5 surprising habits of the wealthy

by: Paul Sullivan

Dine out less, but indulge your Starbucks coffee addiction.

Personal finance advice too often consists of prescriptions. Do this, not that and save the difference for a better financial future. That’s a diet, not a plan. And like diets, this kind of financial advice works great in the beginning but fails when reality sets in. Simply put, it’s no fun.

I propose a better way to think about financial decisions, using a bright line test – in this case, a thin green line. That line, which looks like stock index returns over the past 50 years, divides the wealthy, who are financially secure, from the rich, poor and everyone else. It has less to do with people’s income and a far more to do with the decisions they make and the behaviors they exhibit when it comes to money.

Here are five differences that I found in the research for my book, The Thin Green Line: The Money Secrets of the Super Wealthy, that distinguish those who are financially secure.

Always buy the Audi over the BMW. Paul Posluszny, an offensive lineman for the Jacksonville Jaguars, has received two NFL contracts that will pay him between $20 million and $47 million, depending on how he performs. He is certainly rich, but the decision he made a few years ago around buying a car shows that he is thinking like a wealthy person. He told me he had always wanted a BMW BMW, but then he ran the numbers on the top-of-the-line sedan. “An $80,000 car was too much,” he told me. “So I downsized.” Far from squeezing his hulking frame into a KIA, he went with the comparable Audi, saving himself about $10,000. This might seem absurd – he had the money for both – but it is little decisions like that and a sense of what is enough that should insure he is financially secure long after his playing days.

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