Rich Get Richer – Part 2
In my previous post, I wrote that the poor in this country aren’t getting poorer because of anyone but themselves, for the most part. I would like to qualify that statement by saying that those who are handicapped or cannot fend for themselves are by definition, not the people I am talking about. If the government should help anyone in need, it’s the indigent and helpless. Actually, I think people who can’t make the choices we make because of physical impairment should live a relatively well off life, financially, with the help of the government (us.)
It’s important to understand that money is not static and owned/controlled by one person at a time. If you added up all the investment values, checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, bonds… all the instruments that are tied to money, you will have a much higher total money count than what is currently in circulation. All that really counts is the VALUE of the instrument that you own or control. It’s not the physical paper money. Anyone in the US that can drive to the store and back, turn on a computer and type, or have the intellect enough to watch All My Children and understand the plot line, can choose to not be poor in this country. Period. If you’re productive and don’t make stupid decisions that hamper your productivity, you’ll not get "poorer" as the doom and gloom Democrats like to say.
If you’ve read my bio on this blog, you’ll know that I had a very poor upbringing. It was about as poor as you can get, for the most part, without actually living on the streets. But I chose, from an early age, to not continue that way after I left home. I remember when I was 8 years old, telling my mom that I wasn’t going to be poor when I grew up. All through my childhood, it was a something that permeated everything that I did. I read books on wealth creation. When others were playing, I was reading real estate investment books. I was bound and determined to break the poverty cycle I was born in to.
My first choice to break that cycle was to join the US Air Force. I couldn’t afford to go to college so the military was my way to learn a trade and to get onto my feet but most importantly, to get me away from my life at home. Another choice I made early on was to not marry early in life. It almost happened but I managed to not drink the kool aid. One of the biggest wealth defeating choices a young person can make is to get married. Your focus will be diminished a great deal and your chances of putting yourself in the path of financial success is greatly diminished. Not impossible, but hampered a great deal. It’s not so much the marriage… it’s the family that inevitably comes after.
While in the military I read and read and read. I was voracious. I would read anything having to do with business and creating wealth. I would start business after business in my spare time. Being in the military didn’t allow me to see my businesses through to success. But that wasn’t my goal at the time. I just wanted to get a taste for it and to work through concepts and ideas I had at the time. The bottom line is, I tried really, really hard, to make choices that would bring me closer and closer to success. I finally got out of the military and I got married soon after that. However, I was 33 by then and much more capable of continuing my focus towards wealth.
I had an important conversation with my wife to be one night on the phone. It was early in our courtship. But it was so important for me that she knew and understood one thing. I said that since I was a child, I vowed that I would NEVER settle in life. I won’t "settle" for the middle class life. I won’t be the type of husband that comes home from a 9 to 5 job, lights up the barbecue and drinks beers with the guys, watching sports and playing on the bowling league. I will work into the night most nights, reading and working on my road to success. I’ll most likely get 4 or 5 hours a sleep a night. I told her that I don’t want to have kids until I feel it won’t hamper my (now "our") journey to wealth. I just won’t do it. There will be sacrifices we’ll have to make and big risks that we’ll take and they’ll most likely make her very uncomfortable to think about. She understood and has since said that those traits were a large part of what she loved about me.
The following image is the result of pasting together 3 or 4 screenshots from one of my business checking accounts. I did this back on the 5th of May and the online account only shows back about 72 days, so this is pretty much representing each day from Feb 23rd to May 5th. It’s a list of the deposits during that timeframe. I’ve grayed out private info displayed down the middle.
I don’t show you this to brag. I’m actually no where near my goals so in my eyes, there’s really nothing to brag about. But I want you to see what can happen in America, even for someone born to a 17 year high school drop out mother and lived a life of poverty with only a high school education. (Well, I have an Associates Degree… but that and $2.50 will buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.)
Don’t make bad choices, read EVERYTHING you can about success and creating wealth, do NOT create debt that is not furthering you financially, act on any and every idea that you’ve given at least 30 days thought to, even if it doesn’t succeed… and eventually you WILL succeed. It’s just a matter of time. Some of you will take ’till you’re 60 to do it, but you WILL do it if you persevere and never settle in life.
Update 9/10/10: I just reread this post of mine from over 5 years ago. I had a fond trip down memory lane. The numbers shown above pale in comparison to today’s numbers. And again… it was all about making choices that put you on the path to success. Not to say I haven’t made poor choices, too. But the trajectory has been nothing but up.