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becoming wealthy

Becoming Wealthy is a Choice

Very few people wake up one day and just become wealthy. Becoming wealthy is a choice that you make and a way that you live your life. Work less, live more!

For most of us, becoming wealthy is a journey. For those lucky few who found themselves rich overnight, it becomes not so much a dream come true but a nightmare come to life. A large percentage of lottery winners wind up not only losing the millions of dollars they win but eventually losing everything they own after being buried under a mountain of debt. Why is that?

It’s because you can’t just become wealthy, it’s a conscious choice that you must make. Sure you can have a lot of money, but without the proper mindset you will eventually let it all get away from you.

There is a major difference between wealthy people and everyone else. The wealthy work and save to create freedom, opportunity and happiness in their lives. When you have “Fuck You Money”, suddenly you don’t have to take crap from your boss, you can just walk out. The wealthy know this. For the wealthy, money gives them the power of choice, they do not have to answer to anyone but themselves.

Do What the Wealthy Do

You’ll find that the wealthy don’t have fancy cars because that’s a terrible waste of money and they don’t need to prove to anyone how successful they are. In fact, you can usually tell a poor person based on how flashy they are and how much stuff they have acquired.

The wealthy didn’t get wealthy by spending their money. Most of them live comfortably happy, normal lives not so different from yours’. That’s where the phrase (and book) The Millionaire Next Door comes from. See, the wealthy know that they don’t want to be enslaved, they want the freedom to make decisions based on what they want and what makes them happy, not what the bill collectors say.

The financially illiterate on the other hand see money in a whole different light. Or, rather they don’t really see or understand money at all. They are primarily driven to work so they can acquire more things. To get a better kitchen table, to buy a flatter TV, they let their stuff own them. Eventually their stuff become the shackles that hold them back and prevent them from being happy.

The worst part thing about the financially illiterate is that they don’t respect money, themselves or their time. A financially illiterate person may make $12.50 an hour or $100 a day, which is fine, however at the end of the day they may spend that whole $100 at the bar. In the matter of a few hours they drank away a whole day’s work. They might as well have skipped work and stayed home.

It’s Not About Working Hard

This is the sobering truth about how most people spend their money and the irony is that most of these people aren’t stupid, they just don’t understand money and the value of their time.

There is this notion that you must work 5 days a week for at least 40 hours and maintain that level of dedication for nearly 40 years. That’s crazy! By the time you’re 60, you’ll be old and you won’t want to work. If you drink all your money away you’re basically screwing the future you and making him or her work for the rest of their life.

Thankfully, there is another way but first you must sit down and decide for yourself that the past is the past and from today forward, you will work towards being wealthy. Until you make that conscious decision you’re doomed to be enslaved by your stuff and your job. You will work away the best years of your life and you won’t realize it until it is too late.

The first step to becoming wealthy is deciding to take responsibility for your financial future. Once you make this choice you can start the slow but rewarding journey of building wealth and becoming the master of your own destiny.

Build Meaningful Wealth

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Once you have all of your accounts linked you can leverage their Retirement Planner to plot out exactly what your retirement would look like. Using a Monte Carlo simulation they determine how likely it is that you’ll reach the level of income in retirement that you’re hoping for. I’ve found this tool invaluable in my wealth planning and I’ve made some major changes because of it. I’ve been using Personal Capital since 2013 and since then I haven’t found a better free online tool for building and managing wealth.

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  • I decided when I was very young (7 y.o.). I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew fairly early. I was on my path in my late 20s and had a plan in my early 30s. I accomplished it by the time I turned 38 years old.

    • Krant, that’s awesome! The sooner you make the decision and come up with a plan (or reuse someone else’s), the faster you can achieve “F You Money”!

  • I see that day after day where people just don’t understand. They are driving around in fancy cars or cheap cars that they souped up, but then live in a run down apartment or house. People have their priorities ass backwards.

    • So true. The rims will bring them happiness but only for a short period of time. I think the problem is that the amount of time they spend working to afford buying those rims is likely greater than the amount of time they are actually happy. Sounds like their happiness to work ratio is out if whack ;)

  • Jim

    Excellent post Andrew! Most people who are poor have poor ways, they have very little knowledge of credit, debt, saving and leverage. This is rarely taught in schools and parents either lack the knowledge to teach or haven’t got the time. As a result, generation after generation fails to grasp the fundamentals, and so debt and spending continue its way of shackling the lives of many! Great post!

