What is Rich?

While we no longer answer questions on this blog we continue to receive this one over and over again. We’ll go ahead and answer the question and as always, no one will agree on the definition. But. Lets get started.

Definition: “A rich person is someone who does not have to work and will be happy for the rest of his life.”

The second part of the quote after the and is significantly harder to achieve than the first piece. We’ll start with the easiest part of becoming rich first… Money.

Part 1: Income Related Needs

A Million Isn’t Enough: For most people, this is the reality. While it appears to be a lot of  money for a college aged student, a million dollars doesn’t go anywhere if you were successful as an adolescent in the first place. Assuming you wanted to get the most out of your life, living on $40K a year in Flint, Michigan probably isn’t on the to do list. Ambitious people do not enjoy sitting on the beach every single day drinking Mai Thai’s… Watching their body degrade over time. This leads us to the second issue in answering the question… Your location will materially impact your financial needs for being “rich”.

Location or “Locations”: Before someone tries to reach the definition of rich (financially), the primary problem is finding a city or cities where you’ll be happy to live over the next 40+ years. The result of this problem is the need to travel to at least ~40 cities over the course of 10 years (hence no reason to buy a home in your 20s). Even with that backdrop, most find that they will prefer a dual city life living half the year in city 1 and the other half in city 2 (New York and Buenos Aires for example)

Lifestyle Expenses: This is where the math becomes extremely complicated. If you’re only able to cover food, shelter and your utilities, there is no way anyone outside of a Buddhist monk will be happy. With a list of several well off individuals, it seems the baseline is ~3x or more of monthly rent would cover lifestyle/entertainment expenses. Notably, we’re using the phrase rent to refer to the cost of living in a place you may own (IE: at least ~4K/month – multiply by 3x – for a 1 bedroom in soho, even if you own the property outright)

Healthcare/Disaster Recovery: The last real item on the list is a *growing* Healthcare & Disaster Recovery fund that remains untouched. This will make it next to impossible for you to eat into principal (let’s draw the line at ~$500/month minimum or $6K per year per person).

Summary Examples:

Bachelor: Very likely to describe the vast majority of our readers at this point. We aggressively spam comments and keep the haters off of here so it generally results in a readership similar to the one we’ve tailored to.

The Stats: Low 7 figure net worth. Lets assume $2M (minimum). At 5% returns this is about $100K per year. We’ll assume a 20% tax rate getting us to $80K per year. At this level you can live a great life in 99% of cities in the world (let’s cross off the top 10 or so from an expense perspective) and it would look something like this:

A single guy in Austin, Texas: $6,666 a month income – $1,500 “rent cost” – 3x ($1,500) – $500 healthcare = $166 remaining for wiggle room.

Successful Business: For one reason or another, it seems that most individuals who successfully sell or create a small to medium sized business (SMB) tend to have a family or a spouse. This post is not going to bother giving an answer as to why or if it is a good idea (since there are always exceptions). Instead we’ll just crunch the numbers.

The Stats: A successful business that has been sold should generate a net cash *event* of ~$5M. This brings in $250K in cash flow or $200K in after tax money if we continue with the rough 20% tax rate.

Family in Los Angeles: $16,666 per month – $3,000 rent cost – 3x ($3,000) – $1,500 healthcare. This leaves about $3,100 a month for raising a young boy/girl in a top tier public school (or home schooling).

Summary: In short, the bare-bones minimum to start on the definition of being rich *financially* is around $2M in cash/liquid assets within a 2-4 day settling period.  Importantly, as mentioned at the beginning of this post, getting the money is the easiest part of becoming rich. We stated above that being “happy” is the part that most will struggle with. There are many financially well off individuals with nagging wives (looking at you *many* lawyers and bankers) and there are many rich engineers with negative social skills (just go to a tech city). All of this aside, the second hardest item to obtain is a healthy mind and body which is part two of becoming “rich”.

Part 2: Physical Health Related Needs

Retraining Your Tastes: Unless you were born into a wealthy family (good for you!) chances are your body is used to consuming garbage to put it bluntly. Fast food, boxed microwaveable meals, canned goods, pastas and so on. Many people in the United States (roughly half) are overweight and continue to shorten their lives by consuming garbage on a daily basis. Slowly killing their bodies.

The gut is the second brain because it tells your body if you’re moving in the right direction. In fact, if you’re not well off financially as of today (which is fine) we would suggest *starting with fixing your diet*. You’ll gain more energy and focus than you can possibly imagine by simply fixing what you consume.

Daily Exercise: There should be *no thinking* involved when it comes to walking to the gym. Similar to brushing your teeth you should be doing something physical every single day (more likely some form of exercise twice a day! Yoga and lifting for example). Building your body is literally no different from building a Company. If you put in the work every single day when you are older you will continue to reap the benefits even as your body slows down. Muscle memory is absolutely real.

You do not need to be 5% body fat and lifting a new personal record every month. However. You need to feel energetic. You should be bouncing off of walls relative to your age suggesting health and vitality.

Recovery: This section is *not* for people under the age of 25. If you are under 25 your body can take an immense amount of punishment. Those that are under 25 should continue to push as hard as they possibly can because the tank refills so quickly there is practically no such thing as “over training” or “over working”.

