PART 2: Wealth is Not a Road, But a Road Trip
CHAPTER 3: THE ROAD TRIP TO WEALTH
The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
-- Lao Tzu
Wealth Is a Road Trip, Not Just a Road!
Sadly, for most, the journey to wealth often ends like my spring break road trip: stalled on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, left to ask, “How the hell did I get here?”
Your pursuit of wealth stalls when your focus is the road and its destination, and not the roadtrip.
My spring break stalled because we neglected the road trip and focused on the road. Oil? Roadmap? Engine tune-up? Screw it, just hit the road and head south!
Wealth's Illusionary Road
Imagine if I threw you into the kitchen with sugar and flour and ordered you to bake cookies. The feat is impossible because two ingredients alone don't make the entire formula.
Therein lies the fault with most wealth books: They are “road focused.” They specialize on the most titillating part of the formula-the sugar!
Millionaires Are Forged by Process, Not by Events
Despite what you may have read or heard, wealth is not an event. Wealth doesn't drop from the sky or come from a game show. It doesn't ring the doorbell and await you on the front porch with balloons and a check the size of a refrigerator.
Wealth is a process, not an event. Ask any chef and they will confirm that the perfect dish is a series of ingredients and a well-engineered process of execution: a little of this, a little of that, done at the right time at the right place, and wham, you have a tasty meal.
Wealth creation has the same method of execution-a fabricated accumulation of many disassociated ingredients into an assembled whole that has value and is worth millions.
Wealth eludes most people because they are preoccupied with events while disregarding process. Without process, there is no event.
Process makes millionaires, and the events you see and hear are the results of that process. For our chef, the cooking is the process, while the meal is the event.
For example, an athlete who scores a $50-million-dollar contract to play pro basketball is an event from process.
When a 20-year-old sells his Internet company for $30 million dollars, you read about it on a tech blog.
Sidelined is the process-you didn't hear about the long hours of coding the founder had to endure.
Outsiders see the nice house and the expensive cars and might think, “Wow, if I only could be so lucky.” Such a belief is a mirage of event over process.
All events of wealth are preceded by process, a backstory of trial, risk, hard work, and sacrifice.
If you try to skip process, you'll never experience events.
Process is the road trip to wealth: The destination shines as an event, but it's found by process. Yes, the elevator to success is out-of-order-you'll need to hit the stairs.
Wealth's Road Trip Formula
1. Your Roadmap (Parts 3, 4, and 5)
The compass for the trip - your roadmap - is the guiding force behind your actions. Your roadmap makes up your financial belief system and your preconceived convictions about wealth and money:
- The sidewalk
- The slowlane
- The fastlane
Much like a recipe, your roadmap will outline why, where, how, and what.
2. Your Vehicle (Part 6)
Your vehicle is you. No one can drive the journey but you.
Your vehicle is a complicated system composed of oil, gas, an engine, a steering wheel, a windshield, horsepower, and an accelerator-all needing frequent tuning and maintenance to ensure peak efficiency during the road trip.
3. Your Roads (Part 7)
Your roads are the financial pathways you travel. For example, you can travel the job road, and within that road you have limitless choices: You can be an engineer, a project manager, a physician, a plumber, a truck driver.
Then there are entrepreneurial roads: You can be a real estate investor, a retail storeowner, a franchiser, an Internet marketer, or an inventor. Just like a road trip across the country, roads are plentiful with millions of permutations.
4. Your Speed (Part 8)
Speed is execution and your ability to go from idea to implementation. You could sit in a Ferrari on an empty, straight road, but if you fail to hit the accelerator, you fail to move. Without speed, your roadmap has no direction, your vehicle stands idle, and your road mutates into a dead end.
The Road Trip Is Paved with Toll Roads
Successful Fastlane travelers are warriors who live and die on rough roads. Toll roads pave the road to wealth, and that toll can't be paid on Easy Street. For some of us, this is good news because the toll weeds out the weak and escorts them to the land of normal. If you resist the toll, wealth will resist you.
Unfortunately, some feel that wealth's toll can be paid because of wrong beliefs:
- A functional family/good childhood
- “Hard work” versus “smart work”
- Educational accomplishments and credentials after your name
- Being a certain sex, color, or age
- Wishing, dreaming, and thinking positively
- Knowing the right people in the right places
- Attending the right schools
- Being passionate or "doing what you love" or "what you know"
- A stellar business plan
Nothing is further from the truth.
The Fastlane isn't a straight and smooth tree-lined street with white picket fences and children swinging on tires hanging from oak trees. It's a dark, deserted, unpaved road strewn with potholes that forces change and evolution. If the road trip to wealth were easy, wouldn't everyone be wealthy?
Expect a price to be paid. Expect risk and sacrifice. Expect bumps in the road. When you hit the first pothole (and yes, it will happen) know that you are forging the process of your unfolding story. The Fastlane process demands sacrifices that few make, to resolve to live like few can.
The Road Trip Can't Be Outsourced to a Chauffeur
We live in a society that wants to outsource everything, from our household chores to raising our kids. Outsourcing might work for a dirty bathroom, but it doesn't work for wealth. Wealth's road trip has no chauffeur and the toll can't be outsourced to a virtual assistant in India.
Had someone gifted a Lamborghini to me (or any dream) when I was 16 years old, I can guarantee you I wouldn't be where I am today. When someone grants you your desires without you exerting any effort, you effectively handicap process.
The person I needed to become would have been dwarfed because process would have been outsourced. There is no wisdom or personal growth gained in a journey that someone else does for you. The journey is yours.
- Wealth is a formula, not an ingredient.
- Process makes millionaires. Events are by-products of process.
- To seek a “wealth chauffeur” is to seek a surrogate for process. Process cannot be outsourced, because process dawns wisdom, personal growth, strength, and events.
CHAPTER 4: THE ROADMAPS TO WEALTH
If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.
