Chapter 1: Meet the Neighbors
WORK HARD. The wealthy work harder—and sleep less—than other people. They are more likely to mix work with their downtime, sacrificing personal time for professional success. But because they tend to be passionate about what they do, it's less likely that they see it as a chore.
SAVE HABITUALLY. Wealthy people certainly have the funds to be crazy spenders, but most are not. In fact, some seven out of ten say that saving more money has been an "absolutely essential" financial goal as an adult. They typically pay off their full credit card balance each month.
INVEST SOUNDLY AND AGGRESSIVELY. The wealthy are more likely to invest in stocks or stock mutual funds. They understand that even in down markets they need to take risks in the market in order to make their money work as hard as they do. They are also more likely to invest in real estate (above and beyond buying their own homes).
GIVE BACK. The wealthy are grateful and they show it by giving back to their communities, to organizations they believe in, and to people they care about.
Interestingly, although the PTPs and FIDs are likely to blame their financial troubles on bad luck, the wealthy say they didn't get there by virtue of a lucky break. They got there by landing a good-paying job and sticking with it. Or by creating, as an entrepreneur, a good paying job for themselves.
It's also important to note that many of the truly wealthy individuals—the millionaires—in our study didn't describe themselves as wealthy. Instead they described themselves as "financially comfortable." Wealth, it still seems, is relative. You're less likely to see yourself as wealthy, even if you live in a huge home on a big plot of land with millions of dollars in the bank, if the neighbors to the left and the right of you have tens of millions in the bank. Likewise, you're less likely to see yourself as wealthy if you run a successful small business, when the other members of your social set run successful midsize ones. Of course, the rest of America—and most of the world—indeed views you as wealthy.
With wealth, you get a greater degree of contentment with the other aspects of your life. Although study after study has shown that wealth in and of itself can't buy you real happiness or inner peace (and my own research noted that people who believe it can are less satisfied with their lives as a result), as you climb the ladder of financial success, you do become more satisfied with many parts of your existence: your family life, social life, health, religious life, even your sex life.
WHAT DO THE NEIGHBORS THINK?
Are you extremely satisfied with your sex life?
• Wealthy: 37 percent yes
• Financially comfortable: 30 percent yes
• Paycheck-to-paychecks: 21 percent yes
• Further-in-debtors: 16 percent yes
Now, who wouldn't want a little piece of that?