Author and self-made millionaire Steve Siebold has spent a lot of time studying the ultra wealthy. He's interviewed more than 1,200 millionaires and billionaires over the past 30 years.
A key question Siebold always asks is: What do you teach your kids about financial success? His latest book, "Secrets Self-Made Millionaires Teach Their Kids," is a culmination of the answers he's received.
The sooner you can get your kids thinking like the wealthy do, the better off they'll be. Here are 14 lessons self-made millionaires and billionaires instill in their kids:
Success isn't free
Wealth and success take work.
"Becoming financially independent will be the fight of your life. You'll have to be willing to sacrifice your time, sleep and leisure to build something great," writes Siebold. "It's not glamorous or pretty. While your friends are out having fun, you'll be working."
Get rich solving problems
The top earners know that money flows from ideas and problem solving. "If you want to be rich, solve a problem," writes Siebold. "If you want to be very wealthy, solve a bigger problem."
While "the masses solve small problems for their employers," he says, "the rich solve significant problems and get compensated accordingly."
This makes it easier than ever to get rich: "It's simple. Solve a big problem, and the world will gladly turn their money over to you."
Expect to make it
The wealthiest people set high expectations. "Almost every self-made I've interviewed over the past 30+ years has told me he expected to be rich," writes Siebold. "You'll want to do the same."
And don't be afraid to think big: "Expect to get rich in your 20s or 30s. … It's not going to happen overnight, but it doesn't have to take a lifetime. Your expectation will quicken the process and keep you on track."
Surround yourself with successful people
Who you hang out with matters.
"You need rich friends," says Siebold. "The sheer exposure to their heightened level of awareness around everything related to wealth will dramatically expand your thinking."
Find ways to cultivate relationships with wealthy, successful people: "Read their books, attend their events, donate to their charities … and whatever else you can do to gain introductions and build relationships."
Fall in love with work
Your career affects every aspect of your life, so you want to choose your path carefully.
"It's difficult to invest the necessary time and energy into a profession that bores you or that has little meaning beyond money," says Siebold. "Waking up everyday with excitement for going to work is a formula for financial abundance, emotional fulfillment, and life satisfaction."
Money solves most problems
The rich aren't afraid to admit that money can solve most problems.
"Being rich won't make you happy, but it will solve 90 percent of your problems," writes Siebold. "If you have a problem, and you can make it disappear by writing a check, you don't have a problem. … Make your money by solving problems, and you'll get rich enough to purchase your own problems away."
"The rich are investors, not spenders," says Siebold. "They invest their money today, so they'll have more tomorrow."
To be a successful investor, stick to what you know or what you're interested in: "If you like to play guitars, you might study the vintage guitar market. If you're a baseball fan, look into investing in rare baseball cards. If you like dissecting stocks, you could study the stock market."
No matter how big your paycheck is, you won't be rich unless you're disciplined enough to keep what you make. "Excessive spending can ruin you," warns Siebold. "It happens every day to people with millions of dollars at their disposal."
That's not to say you should never spend: "Just make sure you don't overextend yourself in the process because that will put you on a treadmill of having and not having money."
You deserve to make it
The top earners tell themselves they deserve to be rich, while the masses think getting rich is reserved for a lucky few.
The truth is, "in a free market economy like America, if you serve enough people and solve enough problems, you deserve to be rich," says Siebold.
"The only people who tell you that the self-made rich don't deserve it are people that have never done it. Believe me, by the time you get rich, you'll be convinced that you've earned it."
Money and opportunity are limitless
Rich people see money as abundant. After all, "If earning money is based on solving problems, and the number of problems is infinite, then your ability to earn money is infinite," says Siebold.
"Reject the mass belief that money is a scarce resource. … It's not. What is scarce are people with solutions that others want to buy, and that's what you need to master."
Choose prosperity over entertainment
The rich use their time differently than the average person, says Siebold: "The masses spend their time, while the rich invest in it.
"Spend your time basking in entertainment, and you will struggle your entire life financially. Invest your time creating solutions to people's problems, and you'll never lose a minutes sleep worrying about how to pay the mortgage."
Focus on earning
The quickest way to get rich is to generate multiple revenue streams.
While you want to focus on earning, keep the big picture in mind, too. "Total focus on money might lead you to do anything to get it, so I don't recommend that approach," says Siebold. "Instead, decide to match your talents and interests with a problem people will pay you to solve and go to work until you succeed. This formula offers you the fulfillment of doing work you love while profiting from solving other people's problems."
Rich people are not always smarter
The masses falsely believe "that rich people are smarter than everyone else," says Siebold. The truth is, "most of them are no brighter than the average person struggling to make ends meet."
You don't have to be a genius to make it big: "Getting rich is less about intellect and more about focusing on the accumulation of wealth."
Wealth creates freedom
Again, being rich won't make you happy, says Siebold, but wealth does offer freedom: "Being rich allows you to live anywhere you want, do anything you want, and be anything you want to be.
"Wealth gives you the power to make your own rules, as long as they don't break any laws or hurt any people. It may not make you any happier, but it will certainly give you the freedom you deserve."
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Video by Beatriz Bajuelos Castillo