One of the great pieces of American mythology is that the rich somehow have some special ability that the rest of us don't have. Are they smarter than we are? Are they more clever, or do they just have unbelievable luck?
The truth is that, with one or two notable exceptions, rich people aren't inherently more intelligent than other people. They're also not more clever than the average person. However, there is one thing that separates rich people from other people—the way they think about money.
1. Rich People Think About Money in Terms of the Opportunities it Creates
Quick, what would you do if you got $20,000 with no strings attached? Most people's minds go straight to making big purchases, like putting a down payment on a sports car or taking a vacation to the Bahamas.
Rich people, on the other hand, look at that same money and see the opportunities it can create. Putting that money into a savings account, for instance, will enable that money to start earning interest, essentially making the money earn even more money. You can also invest your money in certificates of deposit (CDs) that have a higher rate of interest or put it in a Roth IRA account for your retirement.
Rich people might also look at their budget and take a look at where their money might have the most impact in their personal finances. They might use the money to pay off a debt or make an extra down payment on their mortgage or auto loan.
While you might want to use the money you get to buy cool things for yourself, think about all the opportunities you have with that money first. Then select the best action you can take to further your financial goals.
2. Rich People Set Financial Goals
Speaking of financial goals, rich people always seem to have a lot of them. Perhaps they're saving up for a summer home in Malibu Beach, or they're investing in a new business opportunity.
Obviously, most people's financial goals are not going to be that grandiose, but you need to have financial goals. Otherwise, how will you be able to tell when you're doing well financially?
If you've never set financial goals before, don't worry. The process isn't that difficult. Just get yourself a pen and paper, sit down by yourself for a few minutes, and think about what you want to accomplish financially.
Maybe you'd like to save money for retirement. Maybe you'd like to buy a new house or a new car. Even something like saving up for an electric guitar can be a financial goal.
Once you have your financial goals in place, you'll be able to budget your funds in order to achieve them.
3. Rich People Understand that Getting Rich is a Process
A lot of people think that getting rich happens overnight, like winning the lottery or getting a check for a million dollars.
Rich people, though, know that getting lots of money doesn't happen suddenly. It happens over time as financial plans succeed and financial goals are met. In other words, getting rich is a process that happens gradually.
4. Rich People Don't Compete With Their Neighbors
Rich people don’t gauge their success by whether or not they have nicer things than their neighbors. People who try to keep up with the proverbial Joneses almost always squander their money on the newest and best things instead of figuring out what would really make them happy.
If you ever get tempted to get something because your neighbor (or friend or coworker) has it, make a note, then set it aside for at least three weeks. That will give you some time to think about whether you actually want that thing, or if you forget about it after a couple of days. If it’s still something you want, set it up as one of your financial goals and see how it fits in your overall financial plans.
5. Rich People Aren't Afraid to Get Help
Nobody likes having to ask for help. It feels as though you have to admit you’ve failed on a fundamental level.
Rich people, though, know they don’t know everything, especially when it comes to money. They seek out experts who know more than they do, get their opinion and come up with a solution that works for them.
Out of all the ways you can adopt a rich person’s point of view, this might be one of the easiest. You can find several articles online that talk about basic financial principles, such as saving, budgeting and investing. You can also visit the library and check out several great books on money, or even download financial podcasts.
While you might not get a billion dollars in your lifetime, that doesn’t mean you can’t build up your net worth and achieve your financial goals. All you have to do is shift the way you think about money.
If you want to get a head start on achieving your financial goals, take the First Alliance Credit Union Good Money Moves quiz to see where you stand financially. Then schedule a meeting with one of our money navigators to see how you can take your finances to the next level.