Most people want more money. More money is better than less money, right? That is the conventional wisdom.
But there are lots of people who really aren’t interested in more money, unless perhaps you just gave it to them unconditionally.
What do I mean by that? I mean that most people want more money, but aren’t willing to do what it takes to get it.
There are a few obvious ways to get more money:
- Work longer: Work more hours at your current job, or get another job and work that, too.
- Work harder/smarter/more productively: Get more done in the time allotted, and maybe get a raise or something like that.
- Illegal stuff: Drugs/prostitution/whatever. I hate to bring it up, but this is a path that some people take (at the cost of their character). Walter White did it.
- Win the lottery.
- Sell platelets.
While lots of people want money, they aren’t willing to work more hours—they value their free time. They aren’t willing to work harder—they value their effort. They are content with what they have. That contentedness is an economic choice.
Now, there are some non-obvious ways to make more money:
- Get a different job
You’re not going to get wealthy as a high school teacher. Even if you saved until it hurt, and invested like the best, you’re not going to be what I would call “rich.” So to get rich, you have to get a different job—there are no shortcuts.
You could realistically do something like become a real estate agent, and potentially make two to four times what you make currently.
But most people do not want to change jobs. They define themselves as a high school teacher. They say: “I am an educator. I help children.” It is part of their identity, and doing something different would blow up that identity.
Most teachers/nurses/civil servants derive some non-monetary benefit from their jobs. It is understood that people in those professions make sacrifices, so a certain amount of prestige comes with the job. That prestige is worth something. And you can quantify how much it is worth—simply ask people how much money it would take for them to give up their job and do something a little more distasteful.
Another non-obvious way to make money:
- Start income investing (real estate, etc.)
You could save up some money, buy a piece of property, and rent it out. If you do it right, you are cash flow-positive. You can borrow more money and do it again, and again. Borrowing money is dangerous, but you can make a lot of money doing this if the economy works in your favor.
RV parks, dental offices, and other businesses also spit out income. I know plenty of people who make a good living off the income from their investments. They are a bit bored, but that’s okay.
I bring up income investing because it is something that most people can do in their spare time, if they are motivated enough to do it. I also include fix-and-flips in this category.
Of course, the best way to make money is:
- Start a business
Just about everyone has sat around drinking beer and dreamed up an idea for a business. My wife thinks tattoo removal would be a great business (especially here in Myrtle Beach). She might be right, although I don’t think people around here are capable of regret.
Anyway, an idea for a business (even a good idea), is virtually worthless without execution. You have to do a lot of research on tattoo removal machines, get certified in doing it, rent office space, put a sign on the door, form an LLC. All this crap just to have a tattoo removal business. And what if someone opens one up next door? Lots and lots of risk.
Most people, deep down, don’t start a business because they are afraid of the risk.
It’s good to have a healthy fear of this risk. If you start a business with your own money, and fail, it blows up your personal finances. You could go bankrupt.
If you start a business with other people’s money, and it fails, you’ll be dealing with some p—-d-off people.
But if you want to get really rich, that is pretty much how you have to do it. Why? Because you are actually investing in yourself—and then you are compounding at a very high rate (I will explain this in a future issue).
The reality is that money is a choice. Someone who wants more money can do any or all of these things. They can work harder or longer, they can get a different job, they can fool around with real estate, or they can start their own business.
Most people choose not to, because they are either content with what they have (an economic choice) or their self-image is tied up in not being rich (another economic choice).
So the first step in making money is… actually wanting to make money.
Poor Is a Mentality
There are plenty of people whose identities are tied up in being average schmucks, the people who like to say: “I’m an average joe/working man/blue collar guy.”
Or they define themselves as what they are not: “I’m not a capitalist/money-grubber/investment banker.”
And that’s fine! But you can’t then b—- about not having money. You can’t have it both ways.
If you don’t have any money, then why not do some things that other people with money do. Lose the cargo shorts. Stop watching The Learning Channel. Hang out in places where rich people hang out.
“Well, I couldn’t hang out with those stuck-up people.”
Guess what: When you get money, there is a decent chance it is going to make you stuck-up. That comes from working really hard and being successful, and watching a lot of other people not do that.
It’s hard to have sympathy for those other people, when you know that anyone can do what you did.
And that’s what’s at the bottom of this game—lots and lots of hard work. Sure, there is easy money to be made sometimes: bitcoin, marijuana stocks, things like that. But most of the time, making money is hard, there’s no shortcuts, it’s arduous, and it’s really a grind.
If you want to make money, that’s what you have to look forward to. A lifetime of struggle.
Yes, it gets easier after a while, and when you see someone who has money, they are probably making it seem like it was easy. It’s a bit like an iceberg—all you’re seeing is the top 10% of it. Underneath is a whole lot of sweat and toil.
Maybe you think that money will turn you into a different person.
Let’s hope it does!
The alternative is that you can remain the authentic you that you are, and accept that you’ll never be able to afford to go to that nice restaurant that you’ve always wanted to go to.
Money Is a Choice
Money is a choice: You have to choose to want it, and it also represents choices. It represents things you can do. It is what finance guys like to call “optionality.”
The very wealthiest people enjoy more optionality than the rest of us. Of course, the biggest perk of being “ultra-high net worth” is private air travel. The ability to go to the airport, skip security and all the bull—-, get on your own plane, and fly anywhere.
I like to think of money as a big pile of things I can do. Anything becomes possible.
If you don’t want to make money, I can’t help you. If you just want to want to make money, I can’t help you.
You must possess a belief system which tells you that material things can make you happier and that your work and effort can buy increased comfort. And if you want to make the world a better place, you can donate what’s left over.
You don’t have the ability to do any of those things if you first don’t want money.
All the personal finance lessons, stock tips, and investment research in the world won’t make you rich until you first get the right attitude.
- Making money is hard.
- It is worth it.
- You’ll know what I mean when you get there.