The Compass for Wealth
If your destination is undefined, undoubtedly you'll never arrive and likely end in a place you don't want to be. Wealth is found with a roadmap, not a dartboard.
Self-made millionaires don't become millionaires by stumbling into money, just as financial failures don't become failures by stumbling into poorness. Both are the direct result of the financial roadmap chosen and the actions and beliefs that evolve from that roadmap.
Your current financial situation is a product of your existing roadmap, whether chosen or not.
How your life unfolds is determined by your choices, and these choices originate from your belief systems, and those belief systems evolve from your predisposed roadmap.
If you want to change your life, change your choices. To change your choices you must change your belief system. Your belief system is defined by your roadmap.
How do beliefs affect finances?
Beliefs preceded choices, which precede action. For example, if you believe “rich people got rich investing in mutual funds” your actions will reflect that belief.
Beliefs are powerful mechanisms that drive action, whether true or not.
Our parents said Santa Claus was real and we believed it.
Your belief system acts like a roadmap, a compass that, if errant, can lead you to a lifetime of detours. Fictitious beliefs are lying roadmaps; they escort you down dead-end roads where “Wealth: Next Exit” never happens.
The Three Financial Roadmaps to Wealth
- The Sidewalk >- Poorness
- The Slowlane >- Mediocrity
- The Fastlane >- Wealth
If you play blackjack and win 15 consecutive hands, you violate the true essence of randomness. The natural state of randomness is to not deliver 15 wins in a row. When a wild African lion is tamed to perform in a Las Vegas magic act, the lion is trained to violate its true essence. The lion naturally wants to be wild, to hunt, to kill, to feed, to mate.
Similarly, the roadmaps each possess a true essence that leads either to poorness, mediocrity, or wealth.
Each roadmap contains key mindsets that act as signposts, or “mindposts,” that provide direction and guide actions, just like a roadmap. Those mindposts are:
Does debt control you or do you control your debt?
How is your time valued and treated? Abundant? Fleeting? Inconsequential?
What role does education have in your life?
What is money's role in your life? Is money a tool or a toy? Plentiful or scarce?
Primary Income Source:
What is your primary means of creating income?
Primary Wealth Accelerator:
How are you accelerating your net worth and creating wealth? Or are you?
How do you define wealth?
What is your mathematical plan for accumulating wealth? What wealth equation defines
the physics of your wealth universe?
Is there a destination? If so, what does it look like?
Responsibility & Control:
Are you in control of your life and your financial plan?
How do you live your life? Do you plan for the future? Forsake today for tomorrow? Or
tomorrow for today?
The Roadmaps Operate within Distinct Universes
The velocity of wealth acceleration evolves from your chosen roadmap's “universe,”.
You can hop aboard a track that allows speeds of 20 mph or speeds of 200 mph.
If you're unhappy in your financial situation, you can change your universe immediately by switching roadmaps.
- To force change, change must come from your beliefs, and your roadmap outlines those beliefs.
- Each roadmap is governed by a wealth equation and predisposed to a financial destination-Sidewalk to poorness, Slowlane to mediocrity, and the Fastlane to wealth.
PART 3: Poorness–The Sidewalk
CHAPTER 5: THE SIDEWALK ROADMAP
[quote, Larry Ellison]
When you're the first person whose beliefs are different from what everyone else believes, you're basically saying, “I'm right, and everyone else is wrong.” That's a very unpleasant position to be in. It's at once exhilarating and at the same time, an invitation to be attacked.
The Sidewalk Roadmap
Most people are lifelong Sidewalkers.
The Sidewalk is a contract for a pleasurable today in lieu of a more secure tomorrow.
One album failure from broke.
One business deal from broke.
One gig from broke.
On the Sidewalk, you're always “one something” from being homeless, bankrupt, or back living in your parent's basement.
What Is a Sidewalker?
Surplus money is immediately spent on the next great gadget, the next trip, the next newer car.
Sidewalkers are carelessly trapped in a “Lifestyle Servitude” fed by an urgent, insatiable need for pleasure, image, and instant gratification.
This perpetuates a cascading cycle that spins faster every month, increasing the velocity of the burden, forever enslaving the Sidewalker to their job or their business.
The Sidewalk is the road most traveled because it's the path of least resistance. Its siren song is instant gratification, and money is a hot potato that's quickly exchanged for the latest fix of the day.
The Mindposts of a Sidewalker
Credit allows me to buy things now! Credit cards, consolidation loans, car payments-these supplement my income and help me enjoy life today! If I want it now, I'm going to get it now.
Time is abundant and I spend money like there's no tomorrow. Heck, I could be dead in two weeks, and you can't take it with you!
I finished school when I graduated, hooray!
If you got it, flaunt it! Why save for a rainy day? I spend every dime I earn and most of my bills are paid on time; isn't that being fiscally responsible?
Primary Income Source:
Whatever gig pays the most is what I will do. I chase money baby! It's all about the Benjamins!
Primary Wealth Accelerator:
Net worth? I hit the casino, I buy lottery tickets, and I have an active lawsuit against an insurance company … does that count?
He who dies with the most toys wins!
My formula for wealth is (Wealth = Income + Debt).
What destination? I live for today and I can't be bothered about tomorrow.
Responsibility & Control:
Everything bad happens to me. The man is keeping me down. I am a victim. It's someone else's fault.
Live today, to hell with tomorrow. Life is too short to plan any further than 30 days out. You can't take it with you! You're only young once! Besides, I'll hit it big someday.
The Disturbing Sidewalking Facts
- A person under the age of 55 is 57% likely to have zero net worth, or negative net worth.
- An estimated 62% of all households in the United States have less than $100,000 in net worth.
- 89% of all “under 35” households had a net worth less than $100,000.
- A person in the 35–44 age range has a median net worth of $13,000 excluding home equity.
