If this is what you are shooting for, I think you are aiming at the wrong target.
I have been in the unique position to be friends and acquaintances with some VERY wealthy people, like a few legit billionaires and many millionaires. The picture to the left is not how they live their lives. While they have their toys and nice homes, it is not about the flash and the overt display of their financial success, in fact it is just the opposite. Need a good follow on Twitter regarding this topic, check out @bowtiedbull and you will read a lot more life advice on how to HIDE your wealth, not flaunt it. THIS is what the smart rich people do. Life is much easier when you are rich and anonymous, especially in today’s world. And remember, your bank account and your value as a human are vastly different…the Kardashians are a great example of that.
Still think rich is everything it is cracked up to be? Do you really want to public scrutinizing everything you do? You are aware that nearly everyone is carrying a cell phone with a camera built into it, right? Not that I condone this activity, but have you ever watched TMZ or other shows such as this? If so, you are well aware that the lower tier media outlets are always willing to pay photographers and regular people who capture a picture or better yet video footage of a famous person doing something wrong, mean, illegal, whatever. The average person’s life goes unnoticed, but someone who is in the public eye is ALWAYS in the public eye. There is no escape. Think about that for a moment…if there is one example from your life that comes to mind that you would not want to share with the world, that is reason enough to remain a face in the crowd.
I labored under the illusion of wanting to be famous for a chunk of my life. I was enamored by the rock star lifestyle, being the lead singer of a rock band, on stage in front of thousands of people. Money, Fame and Fortune, I thought that is where it was at. The ego knows no bounds sometimes, at least until you train it otherwise. Mine took a lot of training, and a few kicks in the teeth directly to get it somewhat under control. Despite playing a very minor sport such as Pro Racquetball, I thought I was “somebody” because in my small circle of influence I stood out to some degree. I wasn’t famous, but I acted like I was. I portrayed myself much in the way that wanna be rich person pretends to have an endless supply of money. The same empty, shallow outlook on life led me down a dark path at times, questioning my self worth after losing matches and other ridiculous thought processes. Reality check: When you build a castle out of sand, you are always worried about the rain.
Having been the Racquetball Pro at the most prestigious racquet club in the Phoenix area, I was able to proverbially rub elbows with some individuals who had done very well for themselves. Doctors, Lawyers, company owners, you name it and I had access to them in a very different light than many. Because I played a sport that they enjoyed, and I did it at a higher level than they could, it somehow leveled the playing field for us socially. Yes, we walked out the same front door to leave the club, but I would walk to my leased Nissan XTerra that I was barley able to afford and they would walk to their paid for Jag or Land Rover. But because I had achieved a high level at something similar to what they had in business, some of the social walls came down.
Here is the takeaway from this: most of the truly wealthy people I was interacting with would blend in anywhere they went. They were not trying to prove to the world that they had made it. They HAD made it and that was enough; confirmation from others went by the wayside. Many of them wore the same heavily used clothes every time they showed up for a racquetball lesson or a league match. They bought used racquets from me instead of ordering the latest and greatest every year even though they had the means to do so. They worked hard to get better, and they loved the grind. In a way, it was therapeutic to go back to the middle of the pack and try to rise above once again. They didn’t wear jewelry that flaunted their wealth. In many ways, they were hiding their wealth, and for good reason. It stands to reason that if you own a company that the more you widen the gap between yourself and those who work for you, the more resentment and jealousy you would see.
Do you know who gets hit up for event sponsorships and donations and social favors like introductions? Rich people do. No one asks average people to give money to host a racquetball tournament, its the rich people that get hit up for that. Know who is far more likely to get sued for a routine car accident, or a slip and fall inside of a building, rich people. The people who do not have money want to get it, and sometimes the easy way to do so is to take it from a rich person in the form of a handout or a lawsuit. Sad but true. This is why when you reach a certain level of financial success, you really do need to look into a way to protect yourself and your assets to a much higher degree.
Rich people try to look average, and average people try to look rich. Lots of people go broke trying to look rich. Those who know both sides of this coin will tell you that being rich is easier in many ways, but it does not eliminate all of your problems. It also creates a whole bunch of new problems that you need to be prepared for. People who really want to be rich but aren’t, or those who may be living a lifestyle far beyond their means are kidding themselves are far too concerned with what others think. High School ended quite a while ago…get over yourself. The opinion of the masses has no real worth or value to it; the masses will tear you down the first chance they get, and not lose a seconds’ sleep over it. They want you to fall, and they want to be there to witness it. It makes them feel better about themselves and their own lives. Sad, but true.
Life is not a race to the end, and he who dies with the most toys does not win. Get that through your head now, and the rest of your days will be much better. Your goal shouldn’t be to live on the top of the hill and in the largest house around, at least in my opinion. There is always going to be someone who is willing or able to spend more money to outdo what you have done. You are more likely to have a circle of friends who may not be there for the right reasons. You’ll be looking over your shoulder, and as soon as you stop footing the bill for the lavish lifestyle, those people will fad away. Ask any rock star or pro athlete, a lot of people who are clinging to you for recognition, lifestyle and the easy path.
Instead, get your shit together, secure your future, then your family’s future if you have the means to do so. There is no better night’s sleep than when you know you have your life squared away, that you have financial security for today and tomorrow. Knowing that if you lost your job tomorrow that you’d have plenty of time to find another and not miss a beat in your lifestyle because of it is one of the most secure and comforting feelings you can have. You never know what life is going to throw your way, so being prepared for as much as possible makes anything you do have to deal with much easier to handle.
If I was going to leave you with some life advice, it would be as follows: Gravitate towards experiences versus material things; this will make your life richer in the best way. Strive not to party with the in crowd in Ibiza, but to see and learn ad much as possible whether in your own city or around the world. The Kardashians are a train wreck, look at that sh*tshow for what it really is: “reality TV” that draws people in to increase ad revenue and sell products. Some of it is staged or enhanced to make it look more entertaining, other parts are really just who they are as people. And if you are being totally honest, not good people in many cases. Yes, they have their moments, but as a whole I am not using this family as a measuring stick for my own life, thanks.
Save and plan for the future, don’t wait for things to work themselves out. You are responsible for you and then for those around you. IN THAT ORDER…by the way. But that is a topic for another blog.