Is It Really That Hard To Become Rich? - Posted by Matt

Posted by DC on August 05, 2005 at 09:20:21:

The old saying that everybody rises to their level of incompetance was certainly true in Carters’ case. For the record, I got a good laugh out of your first post.

Is It Really That Hard To Become Rich? - Posted by Matt

Posted by Matt on August 03, 2005 at 16:16:06:

I’m looking for good articles, books, or any literature that picks apart why some people work for peanuts and others rake in money.

I get the main gist of it, but I’m really trying to understand this to a deep degree. I would be interested in any situations where two people of the same background went opposite ways and why. I’m really curious about all of this because I am young, and almost everyone I talk to expects me to have no money and nothing to my name. I have friends that work for 5-8 something an hour just to have basic expense money while they go to school. Is it really that hard to make a decent wage if you’re willing to work? What makes the difference?

To me it seems that people stay poor because…

  1. They work for the rich
  2. They give their money right back when they get it

The way I see to get out is…
1.Find a way to earn a decent wage, or better yet a way to earn decent money on your own so you have control over your life. It doesn’t have to be a high tech or fancy job, it should be something that is necessary and people pay well for.
2.Quit giving money to the rich. This basically means living well below your means, becoming self-sufficient and saving all the money you can.
3. Buy things with the saved money that will increase in value. These are things such as real estate, businesses, or a large range of stocks and mutual funds. It’s best to buy these things for significantly less than their current market value.

What am I missing here? What are some good jobs for people without 4 yr degrees? What else do people have going for or against them that is out of their control and influences their financial life?

I’m fortunate to have a family business that I’m helping thrive (I’ve also worked entry level jobs while going to school, but I saw an opportunity with our business) but I always wonder about what I’d do if I didn’t have it. I love learning about these things. Let me know what you think, or of any good reading on these topics.


Not really. - Posted by Mr. Big

Posted by Mr. Big on August 06, 2005 at 08:02:43:

It’s easier than being poor, once you get started. Educating yourself is the hard part.

Getting rich isn’t that hard. Some pretty dumb people have managed it. And it didn’t necessarily take that long, or that much work.

If you work 40 hours a week at a job that takes even a little intelligence no one could possibly work 100 times the hours you do, or be 100 times smarter than you are. So why are some people 100 times richer?

It’s because they know how it’s done. They don’t believe a lot of the things you believe, and they know a few simple things you don’t know and will never know as long as you take the advice of your broke friends.

There is no school that teaches this or course you can take or book you can buy, as far as I know, that lays out the whole thing.

Some people figure it out. Some are “Naturals”. And the children of the rich pick it up at home, sometimes.

Here is a little thought experiment that should help clear things up.

Have you ever heard of someone who won a multi million dollar lottery, and a year or 2 later they were worse off than before they won the money? Of course you have. It’s so common it’s practically a cliche.

Have you ever read an iterview or story about some rich person where they said that if they lost all their money, all their friends and contacts, all their business assets they could make it all back in a few years? That’s also practically a cliche, if you read enough interviews.

My favorite example, in 1991 or 92 Donald Trump was walking down the street in New York with his wife. On a street corner he saw a bum panhandling spare change. He said to his wife, “See that guy on the corner? He’s $90,000,000 richer than I am.” She gave him a look, then clued in. That was the first time she knew he was broke.

But he sure made it back, didn’t he?

So which do you think is more important to being rich, having money or knowing how to manage money?

If there were 2 stores side by side one selling lottery tickets and one selling books on how to manage money, both costing the same, which would do more business?

There is the first lesson in the way that rich people think different than broke people. You are going to have to revise your whole line of thinking, discard a lot of bad ideas and learn a lot of new ideas. None of them are very complicated or hard to understand, once you see that rich people and broke people have a different way of looking at things.

For the best study of this difference, start with “The Millionaire Next Door”.

Why I am not rich, and you shouldn’t be either. - Posted by Drew

Posted by Drew on August 04, 2005 at 17:21:22:


You are wondering if it is hard to get rich. Of course it is; the rich themselves make it that way to keep people like you down. I know that is why I?m not rich. My question for you is this: Why would you want to join the enemy?

The distinction ?rich? is arbitrary to some. It is true that this term means very different things to different people, organizations and government agencies. But the fact that you constantly refer to the ?rich? as an established, homogenous group shows that us/them mentality has taken firm footing, and you are not thrown by unnecessary complexity.

