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The Common Traits of Long-Term Wealth


Money isn’t the only thing the most successful people in America have in common.

I have been fortunate to work with some of the most successful people in America through the course of my career. All of them excel at something; medicine, business, real-estate development, science, and even the arts. What this vastly diverse crowd has in common (besides money) though are a set of traits that have made them not only good at what they do but wealthy and successful by any standard in a long-term and predictable way; here are a few of the most notable ones:

They Work Hard: Nearly all of them are the source of their own wealth. That is, they get up every day and commit themselves to the practice of some profession with skill, passion and diligence. They always strive to be smarter, more informed about their market and more skilled at what they do than the day before.

They Never Take Their Market Position for Granted: They understand that in a down economy discount solution, product, and service providers emerge in every market. They know competitors will be selling price first and many consumers won’t see the differences until they have been poorly served. They make sure their marketing efforts, network, and professional relationships are as important and well-nurtured as they were before the reached their current level of success. “Good Enough” is not part of their vocabulary.

They are Team Players: They look for every way to add value and collaborate with other top service providers in their field so that they are a natural part of every project or client they are involved with. They associate with other best-of-class teams and attend professional education and networking events on a regular basis.

They Are Proactive, Not Reactive: They take preventative care of their health, business, and known liabilities and plan to avoid problems, not manage them. They understand that a small amount of time and resources directed at these issues now will save them vast amounts of energy and money in the future and gives them the greatest number of options. They understand that preventing an illness, whether physical or financial is almost always better than treating it.

They Understand Wealth is Finite and Fragile: They live very well, but also “well within” their means. They are willing and able to adjust their lifestyles and spending to adjust for market realities and income fluctuations. They have money in the bank, not just on their wrists, and can handle fluctuations is cash flow and earnings as well as most common unplanned expenses without panic or liquidating large assets at a bad time in the market. They get that an important part of wealth is “having some.”

They Prioritize and Do “Boring” Things Before Spending on Lifestyle: They buy life, health, and disability insurance, get estate and asset-protection planning, stick to savings and investment plans and other things that often have a hard time competing with new cars and vacations. They are financially disciplined and meet the mental commitments they have made to their families and future wealth and success before meeting today’s “wants.”

They Create Success Maintenance Teams: They identify top professionals in various areas, create relationships with them and act decisively to implement their suggestions and expertise. They have control of their egos and understand that as bright and successful as that are, they are better off being surrounded by experts in areas outside their field. They know “what they don’t know” and are willing and able to delegate responsibility to others and let go enough to be free to do what they are best at, which is never everything.

They read Physicians Practice regularly (and other sources of information that present a wide range of expert guidance and stimulate critical thinking). They know that their learning is a lifetime process and they never stop.

Learn more about Ike Devji and our other contributing bloggers here.

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