In “How Do You Become Rich?“, Finance Fox pens a 1,200 word post on what it takes to reach the promised land. I immediately checked out the post because I’m always fascinated about how others define rich and how others plan to get rich. Eddie’s definition of rich is “having a fortune over $1 million bucks.” $1 million bucks is a good amount of money, but at what age? At 35, that’s pretty darn rich. At 70, not so much.
Eddie then goes on to ask what is the secret of successful rich people? My answer is almost always, PERSEVERANCE. The ability to solider on and not give up even in the worst moments. Every single wealthy person I know has had some tremendous disappointments in their lives, but they don’t stop trying.
The more critics there are, the greater the wealthy person’s fire is to succeed.
FEAR OF FAILURE
I’m absolutely afraid of financial failure, which is why I have a tendency to build up enough income buffers so that in the case a business idea fails, I won’t be left completely distraught. I also find money to be very manipulative. As a result, if I can do things NOT for the money, I feel I will produce a better product, which may ironically bring more money in the future.
Just the other week, I got my butt whipped 0-6, 1-6 in tennis because I entered a level higher than where I usually play. It was slightly embarrassing losing in front of so many people, but I came away invigorated. I put to rest I cannot play that level of singles, and refocused my efforts on doubles instead. My opponent is ranked #1 in his age category and I was proud to at least try.
My mantra is, “I’ll never know unless I try.” I don’t mind whiffing badly. At least I’ll learn from the experience so I can continuously make the product better. The educational aspect of failure itself is something of great value.
AND THEN THERE’S LEVERAGE
“Rich people leverage everything – time, technology, and money.” To that point, I agree completely. Leverage is a beautiful thing on the way up, but a disaster on the way down. Hence, back to the word, perserverance. If people can hang on to their leveraged assets for a long enough period of time, chances are, they will make money back and then some.
US housing in the 1980’s is a fantastic case study where those who sold during that downturn severely kicked themselves in the nuts when the housing market rocked higher for the next 20 years. Their leverage would have enriched them greatly had they held on. It’s the same thing for forced sellers of housing and stocks in the past four years. 10-15 years from now, we are going to look back at the period between 2008-2011 as a wonderful time to buy. Things have already begun to heat up in 2012.
How do I plan to get rich? By trying and trying again. As for leverage? Maybe. I prefer to use the word scalability.
Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.
Archimedes, the mathematician.
Recommended Actions For Increasing Your Wealth
Manage Your Finances In One Place: Get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 25+ difference accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to manage my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing and when my CDs are expiring. I can also see how much I’m spending every month. If you are interested, they can even provide tailored financial advice for much cheaper than traditional wealth managers.
Invest In Ideas Not Stocks: Motif Investing is a terrific company based right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. They’ve raised over $60 million dollars from smart investors such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs because they are innovating the investment landscape with their “motifs.” A motif is a basket of 30 stocks you can invest in, which are aimed to profit from a specific idea or underlying theme. Let’s say you think new housing construction is going to quicken in the US next year. You could buy a housing motif which might contains Lennar, KBH, Home Depot, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Zillow, and more in various weightings.
You can buy a basket of 30 stocks for only $9.95, instead of buying them individually for $7.95 through a typical broker. You can build your own motif, buy one of the motifs created by Motif Investing, or buy a motif by a fellow Motif Investor with a great track record. You can even buy retirement motifs, much like target date funds, except you don’t have to pay the 1% management fee. You get up to $150 free when you start trading with Motif Investing. Given my focus on buying winning long-term ideas and ignoring the short-term volatility, I really like Motif Investing’s value proposition for retail investors.
Invest With A Low Cost Algorithmic Advisor: Wealthfront is an excellent algorithmic advisory choice for those who want the lowest fees and can’t be bothered with actively managing their money themselves once they’ve gone through the discovery process. In the long run, it is very hard to outperform any index, therefore, the key is to pay the lowest fees possible while being invested in the market. Wealthfront charges $0 in fees for the first $10,000 and only 0.25% for any money over $10,000. Their minimum is only $500 to get started. Invest your idle money cheaply, instead of letting it lose purchasing power due to inflation.
About the Author: Sam began investing his own money ever since he opened a Charles Schwab brokerage account online in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing by spending the next 13 years after college working at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse Group. During this time, Sam received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate. He also became Series 7 and Series 63 registered. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $150,000 a year in passive income. He spends time playing tennis, hanging out with family, consulting for leading fintech companies, and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom.
Updated for 2016 and beyond