Thomas C. Corley

About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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When is the Best Time to Make an Important Decision?


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When you are in an emotional state, the prefrontal cortex, your rational, executive command and control center, shuts down. The amygdala, the emotional control center of the brain, then takes over.

When the amygdala is in control of your decision-making, logic is removed from the decision-making process.

A common example of this is overcommitment.

A boss, supervisor, or client requests a meeting with you. At the meeting they ask you to do something for them. Some new project or initiative. Your plate is full. You know this because your prefrontal cortex informs you of this in real time. However, you also want to please them. That desire to please is an emotion.

Your prefrontal cortex recedes into the background, suppressed by the fired up amygdala, which was turned on the moment your desire to please entered the meeting. You walk out of the meeting with more work.

The next morning you wake up. Your amygdala has quieted down and your prefrontal cortex is back in control. Your first thoughts are “why did I say yes?” You have a family and other responsibilities that will now be impacted by our emotional decision.

You didn’t have an opportunity to discuss the impact of this new commitment with your partner or spouse before you made the decision. Now, after the fact, you must. This new commitment will require your partner or spouse to take on additional responsibilities. Their plate, however, is also full. You fight. You’re both unhappy.

Overcommitment is a Poor Habit. It is always an emotion-based decision. To remove the emotions from your decision-making, you must give your amygdala time to calm down and allow your prefrontal cortex to control the decision-making.

The best time to make a decision is upon waking up in the morning. This is when the amygdala is dormant. Deferred decisions remove the amygdala from the decision-making process and put your prefrontal cortex in control. The decision you make will very likely be the right decision.

“Let me sleep on it.”

There’s a lot of old, sound wisdom in those five words.

Is Your IQ Fixed or Can You Get Smarter? | Rich Habits Poor Habits Podcast

Want to become smarter? According to the latest research, you can.

Contrary to what was previously believed, your IQ is not fixed.

Most IQ tests attempt to measure two types of intelligence – crystallized and fluid.

  1. Crystallized intelligence relies on existing skills, knowledge and experience to solve problems by accessing information from long-term memory.
  2. Fluid intelligence, on the other hand, relies on the ability to understand relationships between various concepts to solve the problems.

It is independent of any previous knowledge, skills or experience and accesses information from short-term memory or “working memory”.

Researchers have concluded that this part of intelligence can be improved.

So how do you do this?

That’s what we’re going to discuss today.

When you engage in certain mental and physical activities, the size of your axons grows, the number of dendrites multiply and you increase the number of synapses inside your brain.

When your mental and physical activities are limited, your axons shrink, reducing the number of dendrites and synapses.


  • Reading to learn
  • Auditory learning
  • Visual learning
  • Studying (Semantic Memory)
  • Learning a new language
  • Utilizing a new language through repetition or absorption in a new country
  • Traveling – exploring different parts of the world and different cultures (Episodic Memory)
  • Learning a new skill
  • Novelty
  • Daily exercise
  • Engaging in athletic activities
  • Practicing a skill, new or old, repetitively
  • Creative pursuits such as writing, painting, music, engineering, building design, invention, etc.
  • Increasing your communications with others (networking, volunteering, working, social interaction, etc.)


  • Absence of learning (no reading, no auditory learning and no visual learning)
  • Loss of skills due to inactivity
  • Isolation
  • Being Homebound
  • Being set in your ways – absence of novelty
  • Not exercising
  • No athletic activities
  • Watching TV (exceptions: TV shows that teach)
  • Reading Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. (exceptions: posts that teach)

If you forge daily habits that increase the size of your axons, number of dendrites and the synapses inside your brain, your IQ will grow.

Good habits, therefore, can grow your IQ throughout your entire life.

Conversely, bad habits can cause your IQ to decrease during your lifetime.

