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Lessons From the Rich

Eight surprising tips from America's wealthy

Money Lessons From the Rich - work hard and long hours


Forget the get-rich schemes. Success comes through hard work and long hours.

1. If you want more money, get to work

The Proof: Millionaires put in some of the longest hours of any economic group in America. In one survey, 86 percent of wealthy workers said they log more than 50 hours a week. One reason for their dedication: About 70 percent own their own business. Only 10 percent inherited their wealth.

The Takeaway: Forget about lottery tickets or slot machines. The one reliable path to wealth is through hard work. So launch that side business, take that second job, volunteer for overtime hours or go for that promotion.

2. Be prepared for retirement

The Proof: Why save for the future if you're rich, right? Wrong. America's top earners channel almost 40 percent of their income into savings. They understand they will need lots of cash for a long retirement.

The Takeaway: A general rule of thumb is to set aside 10 to 15 percent of your income for retirement. If you haven't done that up to now, shoot for even more.

3. It pays to own, not rent

The Proof: Nearly 90 percent of Americans with annual household incomes above $120,000 own a home. The financial benefits: You build equity, get tax breaks and can make a profit when you sell.

The Takeaway: If you plan to stay put for five years or more, it makes sense to own your home.

4. Invest in your children

The Proof: The wealthiest spend big on their kids' education as well as "enrichment activities"—camps, music lessons, sports. The outcome: Family income is now a top predictor of a child's college success.

The Takeaway: Spend more on the people you love than on the stuff you like. It's not only moral but practical, since successful children don't require financial help.

5. Good health saves money

The Proof: Top-dollar doctors; good medical insurance; fresh, high-quality food; and a commitment to fitness all translate into a healthier, longer life. The rich know that and so they invest in all these things.

The Takeaway: Spend a little extra on the foods, pastimes and tools you need to stay healthy. If you can spend less on health care, you'll have more money in your pocket.

6. Spend time (and reasonable cash) on being happy

The Proof: Wealthy Americans go on six vacations a year. But they aren't extravagant: 77 percent fly economy.

The Takeaway: If the wealthy can find six times a year to get away, so can you, even if it's just jumping in the car and visiting an old friend for a weekend.

7. Just because you can doesn't mean you should

The Proof: What vehicle is most popular among the affluent? Surprise: a Ford pickup truck. Likewise, wealthy consumers routinely shop at Amazon, Walmart and Target. Yes, the rich do spend sensibly.

The Takeaway: Frugality isn't a punishment; it's a positive, commonsense approach to life. So focus on value and quality, not prestige or appearances.

8. You can afford to be generous

The Proof: The affluent are giving more to charity than ever before. One indicator: In 2014 there were 86,000 grant-giving private foundations in the U.S.

The Takeaway: Make a difference in other people's lives. Even small acts of generosity can make you feel rich in spirit.

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