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The modern approach to wealth, success, and self-fulfillment.
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4 Myths About Wealth               

Wealth is determined by how much money you make
 
First, let’s analyze the definition of wealth.  According to the dictionary, wealth means (1) an abundance of valuable possessions or money.  (2) the state of being rich; material prosperity.  (3) plentiful supplies of a particular resource.  The definition of wealth is not quantifiable, but subjective in nature.  So, one cannot equate wealth with salary, income, or revenue.
 
Your wealth is not determined by how much you make, but how much you keep in order to sustain yourself.  Once could generate income or revenue that is just above the poverty line, but so long as the individual can keep their expenses low, they can retain a good portion of their income or revenue and direct that revenue only to the resources they need.  As a result, they could consider themselves wealthy.  A good example of this could be people you see within the FIRE movement – those financially independent / retire early individuals who save as much of their income as possible while living minimalist lifestyles such as tiny house living that cuts down huge expenses, getting rid of cable bills and electric bills by adopting off-grid living.  On the other hand, you could have an individual bringing in hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars per year but they have excessive expenses.  These individuals would not be considered wealthy.  A good example of this would be celebrities that overconsume, purchase islands, diamonds, exotic cars and the like, but then, at some point, the expenses become larger than the income.  The breach of contract lawsuits roll in from agents, production companies, or some financial advisor makes one or two bad investments and that actor or singer is now in bankruptcy court liquidating their assets.
 
So, as you can see, your wealth is not determined by your income, but by your ability to acquire the desired resources you need to sustain yourself.
 
You cannot learn anything about wealth from poor people
 
You can learn anything from anyone, you just have to know what you are looking to learn, seek out the right people, and ask the right questions.
 
A few years ago, a friend and I were talking about our business endeavors.  He is a personal trainer and security specialist and he was letting me know how great things were going for him and I was talking with him about things that I was working on.  Notice, I said that I was talking with him about things that I was working on because, unlike him, I had not yet rolled out any of my ideas for market consumption.  When I paused from my talking about things that I was thinking about doing, my friend interrupted me with a very profound statement that has stuck with me to this day.
 
My friend said, “Yo, J, you want to know where the best business ideas are?”
 
“Where?” I replied.
 
“Take a guess,” he said with a cunning smile.
 
“The IT field?” I responded.
 
“Naw, man.  Guess again.” he quickly shot back.
 
“I don’t know.”  I stated.  “Where?”
 
He paused, slightly, than said with a piercing look, “the graveyard.”  He pointed his finger directly at my chest and continued, “most of the best business ideas you can find are in the graveyard.  People have all of these wonderful, fantastic ideas, but they never act on them.  And, they go to their grave with them.  Go on… go to any cemetery and you’re gonna stare at thousands of corpses that once had the potential to change not only their lives, but impact the lives of others.”
 
To this day, I have never forgotten his words.  If you seek out people, regardless of their socioeconomic background, you can gain chunks of information that will help you along your path to financial freedom.  Yes, it is true that some people are poor because of bad habits – be it financial habits, business habits, poor social skills, and the like.  But, some people are poor because of circumstances.  They have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be rich – and possibly were at one point in time – but something along the way set them back.  Shawn Pleasants’ story is a perfect example that dispels the myth that you cannot learn anything about wealth from poor people.  Shawn was valedictorian of his high school class, went to Yale, majored in economics, and then ran his own business.  But, due to life circumstances, he wound up homeless and on living on the streets of Los Angeles, CA.  Shawn has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to business and finance.  But, unfortunately, most people may possibly discredit his advice because of his low economic status.
 
There are a bunch of individuals within lower socioeconomic brackets that possess great ideas or could give consultation on wealth, but their particular circumstance is hindered by variables that you may not be privy to.  So, before discounting someone’s ability to provide you consultation or assistance because of their wealth bracket, think about someone like Shawn Pleasants or the million other people with great ideas that they never put into action; you may be able to save one of these concepts from being lost to the graveyard.
  