- A person in the age 45–54 group has a median net worth of $23,000, excluding home equity.
An estimated 60% of adults live their lives on the sidewalk. Yes, the world is full of financial illusionists.
The Standard Sidewalker: Income Poor
There is little hope for Sidewalkers because their roadmap is corrupted by gratification, selfishness, and irresponsibility.
Income-Poor Sidewalkers rationalize, “Life is short. Get out of my way or get run over!”
Sidewalking Symptoms: Are You on It?
You haven't learned much since graduating from high school or college.
“I'm done with school, hooray!”
You change jobs frequently.
“C'mon, MJ, I left because this other job pays more.”
You think people with money have it because they had rich parents, luck, or easier life circumstances than you.
“I've had it hard. If my parents would have paid for college I could have had a good job. I had a rough childhood. Those people with money have no idea.”
You are easily impressed and seek to impress.
“I love designer purses, German cars, Italian clothes, and purebred dogs. I work hard for my money and I deserve it!”
You have poor credit.
“I pay my obligations most of the time … it's just that I can't always pay on time because of situations outside of my control. Besides, the banks and utility companies are big, rich companies-they are the enemy.”
You put faith into politicians and government to change the system, instead of focusing on how you can change yourself.
“A bigger government is the solution. More regulation, more programs, and more services. The government should serve the people. Rich people should pay more in taxes for their good fortune-they can afford it and I can't!”
You view pawnshops, payday loan stores, and credit cards as a means of supplemental income.
“Groceries can't wait until the next paycheck-my family has to eat! Besides, there's a sale on crab legs for only $18 a pound.”
You have filed for bankruptcy at least once.
“It wasn't my fault-I overextended myself and didn't expect to lose my job. I didn't expect a recession. I don't feel bad about bankruptcy because it wipes my slate clean and I can start over fresh. I'm already pre-approved for another credit card.”
You live paycheck to paycheck.
“Wait, doesn't everyone?”
You don't alert a business when they give you incorrect change in your favor.
“Are you crazy? If a business makes a money mistake, I'm keeping it. It's not my fault their employee screwed up.”
You have a negative net worth and little, if no savings.
“What's the point? You only make 1% on a savings account anyhow, and look at all those people who invested in the stock market. Suckers! At least if I spend every dime I can't lose it!”
You have no car insurance, no health insurance, and you have unprotected sex with uncommitted partners.
“What can I say, I'm a risk taker. I know that insurance and birth control are important, it's just not a priority.”
You regularly gamble at the casino or buy lottery tickets.
“You gotta play to win right? Forget the odds-this time's different, I just feel it.”
You immerse yourself in alternate realities, including Web site celebrity gossip blogs, television, sports, video games, or soap operas.
“I just love American Idol, Lost, Survivor and Peoples' Court. Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., I know exactly where I will be.”
You've lost money on “get rich” schemes.
“There's got to be an easy way to wealth. If I just buy this program/DVD series/late night infomercial product, I'll have the secret! Get rich easy is out there!”
Your family cringes when you ask for money or you quit asking because you know a lecture follows.
“Geez, it's just $500. My parents should take care of me until I die. Don't they see how hard I have it? I mean, look at this apartment! The granite countertops need to be replaced!”
The Sidewalk's Gravitational Pull: Poorness
The Sidewalk offers no protection, because you're naked and you can't absorb the hits.
A life on the Sidewalk naturally pulls you to poorness. Because the Sidewalk is about the short term, it never works for the long term. Your future becomes a mortgage for a pleasant present.
The first step to escape the Sidewalk is recognizing that you might be on it … then replace it with something that works!
Money Doesn't Solve Money Problems
Sidewalkers come from all walks of life, even those with the visual embodiments of wealth. They own businesses, they work high-paying careers like medicine or law, or they live as successful actors or musicians and earn big incomes.
The common denominator remains consistent: There is no plan, no savings.
Wealth = Income + Debt
Sidewalkers create their lifestyle in direct proportion to their income and supplement that lifestyle with extensive use of debt.
The Affluent Sidewalker: Income-Rich
Have you ever wondered how a rich rapper can go broke three years after his last album? Or why a famous actor needs to file bankruptcy a few years removed from the public spotlight?
I'll tell you: The Sidewalk where wealth equals income plus debt.
Yes, after their big income is spent, they buy more things they don't need with money they don't have, trusting fully that their large incomes will go on forever.
They drive nice cars and wear expensive clothes, but are one blown gasket away from a total financial meltdown.
The Income/Wealth Mirage of the Sidewalk
more money is not a solution to poor financial management.
Tossing more money at the deficiency is like trying to plug a hole in a dam with more water. More money doesn't buy financial discipline.
Only a mindset change regarding money is a solution to money problems. To change your mindset, you must change your roadmap. Get off the Sidewalk and stop equating wealth to income and debt.
- A first-class ticket to the Sidewalk is to have no financial plan.
- The Sidewalk's natural gravitational pull is poorness, both in time and money.
- You cannot solve poor financial management with more money.
- You can be income rich and still ride the Sidewalk dirty.
- If wealth is defined by income and debt, wealth is an illusion, because it is vulnerable to potholes, detours, and “bumps in the road.” When the income disappears, so does the illusion of wealth.
- Poor financial management is like gambling; the house eventually wins.
CHAPTER 6: HAS YOUR WEALTH BEEN TOXIFIED?
[quote, Henry David Thoreau]
Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
Society's Toxification of Wealth
Society says wealth is six-carat diamond earrings, Aston Martins, and watches that cost more than most people's homes.
Ask 10 people “what is wealth?” and you'll hear 10 different answers. Your “wealth” might be symbolized by a Lamborghini like it was for me, or it might be a farm on 70 acres in Montana and a stable full of race horses. If you think like most, “wealth” is instinctually defined by lavish luxury lifestyles.
