Why Some Parents Raise Millionaires and Others Raise Thugs

Why is it that some people live successful lives, contributing to the betterment of society while others live failed lives and become a drain on society?

One of the fancy terms economists like to toss around is inter-generational poverty. A few other related terms are low economic mobility, the wealth gap and income inequality. They all have different meanings inside the minds of those economists but to ordinary folk, they all mean pretty much the same thing: if you were poor as a child you’ll probably be poor as an adult. When a country has high economic mobility it means kids who grow up in poor homes have a good chance of breaking out of poverty as adults. America has always been perceived as the land of opportunity. A place where the masses of Horatio Algers around the world could raise themselves up by hard work, smarts and taking on a little risk. But that’s not happening in America. Hasn’t been happening for some time. According to a study led by Harvard’s Raj Chetty (http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org), your ability to escape poverty has not improved over the past fifty years in America.

Education and expanded government initiatives were supposed to be the great emancipators of the poor and huddled masses. LBJ’s War on Poverty pursued hundreds of taxpayer funded initiatives that were supposed to lift people our of poverty permanently and put an end to generational poverty, making society better for everyone. These numerous and expensive government initiatives were supposed to raise people out of poverty, reduce civil unrest and make society a safer, better place for everyone. Since the War on Poverty was declared in 1965, $22 trillion has been spent on anti-poverty programs. But despite the fact that millions more today are offered educational opportunities, government programs intended to lend a hand and safety nets our grandparents never dreamed of, not much has changed.

In fact, it’s gotten worse. The poverty rate was 13% in 1988 and today it hovers at close to 15%. Even in 2008, before the Great Recession unleashed its devastation, the poverty rate was 13.2%. Worse, inequality is growing, despite the trillions spent by government, and civil unrest has never been so great. It seems lately, there is riot after riot breaking out somewhere in cities accross America.  So, clearly, government entitlement programs do not work and are, in fact, having the opposite effect. Something else is causing poverty, civil unrest among the nation’s poor and a growing inequality between the haves and the have nots. But what?

The cause of generational poverty, civil unrest, the wealth gap and income inequality is parenting. Bad parenting to be more specific. Parenting creates individuals dependent upon government, criminals, and is responsible for the blight in many of America’s poorest communities. Parenting is also responsible for creating successful individuals who add value, lifting up society.

We have a parenting gap in America that is responsible for the wealth gap, the income gap, the economic mobility problem and the growing poverty in America’s poorest communities. How do I know? My research tells me so – my five year study of the daily habits that separate successful people from unsuccessful people. 233 of these self-made millionaires and 128 who were living in or near poverty, answered 244 questions. I analyzed their responses and discovered over 300 differences between the habits of the rich and the habits of the poor. So, you might say, I know a little bit about the habits that make you rich, poor or keep you stuck in the middle-class.

When I finished my research, I identified twelve places where individuals picked up their habits in life. By far the single greatest source of good or bad habits were from parents. Many adult habits, I found, are forged in childhood. You pick up habits at home. Kids watch what their parents do and then emulated them, good or bad. The self-made millionaires and poor people in my study picked up habits from their parents that unknowingly set them on the path to wealth or poverty. Don’t believe me? A recent study by Brown University, in which nearly 50,000 families were surveyed, concluded that habits in children are unlikely to vary after age 9 (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/school-thought/201502/study-finds-habits-in-children-take-root-age-9).

While there is not much you can do about the habits you pick up from your parents as kids, there is a great deal you can do as adults. You can choose which habits you adopt or cast aside by changing who you associate with. Associating with the right people dramatically affects your habits. By right people, I am referring to success-minded individuals; upbeat, positive, goal-oriented people. These individuals represent only about 5-10% of the population, so you have to make an effort to find them. They can be found running charitable groups, business groups, religious groups, within mentor groups (Boys and Girls Club, iMentor etc.), at the best companies (http://fortune.com/best-companies/), in trade organizations and in mastermind groups. Your lifelong objective should be to associate with those who possess certain habits that are essential to success in life. What are those habits? You can find all of the Rich Habits on my blog page of my website, or just read or listen to the media interviews about the Rich Habits on my “In The News” page, also on my website: www.richhabits.net. I post all of my research on my website, to the great displeasure of my publicist.

Why are habits so important? Here’s why. What you do every day matters. Consistency drives success, failure or mediocrity in life. Your actions, on a daily basis, determine if you will succeed, fail or just get by. Those who succeed in life, consistently avoid bad habits and consistently follow good habits. Those who fail in life consistently avoid good habits and consistently follow bad habits. Those who get by in life are inconsistent in their application of good habits and bad habits. Consistency forges a life of success, failure or mediocrity. Habits, by definition, are consistent, repetitive behaviors we engage in frequently. Many are daily habits, some are weekly, a few monthly. According to a 2006 Duke Study, 40% of all of your daily activities are habits. So, yes, habits are important. In fact, your habits dictate what social strata you will occupy in life. And since a vast majority of them come from your parents, parenting causes the wealth gap, income inequality and your economic status (economic mobility) in life.

If you’re a parent reading this, you have two choices, as I see it. You can either get angry and defensive at me, in which case nothing will change, or you can do something about it. You can change your habits from Poor Habits to Rich Habits, or help your kids form Rich Habits. If you do this, your kids will grow up with habits that make success automatic. And when your kids are raised with good habits it will increase their chances of success in life, making society a better and safer place for all of us.

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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, Money.com, India TV, News.com 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, SUCCESS.com, Inc.com, and the Huffington Post. Tom is a frequent contributor to Business Insider, Credit.com, Bankrate.com 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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  1. Excellent points, Tom!

    Habits can either be the death of you or the beginning of the new you. My bad habits nearly killed me almost 10 years ago. Now my habits take me in a new direction everyday for the better.

    Thank you!

  2. My grand daughter asked me this question, who makes more money a celebrity or a doctor. I said a celebrity, she asked me why is that? She said, a celebrity doesnt do anything and a doctor does, i responded with, no thats not true, they both work hard on what they do, its just one of them has more of a demand from people, her respond, but the doctor should get paid more cuz he helps people, i said either way its your choice on which way you want to go, she said i rather be a doctor and help people, than be rich with all that money doing nothing, smh, i best teach her about wealth, thanks for the info, will do.

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