The title is as brutal as it gets. We’re going to address several common questions/arguments that make no logical sense. While they do sound like legitimate questions/arguments, they haven’t been deconstructed. This list will hopefully save a lot of time and outline ways to deconstruct other common complaints/questions in the future. Three categories: Money arguments, excuses related to trying and personal life excuses.
“Not Willing to Sacrifice to Get Rich”: We’re not sure what these individuals intend to gain by making this statement but it is the most ridiculous of the group. If someone doesn’t want to get rich because it takes too much sacrifice, then they wouldn’t bother arguing their position. Why is that? Well if they truly didn’t want to get rich and believed it took too much sacrifice they would be happy go lucky people living care-free lives on low income. This is essentially never the case. The ones that claim they have to sacrifice too much to get rich are 99.99% of the time unhappy bitter individuals.
If this isn’t enough, just jump ahead. Who works harder? The guy who works for 40 hours a week for 40 years straight and retires at 60-61. Or. The guy who works for 60-70 hours a week for 10-years and no longer has to work again (unless he wants to). Mathematically, it isn’t even close. Sure you can argue that millionaires continue to work pretty hard through at least age 50. But. If the goal was to sacrifice less, you’d be better off with option number two and calling it quits. Pretty contradicting isn’t it? If someone really didn’t want to sacrifice they would get rich to make sure they didn’t have to sacrifice. Quite a conundrum.
To put the final nail in the coffin, the health argument comes up. And. The result is the same. Wealthy people live longer and are generally healthier. Now the one small part that is true? Your health will definitely take a ***temporary*** hit during the “pain period”. This means you may gain weight, you might catch a few more colds than you would have liked etc. But. Again. If you look at the probabilities you’re much more likely to be *less* healthy if you never get rich in the first place. Before we wrap up here. It is true that some guys try to get rich only to have something terrible happen, life ending disease or freak accident. The key part to remember? The percentage is the same. The random people who have sudden accidents and were on the path to get rich is equal to the percentage of deaths for people who live the 9-5 jive. There is no legitimate data that says “working 60-70 hours a week for 5-10 years leads to higher risk of death”. We’d bet that working 9-5 jobs, drinking low quality alcohol and sitting on a couch is a bigger cause of death.
“Getting Rich Won’t Make You Happy”: We hear this a lot from two types of people. The ultra-rich which we define as $100M+ net worth on lowest valuations and the poor (must work to survive). Naturally we don’t agree with this argument since we aren’t ultra-rich! Life as a poor person is terrible while life as a rich person (but not ultra-rich) appears to be the sweet spot. Our best guess for why the ultra-rich don’t believe money will make you happy? Personal life issues.
There are a few things that money won’t buy and that list includes: strong personal relationships, a significant other who loves you, a cure for disease if it impacts you (your kids, spouse etc.) and additional time. It also doesn’t protect you from one last critical item: responsibility. We think that last one is underestimated. If you’re rich (you’re going to own a small private company of some kind – at minimum) you’re going to eventually hire people. As you hire people you’re essentially putting *their* livelihoods in your own hands. This causes a lot of stress and pushes you away from what you wanted to do: live a care-free life.
So. While money definitely won’t solve all of your problems, it sure cures a lot of them. Okay not a lot… 98% of them! Oddly enough one common item we’ve noticed from people who agree that money does make you happy? They were born poor. People who were born without money and obtain their first million or two rarely go belly up from what we’ve seen. It happens of course but the ones who always remember the beginning never take a risk that would cause them to lose it all. (if someone wins the lottery that’s a different story since they didn’t do anything to obtain the money).
Now we will concede with two final items. It is true that there is diminishing returns to money. If you have $10 million dollars and go to $15 million, your life really doesn’t change much. For fun a quick way to think about the “slope” of the curve is as follows: 1) if you’re in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, any time you double that is a big life change, 2) if you are in the 7 figure camp, the same formula applies, 3) when you reach eight figures you’d need to move at least 2.5x meaning $10M to $25M or so and 4) when you get to $100M+ not much else changes except ego. As a clean disclaimer we already stated we’re not at $100M+ and will unlikely ever get there, the bullet point was based on conversations not on experience.
