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.

“Secret” Forumla for Living Comfortably

CNN Money has an interesting column where a financial expert advises readers on how to overcome their money woes and achieve goals. Those goals are typically short term and involve retirement combined with another goal.

Business CatI always find it fascinating to see other people’s finances at different stages of their lives, and most of all reading about recommendations from experts.

A typical column goes something like this:

Jane is a teacher nearing retirement. She has a $30,000 outstanding mortgage and $15,000 in credit card debt after helping her child with school financing. The goal is to retire in say… 6 years.

One thing most of these scenarios have in common is high debt balance and debt payment. Naturally, many financial advisers tell these people to maximize debt payments to eliminate it quickly so that they can better focus on saving more for retirement.

It’s simple advice and it works.

Combine that with advice on how to diversify your investments and you get the gist of all financial advice out there including that of most personal finance bloggers.

Secret Formula to Living Comfortably?

The formula to a good quality of living and decent retirement is no secret; it’s how we choose to approach it.

Pay off Debt + Budget Well + Save Money + Invest Wisely = Live Comfortably

A silly little formula (if you can even call it that) indeed.

So why are so many people still struggling?

Well, just as it takes a silly formula to establish a comfortable living, similar can be said for getting yourself into a big mess:

Earn Little + Don’t Plan + Don’t Invest + Accumulate Debt + Save Nothing = Big Problems

I know… it’s easy to generalize all life’s problems into one silly formula when life is nothing but simple.

At least having it written out like that gives us something to look at.

Most people seeking an answer to their money problems can find all they want to know in simple wisdom of the first formula. Yes, it’s very general and yes, you will need individual advice on how to achieve your own goal, but that’s why we have professionals who can help with just that.

It Takes Planning

Reading CNN Money column made one thing very clear to me: people who are asking for advice don’t have a continuous plan, or didn’t have one to get to where they are now. Had they met with an adviser earlier, most of their problems wouldn’t exist.

I’m not saying people can avoid having to pay for school with loans or credit cards, but having a solid plan for the future can’t hurt.

Do you have a financial plan or do you just wing it?

Sure, I’ll Take That $23 Million

Imagine for a minute, one gloomy afternoon you’re walking outside and see a lottery ticket on the ground. It is weathered, torn at edges and crumbled just enough to make you walk right by it. However, curiosity doesn’t let you move until you pocket it. You go about your day and think nothing of it.

Crumbled LotteryLater that evening you watch your favorite TV show next to your significant other and doze off ever so slightly.

The late night news comes on and the anchors are talking about sports – you don’t care. You’re ready to go to bed.

Just before turning off the TV you are startled by a headline: “Lottery winner of $23 million jackpot sought.” They mention your area.

You know you didn’t buy any tickets so you click the remote and head on over to bed. Then you pause.

You remember the ticket you picked up earlier today and can’t help but wonder, what if…

While powering up your iPad in the pitch black room, a million thoughts run through your mind:

  • What if I won?
  • What will I do with the money?
  • Will I bother going to work tomorrow?
  • What will I buy first?
  • Who will be the first to hear of this?

Your eyelids are heavy, you’re ready to pass out into the night, but you have to know what if…

The screen is loaded, the numbers match. It’s a winning ticket!

Wouldn’t That Be Nice?

Millions of dollars go unclaimed in lottery winnings. A few days ago, $23 million was left unclaimed in a nearby area. On the day after Christmas last year, $77 million was left unclaimed in Georgia. That would have been a nice Christmas present! Another $16m in Iowa.

The list goes on and on.

I don’t have an unhealthy fascination with the lottery. I certainly don’t look for tickets on the ground either. In fact, if I were to win the lottery, I would save the winnings quietly without changing my lifestyle.

One question does linger in my mind:

Why do people fail to claim their winnings?

Is it possible the ticket was lost? What are the odds of winning a Powerball and losing the ticket? Did they simply forget about it? Perhaps the story behind that ticket is much deeper, involving a sinister plot from a horror movie where a jealous family member or friend try to murder the (un)lucky bastard to claim their winnings?

Ok, the last one would make a fascinating story!

Whatever the reason, it leaves hope that one day I may be able to walk down the street on a gloomy afternoon, and find a lotto ticket worth $23 million dollars because someone had left it unsigned and unclaimed.

Update: The lotto winner was found after a televised search. It turns out the woman had forgotten about the ticket. She drove around for 5 months with $23 million dollars in her dashboard.

Lottery

What would you do if you found an unclaimed winning lottery ticket worth millions? Better yet, if it were signed – would you try to claim it as your own signature or find its rightful owner?

On Quality of Life

Coming in to work today – a Friday of all days made me somewhat excited that the week is over. Even though I have a great job, I can’t help but look forward to the end of the week where I can finally relax and have 2 days all to myself. This wasn’t always the case.

Quality of Life

While self-employed I realized that weekdays blended together, where the beginning of work week and the end were such a blur that it was impossible to distinguish workdays from weekends.

Thinking about the past and how it was too trivial to wait for weekends made me think about other things as well, like the completely different world that self-employed people live in compared to those who are gone during the day.

No More Lines

Having the freedom of choosing when to take time off during the day creates many opportunities to enjoy life the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

Have you ever walked around town during work hours? It’s empty!

Now, empty might not mean anything to those living in the Midwest, but out here in Southern California it means a load of difference.

Places that are typically crowded are now accessible. Where wait lines exist by night, dissipate by day. Shopping places are crowd-less and stocked with fresh produce and newly arrived products. The street noise in suburbia is almost non-existent to the point where it is enjoyable to go outside and do things.

The overall quality of life improves when you are running on a different time.

Granted I am ignoring many other important aspects that actually contribute to your life’s enjoyment such as being healthy, having friends and spending time with family, but there is something to be said about existing in the same society as everyone else yet functioning on a completely different time.

