A woman who studied 600 millionaires found how rich you can get boils down to 6 ‘wealth factors,’ no matter your age or salary

If you possess enough of the right characteristics, you can be rich regardless of your age or income.

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If you possess enough of the right characteristics, you can be rich regardless of your age or income.
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Jason McCawley/Getty Images

  • Six “wealth factors” can make a person more likely to become wealthy, according to a researcher who studied more than 600 millionaires in America.
  • She says millionaires take on the following characteristics: frugality, confidence, responsibility, planning, focus, and social indifference.
  • These qualities are predictive of your net worth, regardless of age or income.

Anyone can become rich if they know the right steps to take.

But if you possess a certain set of characteristics, you may be more likely to become wealthy, according to Sarah Stanley Fallaw, director of research for the Affluent Market Institute. She co-authored “The Next Millionaire Next Door: Enduring Strategies for Building Wealth,” in which she surveyed more than 600 millionaires in America.

To identify characteristics most predictive of net worth, Stanley Fallaw conducted two studies that included a group of individuals with a net worth ranging from $100,000 to $1 million and a group of high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

She found that six behaviors, which she called “wealth factors,” are related to net worth potential, regardless of age or income:

  • Frugality, or a commitment to saving, spending less, and sticking to a budget
  • Confidence in financial management, investing, and household leadership
  • Responsibility, which involves accepting your role in financial outcomes and believing that luck plays little role
  • Planning, or setting goals for your financial future
  • Focus on seeing tasks through to their completion without being distracted
  • Social indifference, or not succumbing to social pressure to buy the latest thing

Frugality came up several times during Stanley Fallaw’s research – many of the millionaires she interviewed stressed the freedom that comes with spending below their means. Being frugal was one of three key ways they achieved financial independence.

“Spending above your means, spending instead of saving for retirement, spending in anticipation of becoming wealthy makes you a slave to the paycheck, even with a stellar level of income,” she wrote. To properly build wealth, experts recommend saving 20% of your income and living off the remaining 80%.

Having confidence, another key characteristic, will help you be frugal. In a Gen Y Planning blog post, financial planner Sophia Bera wrote, “It takes confidence to live within your means.”

It also takes confidence to invest properly – instead of making investing decisions with your emotions, you should leave your investments alone and focus on a long-term investment plan, certified financial planner Shelly-Ann Eweka previously wrote for Business Insider.

Read more: The author of ‘The Millionaire Next Door’ explains 3 ways anyone can build more wealth

But you can’t invest – or manage your own money – without accepting responsibility for the outcomes.

Like Stanley Fallaw, Chris Hogan, author of “Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth – and How You Can Too,” also found that many millionaires take on personal responsibility – and most also happen to be self-made, meaning they didn’t acquire their wealth through luck.

“[Millionaires] don’t count on anyone else to make them rich, and they don’t blame anyone else if they fall short,” Hogan wrote. “They focus on things they can control and align their daily habits to the goals they’ve set for themselves.”

He also found that they’re goal-oriented and hard workers, which enable them to plan financially and focus on seeing those plans through. Ninety-two percent of the millionaires he surveyed develop a long-term plan for their money, and 97% almost always achieve the goals they set for themselves.

These behaviors make it easy for them to be socially indifferent. They resist the lifestyle creep,” the tendency to spend more whenever one earns more. Essentially, they don’t feel pressured “to keep up with the Joneses.”

As Hogan puts it, they “avoid distractions and the ‘shiny object syndrome’ the general population suffers from because millionaires aren’t focused on what might make them happy today; they’re focused on their long-term wealth-building plan.”