Links and Resources:

Michael Yardney

Rich Habits Poor Habits

Michael Yardney’s Mentorship Program

Some of our favourite quotes from the show:

“Interestingly, exercise is one of the actions that can increase how smart you are.” – Michael Yardney

“When you’re a spectator, your brain cells are not growing. In fact, they’re shrinking.” – Tom Corley

“The message today is your IQ is not fixed at birth, it’s not related to your genetics, in fact, your habits, what you do regularly can either help you become smarter or less intelligent.” – Michael Yardney


Reviews are hugely important to me because they help new people discover this podcast. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please leave a review on iTunes – it’s your way of passing the message forward to others and saying thank you to me.  Here’s how.

Dabbling Your Way to Success


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Definition of Heuristics: The process of experimentation through trial and error.

Those who achieve the greatest success in life, and thus, accumulate the most wealth, are individuals who have combined three things:

  1. Monetization
  2. Passion and
  3. Innate Talent

Making money (Monetization) doing something you love (Passion), which is easier for you to master than it is for others (Innate Talent), will make you rich and successful in life.

Each person possesses certain innate talents; activities they are naturally better at doing than others. These innate talents are imprinted on you at birth by virtue of your unique combination of the 20,000 genes you inherited from your mother and your father.

When an innate talent is exposed, those talent genes awaken and send a powerful signal to the emotional center of your brain, altering you, through passion, that you’ve struck gold.

Passion is life’s way of notifying you that you’ve stumbled upon an innate talent – the thing you were born to do – your main purpose in life. When you put your innate talents to use to make money – success, wealth and fulfillment result.

The sad truth for most people, however, is that their talent genes remain dormant, never seeing the light of day.


Lack of experimentation.

Only by experimenting with numerous, diverse activities will you be able to strike gold – finding that which you were born to do.

In short, you need to learn how to dabble.

Experiment with different activities. Explore one new activity a month. Devote whatever time you have available to that activity every day.

One process, which I recently touched on (YouTube Challenge), involves making a list of different new activities you’d like to experiment with. Then, one by one, learn everything you can about each activity and engage in that activity for one month.

After a month, you will discover if it is an innate talent:

  • It will be easy for you to do and it will also make your heart sing (you’ll want to keep doing it) or
  • It will be very hard for you to do and will make your heart cry (you’ll want to stop doing it).

We all have one short life to live. The only way for us to find our true calling is through heuristics – experimentation.

Start your experiment today!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Growing up Rich


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The rich get richer.

You’ve no doubt heard that soundbite many times.

Is it true?

The short answer is no.

According to the Williams Group, a wealth consultancy group, 70% of wealthy families lose their wealth by the second generation, and a stunning 90% by the third.

Still, those raised in wealthy households have a huge advantage over those raised in poverty.


  • Better Education – Those raised in wealthy households generally live in wealthier neighborhoods. These neighborhoods typically have better school systems with better teachers and more educational resources.
  • More Resources – The rich obviously have more resources. They can afford to hire tutors for their children. They can afford to fund ancillary costs associated with the clubs or organizations their children are able to participate in. They can afford to enroll their children in SAT preparation courses. They can afford to fund college education for their children.
  • More Time – Many of the children raised in poor households are, at some point, called upon to help pull the cart – they must find work to help support the family. This limits how much time they have to do anything else. Those raised in wealthier households do not have this need. Thus, wealthy kids have more time to study, more time to participate in school clubs and more time to spend building long-lasting relationships with their wealthy friends. These long-lasting relationships pay dividends down the road. Finding a job is easier – just reach out to one of your childhood friends, and ask them to open a door for you.
  • Formal Education – Wealthy kids often attend expensive private schools. These schools are more focused on preparing their students for college. As a result, almost 100% of graduates from private high schools attend college. Conversely, only about 16 percent of low-income students graduate college.
  • Success Peer Pressure – Children raised in wealthy households are expected to go to college and sometimes graduate school. In the minds of their wealthy parents, this tees their kids up to find better, higher-paying jobs, upon graduation. In these wealthy enclaves, this becomes a shared expectation wherein everyone within these rich neighborhoods is on a similar path – the pursuit of a college and/or a graduate school education. This “Herd Doctrine” has a very powerful gravitational pull that directs the behavior of those inside the “rich neighborhood herd”.

