I spent five years studying 233 millionaires to learn about their habits and the way they think.
They came from different backgrounds and experiences, but all had at least $160,000 in annual gross income and $3.2 million in net assets.
I was particularly interested in what they spend their money on. But almost everyone told me that what contributed more to their wealth was that they stopped wasting money on certain things:
To prioritize their health, they stopped buying low-quality, processed food and instead opted for organic or wholesome foods that did not have preservatives.
They often sought out products that could be sourced to their place of origin, and frequented farmers' markets and grocery stories that were known for high quality produce and meat.
They refused to drop money on the latest fashion trends, or inexpensive and poorly constructed furniture. Instead, many preferred to invest in timeless quality pieces for their wardrobe and home that were built to last.
Often, the cost was two to three times more than the low quality clothing and furniture. But they were comfortable making bigger purchases, because it would still be less expensive than constantly replacing cheap craftsmanship.
In the same vein, many of the millionaires told me that given the option, they preferred to spend money on completely replacing things like old roofs, washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, furnaces, and even vehicles, rather than putting their hard-earned funds towards expensive repairs.
While this was often more costly, they rationalized that something new would last far longer than something repaired, which gave them priceless peace of mind.
While some still enjoyed doing outdoor work, like mowing their lawn, weeding, landscaping and trimming, the vast majority — once they got wealthy — hired landscapers to take care of all outdoor upkeep.
This meant they no longer spent money repairing or replacing old equipment. Many gave their tools away to family and friends.
What they were buying was time. Since they no longer needed to carve out an hour of two every week or month to maintain their property, it gave them more time to rest, relax or engage in recreational activities.
Many of the millionaires eschewed gambling as they were building their wealth, and that common sense extended into their new financial lives.
They shared that after they got rich, they refused to spend money on lottery tickets, and would encourage their employees, family and friends to do the same.
Since the likelihood of winning any lottery is slim, they saw it as a waste of money. Instead, it was better to put those funds towards memorable experiences.
Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner and author of "Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life", "Effort-Less Wealth", "Change Your Habits Change Your Life", "Rich Habits Poor Habits" and "Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals."
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