Once you surpass the age of 25 you should *know* your limits. If you don’t know what your limits are at this point then you did not bother working hard when you were under 25. This is “mean”. This is also true. Eventually you find your breaking point on when it is 1) time to step away from the computer, 2) time to avoid that extra rep and 3) time to stop chasing that sales lead. This is simply called experience.

We don’t know what the breaking point is for you. It is probably much later than ours to be honest, which gives you a competitive advantage. But. Some breaking point signs include: 1) Discombobulation: Where you are suddenly leaving items in the wrong places and using things incorrectly. A great example is putting items in the freezer instead of the refrigerator because your head is not in the right place. Another basic example is placing your keys into an obscure drawer or thrown on a piece of furniture instead of your usual designated area. 2) Pinches or Buckling: if you are exercising hard and feel a “pinch” or you sporadically buckle… You are done. There is no reason to push past a pinch or buckling as a tear or strain will set you back several weeks or months. Stop. Move slowly. Relax. Ice and… Go Home.

Summary Examples:

Male in His Mid-Twenties: This is a great spot, an inflection point for most. If you’re more of an Ectomorph it means your primary activity is eating a bit more and making sure you fill out your frame. Your goal is to find your physical breaking point and where your body simply feels “too heavy” since the primary goal is putting on muscle mass. Opposite of this would be an Endomorph, where you’re constantly trying to cut body fat down with intermittent fasting, more high intensity training etc.

Simply put a person in his mid-twenties has plenty of time to constantly exercise (5-7 days a week) and find his ideal weight to wake up invigorated every single day.

Male in His Thirties: Here you’ve moved on. You already know where your body feels best and it is usually a tad lighter than you were in your early twenties (notice professional athletes tend to lean out a tad as they reach 30) to prevent your heart from over working. That said you have a few set routines and know your body extremely well. You can prioritize rest and recovery a bit more since your work outs are extremely focused (4-6 days a week) and the diet piece is on track.

On a side note, you’re stretching, foam rolling and loosening up your body consistently. Something you didn’t worry about a decade ago.

Summary: Staying healthy is significantly harder than obtaining money. There is no comparison. Generally, the individuals who are healthy but not wealthy are unable to condense their exercise efficiently. Spending 3 hours in a gym per day (unless a college or professional athlete) is an utter waste of time. The real trick is being *consistent*. If you are able to remain in near tip-top shape with 5-6 hours dedicated to your health per week, you will have enough energy to push aggressively towards your financial goals.

Finally, we’re moving onto the most complicated piece of being happy which is your relationships and view of your own life. We don’t know if there ever will be an answer but we’ll attempt to make the grey area of life make sense.

Part 3: Personal Relationships

A person is rich ($2M+ minimum). A person is healthy (extremely energetic). A person is not happy.

This person still fails our definition of being “rich”. Being financially well off and with all of the energy in the world is simply not enough if they are unhappy. A cheesy line is “you’re not rich if you have no one to share your life with”. That is a bit far fetched as many people may prefer being alone (they would be happy) but the point shines through. A person with money, 9% body fat and depression is not a rich man.

Friends: We have a few posts scattered on here regarding this topic and instead this will be a condensed version. If we had to summarize it in a sentence it would be this: “most people are not worth your time”. Hopefully, that caught some attention given the more soft spoken paragraph above. Most people will be perfectly fine earning a middling wage of $100K a year and giving life advice based on their non-success. Most people will not understand why you become irate when a person who makes a fraction of what you make gives you advice. A homeless man giving advice to person who makes $100K a year is *exactly the same* as a unhappy man who makes $100K a year giving advice to a happy go lucky multi-millionaire. We repeat. There is no difference!

If you wish to obtain friends you really need to find three things and three things only: 1) soft touch relationships, 2) no overlap in business or finances – no need for each other and 3) similar view of the world around you.

Those three items are incredibly difficult to find in any single person. We recommend searching far and wide from the gym you attend to internet bloggers you enjoy reading. There is no way you will find 5-10 people who fit the above three items in your day to day life. It just won’t happen.

We do not have a formula for finding them. Again. We do not have a formula for finding them. If you’re lucky enough to find five you will be one of the happiest people in your city. Just remember. If you break one of the three items, you’re putting the friendship in jeopardy. A good friend is always busy doing something but has time to visit when you’re around sporadically. He does not need you for money and you don’t argue about useless topics such as politics.

Dating: This is much of the same. We really do not care if you want to get married we simply believe it is not an intelligent move financially. Just give her the ring (a nice one if you like) give her the wedding, but do *not* sign a contract giving the government control over your life.

The saddest people we know treat dating like a sport. They expect their partner (girl) to actually live up to their own standards! We’ll break the bad news now and tell you that if you are a multi-millionaire, physically in shape and have a load of real friends… No one is going to match you eye for an eye.

You absolutely *must* have high standards. But. Your personal standards will never actually be met.

Why? Women always date up.

If she didn’t look up to you in the first place (IE: think you’re one of the best catches of her life) then there is no way she would have gone on a date in the first place. Instead of expecting an equal partner, you should find out exactly what matters to you the most and look for those 3-5 qualities instead of a laundry list of items that simply won’t be found. Reiteration. Your equal will have no interest in dating you. This goes for all of the authors here as well. Reality.

Mental Up Keep: The final item on the list will come as a shock to regular people (we think we’ve finally banned them all!). Even if you have everything above from money to health to friends to a great dating life… You’re still not going to be happy. You will need to find something to build, grow and improve upon. For us this is simply business and finance. For others it may be art and a family. Who knows.

