William Butler Yeats
Today marks the day I really connected with a remarkable woman in my life as an adult: my step mother. My step mother, though I prefer addressing her as my mum, has been in my life since the age of seven and she, for me represents what I call a wealthy person.
It is not uncommon to automatically think of the likes of Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson and all the sports and entertainment personalities when one mentions wealth and I bet that’s what comes to mind when I cite my mother as a wealthy woman.
However, what makes my mother a wealthy person is not the abundance of resources, money or valuable possessions at her disposal (which is the definition of wealth) but her ability, conscious effort or discipline that enables her to live well within her means and preserve some of those resources for future generations.
As such, if wealth, for me, is the sustainability of one’s resources through self-discipline in a world full of temptations like holidays on credit cards, for example, I would like to expand on the key habits of the wealthy (based on my mother).
Before I dive in, it is also worth highlighting that whilst I am convinced there are tons of resources online thanks to Google on “The habits of the Wealthy” and that most of us know what needs to be done to become “wealthy”, this article is merely a reminder or perhaps a more realistic guideline on how to “become wealthy” or preserve our resources for, what really is the basis to accumulating wealth over generations.
Unquestionable work ethics
The only way of acquiring possessions is by working. Through my journey, I have met many people just willing to do the bare minimum in their jobs for their salaries but delivering a hard work ethic goes further than just the salaries. When you are willing to go the extra mile you often garner a good reputation which opens the doors to many other opportunities. So with more opportunities come more resources and thus wealth. Hardworking doesn’t involve killing oneself in the process, which takes us to the next habit of wealthy people.
Taking care of their soul, bodies, and minds, maintaining relationships.
My mother reads a lot, takes a lot of classes at her local gym and likes having some quiet time alone in her conservatory (which I call meditating). She knows when to stop working and taking time out; she knows that working smart is better than working hard.
She also loves meeting her very eclectic friends and still keeps in touch with her friends from high school despite nearing 60 and loves traveling on the cheap. She is sociable and the benefits of such attribute is that you are kept abreast of information your peers might have but not readily available without networking.
This could be in the form of ventures, job opportunities, auction deals, travel deals or even hand me down items for a new house or flat you have just moved into. Wealthy people are good at knitting relationships as it is really hard doing it all alone and preserve in order to accumulate wealth for the children and grandchildren.
[pullquote]She knows when to stop working and taking time out; she knows that working smart is better than working hard.[/pullquote]
Resisting Instant Gratification
I am guilty of everything. I am about to list below regarding instant gratification, yet also fortunate because I’ve made these mistakes in my 20s.
Impulsive purchases are “wealth killers,” especially when made on credit cards one has no intention of clearing at the end of the transactions period. Whilst credit cards can be convenient they can lead to debts if not properly managed.
As such, it is crucial to thoroughly budget frequently and to stick to that budget which of course requires a conscious effort to battle impulsiveness. For example, it is arguably better to save up to buy things outright rather than buying now and paying later.
Another way of resisting instant gratification is to focus on what’s really needed for that particular moment as opposed to what we want or wish for. I have watched my mother countless of times shopping in Aldi, Lidl and B&M despite her spotless credit score (which of course implies amazing credit card offers through the post to her).
My mother saves for the future as opposed to making trips to the Maldives which she can certainly afford; she shops in Aldi and Lidl as opposed to Waitrose. She doesn’t wear designer clothes as she loves charity shops. In short, she lives modestly and doesn’t see her credit cards as an extension of her salary and is an avid budgeter.
Other ways of delaying gratification are to invest in our education, buying policies for our children, contributing more to pension pots instead of wasting money on fashion newest trends and flashy top of the range cars.
One mistake I certainly am still living the consequences of is not staying home longer to save on rent in order to get a mortgage. As such, I would recommend enduring parents and negotiating with them in order to save a deposit for a mortgage in early adulthood.
Wealthy people curtail their emotions so are strikingly the most rational people.
This one has been the hardest one for me but I am surely learning to curtail those emotions. I was made redundant in October 2013 following a government funding cut. I was given a one month notice to find another job but my morale was not great as soon as the news was made clear to me so, I left the job although I could have well benefited from another month’s salary.
Wealthy people think rationally and that particular example denotes of an emotionally charged decision making.
In short, they know when to keep their mouths shut or walk away.
To recap, being wealthy is about being able to manage the resources available to one through self-discipline so the next generation doesn’t start off where we did.