One-percenters aren’t getting a lot of love this election cycle. But that belies the fact that many self-made men and women who earn more than a $500,000 a year do so because they developed some very smart (and not-at-all evil) habits on their way up. Your best move isn’t to shake your fist at them but to learn from their rules. They’re 100 percent applicable to your wealth, too.
And while you’re getting richer, practice these 25 Ways to Be Happier Now!
Rise and shine
“The early bird gets the worm” is the last thing you want to hear when some upbeat so-and-so opens the drapes and zaps you with sunlight. Still, the simple act of getting your day started early is a simple rule many one-percenters live by. Early risers of note include Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group, Disney CEO Robert Iger and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer. Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning, suggests writing your plans for the following day. The first task should make you excited to get out of bed.
And to make the prospect of sunrise even more pleasant, try these 10 Ways to Sleep Better Tonight—Guaranteed!
Save like you mean it
If you want to be in the 1% — and if you want to stay in the 1% — you’re going to have to save money like a boss. We’re talking fully 20% of your income. That may sound like a hefty chunk, particularly if you’re living paycheck to paycheck right now. But fear not! By making significant bites out of your monthly nut (see tip #3), it’s easier than you think.
Get a handle on your expenses
Business guru H.James Harrington said: “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” Simply put, you’ll never rein in unnecessary spending if you don’t take a sustained and unflinching look at what’s flying out of your pockets each and every month. Luckily, there are apps for that. A great one is Mint by Intuit. It allows you to plug in all of your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgages, investments and, once you’ve budgeted your monthly expenses (see tip #4), it’ll show you what on earth is going on with your money each month. Check out these 6 Great Personal Finance Apps for 2016!
Although monthly expenditures ebbs and flow from month to month, get specific about how much you want to spend on housing, groceries, eating out and gas — as well as how much you want to save. At the end of each month, see if you can improve on the previous one.
Here’s another old saying that the 1% live by: Healthy body, healthy mind. Exercise keeps your brain healthy, minimizes stress and improves memory. Those are all handy attributes if you want to make some smart money moves. What’s more: Studies show that exercise can boost creativity and productivity by as much as two hours. It makes you smarter, too. Jump-start your way to a fit new you with The World’s Fastest Full-Body Workout!
Consign debts to history
The 1% scoff at the idea of carrying debt. If you want to count yourself among them, paying down and paying things off should be a top priority. If you’re working but you’re not in the green every single month, it’s time to root out the problem and neutralize it. Instead of thinking about ways to accumulate more debt, make a pay-off plan. Focus on your highest interest credit cards and loans first, then move to the second highest ones, until your debt is erased. Here’s How to Cut $10,000 From Your Annual Expenses!
Don’t ignore the bills
Being reminded of how much you owe is a pisser. We have a natural tendency to ignore bills in the vain hope that maybe they’ll just go away. They won’t. In fact, that strategy will only compound the misery that will be visited upon you at some point and in some form. Be brave, and tackle your creditors’ notes head on.
Audit your expenses
Keeping a beady eye on your expenses will almost certainly save you a ton of cash over time. We’re talking double charges, fraudulent charges, dodgy-looking service fees and recurring charges for a product or service you no longer need. You’ll be surprised just how much pork is hiding out in those numbers. Here’s How to Cut $10,000 From Your Annual Expenses!
Take an interest in interest
The 1% are able to live off of the interest that their investments bring in, but if they weren’t born with money, they didn’t start that way. They built things slowly over time. Now that you’re saving 20% of your income, it’s important that you put that money somewhere wise. Diversify your investments, and track them on a monthly basis. Study where your money is and just how well it’s performing.
Invest in your home
Depending on where you live, how much space you need and how many people you live with, owning your own home may be a very wise choice. In fact, if you don’t own your own home, you could be breaking an important rule of the 1%. If you already have a home, be sure to invest in it. Upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms will pay dividends in the long run. It’s just one of the 40 Things to Do in Your 40s!
Take a stake
Nine out of 10 one-percenters say that taking an equity position is necessary to get filthy rich. But just one out of ten people in the middle class have an equity position of any kind, and the vast majority (70%) say they’re not even trying to get one.
Find the edge and take it
Gaining small advantages in a series of deals can have a cumulative effect on your wealth over time. However, surveys show that most people don’t seek them out, so they’re likely to end up on the losing side of every deal. So play for the upper hand, even if it’s modest.
Be a hedgehog
The hedgehog strategy gets its name from the spiny creature that has just one strategy at its disposal: it curls up into a ball. Point being, doing one thing well is better than doing lots of new things. Typically, one-percenters have taken an ordinary idea and executed it exceptionally well, honing their skills at it along the way.