But, growing up rich also comes at a cost. There are certain disadvantages to growing up rich that inhibit the pursuit and accumulation of wealth.


  • Less Willing to Take Risks – Those raised in wealthy households have a lot to lose. Thus, they are more risk averse than those raised in poverty, who have nothing to lose.
  • Inferior Work Ethic – Comfort can lead to complacency. Those raised in a wealthy household do not have to work for their meals, their school supplies, their video games, their iPhones, etc. When you have no choice but to work in order to get the things others are given, you are forced to develop a hard work ethic. Because success requires a strong work ethic,  if you lack it, success will be impossible.
  • Fear of Failure – One of the downsides of failure, is that failing at something can put you in the poor house. When you grow up poor, you don’t fear poverty as much, because it is something you are familiar with and something you survived. Therefore, failure does not frighten you as much. Those raised in wealthy households, however, become accustomed to having the good things in life. Thus, fear of failure means losing what you have. That fear will hold you back from the pursuit of your dreams, because such pursuits could fail.
  • Uncomfortable With Failure – Those raised in wealthy households have many safety nets that come to the rescue when they fail at something. Consoling parents, tutors, private coaches, etc. When these children begin work in the real world, however, the real world will not coddle them, like their parents. They will eventually be exposed to failure, and when they are, they will be ill-equipped to overcome it on their own.
  • Unaccustomed to Sacrifice – Those raised in wealthy households are given things they did not have to work or sacrifice for. The pursuit of wealth always requires sacrifice. Sometimes for many years. If you’re unaccustomed to sacrifice, it will be more painful and less tolerable for you. Grinding it out is typically not in the DNA of those raised in wealthy households.

You Tube Challenge


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Success requires change and one of the seven steps to change is growth. You grow by learning. This learning can be knowledge-based, skill-based or both.

One of the advantages our generation has over all other generations is easy access to information. Information that can accelerate change, leading to success and producing wealth.

If you were to peruse YouTube, you’d find a lot of videos. Many of those videos do nothing but feed time-wasting habits. But many of those videos also educate.

When I decided I wanted to build a horse shoe pit in my back yard, I visited YouTube. There, I found an abundance of videos explaining and showing exactly how to do that. I watched a few videos, took notes, and after about an hour, went outside and began building my horse shoe pit, based on my notes.

Although I had never built a horse shoe pit before, the education I acquired from those YouTube videos helped me to build the perfect horse shoe pit.

What new knowledge or skills would you like to acquire?

See if you can make a list of twelve. This will become your Growth List.

Next, find a binder and put your Growth List into that binder. This will become your Growth Binder.

Then, each month, focus on one of the twelve items on your list. Visit YouTube and watch at least three videos about the item on your list. Take copious notes. Review your notes. Try to summarize your copious notes into a one-page summary. Then put all of your notes and summary page into a Growth Binder, with a slipsheet or topic separator, in order to separate it from the other items on your Growth List.

If an item on your list is skill-based, make sure you practice what you’ve learned, after reviewing the notes. This will help reinforce what you’ve learned and help you develop a brand new skill.

Do this for each item on your Growth List. After twelve months you will have advanced your knowledge and your skills enormously.

Ideally, if your Growth List is tied to your dreams and goals, it will help move you forward towards the realization of your dreams and goals.

Good luck!

The Advantages of Growing Up In Poverty


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Those who struggle with poverty, while growing up, see the world as a very different place than those raised in the middle-class or in wealthy households.

In my Rich Habits Study, 41% of the 177 self-made millionaires were raised in poor households. Yet, somehow they managed to break out of their poverty as adults.

