Let me paraphrase an insightful passage I read that describes the difference between someone with a welfare mentality versus someone with an abundance mentality.
A guy looked at a Corvette the other day and said to me in a disapproving tone, “I wonder how many people could have been fed for the cost of that car?”
I replied, “I’m not sure. It fed a lot of families in Kentucky who built it. It fed the people who made the tires. It fed the people who made the components. It fed the people who mined the copper. It fed the people who made the trucks that hauled the copper ore. It fed someone who helped sell the car.”
That’s the difference between having an abundance mentality and a welfare mentality. When you buy something, you put money in people’s pockets and give them dignity for their skills.
If you don’t know by now, many people make or have A LOT more than you think. When you see people playing tennis in the park or lounging around at a cafe on a weekday afternoon, it’s unlikely because they are unemployed. It’s because they either don’t need to work or have flexible business hours.
Every week I hear a new story about a person who makes or has way more than you’d ever expect. I’ve shared some of these stories with you.
* Uber drivers who make more than their Uber corporate counterparts.
* A ~22 year old female art student from China who bought a $2.25M home for cash.
* The 26-year-old non-techie who landed a $250,000 pay package at Airbnb.
* 100,000+ millennials who expect a ~$1.1M inheritance.
* A University of New Hampshire librarian who left $4M to his school.
* A food blogger who makes $500,000+ a year.
* A Hawaiian entrepreneur who started a greasy spoon franchise and was selling his $8M house that only another entrepreneur could afford.
The point of these posts is to highlight what’s financially possible. Going to a good school to get a job in a traditionally lucrative field isn’t the only way to make good money. Just because you couldn’t get into the greatest school on Earth, The College of William & Mary, doesn’t mean your life is over.
Too many people tell themselves they don’t have the knowledge, skills, connections, background, or pedigree to get rich. Some even stunt their growth because they believe their race, gender, or sexual orientation puts them at a disadvantage.
What a shame to think this way when we have a half black president, plenty of first generation immigrant multi-millionaires, a gay CEO at Apple, a Chinese mayor of San Francisco, and J-Lo! Heck, we even have a man who said a bunch of offensive things and still got elected as the 45th president of the United States. Anything is possible folks!
Six Figure Janitor Cleaning Up
Let’s say you still don’t believe you can be rich despite all my examples. How about this example of a Bay Area Rapid Transit janitor who made $235,000 in 2015 thanks to $165,000 in over time pay!
To be a janitor, you don’t need to go to college or vocational school. You don’t need to be a certain race or sex either. All you’ve got to do is be willing to clean unsightly things. In other words, practically everybody can be a janitor, unless you’re too proud.
Mr. Zhang actually grossed $271,243.02 in 2015 if you include his benefits. Over the last three years, Mr. Zhang received a combined $682,000 in pay and benefits over the last three years, averaging $227,000 a year.
What’s great about this story is that Mr. Zhang didn’t just accept his $58,750 base pay. He decided to take advantage of the BART overtime system and work harder. San Francisco has a monster $9.5 billion annual budget. We also passed an enormous $3.5 billion new proposition to improve the system. Why not get your honey money too?
“Almost every day of the year Mr. Zhang is cleaning our stations,” BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said. “He is signing up for time that is also available to others — if he doesn’t take them, someone else will. Station cleanliness is a priority for us.”
Did you get that folks? Mr. Zhang wasn’t a “privileged janitor” who got allocated more time than others. All he decided to do was out work his colleagues. Unlike some people who found Mr. Zhang’s compensation outrageous, I say well done sir!
For those of you with similar or more “advantageous” backgrounds, there’s no reason why you can’t make as much as Mr. Zhang if you really want to. If you disagree, tell me why in the comments section.
Traits To Adopt To Be Rich
If you want to be rich, adopt these traits.
Work ethic. 40 hours a week is an arbitrary amount of time to work. There are 168 hours in a week. If you worked just five hours more a week, think about how much more you could make or do with an extra 260 hours a year. Mr. Zhang decided to work almost every day of the week for years! You might not have the same chance, but at least you can work on your side business during the weekends.
