Money is damn easy to understand.
The problem is that the Dave Ramsey gurus of the world focus on what is not important. Money is counter-intuitive. As a young, gullible workaholic millennial, I never wanted to hear that finance-savvy people simply invest their money.
I wanted to believe that money has to be complicated and that any wealth is a crime against humanity. That way of thinking has kept me poor. Instead of doing a job that I enjoy, I’ve traded my time for money. I stayed at work until 10 p.m. so I could look cool to the dictator bosses.
What changed was when my mentor forced me to understand money. Not to get rich, but to be free to do anything I want. These are the hard truths about money that you cannot google.
The typical millionaire invests his money so you don’t see it
If you can see money, it is counterfeit money. It took me years working in a bank with high net worth individuals to learn this. Really wealthy people own and keep silent about their time. The poor people who came into my office had no tattered clothes or unwashed sleeping bags. No.
The poor people had keys to a Bentley and only 10 minutes to see me. They had a PA yelling at them on the phone to go back to the office and prepare for their afternoon meetings. These poor money people were like grown babies with PAs as moms.
Once you see luxury goods, don’t talk to a millionaire. They are talking to the wrong rich who want you to notice what they are buying so that they can feel better about their broken lives. This is not a rich life. This is poverty.
Rich people invest their money in assets like stocks and crypto. They can’t see their money because it does the hard work topping up so they can’t have meetings on their calendar. Your goal is not millions of dollars. Your goal is a passive income that covers your living expenses.
Great investors sit around reading all day
Investors make a lot of money. Those who do it successfully full-time don’t sit around looking at the charts all day and what CNBC says is going to happen in the markets today. They couldn’t care about price movements in stocks or crypto for the next twelve months.
Big investors are long term. The book “Richer, Wiser, Happier” showed me that the best investors like Warren Buffett don’t hold many meetings. They trade with prices in mind and fall into the hype for reading. They read annual reports. They read the financials of the companies they are interested in. You are reading a company’s new business strategy.
Get rich enough to read books for a full day if you want. Now there is a life goal that you don’t see on Instagram luxury lifestyle pages.
Working hard is the least important
10,000 iterations instead of 10,000 hours – marine
With this statement, entrepreneur and investor Naval Ravikant tore Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour work rule to pieces. The idea is not to work 12 hour days at all. This is the industrial age of the factory workers.
The idea is to put an effort into your work and be open-minded enough to iterate continuously to make the job easier. When the job gets easier, your results will increase and you can reinvest the proceeds in a new area.
Doing the same hard work over and over again until you retire is the definition of insanity. The work becomes easier when you perceive the nuances and experiment with them. I do it all the time as a writer with these questions below.
What if Substack is better for my newsletter audience? What if my website could be my main source of income? What if I sucked in my writing and I was better at being a podcaster? What if I’m not an entrepreneur but a glorified amateur writer?
Questions lead to experiments. You can iterate with experiments. Iterations produce superior results that will make you more money, so eventually you can do less work.
“Success is not a final state. Success means having the freedom to do the constant grinding that you enjoy most. “
Twitter’s Julian Shapiro said that quote and it taught me that the idea of financial freedom is messed up. We are taught to believe that there is an end state and we just work hard until we reach it.
You will hear phrases like “escape the grind”. I love the grind, however. I like that feeling at the end of the day when I’ve created something I’m proud of and can relax and reward myself with a movie on the couch.
Without the grind, we’re broken.
Ask anyone who’s sold their startup for millions of dollars. They will tell you that life without the grind is almost not worth living. I met an entrepreneur who was selling to investors and making a fortune.
After 30 days and all the luxury car dreams he’d had since childhood, he felt empty. He asked the new owners of the company to reinstate him. They said no. So he went back out there and started a brand new company from scratch to relive the magic of the grind.
The crucial lesson is to find the grind you love. Then do it for the rest of your life, no matter how much money it makes. The grind is actually hard work that you look back on and that you will be proud of when you stand at death’s door in the retirement home.
Those who are calmer earn more money
Calm is a financial superpower. So much of our energy is wasted in anger and fear. It destroys our best work. It makes us have crazy human thoughts that overwrite our creative ideas.
Fear lets you go inward when the financial possibilities are outward.
According to Naval, pure motivation doesn’t come from fear. Pure motivation comes from calmness that gives you the energy to be creative enough to come up with ideas that will generate value (aka money).
“Money is numbers and numbers never end. If you need money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end. “
With this idea, singer Bob Marley has an unusual way of explaining happiness. However, he is spot on.
Meet a “Taken Hunter”. They are wretched sons of arms. The pile of stuff and the numbers keep getting bigger, but they’re not happy. You keep raising the bar with bigger financial goals. There is no way to win the game. Numbers are infinite, so the game is infinite. This is another definition of insanity that is rotting your insides.
Numbers don’t drive me for me. The most important thing that makes me happy now is freedom. The rest is bullsh * t.
Make money while you have the energy. Not when you’re old and crusty and can’t enjoy it.
The final hard truth we are told is to work hard until you retire. Then we have free time to spend the money we have earned and have fun.
The idea of conventional retirement is screwed up.
When I retire at 65, I will have a lot less energy than I do now. My body will have aged. My skin is getting old and crusty.
I want to enjoy life while having the highest level of energy that is right now. That means I need money now to serve myself. That means I have to turn down the “go into debt to buy real estate” game – which lasts for several decades – and now have to live within my means. That means I have to invest money in stocks and crypto that are growing decently and don’t take a lifetime to get tangible results.
Living frugally, outside employment, and better investment strategies enable you to live before typical retirement age. Energy levels and money should be considered in the same sentence.
This article is from an entrepreneur.