Congrats on filing another year’s taxes! Since money is top of mind this time of year, we’re digging into your financials this month. And, you may be surprised to learn that reading and health are in direct correlation to your wealth, according to Tom Corley, the author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals. Keep the green coming, and read on to learn more from our sit-down with Tom.
KellerINK Team: On top of a career as a certified public accountant and financial planner, you’ve done extensive research on the habits of the wealthy. What advice would you give to a young person you really cared about if they asked, “What’s the ONE Thing I can do for my financial life such that by doing it, everything else would be easier or unnecessary?”
Tom Corley: The one thing that stands out above all else in terms of contributing to success in your financial life is the daily habit of self-improvement, specifically engaging in career-related or educational reading for thirty minutes or more a day. Eighty-eight percent of the wealthy in my study committed to this type of reading daily – resulting in the completion of two or more of these books per month – whereas only 2 percent of poor people did so.
The wealthy are almost fanatical about learning as much as they can about the industries they work in and what it takes to be successful – including reading business books and biographies – and it’s a good practice to follow. I believe this type of self-improvement habit can have a great impact on a person’s financial life because it will expand their knowledge-base and can open their eyes to opportunities they might not have seen otherwise.
KellerINK Team: Of all the statistics you’ve uncovered relating to the daily success habits of wealthy individuals, what’s the ONE habit that you would like people to focus on the most?
Tom Corley: I believe the stats on healthy living are worth sitting up and paying attention to. How does this relate to financial success? As one of my clients once told me, “You can’t make money sitting in a hospital bed.” Seventy-six percent of wealthy individuals took part in at least 30 minutes of daily aerobic activity, 57 percent counted their daily caloric intake and only 25 percent of the wealthy went to fast food restaurants three or more times a week. Taking care of yourself and the body you are in is one way to make sure you are doing everything you can to achieve the most you can financially.
KellerINK Team: As a tax professional, if you had to recommend that people do ONE thing during tax season, what would it be?
Tom Corley: Get yourself a CPA. People often treat CPAs as commodities – which causes them to miss out on some of the great knowledge CPAs can parlay. CPAs are studying taxes and finances all year round, not just during the 8-week tax season. The people that choose to work with a CPA year in and year out forge a beneficial relationship and work together as a team. The perception is that CPAs are expensive. The truth is that you don’t need to be wealthy to use a CPA – many of my clients aren’t. CPAs can help individuals to put away more money and learn about ways to minimize taxes that they might not otherwise know. I find that the clients that see me as a valuable resource are on the phone with me all the time – and are even bringing their kids to me to help them to start learning sound financial advice – this is a smart way to approach your finances, no matter what time of year it is.
KellerINK Team: So it seems you’re suggesting a CPA can be an advisor of sorts. What can having a financial mentor do for a person?
Tom Corley: Mentoring is so important because the advice that is given will stay with a person for life. I believe that there are five places where mentoring opportunities arise – from parents, teachers, in your career, books and from yourself. It may sound counterintuitive, but you can learn a lot by being your own mentor through making mistakes and learning from them. Having anyone mentor you in developing success habits can go a long way. In fact, I recently finished writing my latest book, Rich Kids: How to Raise your Kids to Be Happy & Successful in Life for this reason – to help parents mentor their children to be successful.
KellerINK Team: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received on your personal finances?
Tom Corley: Live below your means. I was once told to save 20 percent and live off the remaining 80 percent – and this is one important piece of advice I wish I had learned earlier in life. I believe everyone should do this to the best of their abilities. I encourage my family to practice what I preach as well – my son, who is 24, has been putting away 20 percent of his paycheck into a Roth IRA for the past year and a half. Sure, it’s made his day-to-day expenses a little harder to manage at times, but I’m trying to get him into the habit of doing something now that is sure to pay off later.
KellerInk Team: That’s great! As you know, being smart with your finances now often rewards you with financial freedom in the future. So, what’s your dream day look like?
Tom Corley: My passion in life has become teaching others about the success habits of the wealthy. I love educating others and helping them to make the choices that can help them succeed in their financial lives. If I could teach the Rich Habits every day, I would.
Eager to learn more financial wisdom? KellerINK will be continuing to dive into the financial bucket this entire month – so stay tuned and share your financial ahas with us below!