11/30/2012 10:03 PM ET|
Secrets of self-made millionaires
An author who interviewed rich people offers insights on how they made their money and how they think about wealth.
Do you dream of becoming rich but aren't sure how to make your millions -- or better yet, billions? Then who better to ask than the rich themselves about how they made their way to the top.
Steve Siebold did just that. He's spent nearly 30 years interviewing the world's wealthiest people.
Siebold, the author of "How Rich People Think," (find it on Bing) spoke with U.S. News about what the rich have in common, how self-made millionaires attained their wealth and why now is the best time to strike it rich. Excerpts:
Q: What sparked your fascination with the rich?
A: I was a broke college student in 1984, and I wanted to be rich. But I didn't feel like I was getting the information I needed from my college business classes. In a lot of the classes, the business professors seemed to put down the rich, and that didn't make sense to me. So I started looking for outside sources until I found a millionaire to interview.
Q: Was he difficult to find?
A: Yes, because I didn't know any millionaires and I was just a kid. I was probably 19 years old. And I found the rich don't really like to flaunt their wealth. Most of the rich, in my experience, aren't like Donald Trump -- they're the polar opposite. They want to be left alone, because as soon as people know they've got a lot of money, people come after them and the media goes after them. They want to be quiet and unexposed.
The deal they made with me was I wouldn't give their names out unless they gave me permission, and very few of them gave me permission.
Q: Have you found any commonalities among the people you've interviewed?
A: Their personality styles vary: Some are introverts, some are extroverts. But their belief systems around money are the same. That was the one thread that really helped me throughout the process: They all have a really positive relationship with money. They think about money in terms of freedom, as opposed to the negative relationship a lot of people have with money.
Q: The net worth of the richest Americans grew by 13% in the past year to $1.7 trillion. Does that surprise you?
A: No, not at all. If you look at the global equity markets over the last few years, they're up 18%. As where the average Americans have their money wrapped up in their home equity and low-interest vehicles, like 401k's, the rich have their money in the global equity markets. They've got the money to invest, and it's a good place to be right now. They're also in a nice position because they can afford to lose.
Q: Did self-made millionaires simply work harder than the rest of us to get where they are?
A: Most people think the rich got lucky. People think their money wasn't earned by hard work and strategic, calculated thinking, which is not the truth for most people. There are crooks in every income category, but in my experience, there's no more on the rich side than the poor side.
But it's interesting how the self-made rich are a really hated group. They're discriminated against, even in the wealthiest country of the world. I think it's really sad. I think we should celebrate these people. There's a tendency to demonize them, which I think is just crazy.
Q: Is there any way that contempt some people have for the rich can change?
A: I hope so. It's so easy to take a shot at people who are rich. I hope that, over time, we can change our beliefs in this country, because if we don't lead the way in changing people's beliefs about capitalism and wealth, I think we're really in trouble.
Q: Do rich people feel that resentment to the point where they only want to associate with other rich people?
A: Absolutely. I call it "cocooning." But they don't like to talk about money when they get together. They genuinely like to associate with one another. But many people think it's because the rich think they're better than other people, and it's not -- it's because they're discriminated against. I think they just want to be with similar people who won't discriminate against them. They're a minority that people target, which is why they tend to hide out and stick together.
More from U.S. News & World Report:
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Talk about convoluting the issue and broad brushing the perspectives. No wonder this guy had to study the rich and isn't rich himself.
There's a big difference between being wealthy, against whom no one I know harbors any ill will, and those in tremendous positions of priviledge that attempt to always stack the deck in their favor to the detriment of others. Warren Buffet or Bill Gates as opposed to the Koch brothers or Trump.
I won't be buying his book.
The rich are "discriminated against"? Yes I've seen those "No Rich Allowed" signs at diners. I certainly wouldn't want to hang out with someone that has too much money. What would my friends think?
What a steaming load of manure! I can't believe I read the whole article looking for the "secrets. I want those 5 minutes of my life back MSN!
I think Thomas Jefferson said it best in 1801
" A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government"
Too bad we don't have that in contemporary society, we would all be rich.
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