I stumbled upon this article recently on the 13 habits of self-made millionaires. They had an interesting take (not what I expected) on the habits of millionaires that I thought was worth sharing and discussing.
Specifically, I wanted to see how I stacked up compared to their list.
You might want to as well.
They list the habits as:
1. They read consistently.
2. They exercise.
3. They hang out with other successful people.
4. They pursue their own goals.
5. They get up early.
6. They have multiple sources of income.
7. They find and check in with mentors.
8. They’re positive.
9. They don’t follow the herd.
10. They have good etiquette.
11. They help others succeed.
12. They dedicate 15 to 30 minutes a day to just thinking.
13. They seek feedback.
Here’s how I measure up on these:
1. I do read consistently. I read blogs, websites, books (mostly listen to them on audio), and even magazines (Money magazine and Business Week). I enjoy reading and learning.
2. I do exercise. Three times a week I do weights and three times a week I do cardio. Since moving to Colorado I joined a gym, got a trainer, and so far have moved from 28% body fat to 21%. I enjoy it though it’s tough work.
3. I’m not sure I hang out with other successful people. I work with other successful people and have friends from my past who are quite successful, but I don’t do much “hanging out.” Unless lunch counts and then I do frequently meet new people and take them out to lunch (part of my networking plans).
4. I do pursue my own goals. Whose goals would I pursue if they weren’t mine? But I do it purposefully as well — not just letting life happen to me.
5. A quote from the piece: “Nearly 50% of the self-made millionaires in Corley’s study woke up at least three hours before their workday actually began.” Uh, no. I do get up a couple hours before the workday begins but certainly not three. I do get up at the same time every day (even on weekends) and on Saturday and Sunday I work out early before the day gets started. I am considering getting up even earlier after reading The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) (a great book I highly recommend). But I haven’t started that yet.
6. As you all know, I do have multiple sources of income. I’ve written about a few of them here including my rental properties and my P2P investments. And I’m working on more such as dividend investing as I work to make my financial freedom plan a reality.
7. I’ve had mentors throughout my career and still find people I learn from all the time. Not sure I’d call them mentors though. And I don’t check in with them regularly. I’m actually at the stage of life where I spend more time being a mentor than asking for help from one.
8. I would say I’m “realistic.” Not overly positive or negative, but a realist.
9. I’m not really a herd follower.
10. Growing up in a small town in Iowa I was taught manners. It’s just “normal” to be polite and considerate. Many of those traits have followed me to adulthood.
11. I work to help my team at work succeed. Does that count?
12. Thinking is one thing I wish I had more time for. I do think (of course) but I don’t “dedicate” time to it.
13. I’m ok with feedback but don’t think I overly pursue it.
I was actually surprised at how many of these fit me. Reading the list initially I would have said I followed a few of them, but once I really considered these it appears that I follow the majority of them.
How about you? Where do you stack up on these 13? Do you think they make sense — that they are reflective of what makes people self-made millionaires?
By the way, my list for what makes a millionaire is someone who concentrates on:
It’s interesting to think about correlation vs. causation. I always wonder whether these types of studies are really getting a good read on the characteristics that lead people to become millionaires or are they are just letting us know the habits that millionaires adopt once they are financially secure.
That being said, they certainly seem like positive habits to adopt regardless.
This is a good list. I do most of these things and some can use some work. (multiple sources of income) but there is always room for improvement and I am still working on.
In some cases it is hard to discuss with friends or find people to talk with in that people do not know how financially fit we are. Very contrarian to the world. They don’t know we have our house paid for, that the past 4 cars we have bought we have paid cash, they don’t know that we have paid for 99% of our two kids college education, they don’t know my goal of downshifting into semi retirement at 59 1/2 because the will find it hard to believe if we told them.
Most are still finance, finance, finance mentality which is following the heard while we do not.
Agree with Coopersmith’s assessment of this list. And I don’t discuss these topics with anyone except one friend… I have previously tried with my sister and a close friend, but have found that they are only semi-interested or resort to a negative mindset (similar to people who ridicule a person for working out, I have been ridiculed for wanting to be debt free) so I just keep my mouth shut and agree with their woes.
I only have 2 sources of income, but the aforementioned friend has moved onto 3 and he’s very excited. I should direct him to this blog because his newest venture is rental property, and he’s pretty nervous about it.
