In his book, The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas J. Stanley explains how his research has found that individuals who have attained a high net worth have quite a few things in common. In particular, they were found to have these 7 basic attributes in common. According to Stanley, if you can emulate them, you too can become wealthy.
7 Attributes Of High Net Worth Individuals
- They live well below their means: They may make a large income, but they don't live like it. They are, as Stanley says, “Frugal, Frugal, Frugal”. They live in an older house, drive an older car and don't spend a lot of money on life's luxuries (often because they don't enjoy them). At an interview they did of millionaires, one deca-millionaire when asked if he would like an expensive glass of wine responded that he drinks only two things, scotch and two kinds of beer – Bud and Free. For those wealthy that were married, they almost always found that the spouses were also frugal. If one spouse is a hyper-consumer, it is extremely difficult to end up with a high net worth.
- They allocate their time, money and energy efficiently in ways conducive to building wealth: Wealth accumulators spend more of their time in doing things that are conducive to creating wealth – budgeting, planning and setting goals for their future. They work hard towards their goals, and are more likely to be spending time planning their goals. Those who are high income earners but that do not have a high net worth do not spend as much time in these activities. In fact they found that PAWs (prodigious accumulators of wealth) spent almost twice as much time every month in planning their investments as did UAWs (underachieving accumulators of wealth).
- They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status: They don't care about living in the right neighborhood, having a big house, driving the newest cars or shopping at the trendiest stores. These high net worth individuals care more about providing for their own financial independence and work towards that goal.
- Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care: The parents of these high net worth individuals did not subsidize their lifestyle, or give them a bunch of money. They made their own way, working hard and succeeding on their own terms. Children who receive economic outpatient care (EOC) often are stripped of their motivation to work hard and achieve, and as a result often do not become PAWs.
- Their adult children are economically self sufficient: The children of high net worth individuals have been taught how to live a frugal lifestyle, how to accumulate wealth, and often have been taught how to succeed on their own without help from their parents. Because they don't receive EOC, and in general are self-sufficient, it allows their parents to accumulate more and be better off later on.
- They are proficient in targeting market opportunities: The high net worth are good at seeing opportunities and taking advantage of them. They aren't immune to the fear of failing that all of us have at times, but they overcome their fear and act upon good opportunities when they see them.
- They chose the right occupation: Those who have a high net worth almost always are doing something that they enjoy – and they work hard at their chosen career. Just because you're not an entrepreneur or a business owner doesn't mean you can't be wealthy. You just have to choose a career that will provide a reasonably decent income, and live in a way that is conducive to building wealth. Find a career that you enjoy, work hard at it, and live frugally – and you can build a large net worth.
These 7 attributes of high net worth individuals really expose the framework for living a life based on sound financial principles. The attributes prove that it is possible to live well on much less than you make, and have plenty left over to save, invest and give. It can even be done by individuals who don't make a lot of money, as long as they are disciplined.
The attributes speak to the power of educating yourself and your children about money, and practicing sound money management through the use of budgets and financial plans. They show that displaying high social status often means that you won't be financially secure. (That's funny in a way, isn't it?). The attributes show how money is a tool to be used, and should not be an end in itself. Those who understand that are often happier, and in the long run, wealthier.
What do you think of these 7 attributes of high net worth individuals? Do you find that they make sense to you, and are you practicing the things that they reveal? Are there areas where your values aren't lining up with those of these high net worth individuals? Let us know what you think in the comments!