The Top 6 Habits of the Rich
Rich dad said, “There are habits that make you rich, and habits that make you poor. Most poor people are poor because they have poor habits. If you want to be rich, all you have to do is train yourself to have rich habits.”
If you are serious about becoming rich, you must do the following things over and over again, from now until forever, for the rest of your life.
Habit #1: Hire a Bookkeeper and Get to Know Your Numbers
Before your banker will lend you the million dollars, your banker will want to know that you are trustworthy with the money. One of the ways the banker will feel comfortable lending you that much money is if you have clean, professional financial records in the form of a financial statement.
Most people cannot qualify for large loans because they have poor records. Many people pay higher than necessary interest rates simply because they have poor financial records. In Rich Dad Poor Dad, I wrote about the importance of financial literacy. The basis of financial literacy is a financial statement. That is what your banker will want to see if he or she is to lend you substantial amounts of money.
Even if you do not have a business, your personal life is a business, and all real businesses have bookkeepers. That is why I strongly recommend you hire a bookkeeper and keep a bookkeeper for life. By having a bookkeeper keep your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities in line, you begin to keep professional records.
I also strongly recommend you sit down with your bookkeeper and go over your numbers every month. Repetition is how we learn, and by repeatedly going over your monthly numbers, not only do you establish a good habit, you gain more insights into your spending patterns, you can make corrections earlier, and you ultimately take control over your financial life.
Habit #2: Create a Winning Team
In Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing, I wrote that the B quadrant and I quadrant were team sports. One of the reasons people from the E and S quadrants occasionally have trouble transitioning is because they are not used to having a team assisting them with their financial plans and financial decisions.
As a child, I noticed that my poor dad shouldered the financial problems all by himself. He sat quietly at dinner if he was troubled, argued with my mom if he was frustrated about money, and sat alone late at night trying to make ends meet. There were many times I came home to find my mom crying because she knew that we were in financial trouble, and she had no one to talk to. When it came to money, my dad was the man of the house, and he never discussed his financial challenges with anyone.
My rich dad, on the other hand, would sit around a table in his restaurant, surrounded by his team, and openly discuss his financial problems. Rich dad said, “Everyone has financial problems. The rich, the poor, businesses, governments, and churches all have money problems. What determines if someone is to be rich or poor is simply how well he or she handles those problems. Poor people are poor simply because they handle their money problems poorly.”
That is why rich dad discussed his money problems openly with his financial team. He said, “No one person can know everything. If you want to win the game of money, you want the best and smartest people on your team.”
Habit #3: Constantly Expand Your Context and Your Content
We now live in the Information Age, not in the Industrial Age. In the Information Age, your greatest asset is not your stocks, bonds, mutual funds, businesses, or real estate. Your greatest asset is the information in your head and the age of your information. Too many people are falling behind because the information in their head is ancient history, or they cling to answers that were right yesterday but wrong today. If you want to retire young and retire rich, you will need to keep up with a world of rapidly changing information.
We are moving into an era of unprecedented opportunity—the Age of the Entrepreneur. If all you want is a bigger paycheck, you may miss this era while others become super-rich. If you do not want to miss this era, I suggest you make it a habit of being ahead of the pack and seeing the future the pack cannot see.
Habit #4: Keep Growing Up
During the 2008 financial crisis, a friend of mine complained that he had lost several million dollars in the stock market. At the time, he was new at investing, had borrowed money to buy stocks, and had lost almost everything, including his house, after the market crashed. He kept complaining loudly, and I finally had enough. I said, “Grow up. You’re a big boy now. What made you think that the stock market would always go up?”
My comment did not stop him. He kept on saying, “Why didn’t the Fed lower interest rates earlier? Why did they have to raise them? It’s their fault and my stockbroker’s fault that I have lost everything. How will I pay back all that money? Why doesn’t the federal government do something about the losses on the stock market?”
As I walked away, I repeated what I said earlier: “Grow up.”
Rich dad often said, “People get older, but they do not necessarily grow up. Many people run from mom and dad’s shelter to the shelter of a company or the government. Many expect someone else to take care of them, or be responsible for their lack of wisdom and common sense. That is why they seek job security or government sanctuaries. Too many people spend their lives looking for guarantees and spend all their lives avoiding risk, avoiding growing up, and always looking for a surrogate parent to take care of them.”
One of the ways the world is changing is that there is not much job security and financial security anymore. Companies are pushing people out into the cold, cruel world and saying to them, “Don’t expect us to take care of you once you stop working for us.” They are also saying, “You’d better count on the stock market to take care of you once you stop working.”
Yet in the real cold, harsh world, to expect the stock market to always go up is childish fantasy and as silly as expecting the tooth fairy to pay for your dental bill. Growing up means being willing to be more and more responsible for yourself, your actions, your continuing education, and your maturity.
Habit #5: Be Willing to Fail More
One of the biggest differences between my rich dad and my poor dad was that my poor dad was unwilling to fail. He thought making mistakes was a sign of failure. After all, he was a teacher. My poor dad also thought that in life there was only one right answer.
My rich dad constantly ventured into areas that he knew nothing about. Rich dad believed in dreaming big, trying new things, and making small mistakes. He said to me at the end of his life, “Your dad spent his life pretending he knew all the right answers and avoiding mistakes. That is why at the end of his life, he began to make big mistakes.” Rich dad also said, “One of the great things about being willing to try new things and make mistakes is that making mistakes keeps you humble. Humble people learn more than arrogant people.”
Rich dad was also willing to be wrong. If he made a mistake, he was always ready to apologize. He did not try to be right all the time. He would say, “In school, there is only one right answer. In real life, there is more than one right answer. If someone has a better right answer than you, take it. Then you have two right answers.” He would also say, “People who have only one right answer are very often three things. One, they are usually argumentative or defensive. Two, they are often very boring people. And three, they often become obsolete because they fail to notice that their once-right answer is now wrong.”
So rich dad’s advice was, “Live a little. Do something daring and a little risky every day. Even if you do not become rich, this habit will keep your life exciting and keep you younger for years longer.”
Habit #6: Listen to Yourself
The last and most important habit for anyone who wants to become rich is to listen to yourself. Rich dad often said, “The most powerful force I have is what I say to myself and what I believe.”
This habit is another way of expressing your reality or your context. What rich dad meant by “your most powerful force” goes back to the Biblical concept that your words become flesh. In other words, pay close attention to what you are saying to yourself because what you are saying to yourself is what you are becoming every day.
This process looks like this:
- Notice thoughts you don’t want. Change to thoughts about things you want.
- Notice feelings you don’t want. Change to feelings you want.
- Take action, and keep going, correcting if necessary, until you get what you want—rather than what you don’t want.
If you can make these simple habits your lifelong habits, the action steps in the following chapters will be easy for you and may make you richer than your wildest dreams. As rich dad said, “The story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ is more than a fairy tale. It is a story filled with truths. If you want to build a house of bricks you need good habits. Good habits are the bricks of the rich.”
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily