Rich people always come from rich families, right? Wrong. According to Investopedia, only 20% of America’s millionaires inherited their wealth. The other 80%? They earned that million by themselves.
And it’s not like all of them were investment bankers or CEOs. Actually, the five most common careers for selfmade millionaires are: Engineer, CPA, manager, attorney, and, surprisingly, teacher. So what do these people have in common, beyond a bachelor’s degree? How did they become wealthy?
As it turns out, they all started by creating the same healthy habits. We’ll examine 12 of those common habits and figure out how they make people wealthy. Better yet, we’ll give you easy, concrete starting points for building them yourself. And they may surprise you in their simplicity.
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6. Live Below Your Means – Stop Buying New Stuff
We all picture millionaires driving around in fancy cars. But really, wealthy people often drive practical vehicles, not flashy ones. They buy what they need, not what signals a rich lifestyle. Simply put, they live below their means. To acquire this habit yourself, here’s a challenge: For one month, don’t buy anything but essentials like rent, food, and toiletries. By building this habit, you break a lot of unhealthy patterns. People often buy new things for that dopamine rush, out of peer pressure, or as a distraction from problems. But after a month free of that bad behavior, you walk away with a much healthier attitude towards purchasing. Not to mention a cash cushion.
5. Building Yourself – Produce, Don’t Consume
What do watching TV, playing video games, and browsing online have in common? They’re all activities where you consume content.
By contrast, playing an instrument, learning a language, or cooking a meal are all productive. They give you a tangible product or new skill to show for your time.
We’re not saying you should cut out the movie or game nights entirely. But think about your free time and how much of it you spend consuming versus building.
If you don’t feel good about your current ratio, try adding one productive hour to your day. This could mean reading before bed, playing guitar, or learning how to draw. After a month, you’ll have finished a new book or learned a new skill. That’s gonna make you feel better than a month of daily Netflix. And you’ll have proved to yourself that success is a hobby.
4. Value Your Time – Quit Social Media
Time is more valuable than money, so why do we throw so much of it away? Where do all of those precious minutes go? One reason shouldn’t surprise anyone–social media. The average person spends almost two and a half hours per day on their various accounts.
Social media is another form of consumptive behavior, but we’re addressing it separately because it doesn’t just eat your time–it’s toxic in other ways.
So for a start, we suggest unplugging for a month. A full thirty days, no social media. Much like our buying challenge, the goal here is to cut off a cycle of bad behavior. We’re not just building good habits and saving time, we’re removing bad ones. And that means cutting off the dopamine you get from posting, negative feelings of comparing yourself to others, and saving time.
After a month, you’ll have healthier mental patterns and, hopefully, have spent your free time more productively. That’s a recipe for success.
3. Network – Make a Date
They say that you’re the sum of the five people you interact with the most. Maybe that’s why wealthy people all seem to be friends with each other. It makes sense–they have similar goals, so they’re more likely to get advice and knowledge from each other.
If you hang out with people who have a bad attitude and don’t look for solutions, it’s harder for you to maintain a good outlook. But if you’re regularly getting dinner with someone who’s financially savvy, you’ll have their brain and experience to pick.
We’re not saying you should crash rich people’s parties. But if there’s someone in your life – a friend, an uncle, a coworker- who’s smart, savvy, and has a good outlook, text them and plan to hang out sometime this month. That’s how you start strengthening a positive relationship.
2. Get Healthy – 15 Minutes At a Time
Self-made millionaires understand their most valuable asset: Their body. Any doctor will tell you that your brain works better if your body’s holding up. Jeff Bezos gets 8 hours of sleep every night and rises early. Bill Gates runs an hour every morning on the treadmill.
Now, a healthy routine like that can’t be acquired overnight. So here’s how you start: for one month, do a little exercise every day. Yes, little is fine. Pick something achievable, like 15 minutes of walking. It sounds small, but that’s how you build a habit. Once it feels normal, you can slowly increase the intensity.
1. Embrace Failure – Starting Here
So far, we’ve given you five pretty specific challenges, each of which takes about a month. But here’s the cool part–it’s okay if you fail some of them.
Making a goals means accepting the possibility of failure. Failure doesn’t mean you can’t become that person–it’s only a step in the process. Trying, failing, and trying again is how you actually grow.
So try these challenges for five months. Even if you only complete one, that’s a good sign. It means that you’re one habit closer to a millionaire lifestyle. And completing one proves that you’re capable of more.
Each step you take is important, even if it doesn’t seem directly connected to finance. The true secret to wealth is becoming the kind of successful person who meets their goals.
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