11/30/2012 10:03 PM ET|
Secrets of self-made millionaires
An author who interviewed rich people offers insights on how they made their money and how they think about wealth.
Do you dream of becoming rich but aren't sure how to make your millions -- or better yet, billions? Then who better to ask than the rich themselves about how they made their way to the top.
Steve Siebold did just that. He's spent nearly 30 years interviewing the world's wealthiest people.
Siebold, the author of "How Rich People Think," (find it on Bing) spoke with U.S. News about what the rich have in common, how self-made millionaires attained their wealth and why now is the best time to strike it rich. Excerpts:
Q: What sparked your fascination with the rich?
A: I was a broke college student in 1984, and I wanted to be rich. But I didn't feel like I was getting the information I needed from my college business classes. In a lot of the classes, the business professors seemed to put down the rich, and that didn't make sense to me. So I started looking for outside sources until I found a millionaire to interview.
Q: Was he difficult to find?
A: Yes, because I didn't know any millionaires and I was just a kid. I was probably 19 years old. And I found the rich don't really like to flaunt their wealth. Most of the rich, in my experience, aren't like Donald Trump -- they're the polar opposite. They want to be left alone, because as soon as people know they've got a lot of money, people come after them and the media goes after them. They want to be quiet and unexposed.
The deal they made with me was I wouldn't give their names out unless they gave me permission, and very few of them gave me permission.
Q: Have you found any commonalities among the people you've interviewed?
A: Their personality styles vary: Some are introverts, some are extroverts. But their belief systems around money are the same. That was the one thread that really helped me throughout the process: They all have a really positive relationship with money. They think about money in terms of freedom, as opposed to the negative relationship a lot of people have with money.
Q: The net worth of the richest Americans grew by 13% in the past year to $1.7 trillion. Does that surprise you?
A: No, not at all. If you look at the global equity markets over the last few years, they're up 18%. As where the average Americans have their money wrapped up in their home equity and low-interest vehicles, like 401k's, the rich have their money in the global equity markets. They've got the money to invest, and it's a good place to be right now. They're also in a nice position because they can afford to lose.
Q: Did self-made millionaires simply work harder than the rest of us to get where they are?
A: Most people think the rich got lucky. People think their money wasn't earned by hard work and strategic, calculated thinking, which is not the truth for most people. There are crooks in every income category, but in my experience, there's no more on the rich side than the poor side.
But it's interesting how the self-made rich are a really hated group. They're discriminated against, even in the wealthiest country of the world. I think it's really sad. I think we should celebrate these people. There's a tendency to demonize them, which I think is just crazy.
Q: Is there any way that contempt some people have for the rich can change?
A: I hope so. It's so easy to take a shot at people who are rich. I hope that, over time, we can change our beliefs in this country, because if we don't lead the way in changing people's beliefs about capitalism and wealth, I think we're really in trouble.
Q: Do rich people feel that resentment to the point where they only want to associate with other rich people?
A: Absolutely. I call it "cocooning." But they don't like to talk about money when they get together. They genuinely like to associate with one another. But many people think it's because the rich think they're better than other people, and it's not -- it's because they're discriminated against. I think they just want to be with similar people who won't discriminate against them. They're a minority that people target, which is why they tend to hide out and stick together.
More from U.S. News & World Report:
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
I've studied this for many years and come to the conclusion. A millionaire could personally layout a guaranteed plan to achieve millions and hand it to 90% of middle class Americans. of the 90% less than 1% would lift one lazy finger to make an attempt to succeed with this plan. Most are too negative and would self destruct.....even with a guaranteed plan in hand....yes, i'm successful and have seen my comments at work.
Middle class Americans, 26% of adults have a college degree which hampers most, not all of them to succeed becoming wealthy. The other 74% are too lazy to attempt and blame everyone and everything for their lack of financial success.....
what is with the media and their obsessive-compulsive 'slobbering all over themselves' over the wealthy? Or is it simply a pathetic way to drum up news and clicks and envy to the tired masses?
news media today is a cancer to society!
"The Millionaire Next Door" by Stanley and Danko is perhaps a more illuminating read.
my take is it's all a combination of timing, fortune, hard work and a good idea to start with.
but you need all the components for it to work.
This also doesn't count the huge tax cuts Walmart gets just for locating in these small towns...That's why they locate in the smaller towns and not the biggest one...Walmart knows that they won't get those tax cuts in the biggest towns that they'd get in the smaller ones where they put thousands of small business employees out of work, not to mention shutting down all of those small businesses. When Walmart has its fingers in so many pies, auto insurance, health insurance, auto parts and repair, clothing, groceries and a host of other things it sells, calculate how many of these items would be sold by smaller businesses and bring far more tax revenue into your town. When more tax revenues come into your town, YOU, not Walmart pay less taxes.
I've always found that the smarter I work, the better off I become. Funny how those two things seem to coincide. On paper, I'm a millionaire in terms of net worth. But, most is tied up in the 401k and real estate that is not accessible to me in immediate terms without suffering a pretty stiff penalty. So yeah, I'm a "millionaire", but my day to day bank account would strongly argue with me about that.
