A writer for Business Insider named Thomas C. Corley has spent a few years studying the habits of millionaires (* in the wild, presumably). Over a nearly four-year period, he interviewed 233 wealthy individuals, asking each rich person 144 questions. What he found is that there were three predominant paths rich people pursued in order to accumulate their wealth:
1. The ‘Saver-Investors’. These rich people all had zero debt, and the passive income generated by their invested savings was enough to meet or exceed their standard of living. They all had five things in common:
– They had a low standard of living and
– They typically made a modest income and
– Their modest income exceeded their low standard of living and
– They saved 20% or more of their modest income for many years and
– They consistently and prudently invested their savings for many years.
It took the Savers about 32 years to accumulate an average wealth of $3.4 million.
2. The ‘Virtuosos’. These rich people were virtuosos in their career, industry, or profession. They were among the best at what they did. They either worked for large, publicly-held corporations, in which a significant portion of their compensation was stock-based compensation or they were entrepreneurs/small business owners with enterprises that were highly profitable. It took the virtuosos about 20 years to accumulate an average wealth of $4 million.
3. The ‘Dreamers’, by far the wealthiest group in the study. These were individuals who pursued some big dream and were able to turn that dream into a reality which provided them with an enormous amount of income, profit, or gain, and they accumulated an average of $7.4 million in about twelve years.
Corley’s advice: If you want to be rich, the only important thing is to pick one path that works for you and stick with it for many years. The one common denominator all levels of wealth shared was time – it took many years to accumulate their wealth.