I applaud you, my brother; this clarity is very important, since it permits the term ?rich? to become pejorative in our society. And that is just what is happening; the fact that Farlee describes the ?rich? as maladjusted, jerk-off misanthropes in his posting below shows that the denigration of the rich has reached a wide audience who accept it unquestioningly. This represents true progress for a civil society, and I invite you to abandon your fruitless effort to better your life and join me in making sure society gives us what we deserve.

We are not alone. On our side are politicians like those who talk about the ?rich? as a shady group of second-class citizens. For example, those who throw around the phrase ?wealthiest one percent? as though that alone were an invective. They understand that anything that benefits the ?rich? is, by definition, unfair and bad; the rich need first and foremost to fund the organizations on which we depend for our quality of life. This populist strategy of hate-mongering class warfare is necessary to put America back on the right track. (As opposed to ideologies that encourage ?ownership? or individual responsibility for anything. Can you imagine us having to be responsible for our own retirement, for example?)

George writes below that “Hollywood and many politicians try to show a different picture [of the rich] just to get the approval of the majority.” George, if the majority approves, then by definition it is right. Hollywood has made remarkable progress in demonizing so-called ?success? in America, especially through the incessant depiction of sleazy wealth. It is easy to hate those scummy rich people we see on T.V. and on film. This hatred forms the basis for healthy societal relationships in real life.

For example, I love activist groups (usually, though not exclusively on the left) for their unbiased, accurate depiction of efficient capitalism; namely, the equating of business and corporate interests with unfettered greed. Corporations are vast repositories of evil omnipotence. I realize that everyone is invited to participate in corporate affairs through equity ownership (and, thereby, voting rights for the board of directors), but I avoid investments so as not to compromise my integrity. Like the Bible says, ?touch not the unclean thing.? (2 Corinthians 6:17)

I LOVE our schools for elevating the universal, intrinsic value of a human being above that of a life of accomplishment. If some call this celebrating mediocrity, well, that is just too bad; school exists to provide therapy for kids so they can enjoy feeling adequate. I cherish the memory of being honored by my tenth-grade teachers for knowing what state I lived in. Millions of children are being wholesomely prepared for life by being taught that everyone is pretty much alike (and even better, that they SHOULD be) and that self-indulgence is far more important than objective achievement. This is the key to happiness, and a happy society is the highest form of social advancement.

I love watching game shows, playing lotteries, hearing about big lawsuit wins, and other mechanisms that accurately convey the proposition that success depends on the whims of fate rather than on hard work and talent. When daydreams substitute for plans, when wishing seems more appropriate than work, when envy gains yet another rationale, all of society wins by coming to more realistic expectations of itself. Just like I did.

In short, I am proud of our society for perpetuating the egalitarian vision of communal splendor rather than simultaneous individual achievement. A ?fair and just? society should be far more concerned with succoring its losers than in encouraging its winners to achieve more, even if that would benefit everyone. I believe in the blamelessness of the unaccomplished; that differences in attainment are explained by social injustice and I fear competitive impulse. After all, competition only benefits the winners, which is never me.

This is why I support the moral, egalitarian belief that the attainments of the ?rich? are not theirs alone to allocate, but communal assets to be deployed for the good of society. How could you argue that this is a bad thing? Just look, for example, at our progressive tax schedule that does not just take more from the ?rich,? but DISPROPORTIONATELY does so. This ensures that they pay their fair share to the society responsible for their ?success.? In other words, me, the non-rich.

In this age, it is not enough to try and provide equal opportunity. Millions of Americans will never get a fair chance. We must provide equality of outcome for all people. Hating the rich is the first step in this direction; it will make it easier to redistribute their wealth for the benefit of society.

Matt, please do not become one of them.

Your buddy ol? pal,


P.S.: Occasionally, a reader will take a tongue-in-cheek posting seriously. Please, don?t.

Plan and Persist - Posted by pp

Posted by pp on August 04, 2005 at 16:41:34:

One of the most important elements that separates the rich from the poor is the rich start with a PLAN on how to make money. The next important element that makes the difference is they stick to it, and with PERSISTENCE, succeed. People who do not have a plan do not know where they are going, so they wind up going nowhere. People who are not willing to do what it takes will not make their big dreams come true.

A good plan is fairly hard to create as it takes some time and effort to think out and write down in detail plus make revisions along the way. Most people will not even do this first step. Next, one has to take action and actually follow through with their plan plus overcome the obstacles along the way. This is not always easy and many give up discouraged and derail their plans by using what money they have already made on more fun things than on demanding investments.

A plan should have goals, a time frame, and the strategies/steps outlined for obtaining your goals.

