Sure, money isn’t everything. But as Woody Allen said, “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.”
Think of money simply as a tool, one that can lead to a more fulfilled, healthier…even longer life. With that view of money, here are 15 ways to live like a rich person (and perhaps become one too).
1. Make more money to live longer. People making more than $100,000 will live about one decade longer than their less well-off neighbors. If just living longer isn’t incentive enough to make more money, think of all the things you can do with an extra ten years of life…write the Great American Novel (Hemingway wrote Old Man and the Sea in less than a year), learn to play the piano (about three years), get a Ph.D. (about four years), and with the time left you can travel around the world by bicycle (about two years). Or you could just make a lot more money.
A. Choose the right career…one you are passionate about doing (and won’t be eliminated by technology in the future).
B. Engage in ongoing education to keep your skills sharp.
C. Live beneath your means. Most rich people never spend more than they make.
D. Save early and benefit from the magic of compound interest.
2. Stay married (to one person). Marriage is important to being rich. Despite the popular misconception, most wealthy people marry one person for life. Divorce is often costly and disruptive to wealth creation. The more money you make, the more likely you’ll have a happy marriage. 57% of divorced couples said that fights about money contributed to the failure of their marriage, according to a 2010 Citibank study.
A. Choose a spouse wisely. Don’t rush into marriage…use friends and family (#1 way to meet a future mate) and social media (#2 way) such as eHarmony and Match.com to search for compatible potential mates. Sheryl Sandburg, CEO of Facebook, says the choice of a spouse is the most important decision in life.
B. Control anger issues…a big reason why couples split.
C. Be kind and thoughtful. It’s the little gestures of kindness and helping with household tasks that support a relationship.
3. Read. 88% of rich people read every day (a minimum of 30 minutes). They read books that will teach them something or enhance their career. Only 2% of the un-rich read daily. When they do read, it’s usually magazines or fiction novels.
A. Get to know your local library.
B. Download ebooks to your iPad, ereader, or smartphone…then use downtime productively (like waiting at the DMV, not that rich people do this).
C. Read the publications that service the industry you work in to stay up-to-date on the latest developments.
4. Stay fit. 3 in 4 wealthy people exercise aerobically a minimum of four times a week. Fewer than1 in 4 poor people do. 7 in 10 wealthy people eat less than 300 calories a day from junk food while 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories daily. Fit people have more energy, are sick less often, and achieve more as a result.
A. Take a walk every day. Buy a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day minimum. Or purchase a Fitbit Pro to track your overall fitness.
B. Join a health club…or exercise at home using dumbbells or an exercise video (e.g. Tony Horton’s PX90 or Jillian Michaels) at least three times a week for 20 minutes or more.
C. Eat an organic, non-GMO, real food diet…perhaps the most important ingredient to a long, healthy life. If forced to choose, 9 of 10 health experts say nutrition is more important than exercise to a long, healthy life.
5. Don’t watch TV…67% of rich people watch less than an hour a day. Most people watch TV more than three hours daily. Only 6% of wealthy people watch “reality” TV, compared with 78% of the poor (how does Honey Boo Boo or Duck Dynasty add to your life?). One study found that most people can’t name three things they’ve ever watched on TV that has improved their life substantially.
A. Use the 20+ hours each week you save by not watching TV (equal to 120 8-hour work days) to improve yourself…get incredibly fit, learn a language, be a superstar at your career, or be there for you family.
B. Cut the cable cord. Stream films and quality programming to your smart TV via Hulu or Netflix and save hundreds of dollars a year.
C. Go on a popular media “diet.” Try living for a month without the news, entertainment magazines, Facebook, or other media time sucks. Observe how your optimism improves, you feel in more control of your life, and how much you’re able to get done (including more sleep).
6. Teach your children success habits. 74% of rich people teach their children success habits daily, while only 4% of the poor do (most likely because they have none to teach).63% of rich people make sure their kids read 2 or more non-fiction books a month. Only 3% of poor people do this with their children.
A. Make sure your child is always reading a book…or that you read one with her.
B. Get a library card for your child.
C. Expose your child to the things that rich people do to enrich the lives of their children…regular exercise, good nutrition, quality life-long education, travel, visits to museums.
7. Get up three hours earlier. Most wealthy, successful people are early risers…as much as three hours earlier than the average person. As Ben Franklin famously said, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
A. Go to bed earlier. This one piece of advice can change your life.
B. Invest in good bedding, especially your mattress. Keep your bedroom cool (68 degrees) and dark. Read or listen to music before retiring. Keep lights low, don’t watch TV or use electronic devices an hour before bedtime.
C. Get one important thing done before you leave for work: exercise, plan the day, or meditate.
8. Develop grit. According to the American Psychological Association, grit is the single most important factor in success…the ability to persevere (despite obstacles) to reach a goal.
A. Be optimistic. Look for solutions, not problems. Stay upbeat despite setbacks.
B. Work on things you truly value and are passionate about achieving.
C. Practice self-control. Resist momentary distractions like watching TV or surfing the internet. Stay focused. Manage your time productively. Persist over the long run to reach your goal. Develop a good work ethic. Celebrate success.
9. Never stop learning. 86% of successful, wealthy people believe in life-long education vs just 26% of the poor. 63% of wealthy people listen to audiobooks during their commute…just 23% of the non-rich do. Education is the key differentiating factor between people who are successful and those who are not.
A. Develop a structured learning program for life.
B. Research the many free or inexpensive online educational opportunities: Udemy.com, Udacity.com, edx.org, ed2go.com, and openculture.com.
C. Develop a Plan B career education plan in order to have something to fall back on in the event your primary career is disrupted…or to transition into after retirement.
10. Develop emotional intelligence. Research shows that people with emotional intelligence make more money than their peers, despite education or IQ.
A. Be mindful and self-aware. When you know who you are, including your strengths and weaknesses, you can develop self-confidence. Self-confident people make more money.
B. Warren Buffet says the difference between the successful and the super-successful is learning to say “no” to anything that doesn’t move you in the direction of your goals in life.
C. Be focused. Learn to shut out distractions until the job is completed successfully.
D. Learn control. Don’t allow your emotions to rule your life.
Wealth guru Dave Ramsey said it best, “If you are broke or poor in the U.S. or a first-world economy, the only variable you can personally control is YOU.”
For more information about how to live a rich, successful life, pick up a copy of A Plan for Life: The 21st Century Guide to Health, Wealth, Career, Education, Love, Place…and YOU! at Amazon.com.