not apply to even one of the jobs I send their way.
    CF recently posted..Selling items effectively on CraigslistMy Profile

    • I’ve learned a couple of things while in Affiliate Marketing. A few times I’ve tried to help people with their own websites but even when they agree, they typically ignore my advice. I’m not sure why… but that kind of goes hand in hand with working hard I suppose?

    • Oh definitely! I think the point I was trying to make is that credit is not as evil as it looks to some people. Many successful people got there through use of credit.

      • Although I, myself, is not a big fan of debts, this can actually hold true if it was used to build on something concrete with a solid return of investment. My father had the bad habit of borrowing cash to build his real estate rentals for years. This debts, plus a rank-in-file government job, building houses almost literally on his own to save on labor expenses and living frugally has definitely increased his net worth more than what he will get on his paycheck alone. He has built good retirement years ahead of him.

    • You can make professional acquaintances and nurture those relationships through interaction, never know when something may come of it. Doesn’t have to be a favor I don’t think.

  6. Most of the people I know that are ‘well off’ made the decision to go into business for themselves. Your time and energy are spent building up an asset for you, NOT for someone else. Yes, some business failure occur, but a good plan and research can keep those to a minimum.

    • You reminded me that I’m wasting my time working for someone else right now haha. I’ll have to work harder on getting ahead. My current situation leaves me with no time (seriously!) but starting next year I’ll have a lot more free time to work on this blog and my main website. There will be some BIG changes coming!

  7. I definitely agree with this list. I think becoming well off requires having a certain mindset. If you work hard for an extended period of time AS WELL AS focus on generating returns on investment, you can definitely reach the “well off” level.

    • It’s really interesting to experience it for yourself – the reality of money not making people happy. Not so long ago I thought money would solve all my problems… and when I finally made some, it didn’t solve crap. I was still as unhappy and actually did some stupid stuff to waste most of it. I’m happier now after learning the lesson the hard way, even if it means making 5x less.

  8. Your friend is the perfect financial role model. Thank you for sharing her habits. Her turning point was frugally saving and then investing in a business before going into other ‘bad’ debt the rest of us are conditioned to take, that will not create income. This is the type of article worth sharing with my daughter in the future. :)
    Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy recently posted..A Mish-Mash of GoalsMy Profile

    • Anything I can do to help :) Yes, the act of saving and starting a business is something I see as a common trait between successful people. I can think of another past time friend who did the same – started his own excavating business and did very well for himself. All started with saving.

    • Can’t hurt to try right? The biggest thing I’ve noticed with people who seem to always fall behind financially is that they make excuses. Excuses are our worst enemy.

  9. Hmm, I’m sure that is true for a LOT of wealthy people, but the friends in my life who are doing well seem to spend their money freely. Not granted I’m not sure what their financial picture looks like. Maybe they are in debt. A couple things I can agree on is that they aren’t afraid to finance things, and they buy homes, even in the expensive market like LA. MOST people I know doing well have masters degrees. That put them in a range of a very comfortable salary. Other than that I exhibit many of those traits, but am struggling financially.
    Budget & the Beach recently posted..Bah Humbug: Why I don’t really do ChristmasMy Profile

    • My friend went to trade school for a graduate degree, but I don’t know enough people who are well off to make a conclusion whether education is a significant factor, although I highly suspect that it is.

  10. Hi Veronica,
    This is an inspiring post. Many affluent people work hard, live frugally and do all the things you pointed out. Look at how they live. If only we can accomplish some of these, then we can be better off just like these people.

  11. Pingback: Frugal Friday: Posts That Ruled This Week, It’s December Already Edition! - Frugal Rules

  12. Pingback: Friday recap 10

  13. Pingback: Can't Take my eyes off these blogs twitter hacker edition | Eyes on the Dollar

  14. Pingback: Monthly Cowgirl Rodeo Round-Up (November!) - L Bee and the Moneytree

  15. Pingback: Beginning of December 2012 Exclusive Cash Giveaway and Favorite Posts | Modest Money

  16. Great post. I love to hear about other real financially successful people. These habits are in line with what I’ve seen of other wealthy people.

    I’m financially independent in my 20′s due to buying a lot of income properties and can relate to a few of these habits: work hard, live frugally, invest early and often, don’t rent, don’t pay more than I need to except for tipping, seek out personal connections, achieve specific goals and am content with what I have. Earning rewards and financing purchases on the other hand have never been of importance.

    I would be interested to know what type of business your friend bought.
    Goldeneer recently posted..Fallacy Of Real EstateMy Profile

  17. Pingback: The Best of Pelican on Money 2012

  18. I would also like to add one more point here which we can relate to point number 1 …They work ‘Smart’ :-) This is something I learnt a lot about…so its not just the hard work that pays but also the smart work that pays a lot more.

  19. I also like this habit a lot: Successful people keep a positive mindset at all times (Unsuccessful people think the world will end tomorrow)
    Who would you rather be surrounded by: Someone who exudes joy, or someone who exudes anger? Positive energy motivates, and anger de-motivates. What you need to be successful is a LOT of motivation. In fact, as much as you can get. You olny have 24 hours in a day… How many of those hours do you want to spend being negative about things? – Thanks for the great post! Best, Chris
    Christopher Kober (@chkober) recently posted..10 Habits of Highly Successful PeopleMy Profile

  20. I need advice on what I should do with my life…career wise.
    I want to be well off, not extremely rich, but so I don’t have to stress about anything. I love photography and acting, but not much actual experience in the acting. I just taught myself a lot on that part. I have a 2yr old son and I’m 22. I work very hard for what I have, because my son is my motivation. I want him to have everything he will ever need. The acting and photography part up there are out of the question though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge