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Why Do You Want to Be Rich?

It’s not enough to want to make lots of need to have a reason

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When it comes to being rich, I'm often asked, "How do I start?" I tell these people that getting rich starts with calling on our financial genius.

It's my belief that each of us has a financial genius in us that is asleep and just waiting to be awakened. It lies asleep because our culture has educated us into believing the wrong things about money. We're taught to be employees and work for money rather than to be entrepreneurs and investors and have money work for us. We're taught to not worry about our financial future because our company or the government will do that for us.

The message about money we’re taught from a young age is work hard, earn money, spend it, and when we run short, borrow some more. Unfortunately, 90 percent of the Western world subscribes to the above dogma, simply because it's easier to find a job and work for money than to make your own way and build your own wealth.

Teaching your kids to think like the rich

Growing up, I had two models on how to think about money.

My poor dad, who was my natural father, ascribed to what I talked about above: go to school, get a good job, buy a house, and invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. What I call the old rules of money.

Thankfully, I also had my rich dad, my best friend’s dad. He thought differently about money. He believed in minding your own business, as in starting your own business and making money work for you...not the other way around.

Because of my rich dad, I learned how to think about money in terms of business and investing. This made me different from other kids. In fact, I started my first business when I was nine, renting out throw away comic books.

At the heart of the difference between my rich dad and my poor dad was the different views they had on education. My poor dad believed in academic and professional education. My rich dad believed in financial education.

While I loved and respected my poor dad, who was very well-educated academically and professionally, I knew in my soul I did not want to follow in his footsteps. As a kid and then into my teen years, I studied under my rich dad, who taught me many lessons about money.

Some of the money lessons he taught me were:

  • How to read a financial statement

  • The difference between an asset and a liability

  • How to create money out of thin air

  • How your money gets stolen (legally)

  • How to find good people

But one of the most important things he taught me was that if you want to be rich, you have to have a reason.

What is your reason to be rich?

If you ask most people if they want to be rich, they say “yes.” But then reality sets in. They realize it's a lot of work to become rich. There is no getting rich quick. Facing these obstacles, they throw in the towel and take the easy route—getting a job and handing investments over to a broker.

Yet, there are clearly those in life who don't take the easy route. And there are those who are wildly successful where others aren't. What separates the successful from the unsuccessful? The answer is found in a reason.

I once met a young woman who dreamed of swimming in the Olympics. She got up every morning at 4 a.m. to swim for three hours before school. For her, there were no parties with friends. Her life revolved around swimming and schoolwork. I asked her, "What keeps you going?" Her answer was insightful.

"I do it for myself and the people I love," she said. "It's love that gets me over the hurdles and sacrifices." She'd found her reason.

Want to be rich? Define your wants and your don’t wants

A reason is simply a combination of "wants" and "don't wants." My reason for getting rich began with my "don't wants," which defined my "wants."

I don't want to work all my life. I don't want what my parents aspired for, job security and a house in the suburbs. I don't want to be an employee. I don't want to be emotionally absent from my family and friends because I'm always working to make ends meet. I don't want to have nothing to pass on at the end of my life.

Out of these "don't wants," I developed my "wants."

I want to be free to travel the world and to live the lifestyle I love. I want to be young when I do this. I want to be free financially. I want control over my time and my life. I want money to work for me.

Knowing why you want to be rich is only half the work

For me, my reasons are deep-seated and emotional. What are yours?

If they aren't strong enough, then the reality of the hard road ahead may be greater than your emotional reasons for getting rich. Personally, I've faced many setbacks in my road to riches. I've lost a lot of money and seen many deals fall through. I wanted to be financially free by age 40, but it took me until I was 47, with many learning experiences along the way. But through it all, my reasons pulled me through.

Today is the day to determine your reason for getting rich. Make a list of your "Don't wants" and your "wants." Make sure that your reason is strong and determined. If you find the right reason, I promise that you can find a way to get rich. But it all starts with you.

But that is only half the battle. You have to show up each and every day, even when you have setbacks. You have to put in the work. If you have a solid reason why you want to be rich and you’re willing to put in the work, you can attain your dreams.

Original publish date: January 15, 2013

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