The question comes in all kinds of forms. Sometimes subtle, sometimes direct, sometimes wrapped in noble hopes of changing the world, sometimes in naked self interest. However it’s asked, it is one of the most common questions I hear.
“How can I get rich?”
The answer is complicated and spiritually loaded. Context is everything. But this is a blog, and blogs need to stay simple. So at the risk of sounding triumphalist, here you go. Ten tips on how to get rich:
1) Get as much education as you can reasonably afford and realistically achieve. It’s not only for the knowledge you will gain, but also the relationships with people who will help your career. That geeky guy in calculus who can’t look you in the eye? He’s a future Silicon Valley CEO. Be nice to him.
2) Wait till you are married to have kids. Getting rich is usually achieved when life is stable. Having kids before marriage is usually an unstable situation.
3) Don’t be a jerk. Again, this is about stability. You can’t focus on growing rich if you are constantly at war with family, colleagues, clients, or whoever. Just shut up and accept you can’t have the last word sometimes.
4) Learn to be high energy. I’ve yet to meet a lazy rich person (unless they inherited their wealth). And yes, energy levels can be learned.
6) Fix your addictions. To drugs, alcohol, the internet, food, shopping, porn, television, sleep, affirmation, depression, drama, adrenaline, the latest tech toy etc … all will keep you focused on the wrong things.
7) Start your own business and sell it. Starting a business and then building it to the point where somebody will buy it is hard. Really really hard. But it’s the most common way to get rich.
8) Take risk, but only on yourself. That’s how owners think. Most wealthy people took a significant risk early in their career. Just remember: you’ll find a lot of formerly rich people who took one risk too many.
9) Keep it simple. Peter Lynch once said, “Never invest in any idea you can’t illustrate with a crayon.”
10) Stop studying the outliers. The high-profile hyper rich are not the norm. Most rich people diligently did the boring stuff. You want to create an app and make a billion dollars? Fine, but while you wait for Facebook to acquire you, the guy who started the rug cleaning service is building a real business.
11) Save money. As Dan Ariely said, “If you can’t save money, be really nice to your kids.”
12) Pay attention to the numbers. Such as blogs promoting a list of top ten items but actually giving eleven and numbering them to twelve.Caveats: Don’t sue me if this doesn’t work; it’s a blog post, not financial advice. These steps work best when applied to young adults because you can recover from the inevitable failures. Not applicable to several billion people born into poverty with few options. Past performance does not guarantee future flying cars. Hug your dog. Read all the fine print. Getting rich is a ridiculous goal because you are already rich.