In my career as an attorney, I have had the opportunity to help many rich people plan their estates and protect their many assets. I have found that you do not have to be a genius to be rich. A degree, in and of itself, does not that make you rich. You don’t have to be a lawyer, doctor, or a CPA to be rich, although some professionals are rich.
While most truly rich professionals make high incomes, it’s what they do with their money that makes and keeps them rich.
I hear it all the time, “Mike when I win the lottery, I will call you, then I’ll be like your other clients.” Is the Lottery a surefire way to get rich? I don’t recommend buying lottery tickets as an investment strategy. For the few that win, they are rich overnight. If you were lucky enough to win the lottery, say $10,000,000.00, you would keep only a small part of this. You would need to make a choice right away to get the $10,000,000.00 payable over 20 years or take a lump sum. The lump sum would be an amount equal to the present value of this which would turn out to be about $2,000,000.00. From that, the IRS takes about 1/3. So, you may not be as rich as you thought. Sadly, many lottery winners wind up broke within a few years. Why? It is what they didn’t do with their money. If you look around your community, you may notice many truly rich people who may have little or no college education. They were not lottery winners. They found overlooked opportunities, then took calculated risks without over analyzing. Typically, they have un-glamorous businesses and have lived within or below their means. These people found their own road map to becoming rich. You will also observe many prominent people who live in big houses and drive the latest luxury cars, and are members of the country club. Some of these people are not truly rich. When you look around to see who is truly rich, do not be fooled by these displays of material wealth. Many people with big houses, late model cars, and expensive clothes also have large debts; but they may have no solid assets behind these consumable items. Some spend more than they make, even though they earn a lot. “Keeping up with the Joneses” becomes a way of life. In fact, this trap can keep you from becoming truly rich. Remember, looking rich does not make you rich.
What keeps us from getting rich?
Henry Ford, the inventor of the automobile, once said, “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t. Either way you’re right.” Inaction is the one of main things that keeps many people from achieving their dreams, be it getting rich or any other goal for that matter. Inaction, or doing nothing, is the easiest thing to do, but not the best thing to do. Doing nothing means not having a road map. You do not need a road map if you are not going anywhere. This is the same as saying, “I can’t do that.” “I can’t” means that you don’t even have to try. To be rich, you must do something. It is not just going to happen. Reading my advice below can help you get the right information to begin acting. Read on. Over analyzation is almost as bad as inaction. It has the same result but only after a lot of wasted time and effort. This is also known as “Analysis Paralysis.” If you look at different maps and plans of action but you do not make up your mind, you will spend a lot of time getting nowhere. It is easy to look at an opportunity and see all the ways that it can go wrong. Remember, nothing in life is guaranteed. Some people avoid taking any risks because they are so focused on not losing. They look over many opportunities and see only the risk, not the reward. The result is that they don’t do anything at all. Unfortunately, these people become cynics, and discourage other people from making an investment. If I asked one of these people about investing in a rental property, they would say, “Why would I want to do that? I don’t want to be fixing toilets in the middle of the night.” How many rental properties do you think this person owns. None. I don’t want to do that either. Owning a rental property does not just mean fixing toilets. It is important to analyze, as opposed to “over analyze” your opportunities and realize that not every prospect is a winner.
You need to map out your course. Where do you want to be next year, in five years, ten years? If you set a goal, you are determining where you want to go. Once that is done, you need to plan the steps to get you there. There are plenty of people trying to move you along in the direction they want for their own benefit. This usually is not in your best interest.
You should listen to advisers and others with experience, but in the end, you need to make the decision. It is important to form and follow your own plan and not let others dictate the direction of your life. So many forces around can you pull you from your chosen road. Here are a few scenarios.
Your boss wants to give you a good job so you can work hard and make money for him, not to make money for yourself. Although you may be paid well and have a good position, your employer is controlling your direction. Rest assured that your boss is making more money on your output than you are; at least among all his employees. Our education system trains us to make good grades, and tells us that an education will lead to a good job with benefits and success. But if you have seen the news, you see that there are layoffs and job cuts by many employers. Having a job is not as secure as we have been taught. Your boss will keep you on as long as you continue being profitable enough. There is a solution. Become your own boss, be the owner of your company. The importance of having your own business is that you will be in control of your future. There are tremendous tax advantages to having your own business compared to being an employee. The richest people in the world are their own boss. And you do not have to do it in one fell swoop. You can start a part time business, working on weekends or after work. This is a good first step on your road map to rich.
The Government is another force that moves us whether we like it or not, through taxes and regulations. “The two things that are unavoidable are death and taxes.” This is true whether we like it or not. Avoiding death is beyond the scope of this book, so we will focus on taxes. It is illegal not to pay taxes that are owed; however, it is perfectly legal not to pay more taxes than required. The timing of the payment of taxes is important if you want to maximize your income. As an employee, you have no control over the timing or the amount of taxes you pay in advance. Before you see your money, the government has taken its share of your pay check through income tax withholding, Social Security, and Medicare. You only get to use after tax income to grow your wealth. There are limits as to the deductions that employees can take to offset taxes. The government uses your money as it sees fit until you file your tax return, and if there is a refund, they will refund you that amount, without a penny of interest for the use of your money. As a business owner, you get to deduct your expenses before you pay taxes on your income. This can offer a great advantage on your road to becoming rich. I firmly believe that everyone has a duty and responsibility to pay the required amount of taxes; however not one penny more. Taking control of taxes will help you to stay on course on your road map to rich.
There are many other forces that will affect the road you choose or if you can act. Your spouse, parents, children, friends, and relatives will influence you in both positive and negative ways. But it is your life and your choice to be rich or not. There are two proven methods to get rich, owning an operating business and owning a real estate business. Starting a business helps you take control of income taxes and generates cash flow. Real estate is a place to invest your money, produce tax benefits and generate cash flow. Each is a road map of its own. There are other ways to become rich, including stocks and investments in paper assets. By paper assets, I mean owning stocks or other ownership “papers” that show that you own a business or investment that does not require your physical action to be profitable.
Business Operations and Real Estate Investments. Why do these two paths need to be followed to get rich? Business operations is the way to get cash flowing and real estate investing is where to make the cash grow. I recommend either of these two paths, because you can be in control.The most important step is the first step. Make a plan. Lay out the road map to your destination. If business and real estate are new to you, start by mapping out a short trip to get your feet wet. Start small to get a feel for what business or real estate involves. Remember we all start school in kindergarten. Regardless of the size of the project, having your plan in place is the key to the success of any venture. Remember, if your fail to plan you are planning to fail.
Where do you want to go?
Most people do not get rich because they do not know where they are going or where they want to go. Some just like the idea of going somewhere. Without a destination, you will not know which road to take. Most people will then just stay where they are and never make a move. Some will just take a road that looks right but without preparing for the trip or knowing where they are going to stop. They wind up somewhere they never intended or even going around in circles. If you then follow through on your charted course, you will find success. If you only read about how to do it, you will not be any better off than you were before.