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Top 10 Traits and Habits of Rich People

Have you ever found yourself daydreaming about what it must feel like to be rich? Believe it or not, most of the wealthy weren’t actually born that way; their fortune was largely self-made.
A recent study by U.S. Trust found that 77 percent of people with $3 million or more in investable assets came from lower or middle-class backgrounds.[1] So even if you’re not swimming in money today, you too have a shot at achieving greater wealth in the future.
What do the wealthy have in common? Let’s examine some prevalent traits and habits of rich people that you may want to incorporate into your lifestyle. Here are 10 of the most notable.

Investment Savvy

Hoarding cash may feel safe in a bear market, but it won’t help you fight inflation or preserve capital over the long-term. Smart investing is an important activity for the wealthy. You don’t have to invest in overly complex or risky products to make money. Eighty-six percent of the rich surveyed said buying and holding investments helped them achieve their greatest profits. Eighty-nine percent give credit to traditional stocks and bonds for their largest gains.

Long-Term Focused

When it comes to building wealth, don’t be short-sighted, as this can work against you. Approximately 80 percent of the rich highlight the critical importance of developing strategic, long-term investing goals versus trying to make immediate short-term profits. Their most successful accounts tend to come from investments and hard-earned income over a long period of time.

Hard Working

Contrary to stereotypes that portray the rich as lazy, recent data suggests quite the opposite. Only 10 percent accumulated wealth by inheritance, whereas 52 percent built their wealth from earned income. Many of the wealthy have a strong work ethic and an entrepreneurial spirit, perhaps stemming from their active and disciplined youth. The rich start saving money at an average age of 14, and began working for money at an average age of 15. Eighty-eight percent of respondents credit hard work for their financial success and overall happiness.
How wealth was accumulated

Value Oriented

Many rich individuals cite strong family values as a core part of their upbringing, regardless of their parents’ wealth status. Seventy-six percent of participants listed academic achievement at the top of their list of shared family values. Other influential values include financial discipline, work participation, family harmony, and loyalty. In addition, approximately 80 percent surveyed said their parents set firm boundaries, but encouraged them to pursue their dreams and interests.


Another common trait of the rich is their tendency to be deeply committed and harmonious at home. The U.S. Trust survey highlights that 86 percent are in long-term relationships or are married. In addition, 97 percent of couples said they agree with their partners on important values about how to manage their wealth.

Tax Efficient

The U.S. has a complicated tax system, and the wealthy find time to expand their knowledge and become educated on tax rules and regulations. When making investment decisions, many pay close attention to potential tax consequences and act accordingly to minimize how much they will owe. The more money saved on taxes, the more money you have to save and invest for the future.


Most of the rich are eager to jump on an investment opportunity. About one in five keeps 25 percent of their assets in cash for this very reason. Close to 70 percent also use their credit to strategically build wealth.


Investing in the stock market isn’t the only way the wealthy grow their asset base. Almost half surveyed own tangible assets such as real estate, farmland, and timber. About one in five also collects fine art.


Making a positive impact in the community, especially on those less fortunate, is an important value shared by today’s wealthiest individuals. Nearly two-thirds have a strong family history of philanthropy. Sixty percent participate in school committees or serve on non-profit boards. Some of the top causes they support include environmental protection and sustainability, healthcare quality and access, disease prevention and treatments, education and veterans’ assistance.


The rich have an entrepreneurial mindset whether they work in the corporate world or founded their own business. For business owners, 95 percent founded or acquired their business at an average age of 39. In addition, close to 60 percent are 100% owners of their businesses. Now that’s impressive!
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[1] U.S. Trust, “2016 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth Survey,” U.S. Trust, September 2016.

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