Thomas C. Corley

About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley understands the difference between being rich and poor: at age nine, his family went from being multi-millionaires to broke in just one night, due to a catastrophic fire that destroyed his Dad's thriving business. For fourteen years they struggled with poverty. There were eleven in Tom's family, and they lived in constant fear of losing their home.

Driven by the desire to unlock the secrets to success and failure, Tom spent five years studying the daily activities of 233 rich people and 128 poor people. He discovered there was an immense difference between the habits of the rich and the poor. During his research he identified over 300 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots.” Tom decided to write a book to share what he learned. That book, Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals (1st Edition), went on to become an Amazon Bestseller in the United States forty times over a three year period. To give you some perspective, in order to be a true Amazon Bestseller in the United States, where you actually receive a specific Bestseller designation from Amazon, you need to be in the top 100 of all books sold by Amazon in the United States in a given day. Rich Habits did that for nearly thirty straight days, rising as high as #7, eclipsing such Bestselling authors such as Stephen Covey, Robert Kiyosaki and J.K. Rowlings. Imagine that - an unknown, first-time, self-published author selling more books than J.K. Rowlings!

Tom now travels the world, sharing his Rich Habits and motivating audiences at industry conferences, corporate events, universities, multi-level marketing group events, and global sales organizations’ presentations and finance conferences. He has even spoken on the same stage with famous entrepreneurs and personal development experts, such as Sir Richard Branson, Robin Sharma, Dr. Daniel Amen, and many others.

Tom has shared his insights on various national and international network, cable, and Internet television programs such as CBS Evening News, NBC News, Yahoo Financially Fit,, India TV, Australia, and a host of others. He has been interviewed on many prestigious nationally syndicated radio shows, including the Dave Ramsey Show, Marketplace Money, and WABC.

Tom has been featured in numerous print magazines—such as Money magazine, Inc. Magazine, SUCCESS Magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, Fast Company magazine, More magazine, Epoca Magazine (Brazil’s largest weekly) and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine—and various online publications, including USA Today, CNN, MSN Money,,, and the Huffington Post. Tom is a frequent contributor to Business Insider,, and a few other media outlets.

National publicity has garnered international media attention for Tom and his Rich Habits research spanning 23 countries. Broadcast media, online publications, and television throughout Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Central and South America have shared his powerful message.

In an effort to help parents, grandparents, teachers and adults become success mentors to the younger generation, Tom released his second book, Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to be Happy and Successful in Life in 2014. This book was the self-help category winner of the 2015 New York Book Festival and Runner-up in the prestigious 2015 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Contest. In 2016 Tom released his third book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. This book provides the latest science on habit change as well as more of Tom's unique research on the specific habits that helped transform 177 ordinary individuals into self-made millionaires.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, and hold a master’s degree in taxation. As president of Cerefice and Company, CPAs, Tom heads one of the premier financial firms in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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Blame Shifters


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Humility is a hallmark of the successful. Successful, self-made millionaires become humble during their journey towards success. They become humble because they are focused on succeeding and because they are focused on succeeding they seek the truth.

When things go wrong, success-minded people seek the truth, rather than someone to blame. Sometimes the truth is that you screwed up. Self-made millionaires park their egos and embrace their mistakes, enabling them to learn from them. They make a habit of accepting responsibility when things go wrong.

Those who never take risks in pursuit of success have a penchant for assigning blame to everything that goes wrong in their lives. They have the Poor Habit of avoiding responsibility when things go wrong. These Blame Shifters are not interested in the truth. Instead, they outsource the blame for the mistake to someone or something else. Consequently, they never learn from their mistakes. 

You must avoid Blame Shifters like the plague. Specifically, you must never allow them to become part of your dream team – individuals you rely on to help you realize your dream. Blame Shifters are not interested in seeking the truth – the real cause of the mistake. They are only interested in assigning blame to protect their egos.


Why Entrepreneurs Fail

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I interviewed 177 self-made millionaires over a five year period to find out what they did to become rich. . It was an eye opening experience and I wrote a few books about what I learned.

