Millionaires think differently than other people.
You may not believe this, but there’s a millionaire (or more) inside of you right now.
There is one in all of us, potentially.
I know this because I work with, study, learn from, and give advice to millionaires every day as a financial planner and investment manager.
But I wasn’t born into this club.
My childhood was spent in poverty in a single-parent home. And though my mother worked hard to support three kids, we never got ahead. We moved a lot because we couldn’t always pay the rent when it was due. We got free lunches at school, and churches used to bring us holiday dinners and Christmas presents. We shopped for secondhand clothes, including shoes. We endured scornful stares while my mother bought our groceries with food stamps. We had to return gifts to the store when money was tight, and crawl out of one of the car windows on our rusted-out, blue Torino because the door was stuck shut. Most of my childhood was spent in government housing.
Growing up poor gives you a certain (almost entirely wrong) perception of money and those who have it.
In fact, poverty fundamentally affects your ability to see and understand very basic concepts about economics, success factors, achievers, and even luck, which can leave you feeling stranded, hopeless, less special than other people, bitter, envious, and resentful.
I know this because I was all of these things.
Through the lens of poverty, as a child, I believed that:
- Life was a struggle to survive, not a grand adventure or a place to seek your fortune. You just had to hang on for dear life.
- Risk is too, well, risky. It’s best to play it safe; that $20 in my pocket provided some small amount of security.
- At the same time, though, I often fantasized about winning the Powerball, and of a life of sudden riches that I didn’t earn on my own. Luck and what I now call “magical thinking” played a major part in how I thought my situation would improve.
- A corporate, 9-5 job with a 3% raise, 2 weeks of vacation, and weekends off was much safer than starting something of my own.
- The economic ladder in our culture wasn’t something you could actually scale. You might be able to climb a step or two, but to go to the top? Sure, you’d read or watch some inspirational story about the immigrant who came to America and made his or her fortune in just a few years, but surely those stories are so rare that the ones who do make it end up the heroes of movies like Chris Gardner (Will Smith) in The Pursuit of Happyness, right?
- Rich Guys are different than me on some basic human level. It was more than just knowledge or education or ambition or discipline – there was just something better about them that I couldn’t ever become. I came from the wrong side of the tracks.
- Many rich guys must have stolen, cheated, or unfairly earned what they have (a very common belief among the poor).
- Money is the “prize” we work so hard for, and it lets us buy all sorts of nice stuff that shows others our value. No money, no nice stuff. And without nice stuff, we have no social value.
- Looking wealthy was important. Fake it until you make it.
- The “pie” is only so big: if someone has a lot of money, there is, by definition, less for the rest of us.
None of those are true.
It took me until I was in my late 30’s to shake off those limiting, almost paralyzing beliefs, and take a clear, scientific, dispassionate view of money and those who seem to earn it effortlessly. I still do battle with them every day.
Changing my financial situation required changing me, and frankly, that sucked. You see, we’re stuck where we are because the pain of changing our lives is still greater than the pain of keeping things the way they are.
You don’t earn $100,000 per year, or $250,000 per year, or $5 million per year, because you can’t mentally comprehend earning that much. Well, you can’t yet. You have to mentally do it before you can actually do it.
Coming along on this journey with me won’t be easy. It certainly hasn’t been easy on me.
It required challenging everything I knew about money: how to earn it, how to save it, how to invest it, and most importantly, how to think about it.
It required admitting to myself I wasn’t the victim I always thought I was, and that the limits I faced were self-inflicted.
It required me to forgive myself for the lost time but to kick myself in the ass to move ahead with even more tenacity.
It forced me to confront long-held fears, step way out of my comfort zone, learn a level of discipline I never had before, and even cost me certain friends who, frankly, I outgrew. It required me to be humble and ask for more help than I ever wanted to.
It required me to learn, but then to take action. You see, no one is going to do it for you. And life isn’t fair.
