Money

Kids taught this go on to 'accumulate more wealth,' says author who studies millionaires

There's a simple lesson children can learn that will help ensure they grow up wealthy, says Tom Corley, author of the book "Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life." It's called the one-hour rule.

Corley, an accountant and financial planner, draws conclusions from surveys of 233 wealthy individuals on their daily habits and compares them with 128 lower-earning individuals. He says the key to success is dedicating at least one hour each day to a productive activity, like exercising or reading, and not spending more than an hour on leisure.

"Wealthy, successful people don't make a habit of [things like] watching TV," he says, quoting his great-grandfather, J.C. They don't waste too much time using their phones or the Internet, either.

"Instead, they spend their time engaged in self-improvement activities, participating in nonprofit groups, going to school, teaching, writing, speaking or reading," he says. "You need to make a habit of limiting time wasters during the day. The one-hour rule helps you do that."

Corley calls the one-hour rule a "rich habit," a type of daily routine that produces success. "Our daily habits are the reason why we are rich, poor or middle class," he explains in the book.

"When you add a few rich habits to your daily routine," he adds, "they chip away at your [unproductive] habits, which gets your seesaw tipping toward success."

Some of the world's richest people seem to be good examples of how productive habits can help you. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, who has a net worth of $89 billion, reads about 50 books each year. His friend Warren Buffett, the chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway who has a net worth of more than $81 billion, spends as much as 80 percent of his day reading.

"You need to make a habit of limiting time wasters during the day. The one-hour rule helps you do that." -Tom Corley, author

If you teach your children to limit leisure habits to one hour per day and use more of their free time for productive habits, Corley says, they will "get better grades in school, and when they become adults this translates into better-paying jobs, with bigger raises and larger bonuses during their working career."

But you need to do a bit more, too. "Parents need to lead by example," Corley says. "They need to teach their kids by their words and actions that spending more than an hour a day watching TV or engaging in similar time wasters is not allowed. It takes away from productive activities like reading or studying.

"By following this one-hour rule, kids will have more time to read, exercise and join groups that will help them develop more relationships in life. As a consequence, they accumulate more wealth in life."

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook!

Don't miss: Here's the trick to 'becoming wealthy,' says author who studies millionaires