Mike H says
Nice article- these are all interesting behaviors to reflect upon:
1. They read consistently- that’s true. Magazine and blog articles plus many biographies.
2. They exercise- I’ve kept a 6 day a week workout regimen for more than 10 years… only 2 weeks ago I’ve been having bad knee pain and found out it’s a meniscus tear so I stopped all weight bearing activities and only swim or lift weights for my upper body now about 3-4 days a week. I am very much missing out on the weight bearing exercise 🙁
3. They hang out with other successful people- only true at work, as my colleagues are very successful in their fields.
4. They pursue their own goals- building up a career, starting up a business in parallel, staying healthy and taking care of family. Doesn’t everyone pursue their own goals?
5. They get up early- that’s true. Getting up at 6:30am is sleeping in for me, normally I like to get up well before 6am, sometimes as early as 3am if I would like to get a workout in before taking an early morning flight. All in a days work.
6. They have multiple sources of income- That’s true but my job still provides for nearly 80% of the total so that means I’ll keep working for a spell.
7. They find and check in with mentors- Only at work, I probably need to do more here. At age 42 I’m mentoring an awful lot of people now.
8. They’re positive- not always- sometimes problems like my recent knee injury get me down but I usually bounce back and focus on solving the problem within a day or two.
9. They don’t follow the herd- I’ve usually been a contrarian early in life but have since realized that it’s ok to emulate what works and go down the path of something that has been proven. No need to reinvent the wheel here. A simple example is earning well, saving heavily and investing that difference as best you can.
10. They have good etiquette- well I’m good at pleasantries and staying cordial with people.
11. They help others succeed- generally this is true, and I normally do it freely.
12. They dedicate 15 to 30 minutes a day to just thinking- normally I’d do that while doing weight bearing exercise… so I’ll have to try this when swimming. I also meditate from time to time and that supercharges my positivity for a few days. I highly recommend floating in a magnesium sulfate bath (floating center) for this.
13. They seek feedback- from my bosses yes, but also I ask this of others. Most importantly I try and self reflect on the chains of cause and effect whenever I can.
Very good comments. Thanks for leaving them.
Bummer about the knee — sorry to hear that.
Good luck thinking while swimming. I’ve tried that to no avail. If I begin thinking, I lose count of the laps I’ve done. 🙂
Mike H says
Ha! I just did 20 laps over and back. I actually lost count about 2/3 of the way through and probably did an extra lap there. Maybe I’ll just do this for time instead of laps in the future.
I am limited to upper body lifting and swimming. I can do kayaking but haven’t seen that in the city where we live, just on the beach resorts. Well, hopefully it will heal soon. Getting old can be tough!
Thanks for the good wishes, ESI. Much appreciate.
1. They read consistently. – True. Read 100+ books a year, social sciences, pop economics, biographies, and thriller fiction. Love reading, my favorite thing to do. A wise friend told me, “all reading is escapism!” Very true, the act of ‘learning’ is future-based.
2. They exercise. True for 45 years, last 10 kinda slacked. Nobody cares, and my body feels better injury-free.
3. They hang out with other successful people. – Been working on that, and find it tough. Successful people don’t hang out, and the ones that have time to hang aren’t successful. I will say that hanging out with unsuccessful people is unrewarding. They wind up being liars, manipulators, needy incompetents, etc. Time wasted, better off in solitude.
4. They pursue their own goals. – True. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Teddy Roosevelt If you constantly stack yourself up against others, it is obnoxious to them and the wrong metric to measure oneself.
5. They get up early. – True. I also go to bed early. Staying up late, partying, watching TV, etc. squanders time and energy. Go to bed, and extra hour of sleep will make your tomorrow much more enjoyable.
6. They have multiple sources of income. – True, but by accident.
7. They find and check in with mentors. – Neutral. Fortunately, I’ve had three fantastic mentors, acquired through luck. Very generous with their knowledge, and honest in their experience. Oddly, I find many around me actually seeking out ‘mentees’! These types are to be avoided, they are ‘big hat, no cattle’ are more invested in controlling/influencing others than in the actual success of the mentee. ‘Seeking out’ can be a big time-suck, with mixed results. Beware the ‘mentor’ who won’t let you ‘go’.
8. They’re positive. – Neutral. ‘Positive’ is an outcome of disposition, not a cause of success. Think of how many idiots you know that are ‘positive’, ignoring risk, cost, time. See what I mean?
