3 financial tricks rich people use to save, according to a man who studies millionaires

How rich people save

Despite what lottery ads tell you ("Hey, you never know!"), get-rich-quick schemes are almost guaranteed to fail. If you play New York Powerball, for example, your chances of winning are about one in 292 million.

Adopting the financial habits of rich people is a way more reliable way to build wealth, according to a man who studies millionaires.

Tom Corley, an accountant and financial planner, surveyed 233 wealthy individuals, mostly self-made millionaires, on their daily habits.

He compared their answers to responses from 128 poorer individuals, or those with less than $35,000 in annual gross income. Corley also read hundreds of books on success and psychology, all to figure out what successful people do differently.

He co-authored the recently published book "Rich Habits, Poor Habits," which explains his findings.

Tom Corley, financial planner, best-selling author and accountant.
Photo by Eric Vitale

Here are three rich-people habits to copy, according to Corley:

1. Create a list of money goals and look at the list every day

Eighty percent of the wealthy are "obsessed" with pursuing goals, he found. They refer to both daily and long-term goals regularly.

So if you're tired of your bank account never exceeding a certain number, channel the frustration into a concrete money goal, Corley recommends. Write down a list of money goals and put them somewhere that you can them every day.

Personal finance experts say that savings goals should include short-term steps. For example, you could write, "I will put $5,000 into emergency savings this year by setting up an automatic transfer from my checking account into my savings account of $14 each day."

Most of the self-made millionaires Corley researched set clear financial goals for themselves.
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Reviewing those goals daily will keep you focused on the long-term and avoid spontaneous purchases.

"Your biggest leverage comes from investing in yourself," Corley says.

2. Follow the 24-hour spending rule

"Learning to delay gratification rather than seeking immediate satisfaction is essential for success," Corley writes, "particularly when it comes to things like investing, business and making money."

Every time you're tempted to buy something, consider whether it's something you truly need or if it's just something you kind of want. If the purchase is a want, such as a new tie or a fancy handbag, delay it for at least 24 hours, he suggests.

Wealthy individuals are more likely to delay gratification, Corley's research found.
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While you wait, you're more likely either to remember your long-term financial goals or to do research on how to find a better deal.

Your biggest leverage comes from investing in yourself.
Tom Corley
co-author of "Rich Habits, Poor Habits"

3. Save 20 percent of your income

The vast majority of wealthy people in Corley's research save a significant amount of their income. Corley recommends putting 20 percent of your monthly net pay, or what you take home after taxes and other deductions, into savings.

For example, if you take home $2200 every month, put $440 dollars into savings. You could set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account so you don't forget.

Saving is one of the most underrated skills to build wealth, he writes.
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Over time, you'll start to see your savings account grow.

"Eighty percent of the rich in my study did not become rich until age 50," Corley says. "It takes a long time to create wealth."

Check out 11 ways to improve your finances on a lunch break.

Video by Andrea Kramar.

Easy ways to make progress with your money on your lunch break
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