Personal Development

6 Life Laws That Will Make You Rich

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management, Flipping Houses, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Wholesaling, Personal Finance, Real Estate Marketing, AskBP, Real Estate Investing Basics
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Did you know in Fairbanks, Alaska, it’s illegal to serve alcohol to a moose? Yeah, actual law.

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And did you know in South Dakota, it’s illegal to fall asleep in a cheese factory? And in Memphis, Tenn., if you order a slice of pie at a restaurant, you have to eat it there. It’s illegal by their law to take it out.

Now, these laws are kind of silly, right? But a lot of laws are there to help us, to actually protect us from things—like don’t murder somebody, don’t drive drunk, wear your seatbelt.

Some laws are good; some laws are bad.

There’s another type of law I want to talk about today: laws of human nature. These are observable things that we can see in society that work almost all the time.

For example, the Pareto principle that says 80 percent of what you get comes from 20 percent of what you put into something (aka the 80/20 rule). You’ve probably heard it. Those are laws of human nature.

There are actually a bunch of laws of human nature that can make you wealthy, and that’s what we’ll talk about today: The six laws that will make you wealthy.

Without further ado, let’s get to them.

6 Laws That Will Make You Rich

1. It is more important that you decide than what you decide.

In other words, people go through their entire life wanting to do great things—wanting to be wealthy, wanting to start a business, wanting to lose weight. But they never really decide exactly what the best thing for them is.

I like to use the analogy that people are often thinking that riches or wealth or business or whatever is like going to a beach with a shovel or with a metal detector. You’re out there just looking around, trying to find this hidden gold or your purpose, your destiny. But I don’t think that’s it at all.

I think you hold that gold in your hand on that beach, and you can bury it wherever you want to. In fact, it’s less like a beach and more like a blank canvas. You can do what you want.

So, therefore it’s more important that you decide than what you decide.

For example, if you wanted to become wealthy through real estate investing (which is exactly what I have spent the last 12 to 13 years of my life doing), great. You can do that. There are examples of millions of people out there who have become millionaires through real estate investing.

But what if you hate real estate? You don’t wanna do that at all; you’d rather go start a Tupperware company. I don’t know.

There are examples of millionaires who have done that. Maybe you want to clean pools for a living, and you like the idea of building a pool cleaning business. Or maybe you just want to keep your job forever and not be an entrepreneur. You want to just save money. Great. That’s fine, too. You can become a millionaire that way.

So, it’s more important that you decide what you’re going to do—so you can start taking appropriate action—than what you decide.

2. Take daily, consistent action.

How long does it take to read a typical book? Like a John Grisham novel. I mean what, it’s like 400 pages. How long does that typically take a person? Two, three, four weeks maybe?

But in reality, it doesn’t take that long to read a book. It’s actually maybe six or seven hours. The reason that it feels like it takes so long is because they only read for a few minutes here, a few minutes there. We maybe put it down for a week.

I mean, there are books that I’m reading right now that I’ve been reading for the past year. Did it really take me a year to read a book? No, it’s because we fill our life with a lot of dead space. In other words, the time in between taking action on things.

If you want to be successful at really anything in life, just minimize that dead space. And how do you do that? By identifying what your most important next step is in any particular project.

For example, right now in my business, I’m doing a couple of different things. But one of them is a flipping business here on the island of Maui.

And so I’m flipping houses. What is my most important next step means what is my most important step right now. Well, I need to pick up the phone and call my partner Greg and talk to him about a certain project that we’re working on that we’re trying to close. That’s it. It’s a five-minute conversation.

Related: How to Become a Millionaire: The Ultimate Guide

But you know what? I have not. I’ve not thought about that for like three or four days. It’s a five-minute conversation that I’ve added four days of dead space in there just because I haven’t identified what is that most important next tangible little, tiny step that I need to do.

So, now that I’ve identified it, I can put it on my calendar to make sure I do it.

Another rule that I follow in the same vein (so we’re not going under a new law) is never let two days go by without doing something toward your goal. In other words, let’s say I’m trying to work out and lose weight—which I do and I am. I never go more than two days without a workout, which means if I didn’t work out yesterday I have to work out today. That way I’m consistent.

I don’t want a month to go by in between or two months. So, I never let two days in a row go by without accomplishing some work. That’s how you make sure you work consistently. That daily, consistent action matters.

3. Practice continual improvement.

You know, most people in the world get fairly good at something, and then they stop there forever.

In fact, let me tell you a true story. In high school, I learned to play guitar. (I’m going to be perfectly honest. I learned because I knew that other teenage girls loved guitar-playing guys.)

I learned how to play guitar. But I didn’t learn enough to become an expert. I learned just enough to make other people think that I knew what I was doing. And so I could play some chords and I could do OK. I mean, I even played on a church worship team.

