8 Wealth-Building Strategies of Millionaires


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Forty-one percent of the 177 self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits research study were raised in poor households. Yet, somehow they managed to break out of their poverty as adults.


In my book, Change Your Habits Change Your Life, I shared the many wealth-building strategies/habits these future millionaires adopted, which was critical to their success and building their wealth.

What follows are the top strategies/habits that had the greatest impact on transforming their lives from poor to rich.

#1 They Reduce Their Risk of Failure

One of the downsides of failure, is that it can put you in the poor house. When you grow up poor, you don’t fear poverty as much, because it is something you are familiar with and something you survived. Therefore, failure does not frighten you as much and, in fact, emboldens you to take risks.

But not just any risk. According to my study, the self-made millionaires took something called Calculated Risk.

Calculated Risk requires doing your homework and planning for every potential outcome, good or bad. When it came to taking risks, my self-made millionaires always had an escape hatch, or Plan B. Knowing all of the potential outcomes and having a Plan B, gives you incredible clarity moving forward and helps eliminate the fear of failure.

#2 Desire to Change is Great

Poverty can either beat you down or make you stronger. For the self-made millionaires in my study, it made them stronger. That’s why they were in my study – poverty motivated them to achieve.

Their desire to become successful and rich drove them to transform themselves. This desire to change motivated them to learn what they needed to know in order to succeed. It also forced them to develop and perfect superior skills in order to earn more than their competition.

#3 Superior Work Ethic

A hard work ethic is a prerequisite to success. Those who are raised in poverty, have no choice but to work hard. When you are able to combine a hard work ethic with your dreams and goals, success is inevitable.

#4 They Remove Rose-Colored Lenses

When you grow up poor you see things through a much different lens. You know life can be very hard when you are poor. Things can and do go wrong. You know that because you experienced that growing up in poverty. The experience of poverty allows you to see things as they really are and not allow yourself to be blinded by unrealistic optimism.

Being anchored in reality, allows you to see potential pitfalls ahead of time, which enables you to navigate and pivot around those pitfalls.

#5 Comfortable With Failure and Setbacks

Those who struggle with poverty become familiar with failure and setbacks. Consequently, when things go wrong, as they often do in the pursuit of wealth, those raised in poverty don’t raise the white flag and surrender. Rather, they see failure and setbacks as normal, which allows them to keep moving forward in the pursuit of their dreams and goals.

#6 Accustomed to Sacrifice

Growing up poor means you are unable to possess the things non-poor people take for granted. Poverty forces you to become accustomed to doing without. This actually is a great advantage. The pursuit of wealth always requires sacrifice. Sometimes for many years. If you’re accustomed to sacrifice, it’s less painful and more tolerable.

#7 Frugality is a Habit

The poor have no choice but to be frugal with their spending. They forge the frugality habit at a very young age. And, as you know, habits are hard to break. This frugality habit, therefore, follows the poor into their wealthy adult lives.

#8 They Know How to Wow Those They Do Business With

Unsuccessful people have a tendency to want to “wow” others, so they make promises that often exceed another person’s expectations. They “wow” them at the beginning. That’s backwards. It sets you up to fail when you do not meet expectations.

Successful people make it a habit of changing the other person’s perception of reality. They reduce expectations at the beginning of the promise stage. By reducing expectations this way, they set themselves up for success, making it easier to exceed expectations by over delivering. This allows them to “wow” them at the end.

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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.
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