Poverty by Association

Tom Corley boats - crop

Financial success takes a long time. In my Rich Habits Study it took the average self-made millionaire 32 years to become “rich”. When I began my study I wanted to know the answer to one question: why are some people rich and other people poor? Five years, and 51,984 questions later I learned the answer – your daily habits. Habits dictate your circumstances in life. This is a truly groundbreaking discovery. Habits affect just about every aspect of your life. And there are many shades of habits. We have money habits, eating habits, drinking habits, exercise habits, sleeping habits, downtime habits, work-time habits, reading habits, relationship habits, happiness habits and thinking habits. We have morning habits, afternoon habits and nighttime habits. According to a 2006 Duke study, 40% of our daily activities and thinking are habits.

Money habits have the most profound impact on your financial circumstances. These can be broken down into two sub-categories: spending habits and savings habits. Many of the self-made millionaires in my study were able to accumulate their wealth by virtue of having learned good money habits from either their parents or some mentor in life. When you have good money habits, you spend less than you make and save the difference. Over time, this savings grows and compounds. Those who dutifully live below their means for much of their lives are able to accumulate significant amounts of wealth. Some are even able to accumulate millions.

But most, unfortunately, do not have good money habits. How do I know? In a 2013 survey conducted by the Associated Press, they found that 80% of America’s adults struggled with poverty or were near-poverty, just one paycheck from their lives completely unraveling. No safety net, little to no savings, every day just trying to keep up with their bills and credit card payments. One of the culprits for this is a Poverty Habits I uncovered in my research that derails most in the United States. Some call it keeping up with the Jone’s. I like to call it Poverty by Association.
We pick up most of our habits from those in our environment: parents, teachers, family, friends, work colleagues, neighbors, mentors, celebrities, coaches, etc. What I uncovered in my research was that most were never taught by these “influencers” the habit of Living Below Your Means. It unfortunate, but very few like to talk about money. If no one around you is talking about money, if your parents and your teachers are not teaching you good money habits, then you are adrift in a sea of financial uncertainty. As a result, it is highly probable that many of the individuals you associate with on a regular basis are as deficient as you are in managing their money. They very likely have bad spending and savings habits that are dragging you down with them. A night out on the town with a friend can become an unexpected $300 whirlwind and a vacation can turn into an investment. Think long and hard about the affect your friends, and those you associate with on a daily basis, are having on your spending and savings habits. If you hang out with spendthrifts, there’s a good chance you will become one yourself.

One of the hallmarks of the self-made millionaires in my study was the conscious effort they made to associate with like-minded individuals. If a close relationship was a spendthrift, they limited how much time they spent with those individuals. If a close relationship was conscientious with their money, they increased the amount of time they spent with those individuals. If you want to adopt good money habits, you need to associate with individuals who possess those habits and you need to disassociate yourself from those who do not. If all of the close associations you make in life share your desire to live below your means, it is highly probable their good money habits will become your good money habits.



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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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