I suspect that 98% of the country suffers from a scarcity mentality.
They think, “I make $60,000 a year and that’s that.” So they make more and more cuts—cheaper shoes, generic toilet paper, only making coffee at home, etc.
But instead of slicing and dicing the pie like that, why not make it bigger?
I went through this myself many years ago. When I was 26 years old, I was in the Coast Guard making $45,000 a year. My standard of living was decent for my salary. My wife and I lived in California, and we had a nice condo. Really, we had a good life.
But I wanted more money.
Now, I could have made that happen by living off of ramen noodles. Cut all nonessential food, and you’ve got an extra $5,000 a year.
But you can only cut so much. Once you get down to the bare bones, you’re not going to be happy.
So, I made the pie bigger.
If I’d stayed in the Coast Guard and made Captain, I would have ended up making about $140,000 a year. So yes, I would have made more over time. But I wanted to make my pie a lot bigger, so I made my way to Wall Street.
You can gripe about Wall Street all you want, but there are some good things about it, especially the Wall Street of 10 or 20 years ago.
I worked in the equities division, and when I started it was probably a two-billion-dollar business. A few years later, it was a six-billion-dollar business. And I never heard the managers say we had to cut expenses.
Instead, they’d say, “We’re going to reach three billion, then four billion,” and so on. They were only interested in making the pie bigger—they had an abundance mentality.
Everybody on Wall Street had that mentality back then, and it’s worth emulating.
There’s a lot of money out there, and it only takes a little bit of work to get more of it.
Some people are wildly successful at this and some people are a little successful, but I bet you can make more money if you try. And the first step is to ask for a raise.
My guess is your boss thinks about himself all the time because that’s what most people do. They don’t think about their employees. They have their own stuff to worry about.
So, if you want a raise, you have to ask for it. He might say, “Oh, a raise? Sure, why not?” That’s probably how half of these conversations go. If the money is there, and you’re doing a good job, they’ll probably give it to you if you ask.
Be direct and say, “Can I have a raise?” That’s hard for a lot of people, but you can’t beat around the bush.
My guess is you could also make more money if you looked for a completely different type of job. I’ve done that twice in my life—blow up my identity. First, I was a Coast Guard guy, then I became a Wall Street guy, and now I’m a financial media guy. So it’s possible.
When I was in the Coast Guard, I was really in the Coast Guard. I had a high and tight haircut, and I lifted weights all the time. I looked like I was in the military, but in order to become a Wall Street guy I had to blow that up. I had to get a different haircut, dress differently, act differently.
I had to change everything. And I had to change everything again to become the person I am now. This is why career changes are hard for people.
Say you’re a teacher and you want to make more money. Maybe you become a real estate agent. But you can’t dress and act the same. It’s a different world, so you have to blow up your identity.
The scarcity mentality tells you to give up coffee if you want more money. The abundance mentality says to open 10 pizza places. Not just one, 10.
Everyone says opening a business is hard, and it is hard in the beginning. But once you get a business going, it’s not as hard as you might think. Yes, it takes some maintenance, but it’s rewarding and doable.
Jeff Bezos runs Amazon, the biggest company in the world, and even he has time for “extracurricular activities.”
Business just isn’t as cutthroat as you might imagine. There are a lot of industries where you can come in fourth place and still make a great living.
Sure, you can keep telling yourself that starting whatever business you’ve been pondering would be impossibly hard. But it doesn’t have to be. Think about it —a single hot dog stand in New York City makes $40,000 a year. Just one stand!
The truth is you can make more money.
Start by asking for a raise. Then look at other types of jobs you might like that make more money. And maybe just start that business.