Ironically, according to my research, being poor actually endows you with certain advantages over the middle-class and the wealthy.

More Willing to Take Risks

One of the common denominators among all of the self-made millionaires in my study, was the need to become comfortable with taking risk. Growing up poor forces you to take risks in the pursuit of wealth. Overcoming the fear of taking risks, therefore, becomes a habit.

With respect to my Rich Habits self-made millionaires, the fear of taking risk resurfaced only after they accumulated their wealth. At that point, the fear of losing their hard-earned wealth motivated them to hire wealth advisors, insurance agents, CPAs, Estate Planners and other financial advisors to help them preserve their wealth. So, becoming rich actually lowered their tolerance for taking risks, risks which could potentially decrease their wealth.

Desire to Change is Great

Poverty can either beat you down or make you stronger. For the self-made millionaires in my study, it made them stronger. That’s why they were in my study – poverty motivated them to achieve.

Their desire to become successful and rich drove them to transform themselves. This desire to change motivated them to learn what they needed to know in order to succeed. It also forced them to develop and perfect superior skills in order to earn more than their competition.

Superior Work Ethic

A hard work ethic is a prerequisite to success. Those who are raised in poverty, have no choice but to work hard. Thus, the poor develop a hard work ethic. When you are able to combine that hard work ethic with your dreams and goals, what a powerful combination!

If you grow up in an environment of comfort, you might be less willing to do the hard work success requires.

Failure Doesn’t Scare You As Much

One of the downsides of failure, is that failing at something can put you in the poor house. When you grow up poor, you don’t fear poverty as much, because it is something you are familiar with and something you survived. Therefore, failure does not frighten you as much and, in fact, emboldens you to take risks.

Poverty Removes Rose-Colored Lenses

When you grow up poor you see things through a much different lens. You know life can be very hard when you are poor. Things can and do go wrong. You know that because you experienced that growing up in poverty. The experience of poverty allows you to see things as they really are and not allow yourself to be blinded by unrealistic rose-colored optimism.

Being anchored in reality, allows you to see potential pitfalls ahead of time, which enables you to navigate and pivot around those pitfalls. Those who are not raised in poverty, might see things as they wish them to be and be blind to reality, until it hits. And when it hits, it’s always a surprise, leaving you ill-prepared to deal with that reality.

Comfortable With Failure and Setbacks

Those who struggle with poverty become familiar with failure and setbacks. Consequently, when things go wrong, as they often do in the pursuit of wealth, those raised in poverty don’t raise the white flag and surrender. Rather, they see failure and setbacks as normal and something that can be overcome.

Accustomed to Sacrifice

Growing up poor means you are unable to possess the things non-poor people take for granted. Poverty forces you to become accustomed to doing without. This actually is a great advantage. The pursuit of wealth always requires sacrifice. Sometimes for many years. If you’re accustomed to sacrifice, it’s less painful and more tolerable.

Frugality is a Habit

The poor have no choice but to be frugal with their spending. They forge the frugality habit at a very young age. And, as you know, habits are hard to break. This frugality habit, therefore, follows the poor into their wealthy adult lives.

Growing up poor is not necessarily a disadvantage. Poverty forces you to develop certain traits that can actually be leveraged to your advantage, helping you in the pursuit of your dreams and goals.

Why Bad Things Happen


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Do bad things happen to you?

How often?

Seldom, occasionally, more than occasionally, all the time?

If bad things are a part of life for you, it’s time for some serious introspection.

We are creatures of habit. That means we do things without consciously being aware that we’re doing them.

When life goes wrong too often, that’s a red flag that your repetitive behavior, thinking and choices, also known as habits, are to blame.

Relationship Problems

Relationships are the currency of the wealthy. Wealthy people build strong, powerful and lasting relationships with upbeat, optimistic, enthusiastic, can-do people.

