Money isn’t everything.
Or so people tell me.
Like most people, I used to accept this statement as the gospel truth. Admittedly,
it was easy to do so because millions of people were also saying the same thing.
And since so many people said the same thing, it had to be right. In any case, the
line ruffles no feathers. It is as politically correct as it can get. To say otherwise –
that money is everything – would make you sound like a material girl – that you
would do anything, even sell your own mother, for the sake of the dollar.
Furthermore, it is easy to look down on those who search for money. These
people appear to be rough, crude, and unrefined. After all, money is as basic as it
comes (no life of its own, countable, and anyone can have it), so much so that if
you told anyone that you are all out for it, it will instantly relegate you in their
eyes to the level of the ancient humanoids, and the only difference between you
and them is that they were hunting and gathering for food, while you are doing
the same for money. There’s no art, no taste and nothing refined about it at all.
(This is perhaps why no books on personal finance or building wealth have been
nominated for the Booker prize, or any literary award for that matter. Most
people, especially those in the literary scene, view such books as third-rate
publications – no art, no depth and no magic – even though such books have
touched, changed and improved more lives than most novels combined!)
But as I journeyed through life, the picture began to change. Firstly, I began to
notice that all the people who said the line were not rich. It’s almost as if they
were trying to cover up for their lack of wealth by saying it is not important –
just as the fox in Aesop’s tale, that consoled himself that the grapes that he could
not reach were sour anyway.
Secondly, I also noticed that practically everyone was out searching for money.
Even those who said money was not important were slogging to make more
money! They said one thing, but were doing another.
I thought this to be a weird way to live life – saying one thing and doing another.
It is almost like living a lie or living a dual existence. Unfortunately, the two existences are at opposite ends, and can only tear the individual apart. End result
– they are neither fulfilled nor rich.
I thought why not be true to yourself – if you believes that money is not
important, then live like it is not important. Become a poet, a mystic, a monk, a
saint. Move to the woods. Escape from the rat race. You will be happy, fulfilled,
and at peace with the universe.
On the other hand, if you believe that money is important, then live like it is
important. Work hard, work smart, save, invest, and manage your money. By
doing this, I believe that you will be happy, fulfilled, at peace with the universe,
and as a nice bonus, wealthy!
Becoming rich is difficult
There…I’ve said it. The curtains have been lifted, and you now know the truth.
So now you have two choices: (1) give up, because all your darkest suspicions
about becoming rich have just been confirmed, or (2) work harder and smarter so
that you will have a chance of making it.
By the way, if you noticed, I did not write ‘becoming rich is impossible’; I wrote
‘becoming rich is difficult’, which means that you can do it if you are willing to
make the sacrifices and pay the price. And boy, what sacrifices you have to
make! Some of the sacrifices include reading books (a lot of books!), attending
classes, missing time spent partying with the boys, missing time with your
family, skipping holidays, skipping television, skipping newspapers, laughed at,
scorned, belittled, criticized, working fifteen hours a day, seven days a week,
sacrificing perhaps even your health and living ‘normal’ lives.
Interestingly, the daughter of Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s fast food
chain, said that her dad probably did not even know which school she attended!
By the way, I need to add that it is not only you who will be making these
sacrifices! Others, namely your spouse, children and perhaps even other family
members, will also have to make many sacrifices in your quest. Hey, who said getting rich was easy?
So are you ready to sacrifice all of the above and more? If the answer is yes, then
you probably have a chance. If not, then be prepared to live a sedentary life,
which by the way is not shameful. The price to pay for wealth is very high
indeed, and I understand exactly if you decide not to do it. After all, millions of
people have decided not to.
But if you are game for it, then get ready for the ride of a lifetime!
Actually, a lot of people are doing the correct things where making money is
concerned. It is not rocket science, you know. They have most of the answers
already. However, they cannot quite get the crosshair aligned. Sometimes they
are missing one or two things that will put it all together. Sometimes the
arrangement is not quite right, much like a big unsolved jigsaw puzzle. So these
folks go around in circles, doing alright, but not quite hitting the big time. They
hover just outside of the border of real wealth. There’s a name for these folks –
the middle class.
In the last few years, I’ve also met a number of successful entrepreneurs,
corporate leaders, top management and artists whose income runs into millions.
Sadly though, many of them are still in the dark when it comes to investing that
money. They are just as blind about the subject matter as their employees. So,
although they have millions, the returns from those millions are peanuts. Worse,
they actually lost a lot of money as well. In fact, far too often if you ask me.
Fortunately though, they can still laugh about it, which is a good sign of sorts.
(Hey, anytime anyone can laugh after losing millions, that’s a good sign!) Here
they are, on top of the mountain when it comes to making money, and yet they
are in the dark when it comes to investments. There are reasons for this of
course, and I will reveal what they are later in the book.
Naturally you too will make mistakes – plenty of them! You will make poor
decisions, hire the wrong people, pay too much, pay too little, say the wrong
words and yes, lose money. You will be taken advantage of, misled, mistreated,
misunderstood, cheated and lied to. Why? Because you are not taught about
money matters, because you don’t know it all, and most of all, because you are