What we do know though, is that if you meet all of the criteria laid out above, you will *not do anything you do not want to do*. People will not understand your decisions because you are living a much more fulfilling life. Maybe you take the first contract that pays less than the second contract option. Why? Easy you didn’t want to do the other task and didn’t think it would be fun!

In short, once you’re happy and your decisions no longer make “rational sense” to the common man (IE: lazy slob) you’re no longer touchable.

Summary of the Post:

  • From a pure financial perspective the bare minimum to be considered rich in the United States as of 2015 is about $2M for a single person and about $4M for a person considering having a family
  • Finding a city where you hope to spend the majority of your life is incredibly difficult. There are literally thousands of options and you must find a few that fit your needs
  • Financially savvy individuals never touch their principal and always have a slush fund that is increasing to prevent disasters from eating into the pyramid they have built
  • Before bothering with money, health is *always* more important than wealth. We realize how funny that looks given the name of this blog but we’ve said it many many times before. Health >wealth. You only have one body and one mind. Find your breaking points before it actually breaks on you
  • If you have five friends that meet our criteria: 1) constantly busy, soft touch relationship, 2) does not need you financially and 3) sees the world in a *similar* manner as you… You’re an extremely rich man from a friendship perspective. Look far and wide for these individuals, there are no tricks as less than 5% of the human population will meet this criteria
  • Women date up. This is not a politically correct comment but it is true. Find what you want in a female and do not expect to meet your equal because your equal is always looking for a different man to look up to. Reality check.
  • If you are rich, healthy, have friends (or a family)… You’re still going to build something or perhaps work for money. Your life will not make sense to normal people and your decisions will be made to maximize general happiness. However. If you’re working because you *have to* then your incentives cannot possibly be in the correct place.

Are You On Track to Get Rich? Everyone defines being rich differently and those that track their cash flow and net worth diligently are best prepared to succeed, with that we strongly recommend Personal Capital. The Company offers *free* software tools with the following four key features: 1) ability to avoid losing money by tracking all fees associated with an investment product allowing you to choose the best possible fund for your future, 2) portfolio analysis where your risk profile is stacked up against your current age and retirement goals, 3) in addition to these free tools, you can also track your net worth and path to becoming a millionaire and 4) when you hit $100K in networth you’ll receive a free one time consultation with an investment professional at Personal Capital. After linking up all of your accounts you’ll be able to sit back and watch as your net worth goes up and your fees remain minimal over the next several years. We strongly believe that Personal Capital is the premier personal finance software tool when compared to its competitors such as Mint.


  1. E.S says

    100 agreed%, Being rich is having high standard of living( financial success is a must) and myself, doing whatever I want to do, and improving and being with people who I genuinely love and love me back

  2. A says

    I’ve lived in many different places (currently in the South. Place is a sh*thole except for New Orleans). Totally agree on that point. Must find an area you like, and the only way to find out if you like that is to actually live there.

  3. Mid20s says

    The point that women always date people who they look up to, not equals, was very eye opening. It was there all the time, but I hadn’t seen it, thanks for that.

    Based on my experience with the tech industry, I can verify that there are multi-millionaires out there who suck at dating and run after every girl without any interest from them. Pretty bad.

    Happiness is important, but freedom (which is bought with at least two million as you said) is also very important.

    Great post, thanks for that!

  4. mk says

    “A Million Isn’t Enough”
    Want to wager how much a million US will be worth in 5 years? How bout 10?

    “Location or Locations”
    Random fyi – Denver is amazing.

    It’s almost always sunny, little crime, best public transportation I’ve ever seen, booming economy, great nightlife, friendly people….seriously people are happy and healthy here.

    Not trying to sell anyone anything (for now :D) but trust me – check it out. Been here only a few months, am in love.

    “The gut is the second brain because it tells your body if you’re moving in the right direction. In fact, if you’re not well off financially as of today (which is fine) we would suggest starting with fixing your diet”

    Regarding “Discombobulation”
    In my opinion, best to perform creative work (ie actually thinking // learning) early in the morning and when well rested.

    Save the repetitive, non-taxing work for after mental exhaustion is reached. Can be something as simple as mass responding to emails.

    “Spending 3 hours in a gym per day”
    If anyone can still go at the 3 hour mark they’re clearly doing something wrong…

    Worth noting that some people spend excessive time at the gym for therapeutic reasons (jogging common, too). Keep an eye open, it’s more common than one would imagine.

      • Hank IV says

        Denver area, is jamming with muti family housing and affordable subdivision communties. Lots of raw land being converted. Just drive down e-470. I’m in building materials distrubution in the nyc/nj market and have explored this area for that as well as realestate/pleasure.

        I agree great place to live.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      While we don’t take questions since this is clarifying we will answer…

      Soft touch means you don’t hang out every day. Successful people are always extremely busy, not available for weeks at a time multiples times a year. But. They know a winner when they see one and if you’re “in town” they will clear 30 minutes to an hour to see you and even more if they like you a lot.

      The notion that friends hang out all day together at some coffee shop every single day of the week is insanity. Not real life for people who want to make the best of their lives.

    • says

      I couldn’t agree more with you Karl. They nailed it.

      I have two short comments though.

      When you consider the “Texas guy example”.

