6 things to remember once you reach financial success

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Ever wonder how much your life would change if you became wealthy? Would you continue living the way you were before, or would you act differently toward others — for better or worse?

A wealthy friend of mine says there’s always going to be someone who has more money than you. His comment is a reminder that, beyond making a living wage and being able to afford basic needs, wealth is relative.

But what’s the proper way to act when you achieve some level of financial success? Of course, you’re well on your way to financial success if you’re reading this blog. And if you’re new here, start saving now!

Here are my tips for staying true to yourself when that 1-percent day comes:

1. Rarely mention your success unless donating to charity

We all know someone who likes to flaunt their wealth. I remember my immediate negative reaction when I was talking to someone who referred to himself as a “1-percenter,” meaning his wealth was in the nation’s top 1 percent. Groan.

However, it’s good to talk about giving to charity. Talking about how a charity inspired you to give could inspire others to participate as well.

2. Help others

Being wealthy gives you the freedom to help others. Some of the nation’s wealthiest people, such as Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, have pledged to give large parts of their fortunes to charity.

Now, you don’t have to be a multibillionaire to help others. But reaching financial success gives you more ability to contribute to causes that are important to you. And yes, you often can get a tax deduction.

Don’t want to donate money? Volunteer with a charity or a good cause, such a soup kitchen or hospice.

3. Avoid conspicuous consumption

Being wealthy provides no protection against psychological insecurity. Some people try to compensate and show off by wearing ultra-luxury clothing brands and driving exotic cars. Basically lifestyle creep on steroids.

I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t enjoy your success, but know the line between moderate consumption and gaudiness. The latter might even be a reckless way to handle your money.

4. Stay connected to those from earlier, leaner years

Stay connected with your old friends! It can provide grounding and keep you in tune with some of the values that helped lead to your success.

If teachers or mentors helped foster some of this success, maintaining connections with them is one way of showing gratitude.

5. Encourage children to behave with care and humility

One of the worst pitfalls facing wealthy parents is raising spoiled children. Check out the Rich Kids of Instagram account for proof.

There’s a lot to be said for teaching humility, given that parents can’t guarantee their children will be successful in all facets of their lives, particularly after they’ve left the nest. That humility will come in handy when they face life’s inevitable challenges.

6. Don’t pick up the full tab for shared meals and experiences

Generosity is one thing. Pushy actions like constantly insisting to pay when people get together is another. Others can feel demeaned or marginalized if they’re constantly reminded that someone else has a fatter wallet.

What about you? What are your tips for handling financial success? Follow me on Twitter and send me your feedback: @Hamrickisms.

Mark Hamrick

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