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The Guide to Wealth

The Guide to Wealth

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The Guide to Wealth
The Guide to Wealth

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The Guide to Wealth

(Read this article as: PDF | ePub | Mobi) “Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.”

- Benjamin Franklin A group of professional 20-somethings visited their favorite professor from university at his home. They complained about the stresses of young professional life and how hard it was to adjust to the rat race. The professor listened quietly and then asked them if they would like some coffee. They said yes. He made some coffee and got out cups for everyone. Half of the cups were plain and plastic. The other half were his nicest and most expensive porcelain cups. He then invited the young adults up to pour themselves coffee. The former students vied for the nice porcelain cups, negotiating, complaining, comparing and evaluating over who got what. Even after they sat down and began drinking the

coffee, they were still eyeing each others cups and making jokes or comments about who got the nice ones and who didn’t. The professor smiled and said, “You see? This is your problem. You are all arguing over who got to drink out of the nice cups, when all you really wanted was the coffee.”

The Definition of Wealth
I don’t own any property. I don’t own a suit, or a watch, or cologne. I don’t own a car. I haven’t owned a television in over 10 years and don’t want one. I have a small suitcase of clothes and a laptop. I consider myself to be an extremely wealthy individual. That wealth comes from my experience; and the efficiency in which I’ve organized my life to achieve greater experiences. I believe I come from a unique background when it comes to wealth. I grew up in a family with a lot of money. We had a massive house, swimming pool, expensive cars, expensive vacations. By the time I was eight my brother and I each had our own televisions and video game systems. By the time I was 10, we had our own computers. We each had two bedrooms and our own bathrooms. I attended expensive private schools and was given a car on my sixteenth birthday. But for most of my childhood and adolescence, my family was miserable. My parents divorced, and my brother and I each went through our own episodes of trouble with the law. I realize a lot of people grow up with more serious problems. And I don’t want to come across as the spoiled rich kid whining

000 a year and love your job? . we want to make money so we can enjoy the “finer things” in life. dad bought me a car. there’s no correlation between money and happiness. everyday activities. Both of these factors can lead to greater unhappiness. but he didn’t hug me enough. Psychological studies on happiness in the past couple decades have supported this. Happiness flatlines. and in some cases. I love making money. What’s the point in having a gigantic house and a nice car if you’re never home to enjoy them? What’s the point of having a gigantic plasma TV if you have no one to watch it with? Why make $150.000 a year and hate your job. it even wedges people apart and tortures them in subtle and silent ways. I wholly endorse it. Research shows that money correlates with happiness up until a middle-class income and after that. Making money is great. if you could make $75. and inspire us to disconnect from those around us.about how “Yeah. Now I don’t mean to get preachy. I’m not here to lecture you or moralize all day. The point is I had the opportunity to witness first-hand for the first 20 years of my life that having a lot of money did not necessarily make people happy. What I’m questioning is what those “finer things” in life actually are. we have better things to talk about. I realize this is a guide to wealth. not some lecture on the vices of greed. But it’s important to think about what the point of earning money is. Ideally.” Trust me. One recent study even suggests that making more money can decrease how much we enjoy normal.

and define it instead in terms of the quality of life experiences. had beers with porn stars in LA and coffee with Pablo Escobar’s brother in Colombia. money is something that I try to get rid of. a lawyer who works 110-hour weeks and never sees his kids is not rich. Call me a tree-hugging hippy. I’ve sipped cocktails in the most exclusive casinos of London with Saudi royalty. As I’ll explain later. but I’m interested in overall quality of life experience. Money As Experience “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life. as soon as possible. But one must also have the time to pursue those experiences. I speak four languages.” . danced with international models in Singapore. Wealth is having the freedom to maximize one’s life experiences.Money buys happiness only when it is spent on experiences and earned withoutcosting too much time. often party on weeknights and wake up whenever I want. Money is a requisite for wealth. This is why I find it less useful to define wealth in terms of money. Having the money to travel to Australia isn’t worth anything if you can’t ever take time off work to go there. But a surf instructor who lives with his Costa Rican wife on the beaches of Ecuador is. By this definition. .Thoreau I’ve been to 41 countries and dated women of over 20 different nationalities. Money gives one opportunities for more experiences. not how big the number is that shows up in my bank account. but so is time and so is efficient use of that time and money.

