Wondering where and what that ‘somewhere’ is? What does it take to go from a regular 9 to 5 Joe to a high-flying member of the millionaires club?
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Thomas Corley, author of ‘Change Your Habits, Change Your Life,’ and a handful of other researchers and authors have studied millionaires for years.
Although the study methodology and participants differ, all of them agree that self-made millionaires have certain habits that proved crucial to shaping who they are now.
7 Millionaires and the Habits that Define Them
1. They’re Super Savers
More than 10M households in the US have a net worth of 1 million (excluding property). But many of them don’t live lavish lifestyles.
Not all self-made millionaires had a six-figure salary from the get go, but a majority of them know the value of saving money:
- 56% save regularly and started early
- 38% control their budget and spending
- Average age to start investing is 25
- Average age they started working is 15
Corley says saving 20% of your salary and living on the remaining 80% is a ‘rich habit.’
Grant of Millennial Money is one of these super-saver Millionaires.
After getting a $50,000 job as a digital marketer, he started a side gig developing websites. Grant became a millionaire 5 years after starting his digital agency and consulting business.
He saved aggressively—from 15% of his earnings during his initial years, up to 40% when his business started growing.
Think you can’t afford to save 40% of your salary? Don’t worry.
An analysis of 401K savers with less than $150,000 in annual income but had more than $1 million in their retirement account shows that their average savings rate is just 14%.
2. Read and Learn Regularly
Out of the 177 millionaires Corley studied for his book:
- 83% value education
- 63% listen to audio books during commute
In fact, the rich value education so much, that:
- Only 11% read for entertainment
- 88% spend 30 minutes or more a day on self-improvement reading
Reading keeps their minds sharp, which in turn helps them earn boatloads of money while changing the world.
Popular Millionaire Bookworms:
- Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk read as much as two books a day growing up
- Bill Gates reads one book a week, or about 50 books a year
But they don’t just read any book.
Of course, millionaires are busy people with limited time, so they’re picky about the books they read. Corley found out they mostly read 3 types of books:
- Personal development
- Biographies of successful people
3. They Exercise
Exercise isn’t just good for your body. It’s good for your wallet, too.
Corley reports that 76% of millionaires exercise 30+ minutes a day.
It doesn’t matter how busy or hectic their schedules are. These millionaires credit exercise in helping them achieve greatness:
- Barack Obama’s autobiography reveals he was an underachiever and a casual drug user before he started running 5 kilometers 6 days a week.
- Starwood Hotels CEO Frits van Paaschen runs 10 miles a day starting 6 AM, and a habit he credits for his ability to set higher goals and break barriers.
Exercise is also scientifically proven to:
- Make you smarter: A study of over 1 million Swedes show that young adults who exercise increased their IQ.
- Improve your memory: 35 minutes of interval exercise can improve your long term memory.
- Increase your willpower: A meta-study shows that exercise improves self-control or willpower because it improves blood flow to the frontal part of the brain.
4. They’re Early Birds
Self-made millionaires wake up at the crack of dawn to seize the day.
Because 95% of millionaires value hard work, it’s also not surprising that:
- 50% of self-made millionaires Corley interviewed woke up 3 hours before their day officially began
- Early birds are better positioned for success because they’re proactive and more likely to have long term goals, according to a study of 367 college students
Waking up early gives them enough time to tackle the big items in their to-do list, before their other responsibilities kick-in. Corley says, this gives them confidence that they’re in control of their life.
What do the rich and powerful do so early in the morning?
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, wakes up at 3:45 AM to get a head start with his inbox, before hitting the gym and having coffee to answer more emails.
Disney CEO Robert Iger wakes up at 4:30 AM to enjoy some alone time, which includes a combination of TV, reading, exercising, and replying to emails.
5. They Journal
Journaling isn’t just therapeutic, it also organizes your thoughts and makes you more resilient to failure, two important benefits for anyone hoping to build a business or climb the corporate ladder.
Writing down your thoughts is scientifically proven to:
- Reduce absenteeism from work
- Get you fired after a job loss
- Improve working memory
- Make you healthier
Tim Ferriss, author of renowned book 4-Hour Workweek and Angel Investor to top Silicon Valley Unicorns is an avid journaler.
- Net worth: $100+ million
- Journaling practice: 5 minutes of free form writing or ‘Morning Pages’
- Tim doesn’t journal to be productive, he just writes to put his thoughts on paper, so he doesn’t end up thinking about them all day.
6. They Meditate
Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Angelina Jolie have one more thing in common besides their wealth and influence—they’re all frequent meditators.
Several studies show that meditation:
- Improves decision making in as little as 20 minutes a day for 5 days
- 10 days doing different yoga and mindfulness practices can enhance spatial memory by 43%
- Reduce fatigue and anxiety, while increasing attention span in just 4 days of meditation training
Meditation helps top performers from all walks of life:
- Ray Dalio, billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates hedge fund firm credits meditation as the ‘biggest ingredient’ to his success
- NBA superstars Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal were all trained by the mindful meditation Teacher, George Mumford.
7. They network
No man is an island, especially if your goal is to make millions.
When you’re building a business, your ability to forge a connection is what will bring you investors and customers. The same goes when you’re climbing the corporate ladder, you’ll need the support of your boss and colleagues if you want to move up.
Millionaires know the importance of developing long-term relationships, so much so that 79% of them spend 5+ hours a month building their network.
Corley’s study of self-made millionaires show:
- 88% believe relationships are critical to financial success
- 93% owe their success to having a mentor
- 68% confirm the mentoring they received was critical to their success
The Impact of Networking
For billionaires: Richard Branson cites networking as crucial to expanding Virgin group into different industries, including Virgin Galactic.
For employees: Jobvite’s Index shows networking is the best way to get a high-paying job with 55% of referrals hired faster, compared to online applicants.
None of these habits require wealth or an extraordinary degree of intelligence to start. With enough determination, anyone can start adapting these habits and work their way into their first $1 million.