Column: Eight Habits Of A Wealthy Person

January 3, 2018

[Written by Carla Seely]

Lots of articles are being written that clearly show the rich are getting richer. They also describe how the middle class [meaning the majority of us] are working harder and longer than we did a decade ago but, ironically, have less disposable monthly income. There is an ever-expanding gap between the wealthy and the middle class, and the increasing number of “have nots” is never a good sign for the economy.

I come from a blue-collar, middle-class family of six where my mother spent her time raising us four children and my father went to work each day. My parents raised four children in an ordinary home, with a modest car on a single income. They were able to send all of us to private school and also put us through university, but they still saved for their retirement and made sure they set aside extra money each month towards their pension plans. My father retired early aged 63, not because he had to, but because he was financially stable and was in a position to do so, I wouldn’t say he is wealthy in his retirement, but he is definitely doing well for himself.

It got me thinking: What are the wealthy doing that I should also be doing?

Carla Seely Bermuda Nov 21 2015 TC

Eight Habits of a Wealthy Person

1. Living below their means

My parents always spent less than they earn and were not tempted by the latest must-haves. They always owned a moderately priced car and drove it into the ground before replacing it. They lived in a modest home in an average, middle-class suburb. They shopped on discount days at the supermarket and, more importantly, my mother always cooked and we ate at home unless it was a birthday or other special occasion. Our clothes came from regular department stores and were always bought on sale; otherwise, we had hand-me-downs from older cousins. But most importantly, my parents did not spend more than my father earned – they lived well within their means and invested the surplus towards their financial goals.

2. Who cares about the Joneses?

My parents had a great group of friends and they didn’t care about impressing anyone; my father had a golf membership but it was for networking and career development. As my father’s career grew, so did the ability to start achieving some of their financial goals, none of which included getting a larger house or a nicer car. When all my friends were getting brand new bicycles for their birthdays, my parents would give me a second-hand bike which rode just as well but was not as flashy. Funny enough, last year was the first time in my entire life that I bought a brand new bike and, ironically, I have had problems with it ever since.

3. Set goals, not wishes

Hindsight is 20/20: you cannot control the outcome of a wish, but you can control the outcome of a goal. In its March 2016 edition, Forbes magazine wrote an article and stated around 70 per cent of the wealthy pursue at least one major goal, but only three per cent of those in the lower to middle class even bother to create a goal. Sadly, without goals, achievements are few and far between.

4. Ties are cut early and they don’t provide financial life support to others

The reality is, if you act like a bank, people will keep coming and asking for money. The wealthy “cut the cord” early with their offspring: they want their children to leave home and be independent. It’s a simple approach and one that would financially benefit the middle class far more, yet it appears to be the polar opposite. That raises the old question: Does the child need the parents or do the parents need the child?

5. The wealthy spend their private time increasing their knowledge

Successful people use their free time to engage in personal development, networking, volunteering, working side jobs or pursuing a goal that will reap rewards down the road. Two-thirds of wealthy people watch less than an hour of TV a day, and 63 per cent of those people spend less than an hour a day on the internet, unless it is job related.

6. Strategic planning

My parents saved religiously – they invested in their goals and in their retirement, and they definitely had an end-game approach. They educated themselves about their money by tracking how much they earned, how much they were paying out, and how to get the best return on their surplus. Ultimately, people who do well for themselves do it through their day-to-day habits and not through their earnings.

7. Never use the phrase “Not my job”

Unsuccessful people have “it’s not in my job description” syndrome, but they are the first to feel slighted when a job promotion goes to another person. Wealthy individuals, on the other hand, make themselves invaluable to their employers and their clients, but also make sure to work hard towards any business goals the company sets.

8. Never give up

The wealthy never throw in the towel and have three things in common: focus, persistence and patience. They simply do not quit chasing their big goals; instead, they will reorganize or re-strategize in order to get what they want. My parents figured out early on in their marriage that life wasn’t perfect and they were going to have to deal with the good times and manage the bad times. But they were determined they were not going to stop until they achieved the goals they had set.

The differences between the habits of the wealthy and the not so wealthy are very clear: it’s not about what you earn – it’s about creating a plan, putting it into action and not caring about what the rest of the world is doing.

- Carla Seely is the Vice President of Pension and Investments at Freisenbruch-Meyer. If you would like any further details, please contact her at or call +1 441 297 8686.


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Comments (26)

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  1. Ronald says:

    I swear all these habits are only applicable if you are rich in the first place. For example living below your means is very easy if you have millions of dollars and spending 2000 on a fancy TV is technically living below your means. I’ll live below my means, I just won’t eat for a week.

    Golfing for networking and career? Cant even afford a golf membership and don’t have time to golf due to working 2 jobs.

    Dreamy article lol.

    • nerema says:

      Where does the article say anything about golf?

      • Truth is killin’ me... says:

        “my father had a golf membership but it was for networking and career development. “

      • Flash says:

        Point 2 -first to second line.

        • Scientist says:

          This point sounds like the oba/UBP.

