Rich and successful friends will make you rich! In a conversation attributed to F Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, Fitzgerald said “The rich are different from you and me.” Ernest Hemingway responded: “Yes, they have more money.” Believe it or not the money is not what you want from rich people, but the connections and what you can learn from them. Do the rich think differently from you?
I have been around rich people all my life. Notice I did not say I was one of them. I did not know that my parents were rich until I was an adult. I was brought up by parents who lived through the Great Depression. The only time they borrowed money was their first mortgage in 1929. I learned a great deal from them firsthand seeing how they think and made decisions. Their priority for me was a good education. I started school around four years old which was the beginning of my journey through private education.
My parent’s first home was in an upscale area of New York City. My neighbors were my doctor, dentist, and other professionals. Did that matter? Absolutely! I went to camp every summer with the children of my neighbors and other successful people. I never knew that I was experiencing something special or unusual. I was exposed to what rich and successful people do with their children. Later, in school I saw how they approached their studies and goals. As an adult, I looked for the same kind of people as friends.
Who are your targets?
There was a famous bank robber named Willie Sutton who was asked why he robbed banks? Supposedly, he answered “because that’s where the money is.” If you want to be rich and successful, you need to hang out with rich and successful people. If you are lucky enough to be part of an affluent neighborhood or enrolled in an affluent or private school, it makes it easier. Your neighbors’ children or fellow students are your playmates. As adults, you have to be much more proactive because you go out and make friends at work or socially. How do you do it?
Similar to Willie Sutton, you go where rich and successful people hang out. It could be places where they may share an interest, activity or sport. Where do you make friends? Generally, it is people at work, clients, social venues and friends of friends. Networking is not just for business purposes. You might just find influential people who are on their way up who you may like. Most of my friends were colleagues, industry leaders or friends of friends. You look for people you may have something in common which may be a desire for more success.
How do you start?
One of my first professional jobs was in a Fortune 100 company as an accounting supervisor. Most of the people I interacted with on a regular basis were either my peer, or higher. Everyone was sharp which brought up my game. You almost could not miss by just joining various peers for lunch or networking/industry meeting. How would you identify a future rich or successful person? I do not think it is hard to figure out who the movers and shakers were. Just look around who is getting promoted or recognized for a project or accomplishment. I was part of a team to replace software for the entire organization. It required a lot of interaction with departments and testing the software. I was highly visible and everyone knew me. It is much easier to make friends when you are already working with a lot of people.
My daughter early in her career was selected to present reports to a management committee every week. She had exposure to the president, vice presidents, directors and other managers throughout the company. This exposure gave her opportunities to meet and become friends with other up and coming people in the company. Work is not the only place to meet successful people, you can join industry associations, country clubs, alumni associations, social organizations or any organization you have an interest. Non profit, museums, membership and volunteer organizations all attract rich and successful people. Do you take advantage of every opportunity you can to meet other successful people and learn from them?
If you are where other successful people live, play, socialize or work, you just need to take the opportunity to meet and get to know them. Better yet, if they become friends or associates that you can call on them for advice or just hang around them to see what they do. Look for successful vs unsuccessful people traits in your friends. Are all rich people worthy of emulating? NO! You have to pick and choose your friends carefully. I suppose if Warren Buffett were my friend, I would learn a great deal, but I would not do everything he does nor would I want to. I do not have billions nor am I worth billions of dollars to invest. Go learn from your rich and successful friends.
Photo by: Flickr