Society has conditioned us to believe that wealth is an absolute construct perfected by material possessions.
The Wealth Trinity: What Is Wealth?
The happiest moments in my life were when I felt true wealth. And guess what? It wasn't the day I bought my first Lamborghini.
It wasn't the day I moved into a big house on a mountain or sold my company for millions. Wealth is not authored by material possessions, money, or “stuff,” but by what I call the three fundamental “F's” :
- Family (relationships)
- Fitness (health)
- Freedom (choice)
“Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.”
Wealth is making a difference. Wealth is community and impacting the lives of others. Wealth cannot be experienced alone in a vacuum. Believe me, the richest moments of my life occurred when I was surrounded by a family of friends and loved ones.
Second, wealth is fitness: health, vibrancy, passion, and boundless energy. If you don't have health, you lack wealth. Ask any terminally ill person what they value.
There is no price on health and vibrancy.
And finally, wealth is freedom and choice: freedom to live how you want to live, what, when, and where. Freedom from bosses, alarm clocks, and the pressures of money. Freedom to passionately pursue dreams. Freedom to raise your children as you see fit.
Wealth Can't Be Bought for 60 Easy Payments
I immediately envisioned fast cars, designer clothes, speedboats, and an entourage of bikini-clad women.
Unfortunately, that fantasy was miles from the reality. Yet, I tried. I bought a candy-apple red convertible Corvette. Sports car? Check. Designer clothes from Nordstrom? Check. I researched buying a speedboat until the Internet crash interrupted my orgasmic vision. I invested my newfound wealth in tech stocks and lost thousands of dollars. Within months, more than half of my “wealth” evaporated.
Ironically, in my attempt to look wealthy, real wealth slid further away.
I wasn't rich at all.
The Illusion of Wealth: Looking Rich
The problem with looking wealthy versus being wealthy is that the former is easy while the latter is not.
Society has led you to believe that wealth can be bought at a mall, at a car dealership, or on an infomercial.
You're fooling yourself, and it's a Fastlane detour.
Wealth isn't embodied in a car but in the freedom to know that you can buy it.
Priorities: Some want to look rich, while others want to be rich.
Faux Wealth Destroys Real Wealth
“Faux wealth” is the illusion of wealth without having it.
the more you try to look rich, the tighter the grip of poorness becomes.
Wealth cannot be purchased at a Mercedes dealership, but the destruction of your freedom can.
The irony of looking wealthy is that it is an enemy to real wealth: It destroys freedom, it destroys health, and it destroys relationships.
- Wealth is authored by strong familial relationships,
- fitness and health, and freedom - not by material possessions.
- Unaffordable material possessions are destructive to the wealth trinity.
CHAPTER 7: MISUSE MONEY AND MONEY WILL MISUSE YOU
[quote, Clare Boothe Luce]
Money can't buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable.
IF Money Doesn't Buy Happiness … Does Poverty?
People who declare, “Money doesn't buy happiness” have already concluded they will never have money.
This old equivocation becomes the torchbearer to their poorness.
That fact is, these analyses fall short because they don't isolate the real thief of happiness: servitude, the antithesis of freedom. The irony is that when most people earn “more money,” it doesn't add freedom, it detracts. By creating Lifestyle Servitude, more money becomes destructive to the wealth trinity: family, fitness, and freedom.
After basic needs are met (security, shelter, health, food), our happiness quotient is most significantly impacted by the quality of our relationships with our partners, our family, our friends, our spirituality, and ourselves.
If we are too busy chasing the next greatest gadget to strike down the competitive opulence of the Joneses, we finance our misery. The World Value Survey concluded that “consumerism” is the leading obstacle to happiness.
Money owns them, instead of them owning their money. The well salaried workaholic who is never home to strengthen the relationship with his wife and kids is likely to be less happier than the poor farmer in Thailand who spends half his day tending to his fields and the other half with his family.
Normalcy Is the Rat Race, a Modern-Day Slavery
Why am I wealthy, versus the guy stuck in morning traffic driving to work? I have freedom. I wake up and do what I want. I pursue dreams. I write this book without worrying about how many will sell.
Freedom is fantastic.
Normal is waking at 6 a.m., fighting traffic, and working eight hours. Normal is to slave at a job Monday through Friday, save 10%, and repeat for 50 years. Normal is to buy everything on credit. Normal is to believe the illusion that the stock market will make you rich. Normal is to believe that a faster car and a bigger house will make you happy. You're conditioned to accept normal based on society's already corrupted definition of wealth, and because of it, normal itself is corrupted.
Normal is modern-day slavery.
The Proper Use of Money
Used properly, money buys freedom, and freedom is one parcel in the wealth trinity.
Freedom buys choices:
- Money buys the freedom to watch your kids grow up.
- Money buys the freedom to pursue your craziest dreams.
- Money buys the freedom to make a difference in the world.
- Money buys the freedom to build and strengthen relationships.
- Money buys the freedom to do what you love, with financial validation removed from the equation.
Lifestyle Servitude: The Trap of the Sidewalk
- Work creates income.
- Income creates lifestyle/debt (cars, boats, designer clothes).
- Lifestyle/debt forces work.
- Repeat …
It didn't take long for me to realize that my dream car wasn't an icon of wealth, but a parasite that fed on my freedom.
Because of my obligations to “stuff,” I had sentenced myself to imprisonment in a job I loathed.
The more stuff you buy that you can't afford, the longer your jail sentence becomes.
If You Think You Can Afford It -You Can't
if you buy a boat, pay cash, and are NOT be affected by unexpected “bumps in the road,” you can afford it.
To overcome wealth impersonation, know what you can and can't afford. There is nothing wrong with buying boats and Lamborghinis if you can truly afford them.
The Bait of Lifestyle Servitude
Unfortunately, short-term feel-good is often long-term bad. Instant gratification is a populous plague and its predominant side effects are easily spotted: debt and obesity.