If you’re having relationship problems, there are two main causes:

#1 Your Relationships Are Toxic

You have surrounded yourself with toxic people. Toxic people have Toxic Traits that throw wrenches into our lives and those Toxic Traits eventually become intolerable:

  • They constantly complain
  • The constantly criticize
  • They are negative
  • They are pessimistic
  • They are on an endless search for problems
  • They struggle financially
  • Their lives are filled with drama
  • They have addictions

#2 You Are Toxic

You possess Toxic Traits and those Toxic Traits eventually become intolerable to others, destroying or impairing your relationships.

Job Problems

Wealthy people make themselves Un-Fireable. They do this in three ways:

#1 They Become Virtuosos

Every day they invest in themselves by growing their knowledge and perfecting their skills via daily practice. This transforms them into Virtuosos, experts in some particular niche. And because they are Virtuosos, they are indispensable to their employer or customers.

Those who struggle keeping a job have not invested the time in improving their knowledge or developing superior skills. As a result, they are expendable, and among the first to be fired.

#2 They Are Likeable

Successful, wealthy people are likeable. People want to work with them and do business with them. As a result, they have strong relationships with the people who matter the most – superiors and customers.

Those who struggle keeping a job may be victims of their own lake of likeability.

#3 They Build Relationships With Decision-Makers

Wealthy people work hard in building strong, powerful relationships with decision-makers. They talk to them regularly, they make an effort to learn more about their lives and their interests and they do whatever they can to help make their job easier. They acknowledge birthdays and life events.

Money Problems

There are essentially three ways to create wealth:

  1. Save/Invest – These millionaires reduce their standard of living in order to live off 80% or less of their income. Then they prudently invest that 20% prudently, every year, for many years.
  2. Become a Virtuoso – These millionaires either have a unique knowledge-based expertise or developed some expert skills that set them apart from their competition. As a result, they are able to charge a premium for their products or services or are able to rise up the corporate ladder and become beneficiaries of wealth-building stock-based compensation.
  3. Entrepreneurship – These millionaires pursue a dream and keep pursuing that dream until they succeed.

If you’re struggling financially, it is most likely because you are living beyond your means. You could be living beyond your means because you don’t earn enough to meet your living expenses or you make a good living but spend too much money.

Health Problems

The wealthy in my Rich Habits Study habitualized good health. They did this a number of ways:

  • Eating Healthy
  • Daily Aerobic Exercise – Aerobic exercise has five important benefits:
    1. Improves Mental Functioning
    2. Improves Health
    3. Boosts the Immune System Which Helps Prevents Disease
    4. Reduces the Effects of Chronic Stress
    5. Makes Us Feel Happier
  • Sleeping 8 Hours a Night – There are many benefits to a good night’s sleep:
    1. Sleep Repairs Cell Damage
    2. Sleep Creates Memories
    3. Sleep Clears Out Waste Material Within Each Cell
    4. Sleep Helps Grow & Repair Muscles
    5. Sleep Erases Bad or Unimportant Memories
    6. Sleep Grows & Distributes New Brain Cells
    7. Sleep Restores Willpower
    8. Sleep Reduces Inflammation and Helps You Think Clearer
    9. Sleep Cleans Brain Cells

If you want to get off the problem treadmill, you have to make yourself aware of the habits that are causing those problems. Self-awareness is always the starting point of change.


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When a home is sold in New Jersey, sellers have to make an estimated tax payment at the time of closing.

This estimated tax payment is actually the “exit tax” that so many New Jersey homeowners have questions about.

New Jersey imposes this tax to make sure homeowners pay what is owed on their final state tax return even if they no longer live in the state.

State rules say the estimated tax payment shall not be less than 2 percent of the consideration for the sale as stated in the deed.

To qualify, the home would have had to be your principal residence for 24 of the previous 60 months.

Effective Aug. 1, 2004, the state enacted P.L. 2004, Chapter 55, which requires nonresidents of New Jersey to pay an estimated tax on the income from the sale of New Jersey real property.

