ALL THE THINGS MONEY CAN’T BUY Perhaps the super rich aren't that different from the rest of us after all.

The Experts

Top Priorities of the Super Rich

What motivates the wealthy are probably the same as yours: health, family, and financial security, in that order.

Alena Mae Flores

veteran business journalist

The movie Crazy Rich Asians brought to the center stage the culture of opulence and old money in Asia. While both the movie and the book it was adapted from are works of fiction, they gave viewers and readers a glimpse of the lives of super rich families, tycoons, and personalities residing in a region where fact is often more glamourous (and crazy) than fiction.

Shopping trips to Paris, $500 lunches, on-demand friendships with Madonna and/or Cristiano Ronaldo—this is commonplace to those whose net worth amount to billions. But what exactly are the priorities of the super rich, most specifically billionaires and in what order? 

Author Thomas Corley of the book Rich Habits: The Daily Success of Habits of Wealthy Individuals revealed that billionaires believe in the concept of “giving back.” They exercise charity and philanthropy and are generous of their wealth. 

‘High net worth Filipinos are not obsessed with money. They are focused on leaving a mark. Legacy building, something they will be remembered by.’


Steve Siebold, author of How Rich People Think said those with money “set their sights on impacting the world with their wealth."

"Some do it through philanthropy, others through business or various financial vehicles," he said.

A significant example is Giving Pledge, created by billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet to give more than half their wealth away, therefore setting a new standard of generosity among the ultra-wealthy.

Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg committed to giveaway a bulk of his fortune for charitable causes. 

Billionaires in the Philippines likewise are active in foundations and other charitable works, spending millions to help improve the communities they serve. Because aside from being charitable, the super rich are also focused on legacy building. 

“High net worth Filipinos are not obsessed with money. They are focused on leaving a mark. Legacy building, something they will be remembered by,” a lawyer who works for one of the country’s richest billionaires said.

Corley also observed that wealthy people value their health and watch what they eat in order to live a longer life and have the opportunity to earn more. They also exercise regularly even if they are busy to maintain their stamina and energy daily and ensure a longer life.

They also want to make sure that their wealth is passed on to the next generation. In the Philippines, large family-owned corporations train the next generation to manage the business to ensure its continued success.  

Mitchell Kraus, a certified financial planner and owner of Capital Intelligence Associates told CNBC in 2015 that a lot of their high net worth clients aren’t just about getting the best returns in their investments.

“They’ve built their wealth and want to make sure it’s preserved,” Kraus said, adding that these type of clients “want to make sure that the next generation is prepared.” 

A US Trust survey of 640 high-net-worth adults in 2015 revealed that the rich are not preoccupied with money. Instead health is their number one priority, followed by family and third by wealth. 

Some of the world’s super rich fund research to cure life-threatening illnesses, believing that this will also help them in their quest for a healthy and longer lives.

“I think most rich people give priority to fulfilling their obligation to their family, and this include ensuring the enhancement of the value of their lives. Enhancing include making sure their wealth remains strategically strong, which may mean keeping the market dominance of the source of their wealth, while keeping the stability of their family,” according to a government official who has worked with some of the country’s super rich.

And even though they are already wealthy, Corley said the super-rich avoid spending too much. He said they try to get the best deals and stick to their budgets to save more money.

Croley also noted that the super-rich take calculated risks and have back up plans when the going gets rough. This means the super rich do not invest blindly for the sake of simply investing. They take the time calculate the risk associated with their planned investments then make an informed decision.

Corley further observed that the super-rich believe that time is money and thus they use their time wisely. The super-rich do not use their time for unproductive endeavors.

He said they have goals and they are focused on achieving it. 

Corley adds that they continue to work towards self-improvement by education through reading. He noted that majority of them love reading, especially on self-improvement.

The super-rich also do not retire early because they enjoy what they do. However, the super-rich know the value of relaxation. The super-rich believe that they more productive and efficient if they are not exhausted.



About the author

ALENA MAE S. FLORES is a business journalist for nearly two decades having covered the Securities and Exchange Commission, Board of Investments, Telecommunications and Energy beats. She is a former president of the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines and Best Energy Reporter during the EJAP Journalism Awards in 2010.