Photo by David Suarez on Unsplash
If there’s one thing I’m tired of seeing recently, it’s this trend of articles talking about all the ways rich people are so much better and smarter than the rest of us, implying that it’s the reason they’re all billionaires and we’re not. What’s even more eye-roll inducing is the fact that the people writing this dreck aren’t even rich themselves. Here’s How You Become a Billionaire, written by some guy who isn’t even worth 6 figures. Get outta here.
Rich people think differently than the rest of us
These articles talk like all rich people are the same. As though they all ended up rich because they were smarter and more insightful than the rest of us. Like they’re operating on some different kind of level than everyone else. What a bunch of BS. The rich are rich for any number of reasons:
- They started the right business at the right time, and worked hard
- They inherited lots of money
- They won the lottery
- They’re in an extremely high paying profession (like an NBA player)
- They got lucky with a business idea or investment
- They had a good base of money and invested well
Notice in less than half of those examples that the person is actually financially savvy. Inherited wealth is often squandered, as is superstar wealth and lottery winnings. In fact, if you look at the fabled 1%, people are moving in and out of it all the time. It’s not like someone becomes wealthy and then they just stay wealthy. You don’t suddenly have the keys to the universe just because you have millions in the bank.
But you know what, this statement is actually true in a way the author never intends. Rich people often are different from us in ways that we shouldn’t want to emulate. Just think of the kids that inherit wealth - they often turn out to be self-absorbed assholes who treat anyone outside their circle with contempt.
Rich people handle their finances differently
Yeah, because they can. It’s amazing the things you can do when money is no object. Not only do you get more and better opportunities, but a small risk for you that has huge potential upside is a massive risk for an ordinary person that they can’t afford to take.
Then there’s the things they can afford to do to grow their money. They can take huge chunks and stash it in different places, just waiting patiently for it to grow. For most of us, we need that money now to survive and improve our lives. They can also spend what they would consider small money on very good accountants who can help them get huge tax breaks and write offs. That “small money” would for many of us be a new car.
This isn’t a revelation and it’s not useful in any way to people trying to better themselves.
Rich people have a different understanding of money
God I’m tired of hearing stuff like this. Yes, the rich are so much smarter than us, they have all the secrets of money and we can only be like them if we get those secrets. Oh please. I know a lot of financially savvy people with a very good understanding of money. People that are doing very well in life, are financially secure and happy, but will likely never be rich for one simple reason:
They have a day job like most of the population.
See, almost anyone can work a job they enjoy and get to a point where they make good money. From there, all you have to do is make good choices with that money. You’ll live a comfortable, fulfilling life with financial security where you never want for anything. This can be amplified if you do these things from a young age, because you have more time to grow that nest egg. You’ll find millions in every country around the world that have done this. They’re called the middle or upper middle class.
See, there’s an overblown mystique when it comes to money, like you have to be able to decode the matrix to understand it. The biggest factor in becoming rich isn’t some amazing level of insight about money, it’s something we have no control over: luck.
Someone who is smart with their money and who has enough luck on their side can become rich. The same person who is smart with their money and doesn’t have that luck, but is still persistent and hardworking will end up with a good life, they just won’t be able to fly first class. There is literally no other difference between the two, and yet we’ll believe that the rich person knows something we don’t.
The rich don’t trade their time for money
Well duh. What I hate so much about this statement is the people who say it think they’re actually insightful. Like they’re telling us all something we don’t know. Part of being rich is having so much money that you can stick it in investments and never need to work again, because the money just keeps on growing. This doesn’t make them better or smarter than the rest of us. It’s not some super awesome secret they have that we don’t.
But you know what? Apart from investments, it’s a lie anyway. This whole idea of making it big with passive income is a bunch of garbage, because it doesn’t take into account the biggest factor: algorithms. So you invent some great product — maybe it’s an ebook, an online course, affiliate marketing, or you make an income on Medium.
You can’t just stop working and expect it to keep making money.
Google search algorithms change. Social media algorithms change. They’re the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland:
“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
There is no passive income anymore, and there is no way, aside from creating something that millions of people buy or investing a large sum of money, to not trade your time for money.
Understand this one principle and you’ll become rich
Ugh, seriously I’m so tired of seeing this. It’s nothing more than a CliffsNotes of Napoleon Hill’s book of snake oil Think and You Shall Grow Rich. You can’t follow a set of principles to become a billionaire. Go and look at some of the more famous billionaires (or people who started companies worth billions) out there right now. Most of them started with money and position that ordinary people could only dream of:
- Kylie Jenner
- Bill Gates
- Warren Buffet
- Jessica Alba
- Jeff Bezos
- Peter Thiel
- Mark Zuckerberg
Literally every single one of these people had a starting point that is only a distant dream for us to end up with. There’s literally a single factor separating them from the rest of us every day schmoes: they were born into the right family. Take that away, and now they’re nobodies just trying to make it like everyone else. That doesn’t stop the media from breathlessly talking about them as though they’re gods.
Secondly, most of them had the right product at the right time. For every billionaire, there are a million other people out there who failed to make it. In a world as complex as hours, principles often don’t mean jack. You need the variables on your side as well. Telling people that if they have the right product at the right time that they can become a billionaire is about as insightful as telling someone that if they go to a gym and lift weights, they can have the body of a fitness model.
Technically it’s true, but you’re missing like, 90% of the detail in there. You know why they never tell you that 90%? It’s the same reason they write all the other things above:
Because they don’t know what they’re talking about.
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