Last updated on December 6th, 2022
When talking to others about finances and investing as a business, I’ve come across some interesting tactics and strategies.
One of the most interesting was someone who based their investment strategy around what ‘rich people do’. This has stuck with me for a very long time and it got me wondering – so what do rich people invest in?
Here are my findings and what they could mean for your own investment strategies.
Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor so please do not take this article as advice that you immediately must invest in the assets below. This is just a fun and interesting topic I wanted to research.
Why People Want To Invest Like The Rich?
Two thirds (68%) of millionaires are ‘self-made’ – which means that of their net worth of $30 million, they did not inherit any of it. According to another report from Fidelity Investments, one of the main sources of assets for the wealthy were investments.
At first glance, this information may make it seem like the key to becoming a millionaire is to invest but it’s worth keeping in mind that millionaires probably did not go straight from rags to riches purely on investing their money alone.
If you ask the millionaires themselves, 93% of them would say their hard work (and not big salaries) earned them their wealth – but of course millionaires would say that.
According to Tim Corley’s ‘Rich Habits’ study, he found that there are four main paths to becoming a self-made millionaire.
He found that 22% of millionaires chose the ‘Saver-Investor’ path meaning that they made their wealth through frugal saving and making investments early in their lives.
However, he also found that these Saver-Investor millionaires had quite a few things in common.
- They all were earning middle-class salaries – In this case, this means that they were on a six-figure income early in their lives.
- They began investing early – With a six figure income, investing is an easier option as you have more money to play around with.
- They saved 20% of their income – Again, this is easier to do with a six figure income.
- Had a low cost of living – This means that they chose to live frugally, and save money rather than spend it.
So, it appears that in order to become rich by making investments, you need to be able to live frugally, earn a high income early on in your career, and start investing sooner rather than later.
This already makes it difficult for many to become a millionaire via the same path.
Despite this, I think that those looking to make investments can still take inspiration from what rich people choose to invest in.
These frugal millionaires must have done their research and chosen the safest assets to invest in – so what do the rich invest in?
What Do Rich People Invest In?
If your business is earning a great amount of profits and those savings are building up, then you’re probably looking for somewhere to invest them. Where to invest is a big topic of conversation between business owners and everyone has their own ideas (see also, ‘How to Start Investing as a Business? A Guide for Beginners‘).
I have discussed some of my own opinions in previous investing articles, but here I am going to take a look at some of the popular assets the wealthy tend to invest in.
According to this 2016 report, millionaires invested in:
- Equities (24.8%)
- Cash/Cash Equivalents, and Capital Market Investments (23.5%)
- Fixed Income (18%)
- Real Estate (17.9%)
- And Alternative Investments (15.7%)
Let’s look at each one in a little more detail.
First, let me get cash out of the way first.
Saver-Investor millionaires are frugal and by investing in cash or cash equivalents (this includes certificates of deposit, Treasury bills, etc), millionaires will have access to an easy to access emergency fund for any surprises that may come up.
Basically, this type of investment is a millionaire’s equivalent to a safe full of cash stashed away for a rainy day. They won’t have any fees or taxes to pay on them nor will they earn any interest, but it’s a great safety net if they ever need it.
Equities are money that has been invested in a company by buying shares on the stock market. It’s clearly a popular investment method for the wealthy as 10% of the wealthiest Americans own 89% of all US stocks. But why?
Well, equities are a great hedge against inflation. A report in 2022 found that 40% of people around the world named inflation as their biggest worry, and so many people are looking for ways to protect themselves against inflation.
For many, equities and the stock market is the answer. Over the last century, the average for stock market returns has been 12.3% despite the rise and fall of inflation.
So, many millionaires feel comfortable investing their money into equities to help them keep pace with inflation.
Fixed income investing is pretty much what it says on the tin – it’s a way for investors to receive a steady stream of income with less risks involved.
They are generally considered a safe investment, but they’re not perfect. Sources of fixed income investments can be susceptible to risks related to inflation and interest rates, but they are still considered very stable .
They have low management costs (perfect for frugal millionaires) and also provide diversification for their portfolios.
Some examples include exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds.
In 2022, it was reported that the global real estate market was worth $11.4 trillion and this amount has been steadily growing for the past few years. So, there’s a lot of money to be made by investing in real estate.
The pay from tenants means that millionaires will generate a passive income, and appreciation values increase each year between 3.5% and 3.8%.
This means that the longer a millionaire owns real estate, the more money they will actually earn through it.
There are also federal tax benefits to be found in real estate investment so this means that millionaires not only get to make money but keep a lot of it too.
Basically, real estate investments retain or increase their value as time goes on. They’re not 100% safe from a market crash but compared to other types of investments (see also, ‘How to Invest and Make Money ‘Fast’‘), they are one of the safest.
Under alternative investments is ‘commodities’ which refers to investing in raw materials.
This includes oil, gold and other metals, agriculture and cattle – basically anything that keeps their value over time. Some millionaires even invest in other tangible assets including pieces or art or books or instruments.
My Final Thoughts
Why I am not suggesting that you immediately rush off to invest your business profits into these things, there is one key takeaway that I have found from this research.
Millionaires tend to invest in two types of investments.
The first is investments they can quickly liquidate for easy cash in emergencies, the other are assets that keep their value over time such as commodities or real estate.
They invest wisely to protect themselves against losses so they don’t lose their wealth. They are frugal and think long term for a lot of their investments but due to their wealth, they can also invest in more risky options because they have a safety net to fall back on.
You can use this knowledge as a base of inspiration for your own investment plan but as always, please talk to a financial advisor first.