But at the end of the day, I never got better. Why? I played every single week. I mean, I’ve played pretty much every week for the past 15 years. But I’m no better today than I was 15 years ago.

Why? Because I didn’t practice continual improvement. I never worked on my scales. I never tried new songs. I never did anything special. So, I just stayed where I was at.

That’s why law number three is to continually improve.

silhouette of man wearing backpack climbing uphill in sunshine

How do you get better and better all the time? There’s two ways to do this.

Number one is continual education. To go back to the guitar analogy, I never continued learning. But with other things in my life, like for example, I’m trying to grow a mobile home park investing business right now. I’m always learning, listening the podcasts, talking with other investors, reading books on the topic—so continual education.

But then secondly, it’s self reflection. You learn and you do and then you reflect. What worked, what didn’t work, and how can I make sure that it works better next time? That’s really how you grow. It’s that cycle of doing and then learning and then applying what you learned to do it again better next time.

That’s how you continually improve. And if you just continually improve every single day, every week, every month, every year, you can do amazing things.

In fact, think about it. If your year-ago self looks a lot like your today self, it means that you’re not continually improving. And if you want to succeed in life (and pretty much in anything), continual improvement is a law.

4. Raise your thermostat.

I’m not talking about your thermostat in your house, but it is similar. So, you know how a thermostat works, right? When you’re at a certain temperature—for example, I set my thermostat at 72 degrees—when it gets warmer than 72 degrees, my air conditioning kicks on and lowers the temperature back to 72. If it was under 72 and goes down to 68, the heat kicks on and brings it back up to 72.

The thermostat is designed to keep you at this equilibrium. The same thing is true for areas of success in our life, and it includes wealth-building.

In other words, right now in your head, there is a level of wealth that your internal thermostat is set at. Maybe that’s earning $50,000 a year; maybe it’s earning $200,000 a year. Maybe it’s earning a million dollars a year or $12 an hour.

There’s something in your head that’s set internally, that when you earn more than that, you ease off the gas a little. You slow down; you don’t hustle as hard. And when you get way less than that, you put on the gas, you hustle harder, and you make that extra income.

Related: How to Become a Millionaire Through Rental Properties

That’s why for most people their income from year to year to year doesn’t change very much. In fact, if you were to take somebody who earned $250,000 a year, get rid of their job entirely, have them go broke, they’d probably end up earning $10-15,000 a year within a year, because their thermostat is set there. They look for opportunities that help them get back there.

So, if you want to increase your wealth-building opportunities, you’ve got to increase your thermostat.

Now, how do you do that? By surrounding yourself with people who have a higher thermostat. Some people naturally have a thermostat set at making a million dollars a year. That’s a lot of money! Unless you’re somebody who makes $10 million a year… then that would be a really low amount. You wouldn’t want to sincerely spend all your time with those people.

But that’s why you should spend more time focused on surrounding yourself with people who are at where you are going to be, rather than surround yourself with people where you were.

5. Resist lifestyle creep.

If you want to build wealth in life, there’s a thing called lifestyle creep. Let me explain it in a story.

So, I was out to dinner with a friend of mine a while back. We were sitting at a nice restaurant, a nice steak house. And this friend was complaining to me a little bit about how he’s living paycheck to paycheck, never has any money to invest, etc. This friend also admitted that he makes close to $500,000 every single year.

How is it somebody who makes $500,000 over the year is living paycheck to paycheck?

And he says to me, he just doesn’t know. He’s like, “I’m not extravagant. I don’t have a jet. I’m not doing anything crazy.”

And then while he’s talking, the waiter comes by and he orders that $400 bottle of wine without even thinking about it. Why? Because he’s lived this life where a $400 bottle of wine is the norm. In other words, his lifestyle has creeped up to the point where that’s normal.

You’re probably laughing right now, saying I would never be like that. But think about it. Right now in your life are you spending money on things that you didn’t spend money on when you were in college or in high school?

I know when I got out of college, my wife and I got married, and we traveled around the country in our little used Prius that was a salvage title. And we lived in this little Prius while we traveled the country for six weeks. We slept in our car, because that was fun. That’s what we did, and it was cheap and we didn’t have any money.

Today when we go places, we stay at nice hotels—Hilton or Marriott. And later on, we may someday go and stay at a Four Seasons.

Our lifestyle creeps, and it happens to everybody.

Now, is it wrong? No. But if you want to build wealth, as your income climbs throughout your life, you can’t let your lifestyle creep up to match that. Because then you will always be making exactly what you spend. Your paycheck to paycheck never goes away.

If you want to get out of the paycheck-to-paycheck mentality and build actual wealth, you’ve got to stop the lifestyle creep. That means actually living on a budget. That means taking money from your paycheck immediately, before you even get access to it. Before it goes into your checking account, it goes into a savings account or an investment account automatically.