you can view money as a transference of experience. To become wealthy requires one to effectively invest their time and money into the most fulfilling experiences possible. which experiences bring the most happiness? Surely watching a Family Guy marathon on television while stuffing your face with Cheetos isn’t as fulfilling of an experience as say. . In a way. Money is only as valuable as the experiences it brings you.And I did all of this for less per year than the cost of a middleclass lifestyle back in the United States. Money is merely a tool used to achieve greater experience. attending a friend’s wedding. This begs the question. Money is meant to be spent. Money is meant to be spent. or scaling the mountains of Yosemite Park. Experiences create happiness. Through your work you contribute to an enhanced experience in other people’s lives and in turn the money you receive is then spent on enhancing the experience in yours. You earn money by adding value and experiences to the lives of others and it’s spent to create value and experience in your own.

If you suffer from chronic back pain. food. If these three needs are not met. training). needs and interests. yet for me it would be a total waste. .. New and unique activities. Passion activities. then spending thousands of dollars on a fancy orthopedic office chair may be the best purchase of the year for you.Investing money can be useful if one plans on using it for experiences later (i. if our money buys experience. emergency savings.) or on experiences which will open up more opportunities for greater experiences (education. The important question is. shelter. then research indicates that the experiences which create the most happiness are: 1. then nothing else is going to make you happy and not having them is going to make you miserable. 3. etc.e. But assuming you have those needs met. Your fundamental needs take precedence: health. even if that experience is indirect. such as paying taxes or buying insurance (arguably the two least enjoyable ways to spend money). So stockpiling more and more money in the bank is counter-productive to building wealth! Eventually all money is spent on some form of experience. Investments are only as useful as the future experiences they are likely to bring. then which experiences have the highest return on investment in terms of life happiness and fulfillment? Obviously. business investment. Shared experiences with others and building relationships. retirement. 2. this is a really subjective question as everyone has different passions.

The problem is many expenditures have “hidden” experiences which we don’t consider. What if you could take the bus or metro each morning. new experiences with friends. the experience involves the toilet the next morning). avoid traffic. or a new guitar (passion activity). etc. weekend trips to the beach. the new sound system.So that membership at the rock climbing gym with your friend Jimmy is going to be more enriching and meaningful than the new Lost DVD set. A new car brings a certain amount of experiences for the cost. I find it most helpful to view all expenditures through the lens of the experiences they bring. Those car payments each month could go toward new hobbies. paying too much for parking. A plane ticket does the same. A new paint job in your living room does the same. what your friends will think of it. when you buy a new car. the stress of raising gas prices. the stress of finding your door dinged one afternoon. What’s also absent is the opportunity costs of that new car. picking up a date in it. getting stuck in traffic. digging it out of snow. For instance. the stress of finding parking tickets in your dash. and have enough money to see an extra concert each month and take a vacation to Europe instead of the usual road trip you take to Miami (or wherever)? . What you don’t think about is the maintenance required on it. Saving up for a trip to the beach will be more worthwhile than buying a new couch or upgrading your computer to play the new Everquest game. A street hot dog when you’re drunk does the same thing (in this case. you think about how it will feel to drive to work. Inviting your neighbors to a fourth of July barbecue in your backyard will be more enriching than watching the parade on television.

000? Maybe there’s some futon or kitchenette set you feel you MUST have. the other makes for great stomach ulcers. tolls. . cleaning them. moving them? Now imagine that money going towards trip to Aruba with your girlfriend. but even then. especially when I prefer living in big cities with good public transportation and taxis. AND I’m in better shape (and helping the environment. getting shoved out of a plane by some asshole). when I can spend an extra $500 a month and live in the best part of town and walk everywhere? Not only am I avoiding the hassles of parking. Or a surprise skydiving trip with your brother for his birthday. gas. Shit happens. tickets. What experience does it add? What hidden experiences are involved in maintaining them. Sure.I can’t tell you what’s better or worse. which I care about). Those are experiences you’ll remember and value for a lifetime and will expand your perspective and identity. We all have our own preferences and values. I realize a lot of people live in cities that require having a car. I haven’t owned a car in nine years.000 on a car. but these are negative experiences that you can share with others. No matter what you do. The costs of maintaining it far outweigh the value of having it for me. Or a Vegas trip with your two best guy friends. but I’m ALSO saving money. there are hidden experiences involved (security line at the airport. arguing with the hotel attendant. why drive an expensive one? What’s the valueadd? Looking cool? A few compliments? Is that really worth the extra $10. These are just things to think about. Why spend $15. But the difference between the run-in with the cops in Vegas and some guy backing into your new car at work is that one makes for a great story a year later.

