“Rich Dad Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki maintains that the real key to financial freedom and wealth is your ability to take the money you’ve earned and turn it into income. In today’s chaotic economy, income reigns supreme.

By Teresa Kuhn, JD, RFC, CSA President, Living Wealthy Financial

Some say that the act of planning is a way of bringing your future into the present so you can do something about it right NOW.

Unfortunately, conventional financial planning is not working for most Americans, with over 70% reporting burdensome levels of debt and the feeling that they cannot save enough for retirement.

However, unless they were born with a silver spoon shoved in their mouths, most successful Americans got that way through discipline, dedication, and ensuring they always had a plan.

Since I work with both middle class and high net worth individuals and business owners, I have observed the actions and traits that set these two groups apart. These are things that anyone, regardless of their education, background, or current financial status, can employ to improve the odds of financial success.

They make plans and stick to them.

Wealthy, successful people chart their destinies. Rich people plan, but often they do it in a much different way than others. The wealthy are not afraid to plan their lives UPSIDE DOWN. Planning upside down means starting your plan with the end in mind. Many rich people decide what they want their business to look like at the end before they even put their shovel into the ground. Starting with your perfect ending in mind helps you achieve more resilience, clarity, and focus as you build your career or business.

They partner with the right people.

Though there are exceptions, most wealthy, successful people I know don’t want to go it alone.

Instead of micro-managing every aspect of their lives and businesses, successful people build advisory teams consisting of specialists in critical areas, such as tax mitigation, succession planning, retirement, and risk management. The wealthy tend to be people who know what they don’t know and don’t mind consulting experts for assistance.

As I mentioned before, income is, and will continue to be, the difference between struggling financially and having peace of mind. High net worth individuals own cash-flowing, wealth-creating assets that usually increase in value over time or provide returns. They typically build multiple passive income streams. Passive income streams can help you now, as you grow your business, and later when you no longer work but wish to maintain your current lifestyle. The less-wealthy tend to spend their money on depreciating assets that lose their value over time.

They stay away from non-strategic debt. Millionaires take fiscal responsibility seriously. They tend to be frugal, not going into debt merely to impress others. Successful people regard credit as a tool for creating wealth, not a means of accumulating stuff.

The Takeaway: People with high net worth are careful with their money, formulate solid asset growth and protection plans, and aren’t afraid to admit they don’t know everything. They are intentional, consistent, goal-focused, and hard-working. Most importantly, successful people tie all these traits together with consistency and self-discipline. If you want to live wealthier, watching how the rich behave and doing likewise is a great idea.