In my study, 51% of the self-made millionaires were entrepreneurs, meaning they made their wealth starting and running their own companies. I not only learned what the rich did to get rich, I also learned about all of their mistakes. And there were a lot of mistakes. I thought I’d share some of the lessons these self-made entrepreneurs were kind enough to share with me:

Pick Your Partners Very Carefully

Success is much easier when you have great partners. Failure is inevitable when you have bad partners. In any new venture pick partners who know what they are doing, have little baggage, have a positive mental outlook, are success-minded and have a hard work ethic. Pick partners who have been there and done that. Never go into any new venture unless your partners have real-world experience in that industry.

Success Requires Risk and Sacrifice

You cannot succeed without taking risk and making sacrifices. The sacrifices you will have to make are many. The most significant will be time away from family and friends.

Trust Your Gut

By gut, I mean your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind picks up things that are otherwise invisible to you. Always listen to that voice in your head. It is your gut telling you what to do or what not to do. That voice becomes loudest when your emotions are at their greatest.

Success Takes Far Longer Than You Expect

Success takes a long time. Far longer than you expect. See Rule of Three below.

The Pursuit of Success is Very Stressful

Things will go wrong. When they do, they create enormous stress. That stress affects you, your loved ones and your business partners. It will negatively affect your health unless you mitigate it by exercising every day.

Fund Your Business with Your Own Money

When you are the source of your working capital, you are in control. When you depend on others for your working capital, they are in control. You will have to do what they tell you to do. You are their slave.

Assumptions Have No Value

Assumptions can cause you to look at things through rose colored lenses. Most assumptions in a business plan are wrong almost 100% of the time. Always pilot test every assumption before you accept it as fact.

The Pursuit of Success is Exhilarating

There will be ups and downs along your path towards success. More downs than ups. But the ups make it all worthwhile.

Success Requires Good Luck

In the pursuit of success, unexpected things happen. Sometimes they are good and sometimes they are bad. To some extent, success and failure are outside your control. Luck plays a critical role in success.

Failure is Humbling – It Can Drag You to Your Knees

Failure is an emotional experience. It can take the financial legs out from underneath you and your family. It can destroy your life..

You Must Overcome Adversity

Obstacles, pitfalls, wrong assumptions, mistakes and the unexpected can stop you in your tracks. Sometimes you can overcome those hurdles and sometimes you cannot. Those who succeed are able to overcome adversity. Those who are unable to overcome adversity, fail.

Be in Control of Your Business

Control means owning more than 50% of your business. Those who have ownership control of your business, control your business, your future and your life.

Pilot Every New Idea

Test new concepts first before diving in full-time into any venture. Dive in full-time only when the business model has been proven to work.

Have Fallback Savings

In every start-up, things will go wrong. Make sure you have set aside funds to help you and your family survive if you fail.

Understand the Rule of Three

It takes three times as long as you think, costs three times as much as you expect and revenue and profits will be one-third as much as you anticipated.

Business Plans are Worthless

Business plans are not worth the paper they written on. Never go into any venture solely on the basis of a business plan.

Have a Powerfully Strong Marriage

If you are married, make sure you have a strong marriage before pursuing any venture. If you have a weak marriage and things go wrong, it can jeopardize your marriage.

Go Lean

Don’t hire anyone. Use subcontractors. Don’t rent. Work out of your home.Only hire employees when you are succeeding and the business model has been proven to work. Work out of a shack if you have to until you have a steady revenue stream.

Keep in Constant Contact with Your Network

Pursuing success demands a great deal of your time. It’s easy to lose contact with your friends and former colleagues. Don’t ignore your relationships. You will be calling them to help you find a job if the business fails.


Mistakes Are Beautiful Things


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Self-made success is built upon a mountain of mistakes. The more mistakes, the higher your mountain, the greater your success and the more money you’ll ultimately make.

In my Rich Habits study, I stumbled onto something I thought was counter-intuitive. The self-made millionaires in my study acknowledged that they had made a lot of mistakes over the years. Those mistakes set them back and cost them an enormous amount of time and money. Yet, they said those costly mistakes were the reason why they became rich.