And this doesn’t even get into spending money on experiences for OTHER people. It forced me to disconnect from owning stuff and instead find enrichment and value in experiences. it makes us happier. Sometimes I didn’t get those two clients. it was good for me. whether we know them or not. I sold almost everything I owned to support myself. When I began my business. I lived with my mother for a while. what the reason is. Muay Thai kickboxing. Almost all of my spending goes towards travel (something I’m passionate about. and experiences with others. This is regardless of who it is. These days I make a decent amount of money. creates new experiences). more than most. learning languages (allows me to connect with new people. I struggled and was broke for years. creates constant new experiences). I lived with little to no possessions. When we spend money on experiences for others. I would often take business trips across the country knowing I needed to find at least two clients to even be able to pay for rent the following month. As hard as that time was. I can either be enjoying it or reinvesting it. Letting it sit around seems insane to me. My ex-girlfriend helped to support me for longer than I’d like to admit. exciting activities (learning to surf. skydiving). I had no recreation other than spending time with my friends. Keeping it seems stupid. All of my money went into my fundamental needs and investing back into my business. But I find myself trying to get rid of it. I slept on a friend’s couch for a few months. or even how much we spent. I take big trips with friends and live in obscure parts of the world for no .

on new experiences for me and people around me.) . You know.” Stuff like that. It’s awesome. This shocks a lot of people. I’ll take the four of us mountain-biking down a volcano in Ecuador. I still have my down days. I’ll shut up now. a house. (OK. But my bad days tend to be for ridiculous reasons that you would absolutely hate me for and likely stop reading. video games. my bad moods and complaints. anything. Next month. That’s it. And I’m happier than a fat kid in a candy store. Every single day. That same money could have been spent on new television or a second computer.other reason than to see what it’s like. But why would I do that? At the beginning of this article I stated I didn’t own anything — not a car. But I’d rather punch myself in the face than spend my money on stuff like that. a television. Every day. it sucks I can only spend a week in Italy because I need to be back in South America by October to make sure my interns are doubling my income. a watch. a custom suit or a car payment. that’s a little facetious. I’m going to take a trip to Turkey with the girl I’m dating at the moment. In my mind. like “Oh. or directly on the people around me. I’m spending my money on my business (to generate more money and opportunities for experiences). but a way to give experiences to others and cultivate relationships. I’ve paid three guys to come to live with me in Colombia and work for me in my apartment for six months. a suit. Not only is it a way for me to invest in my business.

play with your kids. I didn’t work to earn money. take siesta with your wife. Inside the small boat were several large yellow-fin tuna. assuming you have money and a lot of free time. You should spend more time fishing and. But I didn’t just work my ass off. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor. stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.” The American consultant scoffed. “Then what?” The American said. señor.” The Mexican fisherman asked. then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise. The consultant laughed. You would control the product.” . And as we’ll see. “I sleep late. The Mexican fisherman said. It illustrates an important point about wealth and life.But this is all well and great. I have a full and busy life. you would make millions!” “Millions. An American consultant was at a pier in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. processing and distribution. I’ve lucked out in many ways. fish a little. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The American then asked the Mexican how he spent the rest of his time. fish a little. you could buy several boats. The Mexican replied only a little while. with the proceeds. eventually opening your own cannery. eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. “But señor. I worked smart. With the proceeds from the bigger boat. how long will this all take?” To which the American consultant replied. You’ll become very rich. “Then you would retire. take siesta with my wife. Maria. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late. The consultant then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. señor?” asked the fisherman.” “But what then. “15-20 years. and said. “You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City. señor?” replied the Mexican. stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. Finding Your Passion Tim Ferriss tells a story in his book The Four Hour Work Week about a Mexican fisherman. you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public. play with my children. I worked to earn experiences. buy a bigger boat. I also worked my ass off. “That’s the best part! When the time is right. “I am business consultant and could help you. there’s a big difference.