This estimated tax is an enforcement tool to enable the state to collect tax from nonresident sellers, and it’s collected when the deed is recorded, he said – MEANING AT CLOSING.

The state wants to make sure you don’t actually skip town without paying the tax.

In conjunction with the sale of your New Jersey property, you will need to complete Form GIT/Rep-1 (Nonresident Seller’s Tax Declaration) and it should be given to the buyer or buyer’s attorney.

Along with the form, you will need to include the applicable estimated tax payment. This would be equal to the greater of 8.97 percent of the gain on the sale of the property or 2 percent of the consideration received for the sale, Bloom said.

The estimated tax payment that you make at the time of the sale would be reported on your State of New Jersey Income Tax–Nonresident Return that you file for the year of sale. If the estimated tax payment exceeds your actual tax liability, you would receive a refund.

A New Jersey nonresident who sells a home in New Jersey which they previously lived in, and which still qualifies for the personal residence exclusion, would still be required to make this payment but may not have any taxable gain on the sale on their tax return due to the personal residence exclusion. After filing their New Jersey tax return, they may not have a taxable gain at all, thus resulting in no New Jersey exit tax AND IN FACT A REFUND OF THE TAX YOU WERE REQUIRED TO PAY AT CLOSING.

Rich Habits News

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I am happy to announce that the Rich Habits brand is expanding.

This past month I have signed the following foreign publishing agreements: [Read more…]

Good Luck is Critical to Success


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After I completed my Rich Habits Study, one thing became very clear – the rich, at some point during their success journey, get lucky.

Luck was so critical to the success of many of the self-made millionaires in my study, that I felt it imperative to address it right out of the gate in my book Rich Habits. I’ve updated that preamble for the 2nd Edition of Rich Habits and thought I’d share it with you.

The Rich Have Good Luck and the Poor Have Bad Luck

Many unsuccessful people rationalize that they don’t have “good luck” or just aren’t “lucky.” They argue that in order to be financially successful you need good luck.

So, is good luck important to becoming successful? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” All successful people pursuing some dream, have experienced good luck. In fact, no one will ever become successful if they do not have good luck. But let’s elaborate on this hard truth.

There are four types of luck. The first type of luck is “random good luck.” This is a type of good luck we have no control over, like winning the lottery or receiving an unexpected inheritance.

The second type of luck is “random bad luck.” Like random good luck, we have no control over this, either. Events creating this type of luck are outside of our influence for the most part. Examples include coming down with a genetic-driven disease, getting hit by lightning, random accidents, a tree falling on your house, etc.

The third type of luck is “opportunity luck.” This is good luck that is a byproduct of good daily habits. Think of opportunity luck as an apple orchard. You prepare the land, plant the apple seeds, and diligently nurture the trees as they grow. After some time the apple trees blossom and bear fruit. This fruit is the byproduct of doing the things you needed to do over a long period of time. These apples represent the fruit of good habits – opportunity luck.

Successful people do the things that are necessary over the long term in order for opportunity luck to occur in their lives. They live the Rich Habits every single day. Rich Habits are like a magnet for opportunity luck. Many of the opportunities are completely unexpected. Some people refer to this as “the law of attraction.” Opportunity luck follows the law of attraction for those who live the Rich Habits.

The fourth type of luck is “detrimental luck.” Detrimental luck is the evil twin of opportunity luck. Unsuccessful people have bad habits. Like the Rich Habits, bad habits are also seeds. They will take root and grow until they too bear fruit. Unfortunately, the bad fruit birthed by bad habits brings detrimental luck into the lives of the unsuccessful. This detrimental luck might be a job loss, investment losses, foreclosure, divorce, illness, or something similar.

To bring success into your life you need to attract the right kind of luck. Living the Rich Habits guarantees you will attract the right kind of luck, and opportunities will appear, seemingly out of thin air. As with low-hanging fruit, all you have to do is reach out and pick it.