      If 6000 goes to lifestyle expenses + rent, there is nothing left to invest in a business or any money making asset. I guess that’s included in the “3x rent money”.

      Everything in this article seems to be written for people in their 20’s or 30’s. I would be interested to hear if (and how) these things you said apply to people in their 40’s or even 50’s.

      I am not even close to that age. However, many people who want to start changing their lives feel intimidated if they have passed their 40’s.

      While it’s considerably more difficult to start building your desired lifestyle if you start later in your life, I constantly wonder if age really matters (and how much).

      Since I am still in my 20’s, It would be great to hear your perspective on that.

  5. 'Reality' Doug says

    I usually think you guys post bravado as much as substance. This post was solid at worst and often brilliant. I respect the brevity and completeness. Great writing is about efficiency, precision, and accuracy. This philosophical road map template is pragmatic like real philosophy. I don’t know that I will get very far, but I can easily tell if my priorities are correct by checking my specific road map plan against this. Though in red pill world we know to ‘be the prize’, your ‘women always date up’ is somehow clearer. Hit me emotionally as well as logically. It is not enough to think something. I keep the triune brain model in mind when I am introspective, or trying to be charismatic but failing. The way you expressed what’s wrong with marriage is similarly thoroughly right on. Great to read a self-consistent view of life that actually makes some damn sense.

  6. Young Manhattan says

    Loved the post.

    While my personal favorite is NYC (so far), random note on locations, heard the following are surprisingly great cities to live:

    -Portland, Oregon
    -Boulder, Colorado
    -Scottsdale, Arizona

  7. Young Gun says

    2m is truly necessary, because living in a third or second world country sucks. Thailand is not nearly as good as the USA. Eastern europe comes close( really hot women and some beautiful cities) , but nothing beats 1st world major cities in west europe, south america, or the USA. Great post.

    I’ve been wondering about the $1 million mark.

    Currently 23, and am at about $900k in savings this year, but taxes will rape me for about 350k of that of course, and the thought of retiring on $1m is scary. I would have to live off of 40k a year. I would actually have to focus on being frugal.

    $2-5m makes perfect sense. That’s my goal. 3M is ideal I think, so you can live a great lifestyle and continue saving a large percentage.

    Im in a cash flow business, and am super scared of not reaching my goal. Makes me work harder, but damn, I will be depressed if my cash flow biz ends before I make $2m! Can’t imagine going back to working a regular job or starting all over 0.0

    I would regret every minute not spent working…

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      You have more than enough time to get to where you Want to be!

      Strongly suggest taking 3 day trips to multiple cities to find the ones you like. Highly unlikely you know where you’d like to live so keep building the business and traveling in the meantime.

  8. Stealthy1Percenter says

    Great post.

    Would like to add: A “rich” person does not complain. Instead, they find a solution.

    Hear too many people complaining about stupid stuff.

    Overheard last week: “Going to happy hour is so expensive! Cocktails cost $14!”

    Most people I know make $14 in less than 5 minutes in their sleep.

    Rich people identify a pain point, ponder for a few moments (sometimes months for a big pain point), and find a solution. Too simple.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Yes, yes and yes.

      We are doing our best to avoid the phrase “work hard” because it gets misinterptreted repeatedly.

      A iPhone factory worker is “working hard” but will never be rich.

      What working hard really means is *SOLVE A PROBLEM*

      So going forward we will use the phrase solve a problem just as we have replaced the word job with career.

  9. efe says

    Eye opener as always. You may think “It is funny that people think 1M is huge”, but I think it is huge. My passion is traveling. If I have 1M to put in bank, I could easily travel the world with the interest of that money.

    Paying 1500$ for rent, living in luxury… This is meaningless. I am sure you guys traveled a lot, and the experience that you gain from traveling alone is priceless.

    Thanks for your blog and thoughts.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      To be blunt you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog if your passion is the millennial cliche of “traveling and seeing the world”.

      But it’s a free world and you’re welcome to read what you like!

      • Anonymous says

        Yes that is my passion. I started to doing it with seeing Spain and living there for one year.

        What do you say in your tweets? Work when you are young and be free in your 30s. Well i totally agree. I want to do it when Im free.

        Thank god it is a free world so i will continue to read your great blog.

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        In that case be warned you will get bored of it in less than a year. Make sure you have an online business or something to build, no man (worth knowing) is happy doing nothing his entire life.

  10. Sergio says

    Insightful as always. I loved your point of how money alone doesn’t necessarily equal happiness. Personally when I was younger we were very well-off(scrapping the bottom of upper class at some point by Mexico standards, since that’s where we are from), however me and my family still had our issues and still didn’t fit your description of rich, then the 2008 crisis came(both of my parents were involved in architecture/real estate if that helps). Now reflecting, I feel my dissatisfaction might stem not from only a lack of money, but neglecting other areas that go along with having the rich lifestyle to the point where no amount of money will provide more than a momentary high.

  11. w says

    Early 20s here.

    I always thought that it was weird how people thought 100K was a lot and that 1M as a financial goal was unfathomable.

    I mean Steve Jobs and Bill Gates both dropped out of college, and their net worth is in the billions. There are also whole lists on Forbes dedicated to successful entrepreneurs that dropped out of college. So assuming you graduate from college, and assuming you successfully start a business (nobody sets goals to fail), why would 1M be out of reach? Like you can’t even make 1/1000th of what some of these college dropouts pulled in?