What life is, is impartial. Life doesn’t care whether you win or lose during your time on this planet.
That’s the great equalizer, and the first major lesson from TLRG, so let me repeat it again in a different way:
Life is ambivalent to your success or failure. It doesn’t care who is a millionaire and who is a pauper.
It’s in your hands. It always was.
So why not you? Why can’t you be a Rich Guy?
The only person stopping you is you.
In 2008, I began to make a study of Rich Guys, and how they think, behave, and form habits that are so different than what I saw as a poor boy, or a struggling young husband and father. And slowly, with much internal resistance to change, I began to document and implement what I learned. I made it not only my passion, I made it my career.
That’s what this website and my day job (I’m now a financial planner and investment manager) are all about.
If you can learn to think like a Rich Guy, you can do what he does.
And if you can learn to do what he does, you can have what he has.
Rich Guys are tenacious actors. They are focused, even obsessed with their goals. They sacrifice and never need immediate gratification. They stick to their plan. They handle adversity better than most of us. They don’t look for shortcuts to success – they slog through, not expecting circumstance or chance to do the work for them. They struggle and fail just like you do, but they get back up. They seek to influence the world around them. They thrive on ideas. They find mentors. They ask for the business. They’re shameless promoters of what they believe in.
They also (correctly) see money as not a prize, but as a tool.
Average Guys see money as the goal of their work, because money buys things that give them creature comforts.
Rich Guys see money only as a resource; a means to expand their influence, broaden their vision, empower their aspirations, and show their love for people and causes.
So what ultimately motivates a Rich Guy?
- Freedom. Choices. Education. Experiences. Community. Health. Independence.
- Dignity for themselves and those around them.
- Making a material difference in the world in which we live.
- The ability to be generous to those in need.
- The comfort of knowing they don’t have to worry about the bills getting paid this month.
- The ability to elevate your existence beyond material needs and wants and work toward higher purposes of meaning and value.
- The power to take someone else’s thumb off of you, forever.
Hello. My name is Jeremy. I’m your host, guide, mentor, and friend.
For over 15 years, I’ve been a macroeconomist, money manager and financial planner for working families and small business owners – “Average Guys” who wanted to, one day, become “Rich Guys”. We do that through SMART goal setting, careful planning, and making course corrections along the way when the world throws something new at us.
I decided to write this blog alongside my work with clients because many of you either cannot become a client (you’re not in the United States or one of the states my firm is registered in), or are do-it-yourself types at heart. And there is nothing wrong with that – just realize that because you are not outsourcing the expertise and professional stewardship of your finances to someone like me, you have to do the heavy lifting on your own.
The purpose of this blog is not to make you rich. You have to do that. But it is going to try to help you think about the world of business, money, investing, debt, and savings, differently than perhaps you’ve ever thought about it before.
There are plenty of insights and pro tips, motivation, and learning opportunities, but you have to do the work – you have to read/listen/participate/invest in your education, and then you have to apply what you learn. An idea is just an idea until it’s applied, tested, revised, and committed to.
Some of our readers later decide that they want to act like a Rich Guy and outsource much of the planning and investing, because Rich Guys value their time more than the cost of a professional expert in their lives. So some of them eventually partner up with me and become direct clients, but that’s not the primary purpose of this blog.
My purpose here is to give Average Guys and Gals, like me, a fighting chance to break out of our own learned limitations and achieve something greater. That journey begins with a deep look inside ourselves, the courage to challenge everything we thought we knew, and the deep desire and commitment to end up somewhere better than where we’re starting.
Start with becoming a regular reader. You can subscribe to our Newsletter so you don’t miss out on new posts. You can follow us on social media (Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn). And you can listen to our podcast. When the time is right, you can join our Tribe, engage our Pro Learning System, or even become a client and work with me directly on your financial plan.
For now, enjoy the tons of free content and start your personal journey toward success as a Future Rich Guy.
I wish you every success!