Money is not evil.
And the love of money is not evil. You can be Scrooge McDuck and take a bath in gold coins if you want—I’m okay with that.
So, how can you get more of it? You start by getting up, taking a shower, showing up to work on time, and working hard.
We’ve talked about how people don’t work as hard as they used to. But a lot of people still work really, really hard—whether through physical labor, mental labor, or both.
And working hard for your money feels good... whether you’re making $20 an hour installing floors, $75,000 a year selling real estate, or a heck of a lot more performing brain surgery. If you’re sitting around, living off of unemployment checks, it just doesn’t feel the same.
From there, if you want more money, you have to be willing to take calculated risks.
Starting a business takes risk
Buying a house takes risk—more than people appreciate
Buying bitcoin takes risk
Investors made a lot of money in bitcoin back in 2017, when it soared over 1,300%. That wasn’t luck—some guy out there bought $10,000 worth of bitcoin thinking, “This is probably going to zero.” But he took the risk and wound up making a lot of money.
The final piece of the puzzle: You need to be smart and frugal with your money every step of the way. It doesn’t matter how much money you make—you won’t hold onto it if you’re running up big credit card bills and paying lots of interest.
Say you go to the ATM, and the woman ahead of you leaves the receipt on the counter. You catch a glimpse of the balance, and she has $1 million in the bank.
It’s okay to want a big bank account, too. But you should be happy for her! That money is there because of good things she did. It’s there because she worked hard and took calculated risks. It’s there because she was smart and frugal.
You might say she’s just lucky, but that’s pretty rare.
I’m not saying rich people are all saints. There are really scummy people out there who make a lot of money. But, regardless of how they behave in their personal lives, they’ve practiced virtues in their professional and financial lives that helped them get rich.
I’m not naïve—I know there are people who make money by fraud or other illegal stuff. I don’t believe in karma, but stuff usually catches up with people. (Like it did with the Ponzi scheme I witnessed in my Coast Guard days.)
Bottom line: If you want to make more money, practice the virtues that will make that happen.
My father used to tell me that wherever I was at any given moment was the sum total of all the decisions I had made up to that point.
The same is true for money. If you make poor choices about money, you’re going to have less to show for it. If you make good choices—about things like credit cards, car loans, your mortgage—you’re going to have more.
Some people say that money corrupts, but I don’t think that’s the case. It’s not the money—it’s when money comes too easily.
You see this a lot with professional athletes. They are very physically gifted, and sure, they work hard. But when they’re making $20 million a year, it loses all meaning. This is a big reason a lot of these guys have trouble holding onto their wealth.
There’s a saying that you want to be equal in character to your money. Because the virtues you need to make it are the same virtues you need to hold onto it—hard work, a willingness to take risks, and frugality.
It’s okay to love money. When you start thinking about it that way, it becomes much easier to make more.
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