The Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me, is arguably one of the simplest, cleanest and most inspiring explanations out there when it comes to taking the mysticism out of wealth building.
Writing from experience, Richard Paul Evans teaches five basic principles that virtually guarantee your life long financial wellbeing. As he systematically shows, wealth does not come from inheritance (less than 2%), intelligence, traditional education or even luck (80% of all lottery winners are bankrupt within 5 years). Most wealth, particularly lasting wealth, in North America comes from five basic principles, lived well.
Lesson One: Decide to be Wealthy
Lesson Two: Take Responsibility for Your Money
Lesson Three: Keep a Portion of Everything You Earn
Lesson Four: Win in the Margins
Lesson Five: Give Back
The Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me is one big lesson in taking ownership of your financial wellbeing. It’s about not being a victim to circumstance, or “wishing” that you could be wealthy. You can, and should, control your own financial destiny.
“Unfortunately, most people’s closets are more organized than their finances. If you’re one of the fiscally irresponsible, it’s time for change.”
The Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me, page 23
The Big Idea
Brush your teeth daily
“It doesn’t take much. It does take a little bit, regularly.”
The above quote could apply to pretty much any area of your life in which you want to create a healthy lifestyle. If you want to lose weight, you don’t need to crash diet and hit the gym 4 hours a day. What you do need is a little regular exercise and to cut out the extra donut. If you want to be a better artist, you don’t need a week long intensive, you need regular lessons and practice. And, (from personal experience) if you want to read a book a week for a year, all you really need is 30 to 45 minutes a day.
The same is true with building wealth. While winning 40 million in the lottery, or earning a huge bonus at work would be great, you don’t need either of those to become a millionaire. What you do need is a little work in the margins.
“The margins” are the excess – both the extras you consume and the extras you earn. The idea of winning in the margins is about fulfilling your dreams without sacrificing anything of value. Residence, food, entertainment and activities can remain virtually the same, and your current income stills allow for the creation of significant wealth. The power of compound interest is quite amazing. If you click HERE, you’ll see the opportunity of putting away as little as $50/week. Everyone can be a millionaire. All it takes is a little discipline and a little planning. So where does the extra cash each week come from?
Less is more
“Psychologically, in spite of all we’ve been told (or sold), more is less and less is more. This is corroborated by a study that showed that 86 percent of Americans felt happier after having voluntarily cut back on consumption.”
The Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me, page 60
Evans suggests that upwards of 20% of your take home income evaporates – that it is spent without providing you with any real value. Have you ever tracked your expenditures for a month? A great exercise is to carry around a little notebook with you and jot down every penny you spend in a month. You’d be amazed at how much goes on completely trivial things.
Life is meant to be enjoyed, so by all means enjoy it. Just be aware of where your money is going, and where you might be able to cut back a little. Understand that what you’re cutting out is not the fun money. It’s not your food money. It’s the crap. It’s the money that evaporates otherwise. Creating wealth is simply a matter of being in control.
A Few Dollars More
Ever thought about picking up a second job? How about monetizing a hobby you have? Could you charge for an activity you already enjoy?
One woman I know walks her dog twice a day – loves doing it and has been doing it for years. She put up a few posters in the neighborhood and now walks 3 dogs with her own. Her dog has some company and she has an extra $150 a week for something she was doing anyway.
Think about your passions, hobbies and skills. How could you make a little extra money on the side doing what you love to do?
It really is that easy to build financial wealth. The real challenge, I think, is the distractions along the way. Billions of dollars are spent every year trying to convince us that we’d be better off spending our money now – on the latest and the greatest of this or that. I honestly believe that it’s impossible to resist the siren call of the 52” plasma screen, or the jet ski, or even the extra dinner out without a strong, conscious plan in place of what’s really important to you.
Do you know what’s important to you? Is it that new TV, or a trip to Spain? There’s no right answer, only your answer. Visualize what’s important to you – write it down or cut out a picture of it and put it on your wall. Understand that it is within your grasp, but only through dedication and constant monitoring of your expenses.
Whatever your dream is, don’t sell it short for a shiny, second rate substitution. Yours is meant to be a first class life. Make it so.