That way, you don’t have to rely on your own willpower, which we all know doesn’t really work that well to save money. And then you make it automatic.

But you’ve got to avoid the lifestyle creep.

6. You’ve got to do 20 in 10.

Here’s what I mean by that: A few months ago, I interviewed a friend of mine named David Osborne, who is the New York Times bestselling author of Wealth Can’t Wait. And a new book he wrote is called Tribe of Millionaires.

David is one of the most wealthy, generous, happy people that I know. And I asked him in this interview: how do you do it? How do you grow that big of wealth and become that successful?

He said, “You’ve got to do 20 in 10. I don’t know any other way.”

And I said, “What do you mean by that?”

He said 20 in 10 means you’ve got to do 20 years of work in 10 years if you want to get wealthy early, get wealthy young, get wealthy quick.

In other words, you’ve got to put in the hours. You’ve got to put in the work. And it’s not always easy. It’s sometimes long hours.

Now, there’s a lot of this Instagram culture out there. People, you know, sitting on a beach, driving their Lamborghinis, while money just pours in their pocket. But let me just tell you that’s not the way it works.

I mean, I live in Hawaii in Maui, but I still work a ton of hours. And I worked the last 10 years of my life, 15 years of my life, doing 30 in 15.

So, now I get to experience some of the fruits of my labor in an increased lifestyle today—but it didn’t come easy. It came after a lot of late nights when my wife and I would be painting a rental property at 2:00 in the morning, because we already rented it out and at 7:00 the next morning we have a tenant coming to move in. That was a normal thing for many, many, many years for me.

And it’s gonna be a normal thing for you—no matter what business or what entrepreneurship or what avenue you go toward building wealth. You’re going to have to do 20 in 10, so don’t let anybody convince you otherwise.

It doesn’t come naturally. You’re not going to win the lottery. It doesn’t just happen.

When you hear those cases where people just get rich really, really quickly, they’re the exception, not the rule. Sure, you can hope. But plan to do 20 in 10.

And those are the six laws of building wealth.

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What do you think about the above six laws? Which do you currently practice? Which do you plan to incorporate into your lifestyle ASAP?

Weigh in with a comment below.