    Low standards.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Think about it like this, if there are 10+ millionaires in the USA… Are there really 10M people smarter than you? Not sure how people go to sleep knowing that and accepting it as a stone cold reality.

      • Stealthy1Percenter says

        They accept it because even if they think they are smarter, they think up some manufactured excuse for why others are successful, such as: (1) they got lucky, or (2) they had an inheritance, or (3) they knew so and so and got hooked up, or (4) they worked in x industry and had access to things other people didn’t or (5) they look better (fit or attractive).

        I look at it this way. 90% don’t even try to better their situation in a meaningful way so if anyone gives a shit at all, they’re already top 10%. (You guys have said this as well). Another 5% care and try hard, but suffer from deficiencies in either work ethic or are stuck with a poor mental model that keeps them from achieving at full potential. The last 5% is the real competition.

        One only needs to compete with the top 5% (maybe up to 8% if being generous) of the entire population, things become so easy, especially in a place like the US. The only legitimate excuses to not at least trying are severe physical and mental disabilities. Otherwise, everyone has a chance to be “rich.”

  12. Grivendal says

    Friends:soft touch.This is a big one.I was wondering why i don;t like this guy that kept calling me to hang out all the fucking time,while he is perfectly nice and genuine.Call it an instict.Now i understand.
    Guess what, the guys i saw 1-2 times per week in between works and groups,but still ‘liked’ more than all the other ‘chit chaters’ are the ones that i now make the ‘real’ money with.(Thank God smartphones 😉 )

    Funny how life works.

  13. Anonymous says

    This is pretty much a guide to life. I’m 21 and I’m so happy to be reading this now. I work with guys in their 30s, 40s, and 50s and I get too much stupid advice from people that, seconds later, will complain about their shitty finances and fat wives.

    Especially your point on not expecting a girl to match you eye for eye made a lot of sense to me. Not only do women date up, but I have certain plans for my life, and I want someone to support me, not someone to argue about them with.

    • n says

      Learn game.

      It’s as simple as going to the bar and pulling a new 22-24 year old. Skillset takes 2-3 years to learn but I definitely reccomend it once your career is on track (emphasis).

      No more fat wives

      • Anonymous says

        Oh by all means! I’m not the one with the fat wives though 🙂

        Career is a different issue. I’ve long since realized that the only way I’ll reach my financial goals is by starting a company. And not consulting – scalability is key.

    • a says

      You sound exactly like me a year or two ago.

      The only downside to that though is there is a lot of learning involved. I started a company and had no clue what I was doing. Failed miserably.

      I’ve realized the best way is to get into a sales role with an established product and simply learn as much as you can.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m glad I’ve found a blog/forum of likeminded people. If I follow the natural progression of my job and in my current company, I’ll be making around $120-140k (approx. 220k NYC equivalent) in about 5-6 years. My issue with it is that that is not enough to be “rich” in my book and since the job is based on time rather than results, I can’t easily increase my income.

        There are very few people I could bitch about that to and garner any kind of sympathy, but the key to success for me will be to leverage that basic income to create other income streams. I think you’re right about the sales role, but it will have to be done from an independent standpoint in my case because I wouldn’t want to trade this kind of job for a sales apprenticeship. Still, I appreciate your advice very much. You speak from experience, which is something I’ve yet to earn.

  14. giviz says

    Really nice piece of content, as usual !
    I’ve been following your blog for over a year now, and the quality is always there.

    Small typo :
    phrase rent to refer the the cost of living

    the the > the

  15. 3DPNU says

    About to enter my twenties, feeling it’s a pretty pivotal point in setting up my future.

    Spending stupid money pursuing an engineering degree, but the more I think about $100K per year I realize that isn’t at all what I want.

    Been reading lots of similar blogs and it seems like just being disciplined, having goals, and “working harder” than everyone else will take you to the top, at least in the business world.

    Engineering is strongly associated with business, but seems almost capped in earnings in comparison. I’ve read on a few blogs the best way to make money is to make somebody else money. Seems crazy to invest in a degree when you can solve problems and guide your own learning/self-development, especially with adequate self-discipline.

  16. RE Guy says

    This post was great and there was a lot to respond to, however I saw the narcissism mention here as well as on twitter and this response was long enough on it’s own. Also, I’ve been absent for a while due to significant business events, but I’m still planning on the blog. If someone wants to contact me in the meantime, let WSP know to pass on your email to me and I’ll get in touch.

    On narcissism, this is commonly misunderstood by the masses and is easily discernible by understanding the blind spots of regulars.

    Narcissism is about (among other things) unequal expectations between parties, and unequal empathy. The general idea (of one aspect) is that there is an imbalance, but it is the context of the imbalance that determines whether it is narcissism.

    So narcissism is healthy and normal from child to parent i.e. parents expect to fulfill the needs of children and children expect to have their needs fulfilled by parents by bringing little value to the table other than being present (Also think, very attractive woman, one of the reasons narcissists are thought of as very attractive people, because their experience shows they can just show up and get things handed to them). But it is unhealthy if continued by the child into adulthood, if the child at 25 still expects their parents to do basic tasks for them, for instance driving across town to drop off their laundry for their mother.