Unfortunately. you only need to earn enough money to satisfy your. or what makes them feel most alive. then yeah. there are a lot of people who don’t even know what they’re passionate about.For a Guide to Wealth it may seem strange that the “how to make money” part is at the end and the “how to spend money” part is at the beginning with “finding your passion” crammed in the middle. find a way to work with motorcycles and/or helicopters for a living. you probably need to find a way to make more income. life passions and relationships. if you don’t know which experiences bring you the most happiness. And they earn it working jobs they hate. As the story about the fisherman shows. But I think most people get it backwards. So here’s a quick rundown on how you can go about finding what you’re passionate about if you aren’t sure. Or even better. without paying attention to what they spend it on. we need to figure out what you love doing. . And if your passions and relationships are simple like the fisherman’s. And before we can get into how you should be earning your money. After all. They invest all of their time and energy to make as much money as possible first. They don’t know which activities drive their life. then what’s the point of making millions? If you’re passionate about racing motorcycles and helicopter rides. then you don’t know what your requisites are in the money-making department. basic needs.

then give it a try. then you need to shut the fuck up and go buy a model airplane. fly a kite. Expand it from activities you think may be interesting and write down activities you don’t think you’d hate. One big problem of people who can’t find anything that they’re passionate about is that they’re overly-negative and inhibited. Play basketball. model airplanes? That’s stupid. If you can’t come up with a reasonable. So they think.” Really? Have you done it? Why is it stupid? Why isn’t it awesome? If you can’t answer these questions without making a harsh judgment about random people. take 20 minutes. climb a mountain. so I have little interest in this one. If you get to the end of the 20 minutes and you’ve only written a few things. Take out a sheet of paper (or word processing document). run a marathon. . Example of a BAD reason to not be interested: “It’s a dorky hobby and nobody likes someone who sits in their garage all day gluing wood together. then take another 20 minutes and get more creative. “Oh. build model airplanes — absolutely anything that seems even mildly interesting to you. non-judgmental explanation. and write down absolutely everything you can think of that you have any interest in doing. Try out new activities.” Example of a legitimate reason to not be interested: “I haven’t enjoyed other crafts projects in the past. It doesn’t matter how big or small.” Continue to question your motivation (or lack thereof) for each of the items on your list.

I decided that they were stressing me out. I used to be a hardcore gamer. To my surprise. It was a major part of my identity. but I had so much fun and made so many new friends that I never went back (and still haven’t). then just forget about it and move on. not only did I not miss them. and something I spent a lot of time doing. There are two reasons to do this. This past April. it’ll make you bored and inspire you to find and try new things. This is a bit counter-intuitive. .Once you try things.  Eliminate current activities. Not only did I not miss playing at all. so I decided to stop following politics for 30 days. For instance. If you try it once and find yourself with absolutely no enthusiasm to go back and do it again. A similar occurrence happened for me with video games years ago. About halfway through college I realized that my gaming was harming my social life quite a bit and decided to take a semester off from playing them at all. I thought for years that I was passionate about politics. And secondly. Unless you absolutely hate the activity. try it at least a few times. give them a chance. but I actually felt more relaxed and relieved that I wasn’t following them. It got to the point where I competed in tournaments and would spend hours a day “practicing” a game in order to become good at it. but try eliminating current activities in your life and see what happens. The first one is that activities which you think you enjoy quite a bit you may find you’re happier NOT doing them.

but I enjoy coding. If you don’t feel passionate about any particular activity in your life understand that it’s a process. I realize that sounds daunting. The goal here is to eventually identify what you’re most passionate about and then parlay that into a form of income. yet I’m a professional writer and fucking love my job. I’d go back and edit them and re-edit them. As a result. I hated writing classes in school. But finding a way to monetize your passion is going to be a hell of a lot easier . design and programming a lot because it requires a creative set of skills when it comes to problem solving. It’s going to involve a lot of trial and error and passions often develop over the course of months or years of doing them. I always loved writing. I had thousands of posts written by the time I was 18. They figure they’re a “math guy” or a “management guy” without really paying attention to the underlying themes of the occupations are. What I didn’t like was writing about books and topics that I didn’t care about. I love problem solving. One big issue people have when they try to figure out what they like or what they should do with their lives is that they think in terms of subjects or occupations. especially if your passion is something like wakeboarding or abstract painting. but I hate learning mathematical concepts. I was a forum whore. math was a really hit/miss subject for me. I would write a dozen pages a day and post them on internet boards. Pay attention to what excites you. Looking back. and that’s more or less what school was.