There are many different roads to becoming a millionaire. One person could just passively have deposits regularly deducted from his paycheck into his RothIRA and by the time he reaches retirement age, he’s a millionaire. Another person could get into a business venture or into real estate and make his first million in only one year.

It’s all about you and what you want to do with your life - there’s a plethora of paths to take for becoming rich because each individual is different. You need to lay out a map. Design a plan that suits you and, with persistence, will take you to where you want to go.

Ben Franklin said… - Posted by ken in sc

Posted by ken in sc on August 04, 2005 at 11:22:26:

As best as I can remember the quote…

“Wealth can be found be either augmenting one’s means, or lessoning one’s expenses. But the quickest way is to do both at the same time.”

So, learn and keep learning how to do your work better so your income naturally goes up, and live below what you make.

And I must agree with JT that doing what you love is so important. Just doing what you love, regardless of money, is a part of wealth for me - considering the amount of time one spends “working” in your life. But, as JT explains, you will find that once you move into the work that you were truely meant to do, that income goes up at a rate you once thought impossible.

Good luck on your journey-


Remember… - Posted by Levi

Posted by Levi on August 04, 2005 at 08:17:15:

If everyone was as financially savvy as most of the people on this board, it would be a lot harder for most of us to do our jobs!

See “The Journey” - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on August 04, 2005 at 06:04:39:

This is an awesome film, that is spreading word-of-mouth. Netflix has it. Amazon carries it as well. It’s a collection of interviews with what we consider ‘successful people’. The main question is ‘what is success?’. You’ll be very surprised of the answers.
SOme of the people in the film: Former Pres. Jimmy Carter, Jerry Garcia, Oz Nelson (CEO of UPS), Horst Schultze (President of Hilton Hotels), Henry Winkler, Billy Crystal, and many others.

I’ve turned a lot of people on to this film and they in turn have shown it to many others and so on.


What Buffett and Gates said - Posted by George

Posted by George on August 04, 2005 at 02:03:30:

I have a great video with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates speaking to a group of students, both of them in their own words basically said; they do what they do because they love it, and that is a secret to wealth, do something that you like to do, do it with enthusiasm, and you will become rich.


Re: Matt is already rich - Posted by dealmaker

Posted by dealmaker on August 03, 2005 at 23:26:58:

Matt, you are so far ahead of 99.999999% of the population that it isn’t even funny. There is some great advice in the posts already on here. Let me just expand a bit on some of it:

Don’t just “read” these books, LIVE THE LESSONS. Particularly “Millionaire Next Door”, I don’t really care if you read Kiyosaki, he’s a BS’r.

Listen to Dave Ramsey on the radio and read his books. If his overbearing Christianity turns you off just tune that stuff out, according to him me and the rest of “my people” can never be rich or happy.

Give back to your community. It’s not just about what comes into your hands and what sticks to your hands, it’s about how you help the community at large and those less fortunate than you. Volunteer one day a month at Habitat For Humanity and pick up some building skills and make some contacts. Help building sets at your local community theatre (that’s what I still do 30 years in) and learn some building skills and make some contacts.

Learn some interpersonal relationship skills. (This is my weakest area, (I’m a bit of a pr**k), read the books or attend the seminars by Brian Tracy, read and take to heart, “How To Win Friends And Influence People”.

Take every test that’s offered. My HS guidance counselor signed me up to take a test for a competitive scholarship (no way my family could have paid for college) and I finished 2nd in the state. Unfortunately I was in Viet Nam when I learned of my high standing. Eight years later the Air Force offered to pay for any graduate school admission test for anyone who was being discharged. I took the Law School Admission Test, must have scored pretty high, Stanford University contacted ME.

Work hard, study hard, play hard. But work fair, play fair and deal fair.

None of my brothers or sister did the traditional college route. I think I was the youngest to get my Bachelor Of Science at 28. I think we all have at least a BS, a couple of Masters degrees and lots of post graduate work. All of us have been active at a national level in trade/professional associations and AFAIK we’re all the “millionaires next door” to our neighbors. But to this day NONE OF US LIVE LIKE IT.

Enough bragging about me. In a few years you’ll be bragging about you.


Go Read Millionaire Next Door… - Posted by Sean

Posted by Sean on August 03, 2005 at 22:25:53:

And the follow up Millionaire Mind…

Anyone in America can become rich, IF they do the right things long enough.

Yes, building a business and taking a chance will make you wealthy, very wealthy if you are successful… whether that business be Real Estate or anything else.

