- 1. Junk Food
- 2. Gambling
- 3. Singular Goals
- 4. Exercise
- 5. Audio Books
- 6. To Do List
- 7. Non-Fiction
- 8. Volunteer
- 9. Happy Birthday!
- 10. Write Down Goals
- 11. Read
- 12. Bite Your Tongue
- 13. Network
- 14. TV
- 15. Reality TV
- 16. Wake Early
- 17. Teach Habits
- 18. Opportunities
- 19. Bad Luck
- 20. Always Be Learning
- 21. Love To Read
- The Rich Are Different
- Show Notes
Rich people are different than you and me. How are they different, though? This list of 21 rich habits will teach you how to become rich and put you on the path to wealth.
Dave Ramsey published a list of twenty things the rich do every day.
Most of these things are habits. My take on this is that rich people have good habits. Habits that make them more successful, healthier, and smarter. And those things can help you accumulate wealth. Once you have achieved a certain level of wealth, you can focus on yourself rather than on money.
Discipline seems to be the other thing all of these qualities have in common. It takes more discipline to cook a healthy meal than to order take out. It takes more discipline to save money than to spend it. Let’s take a look at each of the twenty one habits.
1. Junk Food
“70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day.”
If you don’t feed yourself well, you don’t feel well, and you can’t think well. And that makes it hard to have the energy and focus to pursue your goals. Eating well can mean lots of different things, Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian.
Eating poorly is easier to define, and we all know it when we see it. No one thinks a cake is healthier than a carrot.
You can drill down into all sorts of minutia when it comes to healthy eating, but the basics are pretty, well, basic! Eat a lot of vegetables, eat a little fruit. Eat plenty of protein and healthy fats. Eliminate refined carbs and keep the slow-burning carbs to a minimum if you’re trying to lose weight. It’s really no more complicated than that.
“23% of wealthy gamble. 52% of poor people gamble.”
People making less than $13,000 a year spend 9% of their income on lottery tickets. There is a reason the lottery is called the Fool’s Tax. There is nothing wrong with buying the occasional lottery ticket for fun or setting aside a certain amount of money you can afford to lose on a trip to Vegas, but if you’re spending 9% of your income on gambling, you will never be rich.
3. Singular Goals
“80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.”
Wealthy people have a goal. And not just a vague goal but a clearly defined goal and a plan to achieve it. It’s great that you want to quit your job and start your own business, but if you have no plan of action to make that happen, it’s not really a goal. It’s just a daydream.
“76% of wealthy exercise aerobically four days a week. 23% of poor do this.”
Exercising goes hand in hand with eating well. Regular exercise helps to boost mood and energy. It helps control weight, makes you sleep better, and makes sex better. Exercise is especially important for those of us who have sedentary jobs. Sitting all day is terrible for you, and while exercise doesn’t offset it entirely, it would be worse if you were doing no exercise.
Exercise is like diet; there is no one size fits all. The best exercise is the one you will do so find something you enjoy. Walking is very underrated as a form of exercise. Almost anyone can do it, and you don’t need special equipment or a gym membership.
5. Audio Books
“63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% of poor people.”
Okay, this one is sort of weird, so we’ll put our own spin on it. Listening to something like an audiobook or a podcast on your way to work is more beneficial than listening to the wacky antics of the 99.5 Morning Zoo.
Listen to something educational (Listen Money Matters) or something inspirational. The point is to use that time to listen to something that will feed your brain financially rather than listen to morning DJ’s make prank phone calls.
6. To Do List
“81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% of poor.”
Always make a to-do list before you go to bed at night. It helps keep intrusive thoughts out of your head. “I need to remember to cancel my dentist appointment. I need to call the bank about that odd charge on my credit card.” You don’t want to lay in bed thinking about stuff like that. Writing it down gets it out of your mind.
Here is a neat trick that works for me. If I know the following day is going to be a rough one, I write down even tiny things on my list like, “eat breakfast, drop that letter in the post box.” That way, I get to cross them off my list, and it gives me a little boost of feeling accomplished. Sounds silly but try it.
I live in Todoist and attribute it to a huge amount of my organization and productivity. It's simple, extremely flexible and has a ton of power features if you really want to get nerdy.
If you're a fan of Getting Things Done (GTD) and don't want to be held down by an inflexible process than Todoist is the project management tool you've been dreaming of. I could not recommend it more highly.
“63% of wealthy parents make their children read two or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3% of poor.”
I think this goes back to using free time to educate yourself. I prefer non-fiction and always have, but I think there is something to be learned from nearly anything you read, even if it’s just learning a new word. The trick to enjoying non-fiction is to find a subject that you’re really interested in and dive in. Reading non-fiction often becomes a rabbit hole because one book tends to lead to the next. As long as you’re reading something, I’m happy.
“70% of wealthy parents make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month vs. 3% of poor.”
Ramsey doesn’t elaborate on these, so I had to interpret this one too. Volunteering is proven to increase happiness. And it’s happiness that didn’t cost anything. That’s a valuable lesson, that you don’t have to spend money to be happy.
Volunteering is also a good way to make connections that might help you in the future. It can help teach social skills and gives you a sense of purpose. It can also give you perspective. No matter how sad you are, you aren’t as sad as a puppy in a shelter waiting for a forever home. No matter how big your problems are, they will pale in comparison to a little kid in the hospital waiting for a kidney transplant. But you helped the puppy and you helped the little kid by giving your time and that’s something to feel good about.
9. Happy Birthday!
80% of wealthy make Happy Birthday calls vs. 11% of poor.
This one probably has to do with having close social relationships. People who have connections to other people are happier, and when you’re happy, you’re more successful. Remembering birthdays of those close to you is an important way to foster relationships. We’ve all had a friend or loved one forget our birthday, and it hurts.
