Let’s say you are 44 years old and over the past 10 years earned over $2.3 million in gross income. For someone who averaged $230,000 a year in annual income, what should your net worth be? If you follow my Net Worth By Income guide, your net worth should equal roughly 8X your average annual income.
Instead of having a ~$1,800,000 net worth, Marco Rubio (R) has an estimated $50,000 – $100,000 net worth. Are you kidding me? Where on Earth did the rest of the money go? I guess it’s understandable why Senator Rubio raided his $68,000 IRA retirement account and paid penalties given he owns an $80,000 boat and a $50,000 Audi Q7 if he’s starving for cash. But if he can’t control his spending impulses, he’s NOT someone I want running America. Thankfully, he came to his senses and dropped out!
WEALTH AND INTELLIGENCE
Marco Rubio’s rise to national prominence shows that being able to connect with people is more important than being fiscally responsible. For all of you who want to spend more than you make, take on a lot of debt to live a life you think you deserve, and desire to go straight to the top without putting in your dues, this is an important lesson to learn!
The other lesson to learn is that in order to achieve glory, you must have the delusional audacity to think you deserve to be King! Despite his financial shortcomings, Marco believes he deserves to be President. There is no way in hell Marco will ever become President, let alone be elected to the Republican ticket, yet he still spends all his time and donor’s money on himself. Lesson 2: Believe you belong and you’ll go much farther than the person who never dreams.
Check out this great comment by FS reader Hubbard, making a strong case for why being fiscally responsible is not necessary for running a country,
“Statesmen often have huge weaknesses, but what makes them great is that they know how to overcome them. The job of running a government is so big that no one person can do it, so the President or prime minister delegates the finances to someone better suited. Here are three examples.
Alexander Hamilton was America’s first Treasury Secretary and put the nation’s finances in order. He was also always one step away from bankruptcy and after he left office, he astonished foreign observers with the hours of work he put in to stay solvent.
Abraham Lincoln was forced into bankruptcy as a young man when his business partner ran their store incompetently. As a state legislator, Lincoln’s signature initiative was a bond issue to raise funds for internal improvements in Illinois. The bonds were so badly managed that Illinois built no roads with the money and the sorry mess left the state in debt that wasn’t paid off until 1880 (15 years after Lincoln himself had died). Yet Lincoln was the most important President of the 19th Century and perhaps the most important of all time. He picked Salmon Chase to put the nation’s finances in order, which was something the generally unpleasant Chase was perfectly suited to do.
Winston Churchill spent most of his life deeply in debt, and if his supporters hadn’t bailed him out in 1938, he would have left politics altogether before the war.
There doesn’t seem to be much correlation between how good a man is with his money and how good a statesman he is. We finance nerds would like to think that, whatever else our problems, if we can manage a household budget, then we could handle running a nation. It’s self-flattering and wrong. Running a nation and organizing your life so you can retire early are two different skill sets that do not necessarily overlap.”
INTELLIGENCE IS OVERRATED
It takes very little intelligence to be wealthy. Save 10% of your after tax income each year, and in 10 years, you’ll have saved enough to live at least a full year without working. Save 50% of your after tax income each year, and every year of savings equals one year of not having to work. If you can save these percentages after maxing out your 401(k), even better!
With those savings, if you have a properly diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, chances are high that over a 10, 20, 30, 40 year period, you’ll have even much more than your initial investment. All it takes is discipline.
If you want more money, of course you aren’t going to be too proud to take lower paying jobs to supplement your income. What kind of fool complains about not having enough money, yet isn’t willing to drive a car, flip burgers, work extra hours, spend time hitting the books, start a website, or create a product if they are mentally and physically able? Everybody understands that sacrifice is essential to getting ahead.
Just don’t entertain yourself for an hour by reading the comments in my post on those who do complain about life yet work less than 40 hours a week. All the excuses will either make you cringe or grow a huge sense of entitlement that won’t make you want to work.
I’m so bullish on the future of America because time and time again, we are shown that anybody with enough desire can get ahead. Do not believe for one second that being super intelligent is a requirement for great wealth. Even if you screw up your finances, you’ve got multiple ways to get to the promised land!
FILTHY RICH IS A DIFFERENT STORY
Although roughly 15% of American households are millionaires today, I firmly believe the vast majority of Financial Samurai readers will achieve millionaire status by retirement. Heck, if you’re able to last long enough to collect Social Security, you’ll automatically possess a social pension worth probably over $1M based on today’s interest rates. The 10-year yield is now at only 1.7%. If you make over $17,000 a year or $1,416 a month in Social Security, you have a $1M asset.
For those who are shooting for wealth beyond the $10,000,000 FU mark, then unfortunately, you’ll probably need a lot of luck on your side. We can’t all be filthy rich! But, we can all certainly be wealthy. If millions of people believe Marco Rubio is worthy of being President with a <$100,000 net worth after irresponsibly spending like an entitled kid and “confusing” campaign expenses with personal expenses, then you and I should run for President Of Earth!
WEALTH BUILDING RECOMMENDATION
Track Your Net Worth Easily 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 amazing Retirement Planning Calculator. Those who come up with a financial plan build much greater wealth over the longer term than those who don’t!
Updated for 2018 and beyond.