After three decades of interviewing self-made rich people, Steve Siebold, author of "How Rich People Think," has come to the conclusion that well-to-do people have views about money that are "polar opposite" to those that middle-class people hold.
"Rich people see money as freedom and opportunity instead of as the root of all evil," says Siebold. "We're taught that money is the root of all evil, so why would we want to acquire something that we have a general disdain for?"
Siebold's book reveals 100 differences between middle-class people and self-made millionaires. We asked him to share some ways that rich people think differently than those of us with less money in the bank.
Here are five examples:
5 Ways Rich People Think Differently From the Rest of Us
"We're taught to save, but we end up without enough money," says Siebold. "The average income per person in 2012 was $38,000. If you save 10 percent, you'll have $3,800 at the end of the year. That's not a model for wealth-building, and you'll never get rich that way."
Siebold says that rich people save money, too, but first they focus on boosting their earnings so that the percentage they save will be more meaningful.
"Most of us are taught to think about money in linear terms, such as 'If I make X dollars per hour, then I either have to work more hours or get a raise to have more money,'" says Siebold. "Even well-educated business people think they should just get an MBA to earn more money. Rich people look for ideas that can solve problems for other people and they make money from those ideas."
By the way, rather than chasing one crazy idea after another, the people Siebold interviewed took calculated, well-researched risks when they started their businesses.
Siebold says that negative ideas about rich people and about money cloud the thought processes of many people when it comes to their finances.
In his book he writes, "An ordinarily smart, well educated and otherwise successful person can be instantly transformed into a fear-based, scarcity driven thinker..."
Rich people, on the other hand, do not make financial decisions from a place of fear. Money is not something to fear losing, but instead a tool that presents greater options and opportunities.
"Middle-class people throw mud against the wall and hope something sticks," says Siebold. "Rich people focus on their money and their business. They know that, whatever their business is, it solves a problem. At the same time, they acknowledge that their goal is to make money and they don't apologize for it."
Siebold says that wealthy people also focus wholeheartedly on one goal at a time rather than taking a scattershot approach to making money.
While Donald Trump and Richard Branson are known for flying around the world in their private jets, average wealthy people live more modestly and own "normal" cars and "normal" houses, says Siebold. They just happen to have $5 million in the bank.
"Rich people get quietly richer every day," he says. "I met Naomi Judd last year at a TV taping and she told me that the reason she's rich today is that she has never spent her money. She doesn't own designer clothes or expensive jewelry. That's typical of most wealthy people. They aren't flashy."
Siebold says that the most consistent statement he has heard from the wealthy people he has interviewed over the past 30 years is that they want to be free.
"If you're rich you can be completely free and not be a slave to someone else," he says. "The desire for economic freedom is the main catalyst for success. It's what drives people to build their own wealth."
Siebold says that if you're failing financially, you should challenge your core beliefs about money, and about rich people.
"Beliefs are the catalyst for action, and action is the way to build wealth," he says. "You need to have the right mindset to take advantage of opportunities and to solve problems, which will in turn make money."
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Michele Lerner is a Motley Fool contributing writer.