The final item: fame. If you become a public figure there is no turning back and it can be a severe negative to your life and lifestyle. Before you get on TV and try to become a “celebrity” make sure you understand the consequences: life time harassment for anyone you care about. People even send death threats to Weather Men and Weather Women. Seriously.
“$5-10 Million Isn’t Enough to Be Rich” You definitely don’t need to have any sort of “luck” to get modestly rich (call it $5-10 million). This frustrates a lot of people and some poorer people have the audacity to say “$10 million isn’t even rich you’re wasting my time!” We can’t help but laugh. Unless the person is worth $100M+ he really doesn’t have any say in the matter. And. If he was worth $100M+ he wouldn’t leave this type of comment! (okay maybe 5-6 people in the entire world would take the time to leave such a comment… we’ll go ahead and live with those odds… the ultra-rich wouldn’t bother with negativity).
For fun we’ll go ahead and prove out that $5-10 million is enough. If you can spend $20,000 a month into perpetuity it is incredibly difficult to feel poor unless you are a weak person. What do we mean by this? We mean that weak people will feel that $20,000 is not close to enough. Why are they weak? They have to live their lives according to the expectations of other people. If someone feels poor at this level they are likely being abused: giving money to people who don’t deserve it or taking on too much responsibility which wasn’t the point of getting rich in the first place. Cruel words. But. Try to find someone who doesn’t fit that sentence who complains about their $20,000 in monthly spending ability.
Breakdown of Spend: Taxes on paid off property: $1,500-$2,500 a month. Living expense minimum $3,000. This leaves $15,000 of discretionary spending. Pretty crazy to think that anyone can argue it’s not enough. If you were smart enough and strong enough to get to $5-10M you better have the strength to say no when “relative of so and so’s brother” wants a loan. Oh and by the way? If you really need to spend more you can always keep your business open (we didn’t even include working!). We almost stopped. This also doesn’t include spending your principal! This spending assumes you never touch the principal. Forever.
Excuses and Laziness
“You Need to Get Lucky” We gave our opinion on luck in a prior post. While you *do* need to get lucky to become ultra-rich, you definitely don’t need luck to get rich. It’s just an excuse. In fact if you talk to these people they have the same common excuse: “well it worked for him but that wouldn’t work now”. Which doesn’t make sense. If we look at the past 40 years or so the average age of people getting rich appears to be going down. Meaning? The chances of becoming a billionaire at a young age is higher now than it was in the past. This is probably because technology accelerates the transference of value. If you have something good, you’re rewarded in rapid fashion.
“I Don’t Have Any Good Ideas”: This is another common one where we laugh. All we would say is that’s great because we would never loan money to someone with a good idea. In fact you have a better chance of getting rich if you don’t have good ideas! Why? It means you’re more interested in making money. Making money is more important than a good idea because it means you’ll be focused on execution and not have emotional attachment to your “special” idea. We forget the specific saying but it goes something like this “never loan money to the guy with passion, loan money to the guy who is only doing it for the money”. This is because the second person won’t have emotional attachment and will do what it takes to gain market share, improve profit margins and get that cash.
The second issue with this question is that it overthinks the problem. A “good idea” is just something that will fit into a growing industry. That is all. If an industry is growing it means people *want* the product. In the 21st century do we really “need” anything anymore? The answer is no. If all innovation stopped today, we could all use the internet, eat food, sleep, travel etc. Our needs don’t change. Instead, if an industry is growing it just means people *want* that product. If they want it, you can make higher margins on it. If you don’t believe this then why do aspirational goods have high margins (luxury anything).
In both of our products: Efficiency and Triangle Investing we have given out exactly what industries are growing and what markets have high potential. Do you need to be passionate about any of this? Nope. Do you need to have an interest in any of this? Nope. You just need to make sure people want it. If you’re looking for inspiration just go to any common tourist destination. Watch in awe as people pay 10x for some trinket that costs $1 to make. Go to a high end club and watch people buy a bottle of champagne that costs 1/20th the amount of money in a super market. So on and so forth. Find a growing item, create a slight spin that makes it seem cooler than the other widgets and get to selling.