Desire. You’ve got to really desire to be free. If you’ve got a cushy job that pays you just enough not to leave, then you’re probably just going to stay put and surf Financial Samurai most of your working hours. Remove the complacency IV from your vein.
Risk taker. Put yourself out there. Rejection is just the name of the game when you are constantly taking risks. But if you’re never failing, then you aren’t trying hard enough. It takes effort to find optimal levels of happiness.
Open mind. Think about the many different ways there are to cook fish around the world. There are even more ways to make money and live a lifestyle you want. Read, watch, learn and participate to open your mind.
Humility. Don’t be so arrogant and presume that your way is the only way. Be humble enough to realize when you’re wrong. And when things start to click, be humble enough to remember when things went wrong. Things can change instantly.
Leverage. “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world,” wrote Archimedes. An individual can only put in about 70 hours a week of before they start breaking down. Instead, leverage technology to reach more people. A website’s quality remains constant 24/7.
Organizational discipline. Think about all those people who’ve made a ton and now wonder where it all went. Once you’ve got a solid handle on your money, you can invest your money in the most optimal ways possible. Tracking your finances through a free financial app is a no brainer.
Believe In Yourself
Thinking about creative ways to earn more is hard. It’s why so few people offered their ideas when requested in “Get Rich By Predicting The Future.” But I promise you that it becomes easier building wealth the more you practice.
Take a look at this priceless piece of artwork below. It’s called “Into The Night” by an artist that’s been featured in many major media publications. Notice the intricate battle between light and dark. It’s a metaphor of our daily struggles where we’re constantly trying to overcome our laziness and fears. If you let your eyes relax, you can see darkness winning the battle.
The painting is exquisite and would sell for over $100 million if Jackson Pollock created it.
Alas, I created this painting when I was 26 on my now rental condo balcony. I used some leftover blue, white and black paint to get creative while waiting for the rooms to dry. Then I created a yellow and black version. Then I created another, and another, and another until I ran out of paint. Then I cut off my ear like Van Gogh! Just kidding.
Yes, my art might look like chicken scratch to you. But to me, they are beautiful because I never thought I’d be able to create any type of art at all until I tried. If I had kept practicing my art every week for 13 years, I’m sure I would have a portfolio of amazing work. No wonder why schools try to expose kids to everything just in case something sticks.
Although I gave up art as a young lad, I didn’t give up my creative writing because I believed in myself. Every week someone who doesn’t write for a living tells me my writing sucks. If it’s not my writing they’re criticizing, it’s my website design. If it’s not my website design, it’s my intelligence. The body blows keep coming and I keep advancing. Thank goodness because being able to do something this fun in early retirement is truly a blessing.
If you find yourself chalking up someone’s entire good fortune to luck or if you catch yourself criticizing another for their efforts, slap yourself in the face. Your welfare mentality is keeping you down. Mr. Zhang is out there hustling. So can you.
If You Want To Move On From Your Job
If you want to leave a job you no longer enjoy, I recommend everybody negotiate a severance. If you negotiate a severance like I did back in 2012, you not only get a severance check, but potentially subsidized healthcare, deferred compensation, and worker training. Since you got laid off, you’re also eligible for up to 27 weeks of unemployment benefits. Having a financial runway is huge during your transition period.
Conversely, if you quit your job you get nothing. Check out, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye, on how to negotiate a severance. I first published the book in 2012 and have since expanded it to 180 pages from 100 pages in the 3rd edition thanks to tremendous reader feedback and successful case studies.
Recommendation To Build Wealth
Track Your Wealth For Free: In order to optimize your finances, you’ve first got to track your finances. I recommend signing up for Personal Capital’s free financial tools so you can track your net worth, analyze your investment portfolios for excessive fees, and run your financials through their fantastic Retirement Planning Calculator. Those who are on top of their finances build much greater wealth longer term than those who don’t. I’ve used Personal Capital since 2012. It’s the best free financial app out there to manage your money.