10. Write Down Goals
“67% of wealthy write down their goals vs. 17% of poor.”
It’s proven that if you write down your goals, you are more likely to achieve them. The act of writing things down helps to keep them in the forefront of our minds. Take it a step further and break down your goals into things you can do today, this week, this month, and this year to reach them. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Writing down each bite makes things more manageable.
If your goal is to save $500 in a month, today you can make coffee at home rather than buying it on the way to the office. For the week, you can bring your lunch to work. For the month, you can become a cord cutter and get rid of cable, research a cheaper phone plan, and sell three items just sitting around your house on eBay. Write down the goals and the steps to get there.
“88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs. 2% of poor.”
The reading thing is getting a little repetitive but the point stands, reading is important. If you want the most bang for your buck, read a book that will teach you something. Maybe you want to learn to be rich or how to Master Mint.
12. Bite Your Tongue
“6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% of poor.”
Sometimes it pays to bite your tongue. Is Boss being a dick? Don’t call your boss a dick. Customer making unreasonable demands? Don’t tell the customer to get bent.
It’s important to pick your battles. Sometimes you just have to eat shit. Have you ever had a friend with a temper who was always getting fired? This is likely the reason. They called the boss a dick and told the customer to get bent.
“79% of wealthy network five hours or more each month vs. 16% of poor.”
Wealthy people network. It’s all about who you know. You never know where that next job with a big pay raise will come from. Go to industry events, go to a Meet Up related to your field. Go to after work happy hour with your colleagues once in a while. Meet as many people as you can and maintain those connections.
“67% of wealthy watch one hour or less of TV every day vs. 23% of poor.”
Watching TV is such a time sink. Doing almost anything else would be more beneficial. You could read a book, make something healthy for dinner, meet a friend for a drink, go for a run, clean out a closet, sit and stare quietly at the wall. All better than watching TV.
I have not watched Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Wire, Game of Thrones, all of those shows that people talk about at whatever the modern equivalent of the water cooler is.
And not because I don’t think they’re good shows or that I might enjoy them. But it’s such an investment to get involved in a quality TV show. If you watched all of those, you would have spent dozens of hours sitting in front of the TV. Just never start watching them and you won’t know what you’re missing.
15. Reality TV
“6% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% of poor.”
I can see why people enjoy the shows I mentioned above. They’re well written and well acted. The same is not true of reality TV. It’s made by stupid people, featuring stupid people, for stupid people. I have no nice way to say this, and frankly, I wouldn’t say it nicely if I could. If you watch this stuff, you’re stupid. Be better.
16. Wake Early
“44% of wealthy wake up three hours before work starts vs. 3% of poor.”
I love getting up early. Before 9:00 am I have read the news, had lemon water and coffee, done 90 minutes of exercise, eaten a healthy breakfast and showered. So by 9:00, all of those essential things are done, and I have many hours ahead of me to work.
At the end of some days, I don’t feel like exercising or cooking anything. So lucky for me, I don’t have to because I’ve already done it.
Those early hours are the quietest for some people too. The family isn’t up yet; there are no co-workers or ringing phones in the office.
Just quiet time you can use to be productive without interruption. Get up a little earlier and claim those hours for yourself. Read, exercise, make a cooked breakfast. Not starting your day a harried mess will greatly improve the rest of it.
17. Teach Habits
“74% of wealthy teach good daily success habits to their children vs. 1% of poor.”
I don’t even think this one means actively teaching your kids good habits. It’s more about children observing your good habits. That might mean your kids see you brush your teeth every morning before work; they see you make a healthy dinner a few nights a week, they see that they can’t have everything they want because sometimes they are told no.
Some kids get extra lucky, and their parents actively teach them good money habits. And the younger, the better. By age seven, children’s attitudes about money are in place. It’s important to model actively good behavior for your kids but go the extra mile and teach them too.
“84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity luck vs. 4% of poor.”
I’m not certain what language that is but what I think it means is that luck is the meeting of opportunity and preparation. It’s one thing to get a lucky break; it’s another to recognize it and be ready to jump on it.
I fell ass backwards into this job, and it was luck. But I was ready when the offer came, and I was able to make the most of it.
19. Bad Luck
“76% of wealthy believe bad habits create detrimental luck vs. 9% of poor.”
Bad habits create bad outcomes. If you have the habit of skipping flossing at the end of the day, you might get gum disease and have to pay for lots of expensive, painful dental work. Bad habits have bad consequences.
Some people don’t believe that, though. When all of their teeth fall out, they rail against the fates, never blaming themselves and their lack of flossing.
20. Always Be Learning
“86% of wealthy believe in lifelong educational self-improvement vs. 5% of poor.”
Some people graduate from high school (barely) and look forward to never having to learn anything again, whoo! No matter what your circumstances, you should never stop learning. There are many ways to learn, not everyone likes to read, fair enough.
Learning doesn’t have to be heavy-duty academic subjects. Learning to salsa is learning too!
21. Love To Read
“86% of wealthy love to read vs. 26% of poor.”
Alright, alright! We get it Dave, jebus! Rich people like to read. Roger that. No need to belabor the damn point.
The Rich Are Different
There you are, the rich habits of rich people. The rich are different from you and me in that they have better habits and more discipline. But both those things are available to all of us. Not a single thing on this list costs one penny.
Junk food is not cheaper than healthy food, it just takes less time to prepare. You don’t have to join a gym to go for a walk. Volunteering is free, so is getting up early. Pick three things from this list this week and start doing them. You’ll be rich in no time.
Dave Ramsey: The list of twenty things.
LMM Community: Join the money revolution.