“I Don’t Have the Money”: Another crazy one. Even the most notable recent billionaires like Zuckerberg or Musk didn’t start with a ton of money. In fact the funding only comes in when you really deserve it. People don’t like that sentence but it’s true. When you start from zero and have something small working, eventually you will need to raise money. If you raise money with “just an idea” you’ve essentially wasted people’s time. Using a common pop culture example, have you noticed that Shark Tank always has people who have a product and/or some sort of revenue. This is because ideas don’t have any value at all. Unless your only idea is a new airline there are billions of other businesses that don’t require a ton of start-up capital.
Oddly enough we’ve tried numerous websites and brands and the one that required the most “start-up” capital was the biggest failure of the group. Starting with more money didn’t make a difference. At all. Having “start-up” money won’t change what people want unless you’re an influencer with hundreds of millions of followers (you can now cause something to be cool/popular).
“Don’t Have any Experience”: Awesome. If you know absolutely nothing about the industry you’re probably at an advantage. Why? Well if you think you know something, then you’re the most likely candidate to be disrupted. You’ll miss a product gap. If you don’t know anything but see a clear product gap that’s fantastic. Sure beats being the guy who has been in the industry for 30 years but hasn’t created a single new SKU in years. Kind of odd when we think about it like that isn’t it?
One item of warning. We’re talking specifically about experience here. We’re not talking about energy. Time is a cruel beast. Eventually your stamina comes down and this can dampen your chances at starting something new. Also. If you don’t have any unique knowledge and are older, the game is probably over in terms of getting really rich. As a positive side note, we’ve stated before that anyone can make $250,000/year at any age. No exceptions.
Personal Life Excuses
“My Life Won’t Change If I Was Rich” If that is the case we’re going to say the person is a terrible human being. Feel free to troll the comments with the blog being full of sociopaths. We don’t care. What type of person wants to go through life knowing that he can’t help anyone he cares about. If you want to have kids can you imagine saying “I can’t pay for XYZ life-saving treatment”. If you don’t have kids can you imagine saying the same thing to your parents who spent 18 years raising you. We don’t know how these people sleep at night. It’s disgusting.
Also. If the person’s life “wouldn’t change” what exactly are they doing all day? If the average income is around $3,000-4,000 a month… what can you really do? Watch Netflix, eat, drink a few beers and save for a 1-2 week vacation every year? Not sure why that would be exciting in any part of the United States. Hell. Even the people who want to “save the world” by entering the Peace Corps or some other charity would be better off getting rich. They would be able to do more good for society in a position of financial strength when compared to simply donating their time.
“What About Boredom” Not sure how a boring person found this blog. But. Congrats! (sort of). The problem is we don’t have much respect for boring people. At the end of the day, boredom is a choice since you only get one chance at life. If someone is bored it just means they don’t have the resources to have fun (see the above on why we think people should get rich) or it means they are just boring people. If they are really boring people and enjoy watching Netflix all day, then why do they bother coming here to ask such an absurd question? It doesn’t make any sense at all.
The second group we take more seriously: “I sold my company for $X and am bored out of my mind”. This is a serious issue. There are many individuals who sell their company only to become bored. One of the most famous examples of a disastrous sale was the creator of Victoria Secret (he committed suicide after selling the Company). This type of boredom is serious since the dopamine level achieved when becoming rich is untouchable. Once you feel rich (whatever the number is for you) the next hundred thousand dollars or even a million dollars doesn’t feel like anything compared to the original high. Many of these people suffer from serious psychological issues. The good news? We have one backward looking remedy. If you’ve found this blog and are looking to sell your Company we’d say the following: “only do it if you are 100% sure of what you will do next”. If your plan is to travel the world and hook up for 1-2 years… don’t sell that Company. Why? If your plan was to take a year off, then you should just take the year off and hire a manager. If you are 100% certain of what you will do next, then you can just travel for that year and start the project as soon as your hiatus is completed! See how that works? Works pretty well.
Putting these two concepts together we simply ignore 90%+ of bored people. They are just complaining about their lives. If the person made a mistake and sold his company with no idea on what to do next, our only remedy is to tell him to start something new. There is no other choice. Unless you’re over the age of at least 45 or so, you need to do something.
