Let's face it: Most of us will never be billionaires. But, we can learn a thing or two from them.
Entering the ranks of the super rich isn't always the result of a massive inheritance or coming up with the "next big thing." There are many billionaires who amassed their fortunes over several decades, and some of them started with very little.
There is a,lot to glean from observing how billionaires handle their money and business. Most of them actually have a lot in common in terms of spending and other money habits.
For example, virtually everyone in the billionaires' club that didn't inherit their wealth took some pretty substantial risks in their lives. Some quit steady, lucrative jobs to start their own companies. And, some threw a lot of their own money into ventures that could have easily gone nowhere. Here are three habits of some of the wealthiest individuals in the world that you can use in your own financial life.
1. Slow and steady is the name of the game
Contrary to the picture painted by the media, most billionaires acquired their wealth over a long, steady career of smart moves. Examples of billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, who came up with the "next big thing" and made billions of dollars relatively quickly, are the exception and not the rule.
Consider the case of Warren Buffett, who made more than 99% of his money after his 50th birthday, simply by harnessing the power of consistent market-beating returns compounded over time. Or consider Michael Bloomberg, who built his financial empire over several decades. These guys didn't hit a home run with their investments or their businesses. Rather, they hit thousands of singles and doubles that combined to produce pretty darn impressive careers.
2. Keep your expenses (even the small ones) in check
No matter how much money you have, it pays to always watch your expenses, no matter how small they seem. While a "small expense" might have a completely different definition to you than it does to a billionaire, most of these guys didn't get rich by spending a lot of money foolishly along the way. And, you may be surprised at how much of an impact cutting down on some expenses can have.
Let's say that instead of eating something at home for dinner, you decide to treat yourself and your spouse and you go out to a nice meal and spend $100. Well, if you had chosen to invest that money instead, that $100 could grow to more than $1,400 in 30 years, compounded at the average return of the S&P 500 over the past few decades.
While I'm not saying to never treat yourself, I am saying that you should think about it a little more before you do. After all, skipping 10 nice dinners over the course of a year could mean an extra $14,000 to your retirement savings. If you cut down by just this much every year, imagine how it could add up.
3. Don't do anything foolish, but don't be afraid to take some risks either
At first, this may sound like a huge contradiction, but it's not. There is an enormous difference between doing something foolish and doing something risky.
Buying a whole lot of call options on a momentum stock because you think it'll make you rich is a foolish move. Sure, it could work out, but you're much more likely to end up broke. However, taking a calculated risk which is outweighed by the potential reward is what can make you wealthy.
A calculated risk could be as simple as buying a certain value stock because you determine there is more likelihood to make money than to lose it. Or, an excellent "billionaire" example of this is starting or investing in a business. When the right opportunity comes along, those with the billionaire mind-set aren't afraid to pounce on it.
It's true that you probably won't go broke by playing it safe in everything you do, but you won't get rich either.
You may not get to a billion, but these habits can make a big difference
By looking at the habits of billionaires, especially the ones who made their own money over time, you can learn a lot about how they did it.
And while you don't get to a billion without a little luck along the way, achieving your personal financial freedom might not be as difficult as you may think.