The Dave Ramsey Show: Interview with Tom Corley

Dave Ramsey Blog: 20 Things The Rich Do Every Day

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So what do the rich do every day that the poor don’t do?

In this radio interview, best-selling author Tom Corley outlines a few of the differences between the habits of the rich and the poor:

1. 70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day. 23% of wealthy gamble. 52% of poor people gamble.

2. 80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.

3. 76% of wealthy exercise aerobically 4 days a week. 23% of poor do this.

4. 63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% for poor people.

5. 81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% for poor.

6. 63% of wealthy parents make their children read 2 or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3% for poor.

7. 70% of wealthy parents make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month vs. 3% for poor.

8. 80% of wealthy make hbd calls vs. 11% of poor

9. 67% of wealthy write down their goals vs. 17% for poor

10. 88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs 2% for poor.

11. 6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% for poor.

12. 79% of wealthy network 5 hours or more each month vs. 16% for poor.

13. 67% of wealthy watch 1 hour or less of TV. every day vs. 23% for poor

14. 6% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% for poor.

15. 44% of wealthy wake up 3 hours before work starts vs. 3% for poor.

16. 74% of wealthy teach good daily success habits to their children vs. 1% for poor.

17. 84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity luck vs. 4% for poor.

18. 76% of wealthy believe bad habits create detrimental luck vs. 9% for poor.

19. 86% of wealthy believe in life-long educational self-improvement vs. 5% for poor.

20. 86% of wealthy love to read vs. 26% for poor

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.
Email Tom
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  1. jun-pu manpan says:

    Every time you select a sample there will be some potential for sampling error; I understand that. However, to get close to the mark you need to strive to reduce sampling bias. That’s where I would argue your approach is weak. Yes, pollsters make generalizations, but the more accurate ones use random samples, not convenience samples. I like your research idea and I’m sure there is some truth to your findings, but your methods are questionable and you don’t seem to have a good defense for them. This approach would not even hold up in a BA-level research methods course.

    p.s. I am a pollster.

  2. Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It’s the little changes that produce the largest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

  3. Mike Logsdon says:

    I read regular books during my commute to and from work. I don’t get it — why are audio books better than regular books?

  4. They aren’t. It’s just hard to read a book when you are driving or traveling. Utilizing our travel time to listen to audio books is a good use of your time.

  5. Hi Charles. I used a broad 20 question list. I asked these questions to two groups (Wealthy & Poor) over a 4+ year period. The wealthy came from a combination of clients, business associates, former colleagues, people I worked with on nonprofits (charitable, civic and business groups), people I know, and those who responded to my free financial planning ads. The majority of the poor came from people I knew were poor, my free ad for financial planning and reduced tax return prep ads. I spent over 2 years asking the 233 wealthy my 20 question list. It took 2 years because they did not know they were part of a study and it took sometimes 5-6 meetings & phone calls to complete a list for one person. Studying the poor was an afterthought. When I told someone I know what I had done they asked me “what do poor people do?” I then spent another 2 years doing the same analysis for poor people. Once I completed my info gathering I spent 2 years grouping the data, analyzing it and comparing each group. Every 4-6 months, for the past 3 years, I have been going back over the data for things that are raised in my TV or Radio or Print interviews, which I missed in my original analysis. Such as gossiping, professions, education etc. Sometimes I tracked requested data and sometimes I did not. For instance, I did not track by age. I missed that one. But my gut recollection is that most (Rich and Poor) were between the ages of 40-60. I accumulated all this data on excel worksheets and then summarized it. I keep all the core data from the interviews in two large separate folders. One titled Rich and one titled Poor. Within each large folder are subsidiary folders for each participant with all my notes & the completed 20 question list. I hope that helps.

  6. Ricardo Soriano Cardenas says:

    Was the survey done regionally or across the country? Was culture and ethnicity taken into consideration?

  7. jun-pu manpan says:

    Hi, Thomas – You are making generalizations about an entire population based on a convenience sample. The potential for sampling bias seems quite high. For instance, you studied poor people who you knew were poor. There’s probably a segment of the poor population who you don’t realize are poor, and because they are not obviously poor, it’s likely they have different habits from those who you can tell are poor. The hidden poor probably have habits more similar to the wealthy. Have you thought about this? How would you defend your sampling approach?

  8. Across the country. 60% were white males, 25% Jewish and the balance made up of women and various races between the ages of 40-60.

  9. You’re making assumptions. I didn’t make assumptions. Whenever you are working with a sampling and you post the results of that sample you are making a generalization. Pollsters do this all the time. More often than not, they are close to the mark.


  1. […] “88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs 2% for poor… 6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% for poor…” – […]

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