Education = Wealth
 
Before we begin this section, because education is a topic that many people are very touchy about and I have strong, negative feelings towards (more on that in my book), let’s first discuss the term education and how it is being referenced in this section.  According to the dictionary, the term education means “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.”  Education is different from knowledge.  Education is a process by which one acquires knowledge through a systemic institution.  The most obvious and common example of an education would be one going to institutions of learning such as public or private elementary, middle, and high schools.  Education could also include the matriculation of person to a college or university.  That is education.  Knowledge is simply facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education.  Knowledge can exist with or without being educated.
 
In America, somewhere around the mid-1900s, Americans were sold on the idea of homeownership as a means of building wealth.  And, that may have been true for that era, but the model of homeownership as a means of wealth in the 21st century may be outmoded as people opt to rent, or the en vogue nature of tiny home.  Moreso, the dissipating middle class due to the rising wealth gap, coupled with the housing collapse of 2008 imbued in citizens’ psyche, has also dampened the homeownership as wealth model.  But, in 2008, when home prices began crashing down and individuals moved away from commiting to mortgages, the government began pushing a new model onto citizens – Education Equals Wealth.

But education doesn’t equal wealth, and for an in-depth discussion on that, I would direct you to my Shop where you can purchase my book “Education is Stupid.”  Knowledge is a more powerful tool than education.  Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Ted Turner, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, James Cameron, and a host of others began on a path of education but dropped out to pursue their passion.  Additionally, there are numerous other success stories such as Nasir “Nas” Jones, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Mary Kay Ash, Anthony “Tony” Robbins, and Sir Richard Branson that never attended college and became wealth individuals.  This is not to totally dismiss education as a means to attaining wealth because not all pathways to wealth work for everyone.  But, some individuals already have the necessary tools – knowledge, drive, connections, persona, access, and so forth – to reach their financial and professional goals.
 
My book, “Education is Stupid” is intended to highlight how the formal education has crippled millions of people and created an underclass of marginalized and disenchanted citizens.  Am I advising everyone to ditch a formal education like the aforesaid individuals did?  No.  But, you have to look at your situation and the variables that constrain you and determine which route you need to take. 
 
Wealthy people live extravagant lifestyles
 
Again, to understand wealth, you have to go back to the definition of wealth.  And the fact is there are just as many, if not more, wealthy people living in modest homes and driving modest cars than there are wealthy people that own ultra luxury items such as eight-figure homes, exotic sports cars, and expensive jewelry.

Most wealthy people are hard working professionals that save their money.  They opt for practicality as opposed to material expressions of wealth.  As a result, they drive cars that ordinary people would consider… well.. ordinary.  Warren Buffett, worth around $70 billion dollars, lives in the same home that he purchased for $30,000 over 50 years ago.  He also enjoys fast casual dining over lavish meals in posh restaurants.  Mark Zuckerberg chose his $30,000 dollar Acura TSX for practicality – because it’s safe and comfortable. And, here in the Washington, DC area, when Kirk Cousins and Alfred Morris were the quarterback and running back, respectively, of our Washington Redskins football team, it was a big news story that both guys chose to drive vehicles that appeared to be well below their lucrative football salaries.  Cousins drove a $30,000 van and Morris drove a Mazda 626 that he purchased from his pator for $2.00 – yes, that is actually two dollars even.  Both football players hinted to the fact that not only were they not willing to spend more due to the instability of football player’s careers, but they actually liked the vehicles that they were driving.  The book The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko articulate this concept of wealthy people living common lives very well.  It is a book that I’m glad my father had me read when I was a teenager that I hope you either read or encourage your children to read.

So the next time you hit a mental roadblock as you plot out your pathway to building your own personal wealth, the person driving that 10-year-old Toyota or Honda may be able to help you out.






 
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