Wealth, like health, isn't easy and is cut from the same fabric.
Their processes are identical.
They require discipline, sacrifice, persistence, commitment, and yes, delayed gratification.
If you can't immunize yourself from the temptations of instant gratification, you'll be hard pressed to find success in either health or wealth.
Both demand a lifestyle shift from short-term thinking (instant gratification) to long-term thinking (delayed gratification). This is the only defense to Lifestyle Servitude.
Look for the Hook!
Instant gratification is the bait and Lifestyle Servitude is the hook. The advertising industry is on a great fishing expedition, and their goal is to hook you.
- “You can't survive life without this product!”
- “Buy now and life will be so much easier!”
- “You are not a success until you own one of these!”
- “Imagine how envious the neighbors will be when you buy this!”
These messages share one commonality: You're their prey and the peddlers don't care if you can afford or not.
Lifestyle Servitude. Instead of you owning your stuff, your stuff owns you.
Wait until you can truly afford your lifestyle luxurie.
- Money doesn't buy happiness because money is used for consumer pursuits destructive to freedom. Anything destructive to freedom is destructive to the wealth trinity.
- Money, properly used, can buy freedom, which can lead to happiness.
- Happiness stems from good health, freedom, and strong interpersonal relationships, not necessarily money.
- Lifestyle Servitude steals freedom, and what steals freedom, steals wealth.
- If you think you can afford it, you can't.
- The consequence of instant gratification is the destruction of freedom, health, and choice.
CHAPTER 8: LUCKY BASTARDS PLAY THE GAME
[quote, Thomas Jefferson]
I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.
Psst … Wanna Get Lucky?
I once overheard someone call me a “lucky bastard.” What a sad, delusional Sidewalking belief.
He spends his days working construction and his evenings commenting on gossip blogs, playing videogames, and watching TV. He has given up on his dreams of financial independence based on his ideas of luck.
Self-Made Millions Arise from Self-Made Luck
Process creates events that others see as luck.
luck is a product of process, action, work, and being “out there.” And when you are “out there” you stand a chance at being in the right place at the right time.
There are right places and wrong places.
The right place isn't on your sofa watching American Idol.
Luck is the residue of process.
Sidewalkers love events but hate process.
When you consistently act and bombard the world with your efforts, interacting with the waves of others, stuff happens.
When I think of luck, I think about poker players. Mistakenly, their craft is construed as luck, while career poker players will affirm it isn't luck, but systematic analytics and player psychology. The best poker players in the world are superior statisticians and interpreters of human behavior. Does luck play a role? Sure, but the role is minor
Renounce the “Big Hit” as Your Financial Plan
Sidewalkers seek “big hits” because their belief systems tell them wealth is an event. Unfortunately, big hits are long shots and violations of true essence.
Why do reality TV competitions such as American Idol attract so many people when most of the contestants suck? These people are searching for that elusive “big hit.”
Getting Swindled: A Sidewalker's Temptation
Order now for just three easy payments of $39.95 and I will teach you how to make millions working just 40 minutes a week
Order today and, as a bonus, you'll receive photos of this buxom woman right here next to me.
The infomercial guru knows exactly what he's doing. He targets Sidewalkers, who are magnetized to events and the big hit.
Disembarking the Sidewalk: The Three Anchors
A Sidewalker's mindset is anchored in three beliefs that keep them trapped there and vulnerable to moneymaking scams:
- Belief 1: Luck is needed for wealth.
- Belief 2: Wealth is an event.
- Belief 3: Others can give wealth to me.
First, wealth is not about luck but about process improving probabilities.
Second, events of wealth, like lotteries and casinos, are long shots and not process.
And finally, only you can deliver yourself to true wealth. There is no chauffeur and there is no moneymaking program sold on TV that will escort you.
- Like wealth, luck is created by process, not by event.
- Luck is created by increased probabilities that are improved with the process of action.
- If you find yourself playing the odds of “big hits,” you are event-driven, not process-driven. This mindset is conducive to the Sidewalk, not the Fastlane.
- “Get Rich Quick” infomercial marketing is a Fastlane because savvy marketers know that Sidewalkers place faith in events over process.
- Moneymaking “systems” are rarely as profitable as the act of selling them to Sidewalkers.
CHAPTER 9: WEALTH DEMANDS ACCOUNTABILITY
Responsibility is the price of greatness.
-- Winston Churchill
Hitchhikers Don't Drive!
to believe that there is a chauffeur to wealth and that someone else can drive that journey for you. This mindset makes you vulnerable to victimhood.
Imagine if you hitchhiked across the country.
You could climb into a psycho's car. You could encounter a murderer.
Yet, the Sidewalker's manifesto is predicated on hitchhiking: faith unto others.
and when things don't work out as intended, blame unto others.
After faith in luck and events, blame is the third anchor to the Sidewalk.
The Law of Victims
The Law of Victims says you can't be a victim if you don't relinquish power to someone capable of making you a victim.
When you bequeath control to others, you essentially become a hitchhiker with no seat belt.
The road to victimhood is through denial: First responsibility, then accountability.
People who don't take responsibility are victims. Some of them are born victims and, instead of trying to improve their hand, they fold and give up.
For them, everyone has the solution to their problems but them.
Instead of looking within, they look outward and project responsibility to some other entity.
Victims are Sidewalkers who refuse to take the driver's seat of their own lives and live under a dark cloud of “theys” reflective of a “me against them” attitude.
- “They laid me off.”
- “They changed the terms.”
- “They cheated me.”
- “They didn't tell me.”
- “They raised my rent.”
- “They raised my interest rate.”
Hey, Eugene, if you're tired of making $11 an hour, raise your value to society. Get your ass over to the library. Wal-Mart can't offer low wages if they don't have an endless supply of victims like you.