However, you don’t have to do your own business to become wealthy, you won’t get rich as fast, you may never become mega rich, but you can amass a very large net worth just doing what many folks consider boring jobs.

Also, there are different types of rich… there are BALANCE SHEET AFFLUENT… folks who TRULY ARE WEALTHY… they have a very large net worth… and then there are the “INCOME AFFLUENT” they make very large incomes from their professions, but spend nearly all of it and do not build true long term wealth… they may never starve a day in their life, but they will not at the end of the day become truly balance sheet affluent.

ANYONE can become balance sheet affluent no matter what they do for a living IF they do the right things and do them long enough.

Most will never be INCOME AFFLUENT.

Becoming wealthy is not hard, it does however take DISCIPLINE… something most American’s do not have… We mortgage away our wealth for gratification today.

Re: Is It Really That Hard To Become Rich? - Posted by Barbara from Maine

Posted by Barbara from Maine on August 03, 2005 at 21:27:19:

I used to be an insurance agent, and our boss told us people only earn to the level they think they are worth.I believe that is true.

Three Comments - Posted by Farlee

Posted by Farlee on August 03, 2005 at 19:56:58:

I just have three quick comments:

  1. Look at the lives of some of the “rich” people. There are probably 10-20% who live full, rich, rewarding lives. There is another 80-90% of rich folks who are complete jerk-offs. They ignore their kids, their families, and live a me-obssessed egomaniac lifestyle where they measure their self-worth by their job, personal successes, and money. That is, until they are too old to do anything about it or die suddenly.

  2. Most people talk a big game but have no action. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Never realized that the only true measurement is action.

  3. TV. 90% of the population is addicted to it. Turn it on every night, know the names of all the fake people on the shows, and actually care about what happens to someone on t.v. more than their family/friends. Folks are too busy to do a lot of things they should do (visit with their family, talk with their neighbors, exercise, etc.) but ALWAYS have time to sit in front of their t.v. Go walk around your neighborhood tonight when its dark, and see how many T.V. sets are on in the living room. What else should or could these people be doing instead?

OK - I hope my rant at least related to your question.

YES!!! - Posted by Mike-OH

Posted by Mike-OH on August 03, 2005 at 18:57:32:

Yes, it really IS that hard to become rich. The VAST MAJORITY of the population does NOT have what it takes. It takes drive, determination, common sense, the ability to make quick and accurate decisions, a lack of fear, and the willingness to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get the job done!!!

The majority of the population have none of these traits. The majority feel most comfortable performing relatively simple tasks at someone else’s direction (worker bees). The majority have absolutely no initiative. They do OK if someone tells them every single step to complete a given task, but they can’t or won’t think for themselves. The majority can’t decide what to have for lunch, let alone make a decision to buy an investment property. The majority are very afraid to take a chance and will do almost anything to stay in their comfort zone. The majority make one bad decision after another which keeps them in relative poverty. The majority are not willing to sacrifice (especially their big screen TVs and 300 channel cable) to work toward a goal. The majority think only about yesterday and today - never tomorrow.

Is it that tough to get rich - YOU BET IT IS!

I’ve had two potential tenants this week that are perfect examples.

The first potential tenant is in management at a big home improvement store. He put down a $750 non-refundable deposit on one of my houses so that I would hold it for 2 weeks. To make a long story short, he said the bank made a big mistake with his account (a LIE) and his check bounced (after about two weeks). I called him about it and he said he doesn’t want to rent the house. I reminded him that writing a bad check in Ohio is a felony - he hung up on me. I have already talked to the sheriff and we ARE pressing criminal charges. The sheriff said he will likely do time for this. BAD DECISION!!!

Another young couple gave us a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit to rent one of our apartments. Then, they actually rented the apartment (paid cash). Today, they call to say that they can’t take the apartment because the boyfriend was fired from his job for allegedly stealing a can of pop. We are keeping the deposit! ANOTHER BAD DECISION!!! No wonder these people can’t get rich - they make too many absolutely stupid decisions.

Can you tell I’m frustrated?

Finally, I am completely shocked at the number of people that are borderline illiterate. It is a far greater proportion of the population than I ever imagined. These people are destined to remain poor. What bank would ever give these people a loan for an investment property when they couldn’t compose a simple letter or even spell simple words?



Stop trying to make money… - Posted by JT-IN

Posted by JT-IN on August 03, 2005 at 18:26:31:

All that one needs to do to get really comfortable in this life, is to forget about money… and the worry about making it. Find a vocation that you really, really love, and would do for free, like real estate investing; (or other endeavor). Apply what you learn in that business, putting others wants and needs first, and continue the process… repeatedly.