    • Thanks Jim!

      I absolutely agree with you. The crazy thing is, personal finance is neither difficult nor time consuming. One just needs to take the first step and give some minimal effort and the momentum alone will be immensely positive!

  • Mike

    I can’t say that I’ve been completely successful at freeing myself from the “rat race”. I still work a full time job. However, I feel like there is something driving me to do more. I started working on websites on my own, selling things on eBay for extra cash, and looking for creative ways to invest and grow the money I make. The idea of simply slogging along at 40 hours per week until management says I’m old enough to retire makes me cringe. I don’t know how people do it without going crazy. There is something that drives me to do more than just settle for the status quo. If you accept things the way they are, they’ll just stay that way and you effectively give up any right to complain about your lot in life. You’ve got to take action and do things differently if you want to see results that you like in your life. Good post.

    • Well put! There is no medal waiting for you after you log 40 hours a week for the best years of your life.

      Selling stuff on eBay is a great idea and an awesome way to try and chip away at your reliance on 40 hour a week status quo. Keep is up and let us know how it goes, we’re always interested in new ways to save and generate cash on the side.

      Good luck with your goal of choosing your own destiny!

  • Great post, Andrew! We were part of the financially illiterate for years. We just didn’t understand, as you pointed out, the value of our money and time. Life is SO much better now that we “get it”. :-)

    • Glad you joined the club Laurie!

  • One red flag for me is anyone who has credit card debt. This seems like the absolute dumbest thing ever. If you can’t pay off your credit card each month, then don’t use it! Live within your means. The older I get the less stuff I want around. So many of my peers are also seeing the value of simplifying life now. It is a worthy goal, and it goes hand in hand with building wealth and gaining personal freedom.

    • I absolutely agree Craig! There is quite a lot of research out there by behavioral scientists and not to much surprise but the joy of a purchase wears off pretty quickly (at best measured in weeks). If the stuff doesn’t make us happy, why collect more than we truly need?

  • So true! Too many people blame their current financial situation on external factors. The only person one can (and should) blame is him or herself. When I was a kid, I had a burning passion to be rich. I’m working towards that goal right now.

  • Thanks for a great article! I was financially illiterate for a short time, but luckily I figured it out around age 27. At 30 years old, I’m now my own boss and travel the country in my 31ft travel trailer running my online business. Yes, I still have to run my business myself (for now), but I’ll be a millionaire in the next 5 to 10 years with hundreds of millions and, hopefully, billions to follow.

    One thing to add to your excellent article. While wealthy people are building their wealth, they actually don’t work at all. Wealthy people find a way to make money using their strengths and interests (everyone has each). When you do something all day long that you are both good at and love to do, the 12hr+ days feel more like you played all day. I haven’t “worked” in several years, yet I make many times any salary or hourly wage I used to make.

    I started my online business with $200 in the bank, homeless, living in a truck that I drove for a living. In about 3 years, I’ve turned that life into a 6-figure income. Why? Because when I was at rock bottom, I made a choice. I decided to become rich and I’m doing just that.

    • Mike, that’s awesome that you run your own business and travel the country, it really sounds like a lot of fun!

      I really wanted to comment on your addition to the article and I don’t think I could have said it better myself. If you have to “work” for 20 years, 40 years, that’s a drag but if you’re doing something that you love it’s hardly work. I’m a Data Engineer by day, I get a killer salary and love what I do. I couldn’t imagine a life where I hated waking up in the morning.

      I also like what you said about rock bottom but I think it’s more than that. Many people are afraid to take risks and they honestly couldn’t tell you why… or they could tell you why but the reasons are weak. Our whole lives are built around taking risks (walking, trying new foods, etc..). Only good can come from trying a new approach. Either you fail and learn something or you succeed and reap the rewards.

      Thanks for your excellent comment Mike!

  • This is exactly why I pursue financial independence. Time is the one thing that can’t be recovered once lost. Great post!

  • Tebogo Mahlangu

    You just expressed my sentiments. As you say, being wealthy boils down to believing you can be wealthy, and then making the decision to be wealthy.