9. They don’t follow the herd. – True. We know what happens to herds. Right? My wonderful wife and I refer to ourselves as ‘a culture of 2.’
10. They have good etiquette. – True. “Good manners cost nothing.” – Lemmy Kilmister There are a growing number of people I’ve observed, who seem to feel that ‘showing disrespect’ is the equivalent of ‘receiving respect’. Two points I have learned the hard way: 1) ‘Respect’ isn’t a ‘zero-sum game.’ 2) ‘Disrespect’ is a bell that can’t be unrung.
11. They help others succeed. – Neutral. After decades of following Zig Ziglar’s maxim, “help others get what they want, and they will help you get what you want!” I think that needs to be approached in a measured way. People will take up your time, effort, money, knowledge, without ever contemplating reciprocity, if you allow it. If you ‘help’, make sure the other party is aware that your ‘help’ is not without cost to you, and should be remembered and repaid by them.
12. They dedicate 15 to 30 minutes a day to just thinking. – True. For everyone. Unfortunately, most people spend time thinking about nonsense like sports, movies, horrible memories and unrealistic fantasies. But the smart and successful ones spend some time thinking about how they can improve themselves, their skills, their future.
13. They seek feedback. – True. But not from people. Friends, family, neighbors, etc. aren’t helpful in evaluating decisions financial, personal, or otherwise. The feedback I find valuable is from those who have actually ‘gone before’ and accomplished something I admire. Their ‘system’ is the feedback I desire (not their ‘goal’, which anyone can have without a path towards achievement).
As usual, we are on the same page! 🙂
1. Mostly Yes
2. Mostly No.
3. Mostly No.
4. Mostly No.
5. Mostly Yes.
8. Mostly No.
9. Mostly Yes.
10. Hopefully Yes.
11. Mostly Yes.
12. Mostly No.
13. Mostly No.
Have achieved 75% of the goal with this configuration, wonder what would be in store if I could set all to Yes!!!
Thanks for responding! You look like you’re doing well!
Financial Samurai says
I like the “hanging out with other successful” people part. People tend to gravitate towards others who have the same positive outlook, ambitions, and financial level to be able to afford a nice glass of wine w/out having to worry about who is paying the bill!
For #8, I am a super optimist.. even down to trolls. I love trolls on FS b/c there can be a lot of great feedback and commentary for them to create another post to keep the dream alive! Whoo hoo! 🙂
I’m on a train to Vienna from Prague now, and all I see are people who are happy and free. To me, I think everybody is a millionaire who is able to untether.
I thought you were traveling!
Thanks for your thoughts. Looking forward to some great pics and post of your trip on FS.
Oh, and I’ll try to leave a few “troll” comments over there for you. 🙂
A very good self-diagnosis of a list. I think we’re on track with most of them, but there’s always room for improvement. By the way, I agree with your own list. Doing those 3 are the only 3 that really count 🙂
M. Interview #2 says
Again, Great job on the fat loss!
1. Yes, not books, but a lot of articles, blogs, internet… so it is reading.
2. Yes, big fan of beachbody (Shaun T). Very efficient & effective. I travel a lot, so his no equipment programs are great. Highly recommend (currently: Insanity Max30!)
3. Yes, and no. Good mix, but learn a lot from both ends of the spectrum.
4. Yes, absolutely
5. Yes. (early to bed, early to rise, makes a man… )
6. Yes. always looking for more streams…
7. Not so much formally or regularly, but constantly looking for smart successful people to talk with. I would not call them mentors, but some could fit the category?
8. yes, try to be. Practical and realistic are also good terms I’d describe myself as, but focus on the opportunities so that is positive.
10. Yes, very polite and respectful, but this is just smart and basic manners…
11. Yes, I try to. Maybe too much, some folks don’t want the help.. but I try!
12. Yes, but not in any formal structured way, but I do seek out personal time since I am alone, i guess that is time to think…
13. Yes. It takes practice on how to receive it effectively, and I do seek it out..
For what it is worth I guess I like the list. I wonder if I had said no to all if I would dislike the list?
ESI, looks like you’re going great guns on this! I won’t bore you with my answers too far after the fact however I match up relatively well too
Thanks for sharing and isn’t Tom Corley’s content great? 🙂
Yes! I like it a lot!