Rich Habits Study – Background and Methodology

Rich Habits

My Rich Habits Study has received international attention in the media. Newspapers, magazines, online sites, TV, radio and podcasts in 27 countries, so far, have shared bits and pieces of my research.

As a result, I have received tens of thousands of emails from around the world, regarding my research and my study methodology.

The overriding goal of my study was to answer two fundamental questions:

#1 Why are people rich or poor?

#2 What do the rich and the poor do from the moment they wake up in the morning to the moment they go to bed at night? 

Below is a summary of my study:

  1. I interviewed 233 wealthy individuals and 128 poor individuals over a 3 year period beginning in March 2004 and ending in March 2007.
  2. Of the 233 millionaires, 177 were self-made millionaires and 56 inherited their money.
  3. Of the 177 self-made millionaires, 105 (59%) came from middle-class households and 72 (41%) came from poor households.
  4. I spent another 16 months analyzing and summarizing the data, completing my initial analysis sometime around August – October 2008.
  5. Rich Group: $160,000 in Annual Gross Income and $3.2 million in Net Assets.
  6. Poor Group: Less than $35,000 in Annual Gross Income and less than $5,000 in Liquid Assets.
  7. About 50% of the responses were physical meetings and the rest were via phone interviews and/or emails.
  8. None of the subjects were aware they were being interviewed as I was trying to control for individual bias in their responses.
  9. I asked each individual 20 broad questions (144 sub-questions) re: their daily activities. When you do the math that equals 51,984 total questions. If you’d like a copy of those questions, email me (tom@richhabits.net).
  10. I tracked their responses in individual physical folders and subsequently transferred the data to two large excel worksheets for each group. I then consolidated these into what has become my Research Summary schedule. If you’d like a copy email me (tom@richhabits.net).
  11. I analyzed each group’s responses over a 16 month period and separated these responses into specific categories, which are included in my Research Summary.
  12. I continued to analyze the data for 6 more years after completing the initial analysis. To date, I have documented 334 categories, or 346 different data points of both groups.
  13. Most of the interviews were geographically distributed as follows within the United States: 50% northeast, 20% southeast, 10% mid-west and the balance scattered across the country.
  14. Age Demographics:
    • Rich Group (233 Individuals):
      • Age 40 – 45 = 7 individuals
      • Age 46 – 50 = 37 individuals
      • Age 51 – 55 = 65 individuals
      • Age 56 – 60 = 72 individuals
      • Age Over 60 = 52 individuals
    • Self-Made Millionaire Group (177 of the 233 Individuals):
      • Age 40 – 45 = 2 individuals
      • Age 46 – 50 = 11 individuals
      • Age 51 – 55 = 25 individuals
      • Age 56 – 60 = 99 individuals
      • Age Over 60 = 40 individuals
    • Poor Group (128 Individuals):
      • Age 40 – 45 = 9 individuals
      • Age 46 – 50 = 15 individuals
      • Age 51 – 55 = 16 individuals
      • Age 56 – 60 = 41 individuals
      • Age Over 60 = 47 individuals
  15. For the wealthy – 4% were African American, 19% were Jewish and 77% were Caucasian.
  16. For the poor – 3% were Jewish, 33% were Caucasian and 64% were African American.
  17. In the wealthy group, 214 were men and 14 were women.
  18. In the poor group 114 were men and 14 were women.
  19. In the wealth group (233), 51% were self-employed entrepreneurs/business owners, 28% were professionals, 18% were senior executives in large publicly-held companies and 3% were other.
  20. In the poor group (128), 10% were self-employed entrepreneurs/business owners and the rest were employees.

I gathered data for both groups regarding their careers/employment, the percentage born to wealth, poverty or the middle-class, spending habits, academic performance, education, perceptions of wealth/poverty, various health data, inherited money data, gambling habits, home ownership, car ownership, reading habits, relationship management, savings habits, self-improvement habits, time management habits, beliefs, vacation habits, volunteering habits, networking habits, voting habits and work-related data.

I chose an interview format as I believed it would offer far more qualitative and quantitative data than a survey could provide.

I have written numerous books, each sharing different aspects of my research.

TCORLEY

29 Comments

  1. […] according to Tom Corley’s Rich Habits study, 41% of the 177 self-made millionaires he studied were born and raised in […]

  2. Is There One Overriding Secret to Success? on June 3, 2020 at 9:02 AM

    […] self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study had a clear vision of the desired future version of […]

    • Poor girl on September 26, 2020 at 6:25 PM

      The demographics of your study are very skewed… why do you not have the same percentage of Caucasians in the poor study as you do in the rich study? Don’t you think there are some benefits that even the self made millionaires coming from “poor” households gained from being white that made it easier for them to accumulate wealth. It’s condescending to think that people are “poor” only based on their “impulsive buying” and not for any systemic reasons.