he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted. you found the intersection of “What I’m kind of good at” and “What pays well. here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” . it’s pretty cool. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say. where you’d cry if you couldn’t do it anymore. There are an infinite number of ways to earn money in the world. “Oh. . or Shakespeare wrote poetry. do you love what you’re studying? And I don’t mean like. Why did you choose yours? If you’re like most people. Do you love your job? If you’re a student.Martin Luther King Jr. it’s the only job you could find and now you’ve gotten comfortable. I guess. Do you love it that much? Steve Jobs famously said that every morning he would look in the mirror and ask himself. where you start to miss it on a long three-day weekend. “If this was my last day to live.” I mean love it to the point where you enjoy Monday mornings. Earning Money Off Passion “If a man is called to be a street sweeper.” If you’re like others. would I still do what I am going to do today?” And when the answer was “no” too many days in a row. he knew it was time for a major life change.(and more exciting) than trying to find a way to make a job you hate interesting. or Beethoven composed music.

If you’re going to become wealthy. you need to fucking lovewhat earns you money. What lights you up with excitement? If you can’t answer that within a few seconds. I’m here to write. if you’re going to enable freedom to enjoy experiences in your life. I couldn’t believe I had never thought about it when he asked me. entertain and inform others. but it may make other people light up with excitement. to help a new generation of men to not be such emotional fucktards. 50% of your waking hours are spent on your job. psychiatrist and holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl states that a fundamental emotional need of every human is to feel like their life has purpose. or helping people with chronic mental illnesses. It could be as complex as lobbying for a new piece of legislation that would change society. saving the environment. In his classic book Man’s Search for Meaning.Someone once asked me what my life mission was. what I’m on earth to do. and to have fun while doing it. . then you don’t know. It caught me off guard. has a meaning. then you need to enjoy — no. Is it your job right now? If not. What is your purpose? Is it to write sweet ass B2B software? That may make some people chuckle. and it forced me to verbalize something I had been feeling for a while although I had never put words around before. to inspire. then you need to start rethinking what you’re doing with your life. But what’s important for your emotional health and wealth is that you have one. But it was a great question. if your job is not fulfilling a deeper life purpose for you then you are essentially wasting 50% of your life. That purpose could be as simple as being a good father to your children or a good husband to your wife.

then chances are you feel pretty good about your job. These are the things that get you ahead. you won’t work through weekends without even noticing it’s a weekend. that create more opportunities for wealth. Many people want to leave their professions and/or start their own business. new angles.Because without that passion. if a person just pushes paper around and doesn’t see or understand the value he’s adding to society. Studies show that only about 30% of people love their job. that deeper life purpose. It’s understandable. you won’t hop out of bed at 6AM on Monday because you can’t wait to start working on your new idea. There are social pressures and expectations. . If you don’t. It allows you to meet all of your fundamental needs. that make you unique in an industry. What value is your job adding to society? If you feel pretty good about answering that question. For instance. then he’s probably miserable. You won’t stay awake at nights thinking up new innovations. but they are terrified to do it. that drive. and ultimately make you a happier and more fulfilled person. Obviously this is a difficult question to confront. Your current job is your security. Research also shows that job satisfaction is proportional to how well the individual can discern the value in his work. that make you more money. And any time we make major modifications to our self-perception and who we believe we are. there’s always going to be some fear and internal resistance. then it may be time to consider a career change or starting your own business. you will NEVER excel at what you do and become one of the best.

The topics of starting a business and changing careers are big ones and beyond the scope of this guide. When I started my business. but whether we feel like we’re in control of our destiny or not.But as I explain in the Guide to Happiness. Take what you’re passionate about. But for now. Relevant articles on Postmasculine:     Quit Your Day Job and Travel the World Minimalism How to be an International Career Hacker Interviewing Like a Boss Further Reading:    I Will Teach You To Be Rich The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss The Lean Start Up by Eric Ries . But nobody said getting rich was ever easy. But I never wanted to go back to the comforts of a cubicle. find a place (or invent a place) where that passion meets societal demand. I was doing something that enabled my passions. Ever. I struggled for many years. And I worked 12-16 hours a day to make sure I didn’t let this opportunity blow by me. I never considered it once. and then work your ass off to fulfill it. I was in control of my life and my destiny and I was doing something I cared about. It will be hard. I will leave you with this: Find the intersection of your passion and what creates value for others. and there were a lot of stressful days and sleepless nights. what determines our happiness and long-term fulfillment is not the external qualities of our life.

  The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau .

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