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He is a nationally recognized leader in the real estate education space and has tau...
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    Erik Whiting Real Estate Investor from Springfield, MO
    Replied 3 months ago
    Very thoughtful post, Mr. Brandon Turner. I don't want to hijack it by any means, but I'd like to suggest a 7th Law implied by these 6: the Law of Contentment. Being content gets a bad reputation among the hyper-productive sometimes. But contentment doesn't mean I am lazy or losing my hustle: it means I am satisfied with where I am today regardless of what I'm working toward tomorrow. It helps avoid things like lifestyle creep that you mentioned, because I'm not trying to live a lifestyle today that I hope I can afford tomorrow. It also helps me focus on the tasks at hand and self-improvement. Instead of pining away for what I don't have, I give thanks for what I do have and that allows me to focus in on the next step. I appreciate you taking the time to put these together and wish you a prosperous 2020!
    Nancy Wasserman Wholesaler from Florida
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great post, Brandon and wonderful comment Erik!
    Jared Bartels
    Replied 3 months ago
    I agree with what Erik said! Read a snippet about this in Ryan Holiday's "Stillness is the Key", super important life law!
    Jay Williams Rental Property Investor from Los Angeles
    Replied 3 months ago
    Liked this ver much! Down to earth and inspirational. I'm always in process of learning something new & asking "what's next", never settling with the status quo. People around me are always saying "you're crazy!" or "dang, where do you find the time" or "you are always so busy, do you ever relax?". I think I'll just forward them this video! It explains my outlook so well! Thanks for posting. This is truth. I'm new to investing but this gives me a little needed confirmation that I'm heading in the right direction.
    Terri Lewis Flipper/Rehabber from Elkhart, IN
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thank you for the post. These are areas that I do and just don't think about. Especially this year spent a lot more on Christmas than I have in years. I don't think it really mattered to very many that received the gifts. Better to just be together. I also do not take quick action. I work almost as many hours now as I did 20 years ago. Just need to improve how and what I'm doing.
    Terri Lewis Flipper/Rehabber from Elkhart, IN
    Replied 3 months ago
    I'm also not spending enough time on BP like I use to. I've leaned so much on here.
    Mitchell Hosford Accountant from Vienna, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great article Brandon! I really liked your thoughts on practicing continual improvement and resisting lifestyle creep. I think an important aspect about continual improvement is determining what your next step in development is and making sure its not too much. Going back to your guitar playing, I guarantee that you didn't try to develop to quickly. For example being a beginner and trying to play a Led Zeppelin song. I think in life as in real estate our eyes exceed our appetite and we need to manage expectations and create a plan for how we are going to develop to avoid becoming overwhelmed and in the end discouraged by something that is too far outside of our ability.
    Charlene Fetzer Investor from Denver, CO
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great post! Actionable steps that can be taken today. I like the personal tip of never going two day without working towards your goal. Thanks for all your knowledge and haring Brandon! Happy 2020 to you!
    Jamie Rose Real Estate Agent from Anchorage, AK
    Replied 3 months ago
    But some moose just need a beer. J/K - thanks for the encouragement @Brandon Turner! I'll be in Kona early March - let me know if you have time for a visit ;) We're looking to invest more in 2020 - I was glad to be reminded of these basics!
    Jonathan Steen from Waikoloa, Hawaii
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great article Brandon! I need to write these down and read them as daily reminders. Thank you!
    Eric Swanson from Elgin, IL
    Replied 3 months ago
    This is an awesome post @BrandonTurner , I love this community and its overwhelming feeling of how many like-minded people that are out there all striving for similar goals!
    Taylor Hosick Rental Property Investor from Tulsa, OK
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great stuff Brandon! I really appreciate your outlook, and your desire to keep giving as you grow. Solid thermostat analogy as well!
    Albertinny Colin from Charlotte, NC
    Replied 3 months ago
    Awesome post! What have you found to be the most challenging law to follow?
    Linda Cochran
    Replied 3 months ago
    That sure hit home! I have no investments besides a home and autos. I retired in my late 50's (at the age I thought I should) but have made a grave mistake. Social security totally sucks and I didn't have enough federal years to get a decent income. All was well until my husband (early 60's) applied for soc sec disability. His hands are totally overworked. He was self employed sooooooooooo, well you can just imagine how tight our funds are now. I have worked part time some but I feel like such a failure and envision going back to federal employment just to get a grip on what it could be like to enjoy life again. I have applied for many opportune positions and hope to work full time again at 66 years old.
    Eric Lee Real Estate Investor from Sunnyvale, California
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great post! I was wondering if the example should be "a month" though? > end up earning $10-15,000 a year within a year
    Jermain Felton
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great post!!!
    Randall Justice from Pasco, Washington
    Replied 3 months ago
    Brandon...Great post. I for sure have to work the 20/10 plan. I'm 70 years young presently, so I had better get crackin!!
    Daniel Umstead Real Estate Agent from Philadelphia, PA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Incredible, even the simplest and reminded of extra effort goes a long way, thank you for the reminder! Have a prosperous 2020!
    Rick Klopp from North GA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great post to kick-start the new year. Thanks.
    John Murray from Portland, Oregon
    Replied 3 months ago
    If you want to become a multimillionaire you have to work about 100 hours per week. Once your net worth goes over $2M you can throttle down to about 80 hours per week. Once your net worth goes over $4M you can throttle down 60 hours per week. I'm throttling back to 60 hours per week this year and 40 the next and 20 the next and 10 the next and then 0. It's all in math. My first million was the hardest, it seemed to take the longest.
    Jennifer A Riley Realtor from Millsboro, DE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great post! We've worked hard over the last five years to make up for lost time and I can 100% relate to this post. Making a budget, sticking to it and avoiding the "creep" have been financially life changing for us. There's still plenty of work left to do but the plan is working!
    Michael Kissi from Baltimore, MD
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great and timely article as always. I made a little change as i was taking notes. 20 in 10 seems too long for me so I changed it to 10 in 5 and am taking action today to make that a reality.
    Andrew Syrios Residential Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, MO
    Replied 3 months ago
    The first point is huge and often neglected. So many people seek "inspiration" before they decide to go for it. They've put the cart before the horse. Inspiration doesn't fall like manna from the sky. You start working toward something and then you become inspired about it or you pivot to something else. But you have to build that momentum before you will get inspired.
    Gabriel Dominic Gonzales Rental Property Investor from Phoenix, AZ
    Replied 3 months ago
    I very much enjoyed this article. Thanks.
    Sandy Gabin Rental Property Investor from Lawrence, Ma
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I just heard this video and I had already started the #5 law as a new year's resolution! I will stop buying things that i don't really need, because I already have it. It's hard for a woman to say no for a nice pair of shoes or nice purse! But I will manage!
    John-Patrick D. Bailey New to Real Estate from Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
    Replied 22 days ago
    I like the steps and the information presented however I would suggest a slightly different breakdown: Step 1 (decide what you want) Step 2 raise the thermostat Step 3 take consistent action Step 3a continual improvement Step 4 (universal) resist the lifestyle creep Step 5 (universal) work twice as hard as you think you’ll need to.