      • Rene Lucasso on November 27, 2020 at 4:21 PM

        Completely agree. He also uses vague terms such as “middle-class” & only (for some unknown reason) asks people above the age of 40? Besides that it would have bee more appropriate to have some proof of their families prior wealth instead of just an email…this is by no means a scientific study.

        • AIden on March 31, 2021 at 3:13 PM

          middle class is not a vague term, it is a well-defined one, people who make within a certain income bracket are middle class.
          the reason he surveyed only people over 40, i believe, is because young people could become rich later in life, or at least could pull themselves up to middle class. interviewing them would have messed with the results.

      • liberal hero on February 14, 2021 at 4:30 PM

        While his sample distributions don’t conform to your liberal beliefs, they do conform to reality. He’s already introduced bias into the sample by including an overly-representative proportion of rich people at all.

        No one really cares that you consider whites to have some imaginary edge on everyone else, except, perhaps, the bitter old cat lady adjunct professors of liberal arts that indocrinated you to this rubbish.

        His audience doesn’t have anything to do with you at all. goodbye.

      • Aiden on March 31, 2021 at 3:08 PM

        he randomly chose these people, the demographics are a reflection of percentages in society.
        the reason so many of the poor people were black was because of welfare, it locks people into poverty for their whole lives and makes it more likely their children will be in poverty too.
        when you make over a certain amount while on welfare, all of the welfare is removed, leaving you much poorer than if you didnt try to better your situation, this is something most people cannot afford, most of these people have children and are the only parent around.
        the reason so many black people are stuck in this generational poverty loop is because, in the 40’s when welfare was implemented, most black people were poor, due to discrimination.
        the generational poverty was an intended effect of the welfare program, the effect was an obvious one and was an easy one to fix, if it were unintentional it would have been fixed relatively quickly, the reason it was left in was the creator, president FDR, hated black people.

  3. […] Corley would know. He spent five years studying the habits of hundreds of Americans, whom he separated into two groups: the “rich,” […]

  4. […] to Tom Corley’s research on RichHabits.net, it took a minimum of 32 years for someone to acquire millionaire […]

  5. Daniel on November 11, 2020 at 10:30 AM

    Excellent, remmembers me the study done in the millionaire next door book.

  6. Tim on November 28, 2020 at 1:00 PM

    Its rather odd that the demographics of this study seem intentionally skewed. I would also be interested to know how you delineated between “self-made” and inherited wealth. If 59% of the “self-made” came from middle class households, are they really self made? Or Did they get seed money/free housing/tuition help/any other financial support from mom and dad? Finally, you collected your “data” through a series of interviews. So essentially, these “rich people” were telling their own stories. I wonder how that may have impacted your findings.

    • pwsadmin on November 30, 2020 at 9:13 AM

      100%: 24% Inherited Wealth, the rest came from poverty or the middle-class. Self-Made means you came from poverty or the middle-class

  7. […] studying hundreds of people both rich and poor, author Tom Corley reveals the one thing most self-made millionaires do when they first wake […]

  8. […] studying hundreds of people both rich and poor, author Tom Corley reveals the one thing most self-made millionaires do when they first wake […]

  9. […] studying hundreds of people, both rich and poor, author Tom Corley reveals the one thing most homemade millionaires do when they first wake […]

  10. […] studying hundreds of people both rich and poor, author Tom Corley says these are the bad spending habits that rich people always […]

  11. […] studying hundreds of people both rich and poor, author Tom Corley says these are the bad spending habits that rich people always […]

  12. […] in line with Tom Corley’s Rich Habits study, 41% of the 177 self-made millionaires he studied have been born and raised in […]

  13. […] according to Tom Corley’s Rich Habits study, 41% of the 177 self-made millionaires he studied were born and raised in […]

  14. […] based on Tom Corley’s Rich Habits study, 41% of the 177 self-made millionaires he studied had been born and raised in […]

  15. […] in line with Tom Corley’s Rich Habits study, 41% of the 177 self-made millionaires he studied had been born and raised in […]

  16. […] in keeping with Tom Corley’s Rich Habits study, 41% of the 177 self-made millionaires he studied had been born and raised in […]

  17. […] in keeping with Tom Corley’s Rich Habits study, 41% of the 177 self-made millionaires he studied have been born and raised in […]

  18. […] habe fünf Jahre lang sogenannte „Rich Habits“ („reiche Gewohnheiten“) erforscht. Dabei habe ich Menschen befragt, die sich an den entgegengesetzten Enden des Vermögensspektrums […]

  19. […] Now knowing millionaire math I hope you see that this isn’t true. The reality is, according to Rich Habit Study,  millionaires fall into three […]

  20. […] self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study had a transparent imaginative and prescient of the specified future model of […]

  21. […] self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study had a transparent imaginative and prescient of the specified future model of […]

  22. […] self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study had a transparent imaginative and prescient of the specified future model of […]

  23. […] self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study had a transparent imaginative and prescient of the specified future model of […]

Leave a Comment





Categories