The Most Important Key to Wealth

How to get rich (preferably fast!) is a topic much debated.

Start your own business, add multiple income sources, win the lottery, get the right job in the right field, write a best seller, make a fortune online…. there are lots of suggestions out there on how to get rich.

Keith Cameron Smith, in the book The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class listed the following qualities (in ascending order of importance) he thinks millionaires possess that the middle class doesn’t:

  • Millionaires think long term, middle-Class thinks short term.
  • Millionaires talk about ideas, middle-Class talks about people and things.
  • Millionaires embrace change, middle-Class is threatened by change.
  • Millionaires take calculated risks, middle-Class is afraid to take risks.
  • Millionaires continually grow and learn, middle-Class thinks learning ended with school.
  • Millionaires work for profit, middle-Class work for wages.
  • Millionaires believe they must be generous, middle-Class think they can’t afford to be generous.
  • Millionaires have multiple sources of income, middle-Class has only one or two.
  • Millionaires focus on increasing their net worth, middle-Class focus on increasing their paycheck.
  • Millionaires ask themselves empowering questions, middle-Class ask themselves disempowering questions.

Persistence is key to wealth building.

For us though, THE ONE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR in building wealth was persistence.

We started out with a zero net worth and college educations and built financial wealth from that, day by day, month by month, year by year, and yes, even decade by decade.

We saved what we could as often as we could, including lunch money, gift money, salary and any extra income that came our way. We saved for years, slowly building up our net worth.

We were persistent. We weren’t super stars, best selling authors, lottery winners, risk takers, or business owners, but we persisted in believing we could be wealthy and in building that wealth. We think persistence was the key factor in our success.

Others have thought so as well. Consider the following quotes.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” ― Calvin Coolidge

 “That which we persist in doing becomes easier – not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 “Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.” – John Quincy Adams

 “The first requisite of success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem without growing weary.”- Thomas Alva Edison

“I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”- John D. Rockefeller

Persistence can be a tough quality to hold onto.

Stubbornly sticking to building wealth over many years is not an easy task. It is also not the same task as the years progress. In the early years, the task might be to just survive on your own. Then you might graduate into the task of getting out of debt. Following that you might set yourself on the path to increase your income by developing your career, taking on new side gigs or starting a business. Through it all, you find yourself holding the line on expenses. No, you don’t raise your standard of living every time the boss gives you a raise. The kids really don’t need that hot expensive toy for Christmas. You can make your own meals at home and become a do-it-yourselfer on other things as well.

It isn’t easy to stay the course. You will be tempted to stray. You may tell yourself that it won’t hurt to just go out this once to that expensive concert (and then it becomes a habit!). You may convince yourself you need that entire new wardrobe to fit in with your new co-workers. You may opt for that deluxe smart phone plan and incur ongoing expense increases that will cut into your wealth building.

It is a psychological game that you have to play with yourself to stay the course. Here are some tips on ways to convince yourself to do so:

Tips to stay persistent in pursuit of wealth.

Keep your wealth dream in view.

Know why you want wealth. Think about what it will do for you. Envision your life after you achieve your goal – every single day. Tell yourself that you WILL achieve your goal and tell yourself each morning and evening.

Track progress.

Calculate and share your net worth with members of your household on a regular basis. If you don’t track progress, you will never know you are walking towards your wealth goal. When net worth goes down, figure out why, when it goes up, repeat those actions.

Reward success.

When you do achieve a major milestone, celebrate. Do something out of the ordinary (yes, maybe even spend a bit of money on it!). It can’t be one years-long haul. You have to acknowledge success along the way or you won’t stick to it.

 Build routines that move you towards your goal.

Get in the habit of doing things that build your persistence, that build your wealth. Set aside an hour a week to catch up on financial status and move money to savings or investments. Schedule time to figure out net worth and discuss it with your home team. Develop work routines that help you be more productive and etc.

Routines are great for getting things done, as long as the routines are the right ones.

 What has been your most important success factor on the road to wealth?

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