Remember, this is something that you would do for free, but the fact that you get paid for it is even better. The entire pursuit is to assist others in getting what they want and need… and assuming that you have become a good business person in the process of all that pursuit, it is nearly impossible to miss becoming very, very comfortable financially.

The problem comes in when folks fib to themselves… They say that they really want to be comfortable financially, and maybe that is NOT what they really want… What many folks want is to not have to do too much… and this never really works… You must find something that you can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning to go pick up where you left off yesterday… Much different than someone trying to do something for a while, so they can stop doing it…

The key is to find that one thing that you have that burning passion to go out and do… that benefits others, (goods or service), that they are willing to pay a fair price for, and which generates profit to you… You mentioned w/o a 4 yr degree…? RE investing doesn’t care if you have an 8th grade education, or a PhD… You will find folks with those educations that are highly successful in that endeavor, and some others that are highly educated, that just can’t seem to put it together… Formal education is not the key to RE investing…

Enough ramble on my part… I’ve got to get back to helping others get what they want… One thing though, you just can’t kid yourself about whether you are passionate about the underlying endeavor. It must be something that drives you to get out there do more of it, that you just can’t wait… and you are well on your way, once that is determined. Unfortuantely, this only happens to a very small percentage of people. It is a true blessing to find you calling… But it is NOT about the money.


FOCUS - Posted by phil fernandez

Posted by phil fernandez on August 03, 2005 at 17:32:18:


You basically seem to have a good grasp on what makes one person wealthy while the other struggles financially. You bring up many good points that are true.

What I feel seperates the two is one thing, FOCUS. You have to be focused on your goal. You have to be focused so you get the right creative real estate edfucation to obtain your financial goals. You have to wake up every single morning focused on doing something today to get you closer to your financial goal. You have to be focused enough to write down both your short term and long term goals. If you don’t write them down and look at them every morning you will lose your focus and probably not achieve the goals.

I have met many, many tremendously successful real estate investors from this site and the one thing that has always struck me was that they were all focused and because of that focus knew where they would end up. Wealthy.

Re: Is It Really That Hard To Become Rich? - Posted by Ronnie (Tx)

Posted by Ronnie (Tx) on August 03, 2005 at 17:27:18:

The book most recommended on this site is Rich Dad Poor Dad by
Robert Kiyosaki. I would also recommend The Millionaire Next Door
and Investing in Real Estate Fourth Edition by Mclean and Eldred.

I feel that I am well educated on getting an education in this stuff. I
have exhausted my local library, and have bought just about everything
at Half Price Books. I have also read this website 1.5 times now. Soon it
will be two. had my attention for a while, but I like
things that I can see and compare and feel confident in what they are

You seem to have it right. There isn’t much to it, but this is not the
kind of subject that is at the head of education even though it should

I have just graduated with an advertising and graphic design degree,
but felt my best education has been sitting at home learning how best
not to work all my life.

What I see in my friends, when I talk about the subject of making
money, three kinds of people. The first are the nay-sayers who say “It
can’t be done, it takes money to make money, you know. Just get the
best job you can and work your way up.” My wife is one but I am slowly
turning her.

The next person is the saver. He or she “invests” their money in savings
accounts, IRAs (don’t get me wrong pre tax savings is great, I just don’t
want to wait until I am 59 and hope the economy has grown enough to
see a good return. The S&P 500 stands at twelve percent for the past
30 years. See what Lonnie Scruggs thinks about that on the Mobile
Home forum.) etc. But they won’t take the risk. They know it’s possible
but they would rather play it safe.

The third person is me. Of my friends, there is only one other person I
know that shares my drive. He went to Harvard. I don’t mind putting
myself in that category. But I take myself out because I haven’t actually
done anything yet to back-up my talk.

To me, it amounts to fear. Fear is derived from ignorance. That is why I
am not afraid anymore. I know I will succeed becuase I also know how.
I just gotta do it.

Probably not what you were looking for. but it’s what I got.


mexico geographic map - Posted by mexico geographic map

Posted by mexico geographic map on January 18, 2006 at 12:12:50:

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woah - Posted by Mike (Seattle WA)

Posted by Mike (Seattle WA) on August 05, 2005 at 09:39:22:

You had me thinking you were for real for about 2 paragraphs. :slight_smile:

Subject less than 50 now. Man I hate that. - Posted by js-Indianapolis

Posted by js-Indianapolis on August 05, 2005 at 03:55:07:


I was going to write something to this effect, but didn’t have the energy, nor the thesaurus.