“No Flash What’s the Point?” This is another common complaint here which is odd. If you’re rich you can buy whatever you want. Buy an island if you want. Buy a $1 million dollar super car. We don’t care. Also. We’re not sure why people care that we don’t spend on those things!
The point of the extra money is to buy insane amounts of flexibility, time and experience. Maybe there are some rich people who prefer buying the Lamborghini instead of multiple luxury vacations (we choose the second). Maybe there are some rich people who choose the ultra-expensive custom suit instead of the maid + weekly massage + laundry services (we choose the second). As a third example, maybe there are some rich people who choose the high maintenance girlfriend while other choose the carefree single life with no limit to discretionary spending (we choose the second). These are not choices we can make for anyone. But. We talk in absolutes to emphasize that it will be difficult if not impossible to reverse our view. We’ve seen the ROI on a flashy car (yes it does attract women). But. Does it beat the ROI of first class flights, constant high end restaurants and the flexibility to turn off the spending if needed? We don’t think so (we’ve also seen a lot of examples to prove this out).
The last item we’ll sign off with on this topic is we’re actually not against materialism at all (if you enjoy it). We’re against lower ROI materialism. If we had $100M to our names, we’d probably spring for the super car as well. Under $100M? Definitely better leverage elsewhere. There is a strange line between being the rich boring frugal guy and the stretched out rich guy who could blow up quickly in the future. The above paragraph is a good one to copy for when you get your first couple million!
“It Is Not Prestigious To Start XXX” This is a rare one but always gives us a good laugh. 10 years ago going to work for Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley was “prestigious”. Fast forward to today and it’s already a tier 2 choice and the “cool” spots are now Facebook and Google for example (especially sexy is “product managers”). Fast forward another 10 years and it’ll probably change again. So the cycle goes.
While it is critical to create an image for something you start, it definitely doesn’t need to be prestigious. Prestige is typically a topic that is a focal point for insecure people with low risk tolerance. If we had to choose between owning a $1M a year income pre-packaged wet napkin company or make the same at some prestigious firm… We’d choose option number 1. Every. Single. Time.
Also. We would choose the $1M a year wet napkin company over the $1M a year jewelry company. What! Why? Well, the first option is more stable and the second one has significant risk tied to the volatility of a more “prestigious” industry. In fact if you start a business that is not sexy but then *becomes* sexy, we’d know what to do. Sell it… Massive premium time (that is serious good luck).
“It’s Lonely at the Top” Maybe we haven’t made it high enough on the pyramid but this hasn’t been true in our experience. What is true is that the regular people you passed up will say you’re a lonely grumpy guy behind your back. Perhaps that is why people say it is “lonely at the top”? Who knows.
The basic take on this topic is two fold: 1) recognize that very few people will understand how you think. This makes sense because most people never get rich and never succeed. So your expectations should be lower anyway. 2) the second item is that lonely people are usually boring to be around (see our take on boredom). One of the primary reasons we choose to spend heavily on services and experiences is because of the atmosphere it creates. If you drive around in a sports car you get one person with you at maximum. If you rent a large home for a weekend, you can bring a lot more people. Either way, we think this loneliness problem is some combination of those two items. Haven’t struggled with it so we always answer with the same: find a way to focus more on actual experiences.
“Everybody Says XX” As a finale… this is the most infuriating blanket excuse. If everyone believes something then it’s not useful information. This is probably the most common error made by people. If everyone believes something to be true, then either 1) there is a massive opportunity or 2) it should be ignored because it has no real value. As an example, everyone knows exercise is good for your body. If you tell people exercise is good for your body, you will generate $0. Similarly, if you say “90% of businesses fail” you’ve added no value. Where you make your money is where you realize that 90% of those business that “fail” were either fake companies, run by incompetent people or in markets that were declining anyway (see the above on where to look in the first place!). Using the “general population” to help make a decision isn’t going to work, because you’ll end up taking the path that leads to a “general population” life. If everyone is doing it, you shouldn’t be interested. Also. The *only* way to get rich is to be right when everyone else is wrong. This creates the largest spread between the payout.