What does it take to get rich?
Surprisingly, one thing it doesn’t seem to take is rich parents.
In fact, according to a U.S. Trust survey of wealthy individuals ($3 million+ in investable assets), 77 percent came from low- or moderate-income families.
They got wealthy the hard way – they earned it.
So what secrets can we learn from the wealthy about how they made it to the top?
According to researchers, the only secret is relying on old-fashioned values like hard work, discipline and perseverance.
Here’s the breakdown of the 10 traits that the rich people studied have in common:
1). The patience needed to build wealth over time. They’re not expecting the market to work miracles, and stick with the plan even in frustratingly flat markets like this one. They’ve earned their wealth over time through work and disciplined investing.
2). Faith in traditional, buy-and-hold investment strategies. 86% of wealthy investors say they made their money the traditional way by investing in the market, using a portfolio of stocks and bonds.
3). Readiness to pounce on good investment opportunities. Wealthy investors see the glass-half-full and have cash on hand to take advantage of any sudden market downturns or solid opportunities.
4). Knowing when to borrow and when not to. Wealthy people use credit “strategically,” says the survey. They know when it’s advantageous to borrow to achieve their investment goals, but have the good sense to avoid unnecessary risks.
5). Reliance on tax-smart investment decisions. The wealthy factor taxes into their financial decision-making, and use tax-saving strategies to keep more of what they make.
6). Understanding there may be a place in the portfolio for tangible assets. Farmland, investment real estate, timber and fine art are all favored investments.
7). The discipline to save for the long-term. They know how to postpone immediate gratification and invest to reach their long-term wealth goals. It’s a virtuous circle; more accumulated wealth gives them the means to take advantage of promising wealth opportunities that come their way.
8). A belief in old-fashioned family values. Wealthy investors reported growing up in families that stressed old-fashioned family values like “academic achievement, financial discipline, work participation, family loyalty and civic duty.”
9). A desire to help others. Wealthy families have a strong tradition of philanthropy and believe in “giving back,” leading them to donate time and money to make an impact on society.
10). A strong family life with shared values. The overwhelming majority of wealthy people studied were married or were in stable long-term relationship. They shared important money values and were working toward common goals.