There is a sense of freedom and peace when you can enjoy a good movie during the typical work day – without any annoyance from the crowds that gather at night.

The chores of shopping for the week become enjoyable when you don’t have to stick to a tight schedule of the workweek.

Visiting the park or nearby botanical gardens brings a sense of serenity when you have to share the entire place with only a handful of others.

Where service is meager in restaurants by night, you suddenly enjoy a mountain of focused pampering from the overwhelmingly friendly staff.

The list can go on and on. However, the benefits are only there when you have someone to share them with – a partner, a friend or family, anyone who can keep you great company to avoid an otherwise lonely existence.

Have You Tried This Lifestyle?

Every person should experience the freedom of being loose during the typical work hours. The only way to do that is to get out of the 9-5 job and pave your way to financial success through diligent work as a self-employed crusader of sorts.

Or win the lottery.

I’ll put my bets on achieving personal success through hard work over the odds of winning the lottery!  Also, I’m not sure the quality of life would remain anything as enjoyable if a load of money was suddenly bestowed upon one.

What about you? Have you had similar improvements in quality of life when you were your own boss? I would love to hear from anyone who has been self-employed with their own schedule.

Why You Will Never Be Rich

As if you need me to tell you? Fine…

You’re Too Nice

You’re such a great person that when others ask you for help, you dedicate all the time it takes to help them instead of helping yourself achieve a goal.

You’re so honest, Jesus would make you his disciple. You gleam in holy light with epic organ music raising you into the clouds. In other words, you’re less likely to manipulate to your advantage. Rich people lie and manipulate, even if it doesn’t seem that way on the surface.

You’d rather give than take. Giving without expecting anything in return is your thing. Donating when you should be donated to places a mental check mark in the box next to this sentence.

You’d never screw anyone over. Paying minimum wage and hiring illegals instead of benefiting your community has never crossed your mind.

You’re Too Cool

Your hair looks awesome because you care about it so much. Wearing the same clothes every day is a crime and driving the coolest car is more important that actually getting a date.

Admitting you’re wrong is like admitting you’re broke, you have to have an opinion on every subject. You check your phone before you get out of bed, check email on the way to work and tweet while sipping on your morning coffee.

You’re an all-around gadgets guru. New iPhone? Check. What better way to fit in than to have what others have?

Checking your favorite blogs in the morning is second nature. You feel that success will come by doing what everyone else is doing. Every comment must be read and replied to. You’re a people pleaser. Go ahead, leave a comment, you know you want to.

You have too much. There will always be an eternal void that needs to be filled by buying more things. Being satisfied with what you have is never enough. This leads you to adopting new technology and products before the mainstream market.

You’re distracted.

You’re Too Loyal

Slow and steady wins the race for you. “Being rich” makes you think about retirement days when you’ve done your part and are finally finished with your work load. If getting there takes 35 years of employment at the same place, you’ll be happy to oblige.

Working hard is instilled in your character. After all, all rich people work hard, right? Who wouldn’t say ‘yes’ to a boss’ request for overtime if it means pleasing them and advancing your career?

You’re such a great employee that you’d rather stay in that position as long as possible. 401k is your bread and butter.

You’ve made up your mind on a comment after reading the Jesus line.

Just Do It

Several years ago, while exploring the world of affiliating marketing I ran into an individual who was doing very well. Like everyone else in this new affiliate community I was curious how this person was doing so well. Everyone asked them how they made their money, but this shadowy individual wouldn’t say, for obvious reasons! Then one day all of a sudden he/she released an e-book detailing all if the methods used to generate that income.

People Paid $500 Per Copy

I can’t say it was easy to confirm that everything written was true, but people paid a hefty $500 price tag per copy. I’m not the type of person to believe that someone who is making thousands of dollars per day would share their knowledge for a measly $500, so it was a no-brainer for me to sit this one out. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” – I thought.

Being the curious gal that I am it didn’t take long to strike up a conversation with this money ninja and we quickly came to chat on a regular basis about earning online. One question was burning on my mind and had to be asked “why would you release everything you know for a quick buck?”

“People Will Always Make an Excuse”

The reply – honest yet cynical still echoes today: “because no matter how real and useful the information, people will always make an excuse to not put it to use.” It turns out this guru wasn’t worried about others replicating the “secret” strategy at all. Multiple conversations proceeded afterwards where we got to talking about why people fail at achieving their goals, and I must say these were some of the most interesting talks I’ve had with anyone online.

A week later, to no surprise, everyone who purchased a copy of the e-book was complaining that none of the methods described have worked. Cursing and name calling preceded and talks about scams broke out. Before getting to know the individual I would have quickly agreed that the money paid was too little for something too good to be true (promises of thousands of dollars per day), but after having regular chats with this rogue agent of affiliate marketing it became too difficult to accept harsh accusations of this persons’ work.

$15,000 in Sales

By then, their e-book has leaked online and became public knowledge for anyone interested in finding it. Although my new “friend” had pocketed a quick $15,000 from sales, they were still not worried about it being out in the open. Curiosity lead me to finding the book for myself and asking if it would be alright to test it for free. Without a raised brow I was given one tip: “You have to do exactly as the book says and you have to stick to it by being patient.”

Long story short, this person wasn’t lying. Everything that was written there did exactly as the title promised. Although the money made from that simple e-book did not make me rich, it taught me a powerful lesson: stop procrastinating. Everything you need to achieve your goals has already been written down or spoken. Just do the work and do it diligently. The super simple slogan Nike has adopted for its brand has been trying to tell us how to succeed all along – “Just Do It.”

Do you know someone who blames their financial problems on others? Do you find yourself procrastinating more often than doing the work?

Be sure to enter the giveaway if you haven’t!