Okay then, besides having a lot of money, what do rich people have in common?
No, it's not intelligence or education. Look around. The world is littered with unrewarded geniuses and every store has at least one clerk with a master's degree or a doctorate.
No, it's not conservatism, courage, luck or wealthy families.
And no, it's not even passion, instinct, timing or greed.
The single characteristic that rich people tend to have in common is an unusually long time horizon.
In other words, rich people get rich because they think further ahead than the rest of us. As a matter of fact, research indicates that the length of your time horizon is the one characteristic that most accurately predicts where you will land in the socioeconomic strata.
Ask him how he chooses investment properties and George Stakis, the renowned multimillionaire real estate magnate, will tell you, “There's one question that I ask myself when looking at a property, even if I plan to own it for only a few hours… 'Is this a property that I would want to own 20 years from today?' If the answer is 'no,' then I don't buy it.”
Wealthy people routinely plant seeds that won't bear fruit for months or even years. But counter to what you may be thinking, wealthy people don't share this characteristic “because they're rich and can afford to think ahead.” They become wealthy because they have this characteristic.
It's an established fact that a person who can't set aside a few dollars each month from a salary of twenty thousand a year will find it equally impossible to set aside a few dollars from a salary of two hundred thousand a year.
The average American thinks ahead exactly one paycheck. We know what must be paid with the one that's coming and we have a plan for what to pay with the next. Needless to say, this is not a plan for building wealth. This is a plan for being average.
Far below average, in the very lowest economic strata, are the addicts and alcoholics who don't think ahead even to where they will sleep tonight; their entire existence has been reduced to the next fix, the next drink, the next score – a time horizon of only an hour or two.
How far have you been thinking ahead? (It's never too late to change.)
Roy H. Williams
PS – Wizard of Ads, Inc. is an advertising firm that specializes in helping that rare breed of business owners who have the patience to become truly successful. To learn more about us, visit www.WizardofAds.com or read about our methods in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times best-selling books, The Wizard of Ads, Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads, and Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads, available in bookstores everywhere. – David Stanley, managing partner
PPS – Every copy of the Wizard's newest book, the fictional Free the Beagle, comes with an audio “Book-on-CD” packaged just inside the back cover. Featuring the voice of Mother Goose herself as the narrator along with 18 other character voices, music, and sound effects, the CD makes the book come alive like nothing you've ever heard. Available in bookstores everywhere, usually in the self-help section. (Amazon.com has the book incorrectly listed as an 'audio cassette,' but don't worry – go ahead and order it – you'll receive a beautifully illustrated book with a wonderful CD inside.) – J.G. Tornoe