    Now I don’t do laundry. I don’t even remember how. But that’s because I’ve made it a point to hire it out for my entire adult life; my time is worth more than $15/hr. So using the above example, if I didn’t do laundry and was expecting others to do it for me, either through some sort of manipulation or because I was milking the relationship, that would be narcissistic. But if I make the choice to work in a job making $50/hr or $100/hr and hire out any job below that threshold, I am rationally leveraging my time for the greatest return and using the system of capitalism as it is intended to be used.

    Regulars on the other hand are getting used by the system of capitalism. I have learned not to share details like this with them because they are often surprised or even offended that I refuse to do low value work, as if I am “above” it. Because they sell their time and their youth for marginal wages, completely misunderstanding the system, they cannot grasp this, to do so would call into question a large portion of their lives.

    This is also why CEO’s are reported as the biggest “narcissists” i.e. they are demanding (they know their business better than anyone else), don’t care as much about the feelings or perceptions of their subordinates (they know they are replaceable cogs in the machine) etc. But that is not narcissism, that’s a successful business person who has built a business system who is offering an exchange with other less successful people, giving those others an opportunity to make money in the CEO’s system. It is a rational exchange, only the employees’ don’t fully understand what they are exchanging, hence the need to label the bosses (if they understood they would take responsibility for their own lives, not label the bosses and instead try to become a boss themselves).

    Now a CEO acting like that isn’t narcissism. But. A mail room worker acting like that, i.e. thinking that he is the/a CEO when he doesn’t have the knowledge/experience/control/power; that’s narcissism.

    Or, a 10 who thinks she’s a 10 and has certain high expectations = not a narcissist. A 6 who thinks she’s a 10 = narcissist. (Again, regulars don’t want to look at themselves and attempt to judge themselves objectively i.e. “Am I a 6? Better start doing some squats”)

    Similarly, complaining about your circumstances in life and wanting attention/validation, while not reciprocating with others is narcissistic (think child telling their parent about a bad day). But not complaining and expecting others not to complain, having equal exceptions and similarly high standards, that is not narcissism. If we both agree to handle our own problems that aren’t life-threatening, then we’re agreeing to have a healthy adult relationship. Again, regulars who complain about others’ narcissism are generally themselves complainers who need attention/validation and their real issue is that both regulars in any given situation want to be in the child role and are upset when they can’t both be (or they are constantly switching off and are unhappy they can’t have unlimited “me” time).

    However in cases where there is a real power imbalance, very attractive women, very rich person, this will work out because the other person/people in the interaction are strongly incentivized to placate. The problem with this is that there is a premium to be paid by not empathizing i.e. you probably won’t negotiate the best deal unless you understand the other person’s needs, but if you’re rich and would rather not spend the time and don’t mind the added cost, that’s fine. Or, a very attractive woman may not develop the skills to find the very best partner that her looks could get her (both searching skills as in being a good judge of character, or maximizing her own value as in developing her own character/personality), but it might not matter for her since she has effectively unlimited suitors during her prime years and can often name her price especially with the amount of rich dorks in the world (for instance, marriage with no pre-nup).

    Finally, if it wasn’t apparent already, the existence of this blog alone, as a form of “giving back”, is evidence against WSP’s narcissism. Wanting to be a part of a community, to add value to others’ lives, that’s the opposite of narcissism. And. Making a judgement about who you want in that community is a perfectly healthy way to go about it (the somewhat recently enacted higher standards for commenters). It would be silly and irrational to persist in trying to teach calculus to 6 year olds, better to direct them to an appropriate source of information and let them develop to a point where they can understand what it is you’re trying to share. It wastes everyone’s time to try to reach regulars with the message here, they won’t understand and the explanations become repetitions of the basics. The purpose here (as I see it) is to push forward will cutting edge highly relevant and actionable information for ambitious men.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      You and stealthy1percenter sound disturbingly similar to us at this point! Congrats on all the work, you’ll probably have more time to do a blog when we get to the holiday slow down towards end of year. We also believe the lock down on comments has improved the segment quite a bit (becomes more of a small discussion limited to intelligent remarks/tidbits of information).

      Side note: loving how you’ve adopted the whole “But.” Or “And.” That we use to emphasize certain points. Puts a nice pause in the paragraph 😉

      Off to *helping* more successful people and putting a massive spread on the regulars/commoners.

      • Grivendal says

        Reading this blog especially from where i come from,i feel like i am cheating life right now really.This is experience and information that will accelerate your life by a lot.

  17. says

    Fantastic post, and I love the once a month schedule. Its great for engagement and you’ve clearly done a great job filtering for the type of readers you want, kudos.

    For me, I’m not as smart as you guys obviously. As my income increased over time, so too have my expenses. With kids, its not that I want to spoil them, its I want to give them every chance they can to be successful. I want them to be safe and comfortable. And I want them to have experiences to draw on for the rest of their life that come from travel and other things that take $$. As I make more money, more just flies out the door.

    So when I read your post, I think, man, if I did have enough assets/passive income to retire comfortably, that would be something. I mean, really. That’d be something. Where I live, $300-$400k is the minimum for the kind of family life where everyone has all opportunities and you’re not worried about money. And that rate of spending – there’s little chance for savings. As you’ve already shown here, you ain’t getting no where saving income anyway so you better build something. I’m ways off from an asset portfolio throwing off that kind of post-tax cash flow, but it doesn’t matter that much to me.

    Its not stressing me out because I’ve already reached a point of personal riches.

