Have you always wanted to be rich?! I have! It’s fun to get caught up in how we would spend our millions if we ever hit the Powerball! Now, in my mid-to-late 20’s…ugh, fine…30’s, I finally realize how rich I truly am and it has nothing to do with money.
I still have big dreams, many of them center around being financially independent but we still have quite some time before we achieve financial freedom! We recently paid off our personal debt (except for our mortgage) and those 20 months we worked to pay off $54,500 in debt were difficult, painful, and wonderful all at the same time.
Money Habits of Wealthy People
Our journey started when we hit “rock bottom” and decided to take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at the beginning of this year. I’m a big reader and in addition to reading Dave’s books, I’ve read a few other personal finance books and many of them offered insightful information on how the wealthy live.
We, as a society, are enamored with the lifestyles of the wealthy… in fact, watching the “Real Housewives” is one of my favorite guilty pleasures (don’t judge)! But most wealthy people don’t live lavishly as you see on TV! Many are actually quite frugal and live below their means.
I wasn’t born into wealth and I’ll never win the lottery or have a huge inheritance, so if I want to be wealthy someday I figure the best way to get there is by modeling the same behavior and habits as the wealthy do.
Here are seven habits that help people get wealthy and stay wealthy…some of them might really surprise you.
Drive Used Cars
Until my current vehicle, I had always leased a car. Great warranty, no fear of breaking down in the middle of winter with my kids in the car, plus I get bored easily so a new car every few years was right up my alley. Sounds good, right? Wrong.
According to Consumer Reports, (and Dave Ramsey, of course) leasing a car is actually the most expensive way to operate a vehicle. I was shocked to learn that many millionaires actually purchase gently used cars instead of driving them off the lot brand new and taking such a large hit on the depreciation. Makes a lot of sense when you think about it that way.
Wealthy People Don’t Have Debt
This might be the biggest takeaway in this whole list! Now I might be a tad partial since I write a lot about paying off debt, but one of the biggest barriers to wealth is DEBT!
Wealth equals freedom, but when you have debt, you are not free! When you have debt, your money is not your own. A quote you will hear often in Financial Peace University is “the borrower is slave to the lender”.
Think about what that really means…
We are slaves to our mortgage companies until we own our home outright, same with our car loans, and the worst culprit of all: the credit card companies.
People don’t become wealthy by paying hundreds of dollars of credit card interest every month. People become wealthy by living debt-free, paying in cash, and only purchasing what they can afford.
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Wealthy People Don’t Buy Expensive Homes
Most homes actually appreciate in value, unlike the vehicles in number 1; however, many wealthy people do not purchase a mansion as I’d always assumed.
Billionaire Warren Buffett, for example, still lives in the same house he purchased for only $31,500 in 1958. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very nice home, now worth over $600,000 but with a net worth estimated around 80 billion dollars, clearly, he could afford to live in something much more elaborate.
Not all wealthy people want to spend a lot of money on their homes. Many are quite happy living in a comfortable house equal to a small amount of their net worth leaving plenty of money left over.
Wealthy People Invest Consistently
Many of you are probably already investing in some way. Perhaps your employer offers a 401K or a pension plan that you’ve been participating in and if so, that’s great.
See, many of us invest, but often stop when “life happens”. Maybe your transmission goes or you switch careers so you take a break…but the wealthy invest consistently. They pay themselves first, always.
Consistency is key. If you’ve never heard of a magical concept called Compound Interest, do yourself a favor and Google it…it’s pretty amazing.
Compound interest can make you wealthy. But every month, year, or decade you’re not investing you’re literally losing money!.
The wealthy invest consistently and make their money work for them!
Wealthy People Have a Passive Income Stream
Wealthy people often get that way because they’ve figured out a way to earn a passive income. This means they make money even when not actively working; therefore it’s considered passive income.
This is important because we have a fixed amount of time each day, the same 24 hours as everyone else. Even if you’re working at a regular job for 16 hours a day, you can only earn a finite amount of money because you only have a finite amount of time to work.
Wealthy people are able to find a way to stop trading their time for money
Finding a passive income stream will allow your money to work for you even when you’re not working for it….so essentially you can earn money while you’re sleeping. How cool is that?
Wealthy People Live on a Budget
If you’re currently trying to get out of debt or save up for a large purchase you are likely on a budget.
Budgeting gets a bad rep. The “B” word makes people cringe, but wealthy people know that having a budget keeps you in control of your money.
Some wealthy people still adhere to a strict budget while some use a much looser form, but the basic principle is the same.
Knowing where every dollar is going and having a good sense of how you’re spending will lead you to be more intentional and less impulsive with your money.
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Wealthy People Give Generously
Dave Ramsey’s 7th Baby Step is “Build Wealth and Give”. Many wealthy people are charitable and give generously.
Having a scarcity mindset leads people to think that they have to “hold on” to the money they make or they will lose it. Most wealthy people know there is always more money to be made.
There are many theories about giving. Maybe you believe in tithing or that good begets good. Perhaps you think that once you have more you can give more?
According to Dave Ramsey “giving more moves you to become less selfish, and less selfish people have more of a tendency to prosper in wealth”.
There are many more habits of wealthy people outside of this list. These are the few that really stuck with me personally and I intend to model.
While you, and I, for that matter, might be far from wealthy now, making new positive habits and leaving behind those behaviors which do not serve you will get you started on the right path towards financial freedom!