          “The differences between the habits of the wealthy and the not so wealthy are very clear: it’s not about what you earn – it’s about creating a plan, putting it into action and not caring about what the rest of the world is doing”

          Not caring is the very reason they only have 12 seats after the 2017 election.

          • Clint says:

            And nobody cares about your political views..

            • Think again says:

              24 PLP seats to the UBP 12 musical chairs says different. LOLOLOLOLOL Last election was a serious LMAO

              • Anbu says:

                How much better off are you now with that 24-12 you lot keep throwing out. The people who support the 12 are STILL better off than you. Lmao

              • Sara says:

                Funny thing is Hon Premier Burt says the only way to grow the economy is to grow the population! Where have I heard that before???

  2. Hope says:

    This is good advice, but unfortunately #1 does not work for the majority of families. My parents also live in a small modest house and did not even own one car for a very long time. They worked more than one job each and we never ate out at restaurants. We have never owned a “new” car or travelled very far from home. When we went on our annual family vacation with other family friends we camped in a tent. They still live in the same house, over 30 years later. They still have one old car, barely. Even after all of that, they barely had two cents to rub together.

    This article has a lot of heart and I know it means well, but if you do not earn enough to live within very modest means, then you cannot abide by #1 at all. Ultimately this leads to borrowing, which sends you down a slippery slope.

  3. Upset voter says:

    Good article, but its still coming from the more privileged side of society.

    It would be good for you to do more research on under privileged societies, in which you will begin to understand the governmental and societal systemic approach for a certain group of people and also how the middle class was created in society in the first place, then you will understand why a certain part of society are not able to save one penny,while living below their means.

    You need to understand that NOT all classes of people where given the opportunity to live as a middle class society, because of many discriminatory practices.

  4. Duane P Santucci says:

    This is a clear indication that we live in a Island that has to Bermuda’s.

    Rent’s, Mortgages’ Loans, Food,Utilities, Good’s and services, all these are way out priced and the salaries do not compare with the affordability of what you call living within your means.

    Get real and go visit families in the thousands, from Dockyard to St. George and maybe you will get a real taste of were we truly are in Bermuda, Yesteryear is long gone, today is here and were we are headed, it can only get better, when this Government delivers on their platform to bring about a livable wage, and we change the system in how we do business in this country and stop outsources and replacing Bermudians.

    Drive down the affordability in this country and we will see greater economic power, being shared across the board.

    • puzzled says:

      Are you talking Government or Society Duane.

      Your unemployed and have no family to help you and your falling short on payments.

      Duane; is that you?

    • Rada Gast says:

      an* island
      two* Bermudas**
      Rents* (no apostrophe)
      Mortgages* (no apostrophe)
      of where* we truly are
      where* we are headed

  5. Truth is killin' me... says:

    The problem that I have is the fallacy that the majority of whites are rich and that the majority of blacks are poor. There are many on both sides white and black perpetrating a fraud. Some for economic benefits and others for political gain and instability.

  6. Clint says:

    Yeahhh..I don’t see how one ‘blue-collar’ salary would be enough to pay rent/mortgage, put 4 kids through private school + university, set extra $ aside for pension, and then retire early in Bermuda…unless there is some other source of income..

    • ronald says:

      Look, if you wanna get Wealthy, buy a 25,000 dollar golf membership at Mid Ocean club and live off peas and rice for a year. NETWORK! :)

      • The real Terry says:

        @Ronald or buy a BMW car for $65,000.00 and not be able to afford even peas and rice LOL

  7. PANGAEA says:

    As we look back over the years.

    The Bermuda Housing Corporation spread out over many years built and financed hundreds of homes for Bermudians giving many people a head start and in many instances two units were built providing the owner with an aditional income and a way to pay off some of those high risk mortgages considdered by the Local Banks.
    North of Victoria street was up graded through the G.I.A. program.

    Many famlies took a second job their sons and daughters also took a job some went packing groceries.

    Today many of those home mortages have been satisfied.

    I do not know of any other country who helps it people get a start in life.

    I agree there are ” Two Bermudas” those who participated in the housing program and those who did not want to participte and went out a bought a car. Wow !

  8. Who I am says:

    great article, really is, good work ethics never leave you

  9. nerema says:

    Finish high school, get a job, stay out of prison, and refrain from having children prior to marriage.

    Do those things and you will do pretty well.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Waah , but I wanna have FUN and be able to blame everyone else for having nothing when I’m 60 !

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Watch out. Somebody will come along real soon & call you racist.

    • PBanks says:

      That’s the general refrain, but not necessarily a reality for everyone who’s taken that path.

      You’re definitely more likely to not be in the red with that path, but you’re not necessarily going to be living on easy street.

      • nerema says:

        Not the point though is it. Most people I know aren’t ‘on easy street’. But if you follow some simple basic rules you will do fine, remain solvent, and make enough to raise a family.

  10. Sara says:

    Too bad Bermuda can’t raise some quick fast revenue by employing young men with a new career path. Regulation and legalization are the future.