Mistakes helped them figure out what to do and what not to do. This is school of hard knocks stuff. The school of hard knocks is the hard, costly way to wealth. The mistakes you make are painful and agonizing. They cost you precious time and money. But, they stick. They are like railroad tracks on the brain. You never forget them and you never repeat them.

Probably the poster child for mistakes leading to success is Thomas Edison, who made thousands of mistakes that eventually led to the invention of the incandescent light bulb. But today, we are witnessing in real time another future poster child for mistakes leading to success, Elon Musk.

Musk is the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Musk’s mistakes, in the early stages of those two companies, were so numerous and so costly that they took him to the very brink of personal bankruptcy. At one point, Musk was literally one event away from bankruptcy. At the end of 2008, Musk and all of his companies were on the verge of outright bankruptcy. His Falcon 1 rocket had failed to reach orbit for the third time in early August, 2008. Everything hinged on a fourth flight in September, 28 2008. If it too failed, it was over. Only it didn’t fail. The first privately built rocket attained orbit. Musk was able to cobble together enough money to get them through the end of December, 2008. On December 28, 2008 NASA awarded SpaceX with a $1.6 billion contract. Today, Musk is estimated to be worth $10 billion.

Spectators, or those who are averse to risk, make very few mistakes in life. Most people are spectators, watching and criticizing the courageous who try. Those who refuse to be spectators in life, make many mistakes. But those mistakes lead to growth and growth leads to success and success leads to wealth.

Wealth is the reward for taking action, making mistakes, pivoting to change what you are doing, and persisting until you succeed. Mistakes are part of the get rich process. Mistakes, in fact, are beautiful things.

What is Your Crucible?


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We are defined, not by our success, but by our ability to overcome adversity, in the pursuit of success.

A crucible is, by definition, some harrowing adversity that can leave us momentarily thunderstruck with pain, anguish, anxiety and uncertainty.

The Great Depression was a crucible for millions in America. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were crucibles for an entire country – Japan. Surviving cancer is a crucible for too many individuals.

Almost every self-made millionaire in my Rich Habits study had to face a crucible during their march towards success. Running out of money was a common one. Failure was another for 27% of the millionaires in my study who failed at least once. Bankruptcy and divorce, were other crucibles that tested their resolve.

A crucible is an event that pushes you to the brink of surrender. It is the ultimate test of your ability to survive. It is often a turning point for those who are somehow able to survive. Crucibles test you, push you, challenge you and forever change you.

If you think you are alone, facing some crucible that is dragging you down into a dark hole, you are not. Many, just like you, have had to face crucibles at some point in their lives and survived to talk about it. Crucibles are meant to test you, challenge you and transform you. When you battle through your cocoon of adversity that is your crucible, you emerge a butterfly, better, beautiful and forever changed.

As Churchill famously said, when you find yourself in hell, keep going and never, never, never quit.

10 Incontrovertible Truths About Those Who Strike it Rich


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Becoming wealthy is not a fluke. I spent five years studying rich people in order to find out what they did from the moment they woke up in the morning to the moment they put their head on the pillow.

In my book, Change Your Habits Change Your Life, I share ten incontrovertible truths about creating wealth that you should know if you want to be rich:

  1. Wealth Requires Daily Practice – You must read to learn every day. You must practice some marketable skill every day. Daily practice is how you grow into the person you need to be in order to become successful and wealthy.
  2. Wealth Requires Good Habits – You must forge good habits and eliminate bad habits. Good habits lift you up. Bad habits pull you down.
  3. Wealth is Not Inherited – Depending on the study, 80% or more of wealth in America is first generation. Meaning, 80% or more of the wealthy rose from poverty or the middle-class.
  4. Wealth Requires Work – You will have to work 50 hours or more every week, for many years, in order to become rich. The work you do will have to be focused work. Focused work is intentional work – the daily pursuit of goals related to a dream or dreams you are passionately pursuing.
  5. Wealth Requires Relentless Persistence – Those who succeed and become rich never quit. They will go bankrupt, rather than quit. They get divorced, rather than quit. They will die, rather than quit. They sacrifice everything in the pursuit of their dreams and goals.
  6. Wealth Requires a Team – You must surround yourself with apostles who believe in what you are doing and who will follow you off the cliff in the pursuit of wealth.
  7. Wealth is Attracted to Dreamers – Those who amass the most wealth are dreamers. They devote their lives to realizing some dream they are obsessed with.
  8. Wealth Requires Passion – You must like or love what you do for a living in order to become wealthy.
  9. Wealth Requires Good Health – You can’t make money from a hospital bed. You must exercise every day and eat nutritious, healthy food.
  10. Wealth Requires Luck – At some point, the wealthy get lucky. Luck is a common denominator of every self-made millionaire. Persistence creates luck. Those who refuse to quit, eventually get lucky.