    I’ve got friends, family, kids, love, and turning 40 next month – still in peak condition.

    What I have in place of $7-$10MM is comfort and security in my ability.

    Just like I know if my GF went full retard suddenly, I could line another one up right behind her – I know as well:

    if my active income dried up, I could create another one it its place – or just slide over what was a side gig into a main one (always have more than one/two/three sources of income).

    Abundance mentality is real and goes beyond banging girls.

    Look, I’m not claiming poor, and yes, I went out and made my retirement portfolio in my 20’s, like you should.

    I built real estate in a major US city and now I just sit back, collect rent checks and count the days til the debt is full amortized.

    I’m not undervaluing, ha, the value of a solid portfolio to carry you into the future.

    What I’m stressing is that health, family and friends – when combined with true skill building and abundance mentality – can you bring personal riches well before that portfolio ever matures.

    Hold yourself and those around to high standards and the goodness will flow well before your $$ ever reach that golden moment of “done.” What the hell are you going to do when you’re “done” anyway??

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Well done sir! If you’re at a point with material personal riches you have all of the time in the world to build something income related. You are already in the 1% from a success standpoint.

      *All* of your energy can be focused on your family and your business!

      Note: we don’t really have a schedule post numbers may increase. This is more a breathing entity since we operate many other things as well. But it’s in the back of our minds to continue.

      • says

        Yes, I am fortunate to have gotten the wisdom early and cranked away in my 20’s. Took all the risks then as I had little to lose and plenty of time to invest.

        Today, the downside of risking it all is too high. Which of course is a product of success itself. I’m more risk averse the more successful I become.

        In fact, I learned one of the absolute key tenants to building a life of riches is risk mitigation. Manage the downside and let the upside take care of itself.

        Whether it was using OPM (other people’s money) to get started in real estate. Or knowing which girl NOT to date. Or knowing that cash flow is everything (vs income, sales, revenue or whatever)… protecting your ass on the downside is as important or more than figuring out what your reward will be.

        The risks not taken can be your most valuable in retrospect.

        Luckily for me, time is my friend. Amortizations paid by good credit commercial tenants need only time to pay off. My hustle has been reduced, and you’re right, having this time and energy now in my 30’s has put me up in a 1%.

        Now I get to pursue mission driven work during the day and passion projects on the side.

        ***One of the best pieces of advice you’ve ever given on this site has been to bust your ass in your 20’s and get set up for life.***

        It sounds impossible to the uninformed, but I can tell you from experience, it is the right strategy. You will never have more energy, be less encumbered, nor have less to lose than in your 20’s so take full advantage. 30 aint old, 40 aint old. Make it happen NOW in your 20’s, guys, the payoff will be even bigger than you expected.

  18. The Financial Playboy says

    RE Guy’s comments are dope. Please pass my email to him so I can view his brewing site.

    Very enlightening post by the way. ive become a lot more aggressive with my time but my career path has never been more clearer!

  19. Chow says

    There is a simple way to find the place you want to live in forever. YOU DON’T because there is no such a thing. I have experienced this first hand that no matter how good it may seem you will eventually get used to it (at least in my case). However, with a slightly higher amount you should be able to constantly move to a new spot in order to keep yourself more stimulated. That is why personally I will have to kindly disagree with your definition of financially rich since to me it is all about being completely free and not having to put any limits on what you can and cannot do. Maybe bump the minimum up to at least 15 million. But to someone with different values it might be a completely different number. Therefore, it’s up to the individual to decide what is financially rich to them.

  20. miked says

    > Just give her the ring (a nice one if you like) give her the wedding, but do *not* sign a contract giving the government control over your life.

    I hadn’t even considered this. Much easier to sell this idea to a girlfriend than a prenup. If you are talking prenup then you are talking about potential for divorce. Clever to reframe it as keeping the government out of your relationship.

    I do think there are risks though. Look at how easy it is to throw a prenup out of court, and thats an actual signed legal document by two consenting adults, often with lawyers present. Feminised courts are looking to fuck you over. Without a marriage certificate it will be a case of “your honor, my client believed that this was a marriage – they exchanged vows, bought a wedding dress, here, look at the wedding photos: please tell me my client did not believe she was getting married!”. So as a man you would need to get her to sign a legal document saying “this is not a real marriage blahblah”. And that would get thrown out as easily as any prenup as its “unfair” not to transfer 50% of assets to the woman. Also you need to look at cohabitation laws by state – 2 years cohabitation can class as marriage.

    One thing I’ve heard about is transferring your businesses to your mother/father (if you trust them), and paying yourself a salary from the business. Have a wealthy lifestyle without owning it. Keep it secret that you don’t own the business. Hope that your parents live a few more decades.

  21. Recent Graduate says

    Whatever the number to be considered rich is…… is quite misleading if you’re running a business.

    Why? Because if your business doesn’t grow and evolve over time, a competitor will destroy it.

    I got lucky in the early part of 2015. A restaurant competitor of a different niche opened up and took away a lot of my customers. It was shocking and embarrassing because I knew of our weakness, but never cared to address it.

    So I went back to the basics, reevaluated the product and service, and made changes. Luckily, the competitor restaurant was terrible and customers gradually returned. By Q4 of 2015, our restaurant is having its best days yet while our competitor looks empty on most days.

    Next year, I will expand and renovate the restaurant to protect against any future competitors in my niche. I will also open up a new one in another niche because I know if I don’t do it, someone else will sooner or later.

