I believe that there are absolutely systemic issues that contribute to wealth and poverty. But I also believe that there are attitudes and habits that foster wealth and success. These attitudes and habits can be learned. They can be applied to our own lives, allowing us to build better futures. I grew up in a family that had always been poor, a family that had lived for nearly years in rural Oregon, barely getting by.
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My father was a serial entrepreneur and the primary breadwinner for the family. Occasionally his businesses did well. Mostly, they didn't. But even when our family did have a decent income, Dad spent that money on boats and airplanes and computers. He didn't save. Then when hard times came — and hard times always came — he had to sell those toys to put food on the table. The boom times were rare though. During the s and s, Mom and Dad spent most of the time living paycheck to paycheck.
They fought about money. When Dad's businesses weren't doing well which, again, was the norm , he worked as a salesman for various industrial companies. Or he was out of work. He spent long stints unemployed. We had to have help from extended family and from our church.
I can't recall that we were ever on government assistance, but it's certainly possible. Just before he died in , Dad pulled me aside to apologize for how poor we were when I was a kid. I felt so ashamed. I'm sorry I couldn't give you guys a better life. So, I've experienced poverty.
Maybe not poverty as extreme as some others , but poverty. Today, my life is very different than it was when I was growing up. I'm fortunate and grateful to have a solid financial foundation. I achieved that financial success through a combination of hard work and luck. And make no mistake: There was definitely good fortune required to get me where I am today. My brothers too have managed to work their way to a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. We have it better than our parents did.
The Secret Language and Behaviors of Wealth
At the same time, it's clear that the three of us retain some of our old habits and attitudes. So too, I think, do other members of our extended family who also grew up poor. From my experience, I believe that poor people have certain habits, attitudes, and expectations. I think that these habits, attitudes, and expectations differ from those of wealthy people. Sometimes these qualities are a result of being poor or wealthy ; sometimes these qualities lead to being poor or wealthy.
What do I mean? Let's take some time today to explore the types of habits that foster wealth and success. Important note: Before we go any further, I'd like to acknowledge that this is a complex subject, one weighted with political, economic, and social issues. I don't expect for one blog post to be a definitive exploration of the topic. I do, however, hope that this article can highlight some insights from myself and others — including you. This piece is not meant as a takedown of the rich or a takedown of the poor. It's meant to highlight habits and attitudes that can improve the odds of success.
First up, here's Chelsea Fagan from The Financial Diet sharing eight things wealthy people do differently. At first I thought this video would be cheesy. It's not.
It's excellent — which is why I've placed it at the top of this article. Fagan's observations are astute, and she offers lots of practical advice for her intended audience: young women. The good news is there are many of these habits ane techniques that you can adopt even if you're on a serious budget.
According to Fagan, these are the eight things wealthy people do differently from the rest of us:. This video is truly excellent. If I had a college-aged daughter or a college-aged son , I'd urge her to watch it. But I think it contains good info for anyone at any stage of life. Tom Corley is the author of a book called Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals , which summarizes his research into the habits of the rich and poor. Corley's approach is unique because he took time to interview people from both ends of the financial spectrum.
While I haven't yet read the book, I did manage to track down a piece he wrote for Success magazine that gives some insight into the results of his study. According to Corley:. I'd love to see the raw data that led Corley to make these conclusions but I don't think his book includes that info. From what I can tell, it's written as a story, sort of like The Wealthy Barber. His website does give some background on his methodology , however.
I found other articles about Corley at Business Insider some stats included and Entrepreneur. Corley also appeared on an episode of the Afford Anything podcast. Finally, here's Corley's appearance on the Art of Charm podcast :. When I first decided to dig out of debt in , I devoured every book about personal finance that I could find. One volume that had a profound influence on my future financial philosophy was The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker. Our blueprints are created through lifelong exposure to money messages from people around us, especially our family and friends, and from our country's culture and mass media.
I agree with Eker. See my recent article about money blueprints.co.organiccrap.com/23989.php
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Eker says the unfortunate truth is that most of us have faulty blueprints that prevent us from building wealth. A lack of money is merely a symptom of what is going on underneath. According to Eker:. Eker says that most people are motivated to make money out of fear. People don't call it fear, though. They say they're motivated by security. Eker notes — correctly — that fear and security are essentially two sides of the same coin. The tough truth is that money doesn't dissolve fear.
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Fear is not just a problem, it's a habit. Therefore, making more money will only change the kind of fear we have. When we were broke, we were most likely afraid we'd never make it or never have enough. Even if you know what you ought to do intellectually, it can be tough to do it because your money blueprint controls your thoughts and behavior. To change your habits, you have to work consciously and constantly to create a new plan. This takes time and practice.
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Want to read more about how fear affects our decisions? Check out my article on how to build confidence and destroy fear. Some of the items on Smith's list seem to be derived from Eker's philosophy. But although there are similarities, Eker's list gives me warm fuzzies and Smith's list doesn't. I'm not sure why. Maybe the difference is this: From my experience and your experience may be different , Eker's many distinctions hold true at least in the U. I've seen the differences he describes in my own life. But I'm not convinced that the differences Smith lists do hold up.
For instance, I know lots of poor people who talk about ideas rather than things and people, and many of the same folks embrace change. A lot of my friends love learning but they're not millionaires. And haven't we seen statistics that show, based on a percentage of income, poor people give more than the rich do?
There are differences between the mindsets of the rich and the poor, of this I'm sure. But I think they're closer to Eker's list than to Smith's.