Times may change but truths never do. These are hard truths that apply to every generation interested in accumulating wealth. Individuals who embrace these truths change the circumstances of their lives, and the lives of their children, forever. We call these individuals self-made millionaires.

Monetizing Your Talents


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In the 90’s I taught Graduate school and college part-time. It paid $1,500 per semester, per course. Mostly accounting and tax courses. I had a full-time job back then that just didn’t pay enough. I taught because we needed the money. And I was grateful for the extra money.

Although teaching did not pay a great deal, I loved it. I loved standing up in front of people and talking. I loved taking complex subjects and breaking them down into simple to understand concepts. I was constantly praised by my students and the administrators at the University. I had stumbled on an innate talent I never knew I had.

I remember thinking, at the time, wouldn’t it be great if I could leverage my love for teaching and speaking to make money? But how?

The answer revealed itself to me many years later, when I became an author. Writing books enabled me to teach my Rich Habits to millions and get paid money in the form of royalties and speaking fees.

Finding your innate talents, therefore, should be your #1 objective in life. We all have some innate talent; something that is unique to ourselves. Your job is to devote part of your life searching for those talents. You do that by experimenting with new things: teaching part-time, writing a blog, joining Toastmasters, building your own deck, taking up painting, learning the piano, designing a website, singing karaoke at a bar, or exploring some new skill.

Find your innate talent and then spend the rest of your life perfecting it. People are willing to pay a premium to individuals who are expert in what they do. Those who perfect their innate talents, by practicing them every day, eventually become experts. And the money eventually follows. 


Success Alters Perceptions


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“The first million is the hardest.” Berrey, circa 1920

Long before Elon Musk became a household name, he was telling people about his dream of one day going to Mars. Just about everyone ignored his hyperbole. Then he succeeded in launching the first privately manufactured rocket into orbit around earth. Now, he is considered a genius. Today, his words capture the ears of millions. He is quoted. His success altered the perceptions of everyone.

This was a very commonplace event for the self-made millionaires in my study. Until they succeeded, what they did and what they said was virtually ignored by everybody they came into contact with. Until they succeeded.

We quote successful, relevant, world-changer types. When you succeed, you alter the perceptions of everyone you know – family, friends, co-workers, superiors and casual acquaintances. When you succeed, you have gravitas. You become credible. Success makes you matter.

When you matter, you can get things done much easier. Success feeds upon itself. It acts like an accelerant, fueling even more future success.

This is why it is so important to never quit on your dreams. When you persevere and finally break through to realize your first success, it’s a game changer. You gain instant credibility and the ears of those around you. You change everyone’s perception of you. And this makes future success so much easier.

The first success is the hardest. There’s no doubt about it. But once you succeed, it gets much easier. Your success magnetizes you, attracting other successful people to you. It’s as if you were accepted into a very exclusive club, whose membership is restricted to only the successful.

Never quit on your dreams. You only need to succeed once. Success changes everyone’s perception of you. It removes the mountains, clears away the potholes, greases the gears and creates a snowball effect that grows and expands your success and it’s byproduct, wealth.


Beware of Charlatans


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There are many sharks in the waters, when you are pursuing a dream, or the goals behind a dream. One of those sharks is the charlatan.

Charlatans are individuals who recognize your passion and enthusiasm for your dream and seek only to exploit your passion for their own benefit. The benefit they seek is typically your money but it can also be your expertise, your time or your relationships.