The Politics of Hitchhiking
John F. Kennedy's “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” has maligned into “What can my country do for me?”
I didn't rely on the pontificators at CNBC who rapaciously declared that housing was safe. I didn't rely on the mainstream media. I didn't rely on others. I relied on me. I was driving, not hitchhiking. And the beauty of driving is something that escapes most people: responsibility.
Wealth Demands Responsibility, Followed by Accountability
Responsibility is the forefather to accountability, but one doesn't evidence the other.
When you admit responsibility to over drafting your checking account yet do it again next week, you're not accountable.
When you take responsibility for having your purse stolen but flaunt it on the table in open view, you're not accountable.
Accountability is being culpable to your consequences and modifying your behavior if need be to prevent those consequences.
"I've seen people walk away from homes, claiming to be “responsible ”for their actions, only to buy another home they can't afford. I've seen people being “responsible” for the actions their drinking and driving caused only to do it again!
I am sick and tired of people being “responsible!” I want people to be accountable. People need to think before they act. Own their choices before they make them. I am okay with people making mistakes-but freaking own that you made a mistake and learn from it. That's what true accountability and responsibility is all about."
Immunize Yourself from Victimization
“Who's the idiot, the idiot himself or the idiot that hires the idiot?”
But I wasn't a victim because I first was responsible: It was my fault. I allowed it to happen. Then, second, I became accountable: Now when I hire house workers, I do an investigation.
Responsibility: It was my fault that my purse was stolen. Accountability: In the future, I will take precautions to ensure it doesn't happen again.
Immunization for victimitis occurs when you are both responsible for AND accountable.
Own your mistakes, failures, and triumphs. Reflect on your choices. Are you in a situation because you delivered yourself there? Did you error in the process? Were you lazy? Most bad situations are consequences of bad choices. Own them and you own your life. No one can steer you off course, because you are in the driver's seat.
And when you own your decisions, something miraculous happens. Failure doesn't become the badge of victimhood-it becomes wisdom.
You Deserve! You Deserve! You Deserve!
We're being methodically brainwashed to believe that we deserve everything without obedience to process, or accountability.
You deserve what your actions earned, or haven't earned. Being responsible is one thing; being accountable is another. When you're accountable to your choices, you alter your behavior in the future and take the driver's seat of your life.
- Hitchhikers assign control over their financial plans to others effectively introducing probabilities to victimhood.
- The Law of Victims: You can't be a victim if you don't relinquish power to someone capable of making you a victim.
- Responsibility owns your choices.
- Taking responsibility is the first step to taking the driver's seat of your life. Accountability is the final.
PART 4: Mediocrity–The Slowlane Roadmap
CHAPTER 10: THE LIE YOU'VE BEEN SOLD: THE SLOWLANE
What if I told you 'insane' was working fifty hours a week in some office for fifty years at the end of which they tell you to piss off; ending up in some retirement village hoping to die before suffering the indignity of trying to make it to the toilet on time? Wouldn't you consider that to be insane?
-- Steve Buscemi
Next Exit: “Slowlane” Mediocrity Ahead
While the Sidewalk is a chronic lifestyle that mortgages the future for a pleasurable today, the Slowlane is the antithesis: a sacrifice of today in the hopes of a brighter and freer tomorrow.
Quit dreaming about that sports car in the window because you can't buy it! Delay gratification until you're 65 years old. Save, save, save because compound interest is powerful.
The Slowlane is a lifetime wager that a sacrificial today will yield a wealthier tomorrow.
The Promise of Wealth … The Price? Your Life
The Slowlane is rarely challenged. It's a lie so deceiving that when the ruse is uncovered, decades of life have passed.
Your glorious tomorrow might arrive when you're 73 years old and soaked in urine and strapped to a stinking bed because you've lost your mind to Alzheimer's. Seriously, when does this Slowlane plan of retiring rich actually become real so you can enjoy your millions?
Slowlane Mindposts and Missives
Debt is evil. It must be religiously attacked, even if that means working overtime for life.
My time is abundant and I will gladly trade my time for more dollars. The more hours I can work, the more I can pay off my debt and save money for retirement at 65.
Education is important because it helps me earn a bigger salary.
Money is scarce and every dime and dollar must be accounted for, budgeted, and perilously saved. If I want to retire by 65 with millions, I have to ensure I don't squander my hard-earned money.
Primary Income Source:
My job is my sole source of income.
Primary Wealth Accelerator:
Compound interest is powerful because $10 invested today will be worth $300,000 in 50 years. Oh yes, and don't forget about mutual funds, home appreciation, and my employer's 401(k).
Work, save, and invest. Work, save, and invest. Repeat for 40 years until retirement age … 65 years old or, if I'm lucky and the markets return 12% yearly, maybe 55!
Wealth = job + market investments.
A comfortable retirement in my twilight years.
Responsibility & Control:
It's my responsibility to provide for my family although for that plan to work I have to rely on others, including my employer, my financial adviser, the government, and a good economy.
Settle for less. Give up on big dreams. Save, live frugal, don't take unnecessary risks, and one day I will retire with millions.
So how do you know you're being sold the Slowlane? The following lists the primary munitions indigenous to the Slowlane roadmap.
- Go to school
- Get good grades
- Pay yourself first
- Corporate ladder
- Save X% of your paycheck
- Contribute to your 401(k)
- Invest in mutual funds
- Buy and hold
- Paychecks, pensions, benefits
- Raise your insurance deductibles
- The stock market
- Say “no” to expensive lattes
- Be frugal
- Get out of debt
- Clip coupons
- Cancel your credit cards
- Dollar cost averaging
- Get an advanced degree
- Pay off your house early
- Your home is an asset
- Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
- Live below your means
- Understand compound interest
The Slowlane Roadmap: A Mathematical Introduction
Not even the greatest musician in the world can illuminate the blinding depths of the rat race and those entrenched by its indifference.