I still clip coupons and look for sales. We're remodeling our master bathroom right now. It's torn out to the studs, and I'm doing 95% of the work myself. In other words, just because I'm supposedly "rich", it doesn't mean I go out and buy everything in sight or hire someone to do things I can do myself. My main mode of transportation is a 1996 Mazda pick-up. We live in a house only slightly bigger than the American average 2500 square feet, and by the ratty t-shirt and sweat pants that I wear to go to Wal Mart that have a hole in the knee, I'm sure most would think I'm just hanging on by a thread.
Which is just the way I want it.
Yes. Retail has changed. But there appears to be a disconnect in some business-minded minds these days. All businesses morph...just the way life morphs. Because...tah dah...business is a life and existence until itself and is just as destined for disasters, failures and yes, even death just like human death. The problem with business people today is they refuse to accept this fact of life. Instead, they fight tooth and nail to prevent the inevitable. Do these business people not see the handwriting on the wall?
If a business can no longer survive without billions of tax subsidies, what does that say about management? What does it say about business viability? Services? Product? In the USA at this very moment, taxpayers are being saddled with more and more debt because of the insistence upon salvaging obsolete businesses. Every year billions in tax dollars are spent on obsolete corporations only to save Wall Street investors from the consequences of their high risk taking ventures.
Does it ever occur to any of these business owners to make necessary changes to their business to help their business fit into today's markets? Today's markets are not the markets of the 1950's..and who knows what they will be in 2050? Shopping online for goods and services has had a huge impact overall on jobs. However, those who can't sift through this and see opportunities where they exist are all the worse for their blindness to reality.
It isn't true that everyone can't own a business. It IS true that some obsolete businesses demand help from others and call that success. Is it? Success achieved only off the backs of taxpayers is not success. Success is achieved by continuous business evolution. Either you have it or you don't. But, taxpayers should not have to pay for that which they, as consumers and employees, do not receive for their tax investment.
From Guttenberg's printing press to computers...Evolution IS business.
How a person earns their wealth is more important than where. If a Madoffer lives large for 17 years off corruption, is he really wealthy? Or just a money ego gone nuts?
If there is one fact of life that not even a paper millionaire can refute it's this: "Money Always Runs Out." The reasons don't matter. Money egos never do get it: Money egos are bloated today to the point of bursting.
Wall Street isn't life insurance. Some are too ridiculously mercenary to face that.
What is it about Walmart selling their stock to a venture capitalist in a few years, southerners don't get? I realize people in these states don't have the same exposure to Wall Street mechanics as people in NJ do. However, there is nothing EVER stopping any company, even Walmart, from eying a pile of money offered for the sale of that store.
No one up north had ever heard of Walmart. Much less those Piggly Wiggly stores. The reality is that no matter how many people in TN are employed NOW by Walmart, Walmart, Inc. on Wall Street is always open to a sell off to the right buyer for the right hundred billion.
Good fortune has at least a little to do with financial success. Plenty of people work very hard but are not making a lot of money. Others have tons of monetary wealth for the same effort or less. I don't think pro athletes and actors work harder than construction workers or engineers - certainly not thousands of time harder.
Also, this whole idea of someone being "self-made" is missing a LOT of what it takes to be successful. For instance, the very first thing a business needs to be profitable is at least one paying customer - already someone else is involved.
In Galt's Gulch, is the plan to import slaves? Or create robots to do all of the dirty work?
Ooochie cooochieeeee....So the rich have the money to "invest" in global markets? Would that be the same global markets that desperately rely on the world's cheapest labor to produce goods that can't be remotely called safe for importation into the US given these "global markets" lack of regulations for product safety, worker safety and workplace safety?
Oh..Sorry...that safety is a factor rich bois never want to consider when they are making billions off the world's cheapest laborers in China, Thailand, Mexico and India. Who worries about workplace safety, product safety or worker safety? So what if a few hundred insignificant workers die in foreign countries...Mr. Rich Man has to make his bones off their blood, sweat, tears and deaths, don't you know?
Note how they love to stick together? Well sure...if they didn't, they'd be sticking it to each other. This is the rich bois version of keeping their friends close but their enemies closer.
These are not men and women who equate success with lifetimes of creating, innovating and actually building something the world can be proud of them for...these are moolah bois who only see success through the eye of their bank accounts. What a crock of BS these guys are spewing...Let's all play dumb, dumber and dumbest because DUH (Dumb Uppercrust Hubrisx) demands the 1% are sooooo much smarter than the 99%...No...they aren't.
How many of their scammeroos got men like Madoff, Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, Kozlowski and Ebbers in jail for their thieving? The 1% of the top 1% are in jail where they belong. Call it contempt if they want to ...but truth isn't something these bois ever like to hear.
The take away message of the article, the last third of it, is all about how people "discriminate" (?!) against the wealthy. I see that word THREE TIMES. Sheesh. Poor, poor rich people. They are so put upon. How pathetic and whiny. And these guys wonder why people hate them.
I've never hated anyone who worked for his, her, or its money. Ever! What I hate is those who make their money by inheriting or stealing it. Investing in the various con games & swindles (like the stock market) earns my contempt too.
Unfortunately those who work for a living are considered genetically inferior, even subhuman. It seems the superior man possesses the gene for inherited wealth.
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