Many people dream of being very wealthy, fantasizing about the comfort and freedom lots of money can bring. Often, those fantasies involve the demise of a rich uncle or the discovery that they were switched at birth. If you were lucky enough to be born into the Buffet, Gates, Trump or Walton families you may not need to read this. The rest like you however will have to figure out how to earn, grow, and hold on to your wealth.
Luckily YPO Member Jennifer Povlitz specializes in helping successful people do those very things. As a Managing Director & a Market Head of Wealth Management Americas at UBS, Povlitz, believes long term wealth creation comes from discipline and deliberate effort, not luck. As a Chartered Financial Analyst of the CFA Society, and former Managing Director and Head of the Executive Client Relationship Group at Merrill Lynch, she’s had scores of opportunity to witness the behavior of the most successful.
I asked Povlitz to share the secrets that the smartest members of the 1% use to build and maintain their wealth. She insists the best maintain these 10 non-tangible assets.
1. The Right Perspective on Time
Wealthy people tend to keep one eye on the present and one on the future with regard to wealth and life management. “They see three distinct phases: today, tomorrow, and the distant goal,” Povlitz explains. “They ask themselves–1) What I absolutely need to live on and therefore need to shield from investment risk; (2) What I need to make my investments grow at the market rate and beyond inflation so I can meet my future needs; (3) What do I dream about and need to take risks around in order to come true?”
2. A Strong Defense Against Uncertainty
Life-changing drama can’t always be foreseen. Povlitz claims the wealthy are always prepared even for the unknown issues such as health problems, long term care, disability, or business events like buy-outs. As she points out, “Accidents can happen in either your personal or professional life. You want solid, protective agreements and a full portfolio of insurance so if one of your teenager’s friends slips and breaks his neck in your home, you don’t go bankrupt.”
3. A Robust Collection of Relationships, Ideas, and Experiences
“Wealthy people tend to engage at the center of relationships, ideas and capital (human, financial, social, or intellectual capital). They have a small group of friends who share brilliant ideas and may co-invest or make strategic introductions,” Povlitz has witnessed.She says they understand that people and information have as much value as money, and that real wealth involves the right combination and proper use of each.
4. A Belief that Failure = Learning
Povlitz describes a conversation with one respected client, who said: “Learning is a strategic advantage that enhances our ability to take more effective action. Every storm is a school. Every trial is a teacher. Every experience is an education. Your mess can be your message. Your pain can be your purpose.” Those who come out on top refuse to be defeated by the initial experience of failure, but use it to their advantage.
5. A Commitment to Work Hard, Work First, and Play When Appropriate
Those who earn and enjoy lifetime prosperity delay gratification so their wealth can grow and compound to enjoy more later. They understand the need to put off luxuries like high end cars and expensive vacations in favor of contributing fully to retirement, especially while they are young. If you struggle with this, Povlitz suggests you take the advice of Dr. John Townsend: “Replace any sentence beginning with “I deserve” or “I am entitled to” with “I am responsible for….”
6. The Belief that Life’s Rewards Come from Risk
Povlitz shares,”At some point, you have to become the owner of your own life and career, not just an employee-follower. This is true whether or not you ever own your own business. You need a personal investment in responsibility, risks and results, and to be paid based on your ability to deliver those things.”
7. A Knowledge of and Focus on Their Strengths
“One of my favorite sayings to share is ‘Your choices are much more powerful than your circumstances,” says Povlitz, “Wealth outcomes are from a series of many decisions.” Those who grow their money best spend 75% of their time on activities that use their strengths. They do the same with others: “They surround themselves with people who have complementary skills and let them do their thing. They make decisions and move on.”
8. An Abundance Perspective, Not a Scarcity Perspective
“They view the world and life’s good things as abundant and available to all, not scarce.” says Povlitz.This approach lets the wealthy focus on things that truly matter and act generously. They feel able to give freely of their time, service, love, and kindness.
9. The Wisdom to Give without Expectation
Research shows a benefit to giving freely, rather than taking or expecting favors in return. According to Povlitz, those who stay wealthy over the long term “understand the power of giving or serving without attachment to the outcome or ‘quid pro quo’.”
10. A Sense of Purpose
Povlitz explains, “The wealthy are intentional about how they invest their time. Time is the most important investment and the only one we cannot manufacture more of. Intentionality is ‘an unflinching commitment to a course.'” Their wealth and life choices are a meaningful part of their individual sense of purpose.