Have you become so numbed by making a living that the living has been sucked out of your life?
When you trade your life mindlessly for a paycheck, you risk being blinded to life itself as you cursively walk by it in a busy train station. Life does not begin on Friday night and end Monday morning.
“Thank God It 's Friday”: Born and Bred in the Slowlane
Friday evening symbolizes the emergence of that payment, freedom for two days. The prostitution of Monday through Friday is the reason “Thank God it's Friday” exists. On Friday, people are paid FREEDOM in the currency of Saturday and Sunday!
Negative 60% The Dismal Return of the Slowlane
The 5-for-2 return on investment is a negative 60%. If you make consistent negative 60% return on investments, you'd go bankrupt quick. What logical person would accept such a horrific deal?
Most likely, you already do.
While people easily recognize and reject a negative 60% return on their money, they do it willingly with their time.
Time is mismanaged because the Slowlane is predicated on time. Five days of servitude for two days of freedom is not a good trade
While I worked my plan, I gave 7-for-0 (I worked seven days and didn't take a day off) because I knew the roads on my roadmap converged with dreams. I worked for a better ratio in the near future, not in 40 years. I controlled my destiny and eventually my time trade investment yielded a dividend of 40 years. Now I do 0-for-7. I work zero days and get seven days of freedom.
Normal Is Condemnation to Mediocrity
The problem is, we've been brainwashed to accept the Slowlane roadmap as normal.
"I've reached a breaking point. Five years is a long time to live in a room no bigger than a jail cell. The jobs are mind numbing. I feel like my life is a prison. I have a good lifestyle for saving money, but at the expense of my mental sanity and happiness as a human being. I just feel like I can't live like this any longer."
- The Slowlane is a natural course-correction from the Sidewalk evolving from taking responsibility and accountability.
- Wealth is best experienced when you're young, vibrant, and able, not in the twilight of your life.
- The Slowlane is a plan that takes decades to succeed, often requiring masterful political prowess in a corporate environment. For the Slowlaner, Saturday and Sunday is the paycheck for Monday through Friday.
- The default return on your time in the Slowlane is negative 60%-5-for-2.
- The 5-for-2 trade inherit in the Slowlane is generally fixed and cannot be manipulated, because job standards are five days a week.
- The predisposed destination of the Slowlane is mediocrity. Life isn't great, but it isn't so bad either.
CHAPTER 11: THE CRIMINAL TRADE: YOUR JOB
By working faithfully 8 hours a day, you may eventually get to be the boss and work 12 hours a day.
-- Robert Frost
I Spent Five Years in College … for a Phonebook?
I spent five years in college just to sit in a 6 X 6 cubicle and cold-call elderly people out of a damn telephone book? Are you freaking kidding me?
Jobs: Domestication into Normalcy
If you want to escape the Slowlane, find wealth and freedom fast, you've got to dump the job.
Let me repeat.
Dump the damn job!
Suckage #1: To Trade Time Is to Trade Life
You sell your freedom to get freedom. Pretty stupid, huh?
Jobs suck because they ravenously consume TIME. At a job, TIME TRADE is central to how you make money.
In a job, you sell your life for money. If you work, you get paid. If you don't work, you don't get paid. Who officiated this bloodsucking marriage?
Suckage #2: Limitation on Experience
I learned more as an entrepreneur in two months than I did working 10 years at dozens of dead-end jobs.
The problem with a specialized skill set is, it narrows your useful value to a confined set of marketplace needs.
You become one of many cogs in a wheel.
A job limits learning and mutates into life's death knell: a trade of life force for money.
Experience comes from what you do in life, not from what you do in a job. You don't need a job to get experience.
Ask yourself this: Which experience is more important? The experience of a menial job designed to pay your bills? Or the experience (and failures) of creating something that could provide you financial freedom for a life-time without ever having to hold a job again?
Suckage #3: No Control
If you don't control your income, you don't control your financial plan. If you don't control your financial plan, you don't control your freedom.
Suckage #4: Linda's Bad Breath
It's the same story, different people, different day, in a different office. So-and-so is sleeping with the boss and courting favor. Jim is lazy but takes credit for the work. Linda has bad breath and everyone is afraid to tell her. Lacey arrives late and leaves early. Horace steals food and wears the same sport jacket every day. Lazy Lester never replaces the copier paper. Same stories, different office.
Everything had a process. Got an idea? Great, send it to the boss, the boss sends it to his boss.
Suckage #5: A Subscription to “Pay Yourself Last”
“Pay yourself first” is a Slowlane doctrine. The problem is that it's near impossible in a job.
expect 50% of your money to disappear before it touches your hands. As an employee, you immediately receive a subscription to “pay yourself last,” and yes, that subscription arrives even if you don't subscribe.
If you are paying yourself last and everyone gets your money first, don't expect to build wealth fast.
Suckage #6: A Dictatorship on Income
You reply, “No joke. I'm serious. I make $9 an hour. I want a raise to $90 an hour.”
This scenario would never happen. As an employee, you can't demand a pay raise greater than 10%, let alone 1,000%. Yet, as an employee of any company, this is your playing field. Your value is dictated and the job becomes a wealth delimiter with limitations that cannot be subverted.
A job seals your fate into a criminal time trade: five days of life traded for two days of freedom. A job chains you to a set grade of experience. A job takes away your control. A job forces you to work with people you can't stand. A job forces you to get paid last. A job imposes a dictatorship on your income. These limitations are counter-insurgencies to wealth.
Still want a job?
- In a job, you sell your freedom (in the form of time) for freedom (in the form of money).
- Experience is gained in action. The environment of that action is irrelevant.
- Wealth accumulation is thwarted when you don't control your primary income source.
CHAPTER 12: THE SLOWLANE-- WHY YOU AREN'T RICH
Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows.
