The #1 Source of Your Habits


Tom Corley boats - cropWhy is it so hard for those raised in poverty to become successful and wealthy?

One of the fancy terms economists like to toss around to describe this phenomenon is inter-generational poverty.

A few other related terms are low economic mobility, the wealth gap and income inequality.

They all have different meanings inside the minds of those economists but to ordinary folk, they all mean pretty much the same thing – if you were poor as a child you’ll probably be poor as an adult.

Education and expanded government initiatives were supposed to be the great emancipators of the poor and huddled masses. According to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, since the Johnson Administration, almost $15 trillion has been spent in an attempt by government to lift people out of poverty.

Yet poverty, as a percentage of the population, has changed very little. 

Despite the fact that millions more today are offered government-funded educational opportunities, government assistance and numerous other anti-poverty program benefits, not much has changed.

Clearly, government anti-poverty programs do not work and are, in fact, having the opposite effect, creating a dependent and entitlement mindset that passes from one generation to the next.

Something else must be causing poverty and a growing inequality between the haves and the have nots. But what?

Poor Parenting.

We have a parenting gap that is responsible for the wealth gap, the income gap, the economic mobility problem and never ending poverty.

How do I know?

My research tells me so.

I spent five years studying the daily habits of 361 rich and poor people. I asked each person 144 questions. I then analyzed their responses and discovered over 300 differences between the habits of the rich and the habits of the poor.

So, you might say, I know a little bit about the habits that make you rich, poor or keep you stuck in the middle-class.

When I finished my research, I identified twelve sources where individuals picked up their habits in life. The #1 source of habits are our parents.

Many adult habits, I found, are forged in childhood. You pick up habits at home.

Kids watch what their parents do and then emulated them, good or bad.

The self-made millionaires and poor people in my study picked up habits from their parents that unknowingly set them on the path to wealth or poverty.

Don’t believe me?

A recent study by Brown University, in which nearly 50,000 families were surveyed, concluded that habits in children are unlikely to vary after age 9 Study Finds Habits in Children Take Root by Age 9 | Psychology Today

While there is not much you can do about the habits you pick up from your parents as kids, there is a great deal you can do as adults.

You can choose which habits you adopt or cast aside by changing who you associate with.

Associating with the right people dramatically alters your habits. By right people, I am referring to success-minded individuals – upbeat, positive, enthusiastic, optimistic, goal-oriented people.

These individuals represent between 5-10% of the population, so you have to make an effort to find them.

Here’s a little secret – they can be found running non-profits, charitable groups, business groups, or mentor groups (Boys and Girls Club, Boys and Girl Scouts, iMentor etc.). You can also find them at large, successful companies and in trade organizations.

Your lifelong objective should be to associate with those who possess certain habits that are essential to success in life.

What are those habits?

If you email me, I’ll send you my Rich Habits Summary. Otherwise, I post all of my research on my website (, or you can buy my books.

Why are habits so important?

What you do every day matters.

Those who succeed in life, consistently avoid bad habits and consistently follow good habits.

Those who struggle financially in life consistently avoid good habits and consistently follow bad habits.

My mission is to share my unique research in order to help others realize their dreams and achieve their goals. If you find value in these articles, please share them with your inner circle and encourage them to Subscribe. Thank You!

Be Sociable, Share!
Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
Email Tom
| Download Media Kit


  1. Please send me your Rich Habits Summary. ….and Thank You for all that you do!!!!

  2. I subscribe to your newletter and bought your Rich Hanits book. Could you send me your Rich Habits summary please?

  3. TOPE AMADI says:

    I’m grateful for this article Tom.
    Thank you.
    Please send me your Rich Habits Summary.

  4. Could I please get a copy of your Rich Habits Summary?
    Thank you for all your efforts to make people’s lives better.

Speak Your Mind