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The Virtues It Takes to Make Money

The Virtues It Takes to Make Money

You’ve likely heard the common phrase “money is the root of all evil.” I’ve talked about it before in past issues and on various podcasts. (Side note: Keep reading for an update on future episodes of the BE SMART podcast. We’re about to kick things back into high gear.)

But first… do you believe that money is the root of all evil? I sure hope not because people who believe that tend not to be very successful. I have a competitor who says that money itself is not the issue but that the love of money is the root of all evil—I don't agree with that either.

Money is not evil. The love of money is not evil. Money is good, and it’s because of the virtues it takes to make it.

So, how do you make money?

Focus on These Primary Virtues

  1. You must work hard.

I mean, there are some people, a small minority of people, who are super talented and don’t put in much effort. It’s just easy for them to make lots of money, but they are in a select minority.

For most of us, we need to work hard to make lots of money. Like, you have to take a shower, get dressed, show up to work on time, and put in the hours, and then you go home at the end of the day exhausted. You can’t half-ass it on the couch every day.

  1. You must take risks.

There’s no way around it: To make money, you’ll have to take some risks. There are all kinds of ways to take risks. Buying a house is a risk. Starting a business is a big risk. Buying stocks is a risk. Buying bitcoin is a risk.

And it’s not exclusive to financial risks. I’m talking about risks above and beyond that. Look at somebody like Taylor Swift. She has a lot of courage. She had to take personal risks. Can you imagine how nervous she was the first time she performed? The second time? The third time? She probably still gets nervous before she performs in front of packed stadiums. She is taking great personal risks to do what she does.

You have to put yourself out there.

  1. You must be smart.

You don’t make money by being an idiot. Now, for sure, there are lots of dumb rich people and on the flip side, lots of smart poor people. That is absolutely true, but the correlation between intelligence and wealth is kind of a weak correlation.

Still, you do have to exercise some brainpower to make money.

  1. You must be frugal.

Once you make money, hanging on to money is just as hard as making it. You don’t hang on to money if you’re spending it on nonsense. I really don’t spend a lot of money, especially nowadays.

If you look at somebody and they have an enormous number in their bank account, what you are seeing is all the virtues that it took to get that number in the bank account. It is a big pile of virtues. And yes, occasionally people are lucky, but as you’ve probably heard me say, the harder you work, the luckier you get. Someone who is a millionaire has done a lot of things right; they have lots of virtues.

Money Is Good

Are there bad people who make money? Absolutely. They may be bad people, they may be scumbags, they may be drug addicts and philanderers and all kinds of terrible things, but they have the virtues that I listed (vote on which one you think is the most important to get right). They work hard; they take risks. They’re smart and frugal. They have those virtues. They’re just bad in other ways.

People can make money doing illegal things in the short term, but it never lasts very long. It always catches up with them. You make money by doing good things. So, money is not evil. Money is good.

My father used to say to me, “Where you are right now is the sum of all the decisions you have made in your life.” And it’s like that with money. How much money you have right now is a reflection of all the decisions you have made in your life. If you have made good decisions, you have more money. If you have made bad decisions, you have less money.

Everything we do at Jared Dillian Money is about making good decisions when it comes to things like credit cards, mortgages, and the appropriate risk in your investments. We also spend a lot of time talking about attitudes toward money—that’s where the Awesome Portfolio and our interactive courses (e.g., the No Worries course) come into play.

If you think that money is the root of all evil, you are doomed.

Jared Dillian
Jared Dillian, MFA


P.S. Stay tuned for a brand-new episode of the BE SMART podcast next week, with new ones to follow each Thursday. Thank you for your patience on new episodes. We’ve been working behind the scenes to revamp the podcast and will be returning to a video format that the team and I think you’ll find more engaging.

Of course, if you prefer, you can still find the BE SMART podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or your platform of choice.

For those who prefer videos, make sure to subscribe to my channel on YouTube. You can also watch them on the go in the Jared Dillian Money app or in the desktop community under the BE SMART podcast space here.

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