-- Michael Landon
Exposing Slowlane Ineptitude
The Slowlane strategy is rooted in Uncontrollable Limited Leverage, or ULL.
“If the Slowlane is your plan, 'ULL' never get rich.”
Uncontrollable Limited Leverage (ULL) – Part 1
Why is ULL so important? To accumulate financial wealth, you need to attract large sums of money. To attract large sums of money, you need two things: 1) Control and 2) Leverage.
The Warden of Wealth: Intrinsic Value
How is money earned in a job?
Intrinsic value is determined by the marketplace and is the price at which you can trade your time for money.
How much is someone willing to pay you for what you offer to society? Intrinsic value is measured in units of time, either hourly or annually. If you're paid $10/hour to flip burgers at the neighborhood grill, your intrinsic value is $10 per hour.
JOB [Your Intrinsic Value] = (Hourly Rate of Pay) X (Hours Worked)
~ or ~
JOB [Your Intrinsic Value] = Annual Salary
Notice that intrinsic value is measured in units of TIME.
This “time attachment” introduces the Slowlane's first punitive element of wealth creation.
Can you control time? Can you leverage time? You can't.
If you earn $50,000/year, you can't miraculously demand to work 400 years in your life. Time has no leverage.
For the hourly worker, your maximum upper limit is 24 hours, and guess what. There's nothing you can do to change this limit.
If leverage is limited, so is wealth creation. Small numbers do not make millionaires.
Can you control the economy? Can you earn $50,000 one year and next year bank $50 million? Can you control anything about your job, including your measly 4% pay raise? You might think you can by job-hopping, but you can't. Control is weak, if not absent.
Compound Interest: What “They” Don't Tell You
Wealth creation via compound interest requires the passing of time and lots of it. Like a job, compound interest, or market investments such as mutual funds and 401(k)s, can't be leveraged nor can they be controlled. They rely on deficient math to create wealth.
They don't tell you that a 15% return year-after-year is impossible unless you invest with Bernie Madoff or Charles Ponzi.
They don't tell you that in 40 years you'll be dead, and if you're not, you'll be close.
They don't tell you that in 40 years, your $2.5 million will likely be worth $250,000 in today's dollars and that a gallon of milk will cost $12.00.
They don't tell you that this method of wealth acceleration is not what they use.
Uncontrollable Limited Leverage (ULL) - Part 2
For compound interest to be effective, you need three things:
- TIME, as measured in years.
- A favorable YEARLY INVESTMENT YIELD within those years.
- An INVESTED SUM, repeatedly invested.
You see, wealth acceleration via compound interest is deficient because its variables are deficient. Neither time nor yield can be leveraged or controlled. Again, meet my friend Uncontrollable Limited Leverage.
Why Mutual Funds and 401(k)s Won't Make You Rich
They used time to accelerate wealth, and what it got them was old age. I don't say that to be mean-spirited to older generations, but to cast light on the point: Compound interest (401(k)s, mutual funds, the stock market) cannot accelerate wealth fast.
Has your wealth ever grown by 800% in one year? Probably not, but guess what? MINE HAS because I'm not shackled to the Slowlane wealth equation. My wealth acceleration vehicle doesn't come from the stock market!
The Slowlane's Traitorous Relationship with Time
Compound interest and a job have the same disease: the sinful and gluttonous consumption of your time while forsaking control. Both variables within the Slowlane wealth equation are anchored by time-time traded in a job and time traded in market investments.
To trade your time away is to trade your wealth away.
Folks, you don't want millions to accompany your cane, you want it to accompany your youth.
Every day, people sacrifice their time for tiny nuggets of wealth, where time is the liability and not the asset. Anything that steals time and doesn't have the power to free time is a liability.
Within the Slowlane, time is mistreated like an effervescent fountain that runs forever. Unfortunately, the mortality rate is 100% and life's prognosis is death. Some day you will die, and, hopefully, 60% of your time wasn't squandered in a cubicle while your children grew up and your spouse cheated with the yoga instructor.
The Slowlane Is a Plan of Hope
The Slowlane dilutes your control. You're reading this book because you want to control your financial destiny, NOT put it in the hands of some company or the stock market.
If you want to get rich, you have to control and leverage the variables in your financial plan-any financial plan without control immediately disintegrates into a plan of hope. Hope I don't get laid off! Hope my stocks rebound! Hope I get that promotion! Hope my hours aren't cut! Hope my company doesn't go bankrupt! Hope, hope, and hope! Sorry, hope isn't a plan!
Wealth is built with time as an asset, not as a liability!
the Slowlaner's reaction to Uncontrollable Limited Leverage is predictable: They embark on an errant fight against the one variable they perceive as controllable-their intrinsic value.
And that fight is fought futilely with an expensive education.
- Slowlane wealth is improbable due to Uncontrollable Limited Leverage (ULL).
- The first variable in the Slowlane wealth equation evolves from a job that factors to intrinsic value that equates to your nominal value for each unit of your life traded.
- Intrinsic value is the value of your time set by the marketplace and is measured in units of time, either hourly or yearly.
- In the Slowlane, intrinsic value (regardless of its time measurement) is numerically inhibited because there are only 24 hours in the day (for the hourly worker),and the average lifespan is 74 years (for the salaried worker).
- Like the Slowlaner's primary income source (a job), the Slowlaner's wealth acceleration vehicle (compound interest) is also pegged to time.
- Like a job, compound interest is mathematically futile and cannot be manipulated. You cannot force-feed the market (or the economy) to give you phenomenal returns, year after year.
- Wealth cannot be accelerated when pegged to mathematics based on time.
- Time is your primordial fuel and it should not be traded for money.
- Your time should not be an expendable resource for wealth because wealth itself is composed of time.
- Your mortality makes time mathematically retarded for wealth creation.
- If you don't control the variables inherent in your wealth universe, you don't control your financial plan.