Creating Wealth with guilt

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This piece is a meditation on the guilt associated with wealth accumulation, specifically the personal longing to achieve it.

Ever since I remember, I have been told and guided by friends, family and passers by not to focus so much on creating wealth and finances as it is not “good for my psyche” accompanied by the “I’m missing out on life” speech. Yes; this is all done in the best of intentions but has caused great imbalance in my own life as you are continuously told through many modalities to follow your passion or to find your WHY (just as long as this is not wealth creation). It was not until recently when it all clicked. I took multiple steps back to zoom out and realize the actual problem is within the framing of the passion and not the passion itself.

Take an Olympic runner for instance and compare this to someone (me) wanting to create substantial wealth. You ask the runner to go out for drinks with you and two friends they have not met before. The runner says, “No thanks, I am focused on my nutrition and have to be up at 5am to train”. Wow, what discipline and dedication. No judgement there and complete appreciation for what that person wants to achieve.

Turn this around, and I am being asked to go for drinks with the same group of people. I say, “No thanks, I am going to save my money and have to be up at 5am tomorrow to go for a morning walk, while listening to a finance podcast in order to learn how to best invest that money I just saved.” WHAT, you are crazy, you need to relax, life is short, YOLO and on and on…

5 years later, the runner is on top of the podium (#1) with the world cheering. They win $1 Mil and everyone is ecstatic and proud. The years of dedication paid off and the prize money is well deserved. No guilt to start a non-profit, no judgment; o wait, here is more: endorsements of clothing, cars and sponsorship. It is all for the runner to keep…

5 years later, I am a multi-millionaire (I wish). I won my own life race and able to do what I want when I want. First thing I do, buy a luxury car (because why not). I drive to friends showing them what I bought, how proud they would be, cheering me on as if I was on the top of the podium, right? Right? Isn’t that what’s happening? Unfortunately, it is far from the truth. Now you are seen as “full of it” as if you are rubbing it in and the only way to show remorse for your winnings and incredible sacrifices you made your whole life, is to dedicate as much as you can to philanthropy in order to be accepted back into the cultural norms.

I find this imbalance of morality vs what success “should” looks like struggle to comprehend. Why can the answer to the question, “why do you want to be wealthy” not just be: “because I want to be in the top 1% of achievers”. Instead we soften the answer with phrases like: “I want to change the world, I want to help others, I want to quit my job and spend time with my family”. Don’t get me wrong, these are all very valid reasons and incredibly powerful goals. I just personally feel that we should not judge those whom simply answer, “because I want to be the best”.

Concluding these thoughts, I will no longer apologize or feel guilty that my passion is to become wealthy. Ask me now as to why, and my answer is simple: “WHY NOT”

"Living life" is just a way people rationalize not wanting to delay gratification. Better to demonize what you don't have the discipline to achieve. "I didn't want that anyway."

While you're on those walks listen to the book The Millionaire Next Door.

"Live your own life" seems to be the appropriate response to people trying to preach me out of chasing my dreams.  I'm amazed by the people around me (my employees), with three kids and no money in the bank, giving me negative feedback on my life goals.  The reason the athlete is regarded higher than the investor is because they've "worked hard" for their accomplishment, as dictated by old school thought processes. There's a lot of common thought that the wealthy must be doing something sneaky or illegal.  I've gone most of my life lacking trust in wealthy people, and mostly just disliking them, and have only just recently begun to understand why I was wrong.  Live your own life, let them chase crumbs. You aren't responsible for their failures, but you are responsible for your own happiness.

Financially well off people are demonized in many part of society today. In many cases, you might find that those who are discouraging you from sacrificing some things in order to achieve financial success are either 1) convicted within themselves b/c they are not willing to make those same sacrifices (and therefore feel guilty for it), or 2) they have limiting beliefs that, for example, in order to become financially successful you have to rip people off, mislead, or become a sleazy sales person, or 3) they believe that becoming financially successful means giving up other things you really should not give up (such as spending time with them, spending time with family, relaxing, arguing politics, doing charity work, being an activist, etc.). 