    This is why you’re absolutely right about money being the easiest part. Making money gets easier over time when you have more experience. Health only gets harder to maintain as you age (I’d imagine), and any worthwhile relationship takes “20 years to build and 5 minutes to ruin it”, as Warren Buffett said.

  22. John says

    2 years of cohabitation classifies as marriage in some states….this is a myth… There’s no such thing where cohabitation classifies as marriage no matter how long the couple was living together. As long as no legal documents where signed by both parties applying for a marriage certificate then cohabitation doesn’t pose a threat.

  23. AspWSP says

    Appreciate this. Did my first banking internship earlier this year – really liked the work – and am toying with what I think would be a good ‘cash out’ point because, really, you could get to your exit point in PE or HF then do it forever. Knowing 2mm is around the minimum needed to live comfortably is useful and probably means working in banking until maybe 35. Gives me a good trajectory to think about.

  24. says

    I like the explanation about taking more in consideration health first rather than wealth by taking care of the body.
    And aspects about over training I didn’t know, but I’m sometime focusing my mind so much into a certain work that I forget to go for a cardio for example.

    Also getting the diet right, was one of the hardest thing I’ve ever done, with all those chemical food out there, there was no stop, but after passing that addictive barrier and clear the shit out of the gut as a result I could stay more sharper than ever, a better memory. Sleep is also important, sometime I break it when I’m out at night.

    I believe happiness will come out with the habit that we’ve hardly developed through the journey, I didn’t had the chance to grow up in a very happy household, but I don’t ask for it so I don’t care, my personal happiness comes from the activity I’m doing and struggle that could rise at times that makes me stronger and always hungry and curious.

    In a more financial point,

    I don’t really know how the system of taxes work in US, I’m from Europe, but it would be interesting to know which percentage changes depending on the location or other circumstances and of course where could be a good place to stay, I’m not super wealthy actually but I’ll envisage to move there maybe.

  25. DK says

    Two words. THANK YOU. Invaluable insights that myself and the rest of your readership truly appreciate. Onwards and upwards…

  26. Stuart says

    Awesome article.
    According to the criteria, Im 2/3 of the way there. Im middle aged but in excellent shape and filled with tremendous energy. I have a wonderful woman as my partner which makes life easier. ( She cooks from scratch -everyday- wholesome organic meals ,among other things)
    However, my financial state is nowhere close to 1 million. However I have spent most of my life in a career that has given me tremendous skills that can be leveraged for enormous amounts of money. I have owned my own business for the last 7 years but only recently have begun to realize the need to create other business ventures related to my career that have greater chances for scale.So thats where Ive begun focusing a bunch of my energy.
    Despite beginning this journey much later than most – I know Ill do it. Within less than 10 years Ill be a multimillionaire.
    Your blog is a good one ! Ive learned much and appreciate and value your insights and advice.

  27. Nicholas says

    I want to leave this comment here in case someone like myself stumbles on this blog. I am quite successful for a 22 year old. I will be working in NYC at a top company and will be pulling in $180k my first year. Most of this success was achieved through hard work, but a lot of it was achieved through talents. I didn’t know I had these talents until I tried to get rich, but once I did, my value became impeccably clear to everyone in my field. I have had startup CEOs who’ve run teams of hundreds of people and done 7 figure deals ask for my contact information so they could hear my thoughts on their business plans. I’ve had executives at top companies take me to lunch because they saw me as someone who could deliver significant value to their organizations. I’m lucky to be where I am. Anyone who knows me well knows that they have no idea where I’ll be a year from now. I seem to attract opportunities like a magnet and I’m doing my best to attract and pursue the best ones.

    If you’re doing at least as well in your field at my age (at least full-time IB at Goldman/JPM, HF/PE out of undergrad, tech/quant job at Shaw/Citadel/Two-Sigma) you’ll realize that you wield a considerable amount of power and that your youth enables you to grow it and leverage it better than anyone. Yes everyone older than you has more power, but you have something they don’t: time. You know that if you play your cards right you’ll be 10x as rich as the people who you look up to today. This isn’t fantasy or speculation, it’s merely a fact that you have youth on your side and they don’t. The world is truly open to you if you choose to see it that way.

    I write this because many of your may at a point in time question the need for power. You may question whether you need so much of it, whether it’s really something that’s necessary to live a happy life, whether you’re using productivity as a means or as an end in itself. What you need to realize is that power is a FORCE MULTIPLIER on your ability to pursue your individuality (i.e. whatever makes you happy). If you’re pursuing individuality without power, you will constantly be unable to achieve even your most basic goals. If you have power but no individuality, you’ll be unhappy because you won’t know what to do with yourself. Cue the stories of ‘unhappy billionaires’ or ‘lonely corporate executives.’ The goal is to have power and USE it to pursue what you really want in life. That’s the trick that no one tells you.

    I’m sure you’ve spent your life having other people tell you that power won’t make you happy. The truth is that it will make you happy if you use it to get the things you really want in life. For some, that’s backstage meet-n-greets with Van Halen. For others, it’s a prized collection of sailboats. For others, it’s an incredibly attractive woman that’s also honest, caring, and respectful. Don’t let power be the end goal. Let it be a goal that you use to be yourself x1000. Keep all this mind and I doubt you’ll ever be unhappy.


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