Hire for your weaknesses
If you’re in a position to put a team together, don’t fall into the trap of hiring people who have a similar background or skill set to yours. Do what you do best, and hire other people to support you where you’re weaker. Build teams with complementary capabilities. Surveys show that most people would rather learn to do tasks they’re bad at than get others to do them. Those at the top often take the opposite view. And while you’re there, practice these 4 Tips to be a Better Boss!
Resist the sunk-cost bias
You’ve heard that old aphorism “throwing good money after bad.” The one-percent have — and they live by it. One survey showed that 71% of the ultra-wealthy have no problem cutting their losses and moving on if a prospect isn’t headed in the right direction, while only a fifth of the middle-class say the same. The hoi polloi fall afoul of the sunk cost-bias: People want to keep pumping money into a non-starter, because they’ve already invested. If a deal doesn’t seem right, it’s almost always less risky to walk away — or run, as the song goes.
Get out there and fail
On average, self-made one-percenters have more failures under their Gucci belts than members of the middle class. They’ve used failure to help them succeed on their next big swing. But one survey found that only 17 percent of the middle class say they learn from their failures. Remember: Everything worth trying contains an element of risk. That’s just one of 25 Life-Changing Lessons from Super-Successful Men!
Don’t believe the hype
All your life, you’ve seen advertisements for luxurious goods that make you think, “One day…”. If that day is now, detach yourself from the desires you had when you didn’t have a pot to piss in. Ask yourself: “What will a Mercedes do for me that a BMW won’t?” Then, “Will a BMW change my life more significantly than an Audi?” Boom! You’ve got yourself a solid German automobile — and an ability to sock away some of your hard-earned cash. (In the market? Check out one of these 14 Sports Cars to Buy Now.)
Know when to splash out
There’s a “The More You Know” PSA on TV that spells out how much you could save over a year if you brew your coffee at home instead of making a Starbucks run every time you need a pick-me-up. They have the math right, but they’re not looking at the bigger picture. Specifically, how having your favorite beverage makes you feel. Above, we talked about budgeting and reining in unnecessary expenses. That’s important! But if ordering a $4 latte makes your day better, do it.
Don’t keep up with the Dow Joneses
Unless you have a job in finance, you can’t exert much influence on the markets. So why waste you time glued to the indexes or watching Jim Cramer jump up and down like a meth-addled hobgoblin? Instead, focus on what you can control: Putting money in a broadly diversified, low-cost portfolio — and not dipping into that money. It’s one of the 6 Money Moves to Make Now!
Spend on education while they’re young
The Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman found that spending on high-quality early-childhood education offers kids the greatest bang for the buck in their adult years. Why? Between the ages of three and eight, children develop conscientiousness, perseverance, sociability and curiosity. All of those qualities are more important to success than traditional markers of academic achievement.
Eat out less
Recent research showed that one-percenters spend 30% less of their money on dining in restaurants and saved 30% more of it for retirement. Kit out your kitchen with these 25 Foods That’ll Keep You Young Forever.
Get your read on
Another habit of the rich is plant their noses in a book. Bill Gates reads for one hour as part of his bedtime routine, and science suggests there’s a good reason why. A recent study from the University of Toronto showed that subjects who read a short story scored lower on a test to determine the “need for cognitive closure” than people who’d read an essay. The researchers concluded that the fiction readers were inclined to be more “open-minded”, “creative” and rational.” Those are great attributes if you want to make some long-term coin.
Retain information from what you read
Although reading novels might have interesting effects on the way you think, reading non-fiction can have a marked effect on how you operate. The key is to remember the quotes, insights and ideas you just absorbed. Click here for a full explanation of how Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle is the Way, and Robert Green, author of The 48 Laws of Power, suggest you should organize and retain information. And try these 13 Tips for a Sharper Brain!
Don’t confuse being responsive with being productive
No doubt you’ve heard of Tim Ferris’ book The 4-Hour Workweek. In it, Ferris argues that reading and answering emails hampers productivity. To minimize distractions, Ferris recommends checking email twice a day: at 11am and 4pm, or after you’ve completed at least one critical item in your to-do list, then once more before the end of your workday.
Know your team
If you’re hitching your wagon to other talented employees, you’d better know what motivates and inspires them. That’s the belief of about 70% of people in a survey Louis Schiff did for his book Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons from the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons. Schiff found that less than 20 percent of the middle class felt similarly. His survey suggests that a willingness and desire to know and understand your business associates is a sure marker of success.
Now live a long and happy life with these 100 Ways to Live to 100!