What I Learned From the Top 10%

3 min read

Anthony O'neal
What I Learned From the Top 10%

Nearly 70% of people in America are financially illiterate according to an article from Reveal, meaning they don’t understand or comprehend the basics of financial literacy. So, I want to talk about how you can become financially literate than 70% of the people in America.


There are five incredibly important principles to take from the 10% of financially literate people that the 70% don’t know. When you take these principles and actively implement them in your daily life, it will make a difference and you will be able to build wealth for yourself, your family, and your loved ones. 

Educate yourself 

Education is key to being able to build wealth – you can only increase your financial literacy by seeking out the knowledge and consuming content that allows you to grow.  If you’re going to be financially smarter than 70% of the people in America, you have to continue to educate yourself and understand the basics of budgeting, investing, saving, managing, and eliminating your debt. 

According to a survey by FINRA, “individuals who participate in financial education programs are more likely to exhibit positive financial behaviors such as savings and investing in retirement.” Not only are these individuals taking the time to learn and grow, they’re also taking care of their priorities to build wealth and protect their wealth and legacy.  

Investing in life insurance should be one of these top priorities and an example of positive financial behaviors. Ethos Life Insurance is a great resource that you can trust to hold your life insurance policies. If you’re really trying to be smarter than 70% of Americans, you need to invest in a term life insurance policy because if you can do that, not only are you passing down your wealth and financial freedom to your loved ones, you’re also passing down knowledge. 

Education in finance is just the first step, while it’s an important step, you need to be doing other things that will help build that wealth and increase your knowledge when it comes to money. The next biggest principle to implement is living below your means. 

Live below your means

Spending less than you earn is something that can be difficult to grasp, but by living below your means, you’re able to save and invest the difference and allow you to build wealth over a longer period of time. When you practice prioritizing your needs over your wants you’re focusing on generating income for your wants. 

You’re where you are right now or not where you want to be because you’re maxed out in the areas you want to be in. For example, you may not have the house you want right now because you’re maxed out in the apartment you’re in, your 401K is not maxed out because you’re maxed out with your car payments. 

If you’re maxing out on your wants and not simply meeting your needs, you're not allowing yourself to build wealth. Another example is you do need a vehicle, but you don’t need a BMW – that car payment is maxing you out and not allowing you to reach your full potential and build wealth. 

This can be an incredibly challenging principle to implement if you’ve been living above your means for a while. You’ll be faced with challenges, and struggles, but being able to strategize a way to prioritize your needs in order to achieve your goals and be able to indulge in your wants, is going to help you when thinking long-term about your wealth building.

Focus on long term wealth building 

You need to have a long-term perspective when it comes to building wealth by investing in quality assets, investing, and putting money into a high yield savings account. The basics of building a financial foundation on which to continue to build wealth allows you to generate a long-term plan and think in the long-term. 

You’ll see these get rich quick schemes and investment “opportunities” that may look nice, but don’t put money into crypto when you don’t have a 401k – the long term plan is going to benefit you more than a short-term or get rich quick scheme ever would. 

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a retirement confidence survey found only 40% of workers have calculated how much they need to save for retirement – less than half of Americans don’t even know how much they need to save for retirement. 

Consume content from trusted sources and experts 

It’s time to stop consuming content that doesn’t benefit us, stop consuming content that only entertains our mind. What content can you consume that helps you build wealth, instead of just entertaining you. 

It’s so important to gain knowledge and consume content that provides you with the information you need to achieve your goals, increase your income, increase your wealth and not just entertain. Choose to read articles and listen to podcasts by experts that have a track record of reliability and evidence-based advice. 

Cultivate a spiritual connection to money 

Develop a God-giving relationship first that connects you to money, you have to understand what God has for you. A study done by University of Cambridge found that individuals who practiced gratitude and mindfulness in financial decisions, tend to have a lower level of financial stress and greater satisfaction with their financial situation. 

By integrating spiritual principles such as gratitude, mindfulness, generosity, tithing, money turns into a tool but not an end-all-be-all. When I started tithing, I did it because I was told I had to without telling me the principles of it. As I grew, I started to understand that principle and why it’s important to tithe, and why it’s important to give God back the 10% and I’m still able to give. 

Let’s Recap 

If you really want to be more financially literate than 70% of people in America, it’s important to implement these five principles into your life. The first thing you need to do is educate yourself because it’s going to be incredibly difficult to make changes and implement the other principles when you don’t know what your goals are or how to set financial goals for yourself. If you don’t know the basics of financial literacy, it’s incredibly hard to create and stick to a vision to achieve your goals. 

That being said, education never stops and you should be continuously consuming content that helps you accomplish your goals while simultaneously living below your means, investing in life insurance, cultivating a spiritual connection to money, and focusing on long-term wealth building. When you implement these principles you can truly build a foundation for which to build wealth and take what works with your financial goals that you want to achieve.

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