As a financial advisor, I often work with successful families who have achieved great wealth through different paths. However, there are some common financial habits that many of these families demonstrate, which seem to have helped them build a foundation for their success.
Savings & Investing Take Priority
One of the most common and significant financial habits I have seen among wealthy families is their discipline to live beneath their means. By resisting their short-term desire to consume, these families are able to reap the longer-term benefits associated with real wealth accumulation.
You may be thinking it’s easier to accumulate wealth if you have a higher income. That’s true. However, I have walked alongside many families who were also able to accumulate significant wealth with what would be considered a middle-class income.
The key takeaway is that developing a habit of saving and investing a portion of your income can be crucial for building wealth, regardless of how much you earn. Putting aside at least 10% of your annual earnings can potentially help you lay the foundation for accumulating wealth. No matter the amount you save or invest, it is essential to prioritize this habit as part of your financial planning.
Disciplined Long-Term Thinking
While the desire for immediate satisfaction can be strong, I’ve noticed that many wealthy individuals realize that great accomplishments take time. Whether it’s improving physical fitness, advancing to higher positions in their careers, or investing, they understand the necessity of discipline and patience in reaching long-term goals.
When it comes to achieving investment success, it’s important to develop a well-thought-out investment strategy and give it sufficient time to perform. While it’s possible for almost any strategy to be successful in the short term, wealthy investors are in the habit of relying on strategies that have consistently produced results over time.
It is generally a good idea to evaluate an investment approach for at least 3-5 years to determine its validity. Remember, patience is key when it comes to investing.
Most people are familiar with the commonly known tax saying, “It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep.” If your goal is to accumulate wealth, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of where you can save money on taxes. To do this, consider taking advantage of all tax-deferred opportunities like company retirement plans/401K’s and IRA’s.
Also, consider maximizing your deductions related to business ownership, real estate, charitable gifting, etc. Lastly, it can be beneficial to implement strategies such as tax-loss harvesting when appropriate to make sure your taxable investment accounts are managed efficiently. Tax efficiency is one of the most important financial habits of wealthy families.
Although I have noticed these commonalities among many of the wealthy families and individuals I have worked with throughout my career, it is essential to understand that everyone’s circumstances are unique. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for achieving great wealth.
The topics we explored, such as savings, investing, and taxes, can also be complex and overwhelming. Therefore, if you need help or have any questions, please seek the advice of a Certified Financial Planner™ or a tax professional.
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Marshall Clay CFP, J.D., is a Partner and Senior Advisor at The Welch Group, LLC, specializing in providing Fee-Only investment management and financial advice to families throughout the United States. Marshall is a graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, the Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama, and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. In addition, Marshall is a frequent guest on local television stations as an expert on various financial planning matters.
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