In preparing our final 2008 budget and goals, I came across an older book of mine from the late '90's dealing with Personal Finance and Managing Money called, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Rich."
Well I must be pretty smart, because after owning the book for 12 years I have a negative Net Worth!
Anyway inside the front cover of these book was a tear out page. I don't know if the publisher hoped these would become tradeable or collectible like baseball cards, but lucky for me they didn't cause mine was still there.
All kidding aside it had some great wealth level indicators and such, but the best part was this little list of the Top Characteristics of wealthy people...and they ring very true of everyone that I know who is, as we say...with money.
Here is the list:
Have a Passion for What You Do - This was a key to everyone that I know who have been very successful that I have had a chance to really talk with, including the CEO of a couple publicly traded companies that I have worked for. Both of them I believe would be doing this whether or not they were being paid for it. The seriously enjoyed the business and role they were in. Many would say, "Pay me that kind of money and I would be passionate as well!" Both of these people by all account have always been this way.
I have seen very successful people who didn't care make it as well. They made it on drive, determination and will...and most either seemed miserable, or were busy planning their second career as soon as they had enough money. So call me naive, but I believe successful people get the position because they are those passionate people., not because they have the position.
The Ability to Make Decisions - I once heard someone define genius as the ability to make order out of chaos. So many people that describe their best boss say that the person would weigh all of the input, analyse the facts and make the call. They would spend much more time to make sure that everyone understood their role.
This goes to one of my personal mottos, which is: A Good Plan executed is better than a Perfect Plan in a drawer. A good leader makes decisions, but isn't afraid to make course corrections or change plans in the face of enough evidence.
Discipline - When you look at successful leaders, whether in politics or in business this is a huge difference maker. This can be as small as taking care of your finances or health. It can be as important as not taking a big pay raise when you ask your team to do with less.
I see this everyday on different blogs: Doing the right thing everyday, even in small amounts is so much more important than grandiose gestures. The ones who really get their financial houses in order are the ones that make the lifestyle changes, and make them part of who they are.
Patience - I see this as a key for every investor. If you look at the mix of stocks at Waren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway 3-5 years ago it is pretty much the same, with maybe more added on. Now show me a mutual fund that is the same way. You can find them, but they are rare. So many chase the fat buck running to the hot stock or sector. If it is OK for one of the world's richest men (that made most of their fortunes investing) it may be OK for you :)
This one is going to be a prime goal for 2008 for me. I will have the patience to manage my money, pay down my debt and increase my savings.
Or you will be free to mock me...