– Accountant and financial planner Tom Corley has written a book about the little under-observed qualities of high net earners.


– Good grades in school seem to bear no obvious positive indication of a future mogul; individuals that are determined but struggle with academics are more likely to develop skills of resilience.


– High net earners take risks, rely on their gut feelings, and describe themselves as non-conformists.

Accountant and financial planner Tom Corley is the author of the best-selling, Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Rich Individuals. The book continues Corley's exploration of all the little under-observed qualities that separate us from high net earners.

Some of his findings come in the form of preemptive measures, like learning how to invest and budget to accommodate a desired increased income, but sometimes they elude conventional wisdom. His survey on the most common qualities shared between young future millionaires serves the latter.

 Slackers or non-conformists

Corley interviewed several high earners to better detail the earliest tells of a self-made millionaire. You might be surprised to learn that good grades in school seem to bear no obvious positive indication of a future mogul. In fact, the majority of self-made success stories begin with C students. Only 21% received A's in school growing up. Corley believes the correlation survives on the idea of tenacity. Individuals that are determined but struggle with academics are more likely to develop skills of resilience.

"You must grow a thick skin and become accustomed to struggle if you hope to succeed," says Corley.

To the credit of Corley's quote, his survey additionally revealed future millionaires to principally come from poor to middle-class households. Forty-one percent and fifty-nine percent respectively.

The false equivalency of grades and self-made wealth is made a little less curious when you take the character traits most frequently associated with financial success into account.

In his book, The Wealth Elite, Rainer Zitelmann, interviewed a pool of millionaires and billionaires to get a better grasp of the characteristics that most constantly linked them. According to his research, high net earners — among many things — take risks, rely on their gut feelings, and describe themselves as non-conformists. These qualities paint a pretty vivid picture of some of the brilliant but lazy students that occupied my school growing up.

Zitelmann also says high-earners typically use their wealth to grant them the kind of freedom and independence that was unavailable to them hitherto. 

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