For me, I do find it very important to remember my "Why" (daily). Why do I want to be financially well off? There are always deeper psychological reasons and those reasons are typically not controversial (such as to be less stressed out about the necessity of paying bills, to achieve the ability to pursue other life goals, to help family, to prepare for my future retirement, etc.). These are usually the reasons I give if someone is asking an honest question. 

I enjoyed reading all these posts. I have a passion to become wealthy too. I enjoy the thrill of the chase to wealth, and determination to get what I want. Maybe because I hardly made anything in my 20’s and 30’s. My job didn’t pay much for the first 15 years. I was broke for many years but still managed to save and invest. I was frugal because I had to be. I started investing in real estate 6 years ago when I was 44 years old. I took calculated risks in the stock market and RE and it’s paid off. I listen to RE and financial podcasts all the time on long runs four times a week. I’m hungry to learn more from others. I thrive off financial success and remember where I came from and how I got here. I’ve enjoyed the financial challenge and the journey. But I want to continue to see where it goes. And now I almost feel ashamed of my wealth when I’m around my family or friends. They have no idea I’m wealthy and I’d rather have them think I’m still poor in a way. Otherwise they’d probably take shots at me for being frugal all these years. I call it more like delayed gratification all those years I was broke. I knew I’d break through eventually by dollar cost averaging in the stock market and having my buy n hold rentals finally starting to cash flow good.

@Bevan Daniels I often feel the same way. Most of my family and friends are solely W2 earners. A lot of times I genuinely want to share the fruits of my REI labor; paying for friends' dinners/outings, etc but I then feel guilty when they start to feel like they can't reciprocate. It creates a weird dynamic.

I also sometimes feel guilty about discussing my future goals and dreams ( passive cashflow number, winter home in the Caribbean and jet-set lifestyle). They seem completely out of reach to many of my friends and family. I can recall someone saying to me recently "Remember to be grateful that you have a home to live in!" 🙄 I understand where this person was coming from but I really don't think my ambition to succeed and become rich has anything to do with being less than grateful for what I have. In fact, It is because I am grateful for what I have that I want to be a good steward! I have every desire to give to others and see them succeed as well! Wealth through investing is obviously a completely different mindset and it is hard to translate to those that are not there with you. I am hopeful that as we continue upward on this path we all will find others who resonate on the same level!!! ….. At that point, we can visit each other's oceanfront homes and ride on each other's planes and talk REI to our heart's content!!! 😁

Originally posted by @Bevan Daniels :

[1]   …I have been told … by friends, family … not to focus so much on creating wealth … as it is not “good for my psyche” … “I’m missing out on life”…to follow your passion … as long as this is not wealth creation)…

[2]    5 years later, I am a multi-millionaire (I wish)...I find this imbalance of morality vs what success “should” look like... 

[3]    Concluding these thoughts, I will no longer apologize or feel guilty that my passion is to become wealthy. Ask me now as to why, and my answer is simple: “WHY NOT”


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Hi Bevan,

My thoughts on this:

[1] Controlling personalities (???) Ignore them. Be your own man. Do your own thing. Buy a Ferrari and a Luxury Yacht and hire them to clean your new toys. Pay them very little--because it makes them the happiest to be poor.

[2] Most likely it will take you more than 5 years to accumulate that much net worth. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

[3] If it's your passion, embark on step one--today is the first day of the rest of your life. If you desire a formal framework to plan things out, Tony Robbins book, Awaken the Giant within has one. Also Rich Dad Poor Dad is a good read.

[4] Your putting a lot of thought into the parts that make no money. Over thinking complicates the body and the mind (TOOL). Just move forward on your goal. 

Good Luck!

The Fibonacci

Push the envelope Watch it bend. (TOOL): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs0ZesGtjw8

 

@Bevan Daniels

I've had similar thoughts in the past. The best advice I can give is "stay in your lane." Who cares what others think. In my opinion the only 2 things that matter in real estate (outside of the obvious stuff like having integrity, honesty, etc.) are having fun and making money!

P.S. I do the 5am walks with audio books too!