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Four Guidelines the Super Rich Live By

Four Guidelines the Super Rich Live By

January 05, 2024


  • You define your value—don’t let others do it for you.
  • Work your agenda—while also helping others reach their goals along the way.
  • Surround yourself with top-tier people

The self-made Super Rich—those people with a net worth of $500 million or more that they have earned through working and/or entrepreneurship—tend to act in ways that consistently translate into extreme wealth creation. For example, they regularly set very high goals for themselves, are often expert at street-smart networking and can be brilliant negotiators.

Of course, we’ve covered some of these behaviors in past issues of the VFO Inner Circle.

But we wanted to dig deeper than just the actions the Super Rich take, and try to identify the core underlying principles or beliefs that drive their wealth-building behaviors. Ultimately, in talking with numerous Super Rich individuals and families, we discovered four main guidelines that the Super Rich take to heart and that are instrumental to their becoming extremely financially successful.

These same guidelines can potentially help you in your journey toward building serious wealth and achieving the things you most want in life.

Guideline #1: Define your value—do not let others decide your significance.

How you view yourself can make a huge difference in how you approach and handle both opportunities and obstacles. The self-made Super Rich often have very high opinions of themselves. These perceptions might not completely match reality, of course, but their powerful positive attitudes—their high levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy (one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed)—can help tremendously in getting things done. That, in turn, can quickly translate into economic gains.

Important: When defining your value, you might have to push back on the limitations other people place on you. It’s not uncommon for others to try to bring you down. At these times, you need to ensure they do not define you. You, not the people around you, decide the value you bring to the table.

When we asked some of the self-made Super Rich about the value they deliver in different situations, they usually came up with specific answers. For example, they help put together deals and agreements and make introductions that lead to more business (or other types of stronger outcomes) for all parties involved. They also make a habit of tracking down valuable, hard-to-find information and resources by tapping into their networks of experts (which are usually quite extensive).

Next step: Take some time to consider what you are extremely good at that makes a difference in your life—at work, at home, out in the world (or all three). It can be your expertise in a particular area, your exceptional interpersonal skills, your analytic abilities or something else entirely. Whatever it is, think through the value you are bringing in different scenarios because of those capabilities you possess.

Questions to ask: What value do you bring to the table? How have you determined your value? What impact do the opinions of other people have on how you define the value you provide?

Guideline #2: Work your agenda—do not just be responsive to someone else’s.

To excel at something that can meaningfully boost success, most people need high-level goals and a plan—an agenda—to achieve those goals. If instead you simply react to events and you lack direction about how you plan to (say) become wealthy, you will very likely not create a personal fortune of any appreciable size.

Take this step: Write your own story, in which you are a major character. You need to be in control of your professional and personal life and determine the path you are going to follow. Very likely you will need to make refinements, and possibly dramatic changes, to your agenda in order to be responsive to what is going on around you. But at every step, you—not someone else—are the person making the decisions.

It is far too easy to get sidetracked when focusing on helping someone else achieve their agenda. There is nothing wrong with being supportive, of course. The law of reciprocity is an idea that suggests the support you give will come back to you someday—because when people are helped, they feel an urge to repay that assistance. It’s when being supportive becomes detrimental to your success that there likely is something wrong.

Questions to ask: Do you have an agenda that you believe will lead to financial success? Are you taking charge of your future, or is someone else directing you or having you focus on their agenda to the detriment of your own?

Guideline #3: Help other people succeed. Do not miss opportunities to create greater success for those around you.

Working your own agenda does not mean ignoring others or being selfish with your time and energy. By and large, the self-made Super Rich see success as unlimited. Financial accomplishments are not zero sum: Someone does not have to lose for them to win.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Generally speaking, they regularly strive for everyone to achieve more and come away from a situation feeling like winners.

Some of the self-made Super Rich have this perspective because they see it as the right thing to do. They habitually are looking beyond themselves and are interested in making the world better. They help others succeed in many ways, from mentoring to investing to philanthropy.

Some of the self-made Super Rich have adopted this perspective for a host of professional reasons. For example, helping others excel creates a plethora of business opportunities for them. And in being valuable to other people, the self-made Super Rich are collecting favors that could prove quite beneficial down the road. The self-made Super Rich by and large recognize an important tenet of business and life: It often makes good sense for everyone when more people succeed.

Questions to ask: How are you helping other people become more successful? Why is this important to your own professional accomplishments? Why do you think it is often detrimental to act in ways that adversely impact others?

Guideline #4: Surround yourself with talented people. Do not settle for those who are second-rate.

The people you deal with and surround yourself with can have a major impact on how successful you ultimately become. There are a lot of unquestionably toxic people who clearly should be avoided. There are even more second-rate individuals who can potentially, and unintentionally, delay or even crash your agenda.

Your goal is to work with extremely talented, first-rate people. The professionals you engage, for example, can make an enormous difference in your financial success. In the world of wealth management, for instance, there are relatively few consummate professionals. So many advisors today are pretenders—people who want to do a good job but lack the knowledge and skills to do so. What’s more, pretenders typically do not recognize how limited their skills and capabilities are. They are second-rate but don’t know it—which means it’s up to you to critically evaluate those people around you and cut them loose if they don’t measure up.

You want to surround yourself with people who regularly exceed your expectations of them. They consistently do more than you envision, and they do it on their own initiative, not because you pester them. This is the case across the board—in your business (if you’re an entrepreneur), in your career and with virtually any team you are involved with. Say you coordinate a large group of volunteers for events related to cancer research fundraising. The stronger that group, the better your results are likely to be in the end.

Example: Wealth managers who make the effort to truly understand your world—the things you care about deeply—and can deliver state-of-the-art solutions that help you achieve what you most want.

Questions to ask: Are the people around you the best? In professional situations, are you striving to make sure you surround yourself with talented and motivated individuals? If not, why not?


We find that the majority of the self-made Super Rich adhere to these four guidelines, to varying degrees. Of course, nobody—including the Super Rich—is perfect. We all get sidetracked now and then. Our emotions can also get the best of us from time to time, causing us to take pleasure in seeing certain people fail or prompting us to make less-than ideal decisions.

But ultimately, we find that following these guidelines isn’t terribly arduous. The key is to think before acting versus acting reflexively. For instance, making the choice to hire only the best candidates instead of hiring those who are “just okay” because you need warm bodies.

Repeatedly thinking through situations using these guidelines can result in better outcomes— leading to greater success in your career, your business and your life

Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA / SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through NewEdge Advisors, LLC, a registered investment adviser. NewEdge Advisors, LLC and Congruent Wealth, LLC are separate entities from LPL Financial.

VFO Inner Circle Special Report

By John J. Bowen Jr.

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