Successful people become expert in vetting people they surround themselves with. This expertise enables them to weed out the charlatans – con artists who intend to use you to help themselves in some way.

Charlatans will waste your time, money and damage your relationships with others. You need to become expert in identifying charlatans because charlatans disrupt your march towards success.

What are the characteristics of charlatans? In my research of self-made millionaires I’ve identified certain traits, certain characteristics that all charlatans possess:

  • They Want Something From You – Charlatans want your time, expertise, your money or to tap into your power relationships. Power relationships are individuals inside your inner circle who are influencers and who can open doors for others.
  • They Over Promise and Under Deliver – Charlatans sell you a bill of goods that never arrive. They will make you believe they can help you realize your dreams and achieve your goals. Charlatans never deliver on their promises and will waste your time and money.
  • Overpowering Personalities – Charlatans have strong, overwhelming personalities. They use their personality to exploit your desires and passions.
  • Profuse in Their Approbation – Charlatans drown you in praise as a way of luring you into doing business with them.
  • No Value – Charlatans lack real expertise, knowledge and zero power relationships that can help open doors for you.
  • Deceptive – Charlatans will deceive you. They will take you down the wrong path.
  • Bombastic – Charlatans bang the drums of their triumphs. Only later will you realize they lack any real success of their own.
  • Unsuccessful or Struggling Financially – Charlatans are unsuccessful individuals who are struggling financially.
  • Have Their Own Mission – Charlatans have one thing in mind – to use you to help them achieve their own dreams and goals.

Those who are not on guard against charlatans will lose time, money and will have to perform triage on their damaged relationships. Those who are aware of the characteristic traits of charlatans will be able to identify them, cast them aside, and continue marching towards success.




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To thine own self be true – Shakespeare

Definition of Authenticity – Genuine, real, accurate, to be yourself.

Authenticity is perhaps the most foundational characteristic of successful individuals. When you are authentic, you embrace who you truly are. You don’t pretend to be someone else.

Authentic people accept themselves, with all of their flaws and all of their uniqueness. They have answered the question Who Am I?

Authentic people devote time to studying themselves. Through their self-study, they are able to grasp the essence of who they truly are. Through this self-study process they become aware of their strengths and their weaknesses. 

When you stop pretending to be like others and embrace who you are, life rewards you. People fall in love with individuals who are authentic. They follow authentic people. Authenticity is like a magnet, drawing others to you. It’s a magnet because it’s rare. Be authentic. Study yourself. Acknowledge your flaws, your strengths and your weaknesses. In order to succeed you must be authentic. Authenticity makes people fall in love with you. 



Routine Success


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“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is perseverance.” Steve Jobs

You hear a lot about perseverance when the topic of success pops up. Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Henry Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many other rich, successful people seem to possess this supernatural ability to persevere. When you read their stories you can’t help but shake your head in admiration for their unwavering ability to persevere.

If you spent as much time as I have in studying self-made millionaires, I’m pretty certain you’d see things a little differently. What I see is not some supernatural ability to persevere. What I see are routines. Every successful person I studied built their success and wealth on the back of some very basic daily routines.

Routines are nothing more than certain daily habits that automate success:

  • Waking up at 5am every day.
  • Reading to learn every day.
  • Achieving at least one meaningful goal every day.
  • Building relationships, every day, with the right people (family and other success-minded people).
  • Exercising aerobically every day.
  • Avoiding time wasters every day (TV, Internet, bars, and other non-productive activities).
  • Eating healthy every day.
  • Practicing some valuable skill every day.
  • Working hard every day to make more money.
  • Every day devoted to solving some problem or obstacle that is standing between you and success.
  • Living a frugal life every day.

Finding a routine that leads to success is how you will succeed. You need to emulate the success routines of other successful people.

Success is not about reinventing the wheel. The path to success is not glamorous. Habits are not glamorous. But having the right habits puts success on autopilot. Good habits give the untrained, outside observer the perception that you are persistent. Habits automate persistence. And persistence is the #1 trait of all successful people.