Up until this point in my life, I’ve had to uncover a lot of lies. It first started when I learned that there was in fact no plump old man who came down my chimney every year to give me presents. Then, there was the time where I learned that my ex’s study partner Chris was in fact a Christopher and not a Christine — I’m sure you can put the dots together there. However, while those lies were bad, none compare to some of the money lies we’ve been led to believe and if you ask me here are the three that are the most sinister!
Lie #1: Money Doesn’t Make You Happy
We’ve all heard the saying that money doesn’t make you happy and that the best things in life are free and to put it bluntly — this is complete bullshit. I’ve had times in my life where I was strapped financially and have also enjoyed times of financial prosperity and let me tell you the latter beats the former by a long-shot.
You see, if you ask me, the notion that money doesn’t make you happy is passed around for two primary reasons. First, people don’t want you to feel bad if right now you’re not exactly keeping pace with Warren Buffett. Now, obviously I don’t want anyone to feel bad about themselves but sometimes we need a kick in the pants to get us up and moving and I think this is completely okay as long as the constructive criticism you get is communicated in a respectful way. In fact, whenever I tell my friends and family how critical it is to take hold of your financial situation, it’s only because I want them to enjoy all of the benefits that I myself have realized by increasing my own income and wealth over the last few years.
The second reason people spread the message that you don’t need money to be happy is because they don’t want you as competition. As you’re aware, in today’s society, whether you like it or not, how much money you have is one of the primary indicators of your status and overall worth. This is why on any date or networking event you attend, the first question people ask you is “what do you do for a living” which is the question “how much money do you make” in disguise. Because wealth is such an easily definable metric for success, it’s easy to know where you stand amongst your peers.
Now, maybe you feel like you’re unaffected by how much wealth those around you possess but studies indicate that yes, how much Dave across the street makes will in fact impact your happiness. A 2010 study conducted at the University of Warwick and Cardiff University found that to be happy, people must perceive themselves as being more highly paid than their friends and work colleagues regardless of how much money they were actually making. Now, while I can’t speak for everyone on this topic, I can give you my own take on how making and having more money has impacted my levels of happiness. The first way making more money has made me happier is by raising my financial confidence.
Now that I have built multiple online businesses and continue to make forward strides in my career, I feel as if I have more value to offer and know that I have a greater ability to generate income outside of traditional means. In short, if I find myself in a financial pinch, I can get out of it given the set of skills I’ve been able to cultivate over time.
The next benefit of having more money that I’ve been able to enjoy is not having to worry as much. I am naturally an anxious person and it takes very little for my mind to go into a nervous down spiral. However, having my financial situation on-point has been huge for my mental well-being and that alone has been worth investing my time into leveling up my money.
Finally, let’s talk about what people love to do most with their money: spending. While I will be the first to tell you that you need to spend wisely if you want to get ahead financially, the reality is it feels damn good to spend money. It feels good to spend money on yourself and it feels even better to spend money on others.
Whether we like it or not, most of us are going to be working for the foreseeable future but what separates some of us from the rest is if all that time will translate into enough money, some of which can be enjoyed, or if those earnings will barely be enough to get by. When you earn more money and hence have more money, you can at least enjoy the fruits of your labor whereas when you’re making a low-income, it’s all work and no play.
Now, I’m sure for some people, having more money will mean less to them than to others, it really depends on your life aspirations and how material of a person you are. However, to round out this first lie, I will say that in my own experience, the benefits of making more money are worth the effort to attain and yes when used right, money can make you happy.
Lie #2: There’s No Such Thing As Passive Income
It still kills me that some people will liken the tooth fairy and passive income in the sense that neither one actually exists. Let me tell you right here and now that yes, both of these things do exist and they can both allow you to make money while you sleep — thanks for the $5 Mom!
For a while now, I’ve been trying to figure out why there is so much disbelief in the idea of earning passive income and I think it boils down to two main reasons. The first is that most people have never earned a single dollar of passive income and because they haven’t experienced it, they can’t verify its existence. You see, most people take the life path of going to school, getting good grades, getting a job and clocking in and out to earn a paycheck. Really, nothing about this process is passive hence why most people have never enjoyed the rewards of passive income.
The other issue people tend to struggle with when it comes to passive income is how it is defined. Most people think that earning passive income means making money with no inputs being required. This isn’t the case. Whenever you earn passive income, there is always an input of resources involved whether that’s time, money or both. For instance, if you start a blog and write 100 articles then you’ve invested numerous hours into your site. When you earn income from your blog, that income will be passive in nature because the money is being earned after the work has already been put in. Alternatively, you could reap passive rewards through capital investments. One popular example is collecting dividend checks stemming from your dividend portfolio. To earn this passive income, it requires you to stake a capital in dividend producing stocks and every month, quarter or year, you are paid accordingly.
Now, you may be thinking, “well Adam, how do you know passive income is real?” and I know because I earn it every day. Between my two YouTube channels and my drop-servicing business, I make money while I eat, while I sleep and even while I go on my one hour morning walks. Once you have a system in place, you can control your level of effort and investment that goes into your passive income model. For instance, with a YouTube channel, you can take on every aspect of running the channel yourself or you can outsource parts or all of the effort depending on how much time and money you want to invest.
If you still don’t believe me that passive income is real then what I want you to do is open up your banking app and look at the funds in your checking or savings account — I hope for your sake you see a ton of zeroes when you do! Look at the interest that has accrued on your money over the last year — that my friends is passive income. You didn’t work to earn that interest income but you did have to deposit money to earn that interest. Therefore, don’t believe the lie that passive income doesn’t exist because we’ve just proven that it’s real and you’re probably earning it as we speak!
Lie #3: Long-Term Investing Will Make You Rich
You hear it all the time that if you want to get rich you need to save money and invest for the long-term. Well, I have news for you — this is a lie. Now, to be clear, you absolutely should be investing your money. Just because I am about to share with you a hot take on investing doesn’t mean you should avoid it like the plague. However, as a primary means of wealth creation, long-term investing is not an ideal approach to take and I’ll explain why that is now. Let’s say that your goal is to become a millionaire and after punching in some figures into your compound interest calculator, you come to realize that you’ll need to invest $900 a month for the next 30 years at a 7% rate of return to get there. Sounds great right? Well, there are a few issues that we need to address before you go add “future millionaire” to your business card.
The first issue relates to human behavior. Let me ask you this, when was the last time you did something consistently for a period of 30 years? Hell, you may not even be 30 years old yet making this question a moot point to say the least. Where I’m going with this is that life happens and there will be times when meeting your investment contributions will be challenging. For instance, will you still be able to invest $900 a month once you buy your first home, when you get laid off from work or when your car’s engine blows up on the side of the highway? Obviously I hope none of these things ever happen to you but let’s face it, life is full of surprises.
The second issue, and probably the one that’s more alarming is the time value of money. Let’s say you do invest consistently for the next 30 years, you’re going to be rolling in cash right? Not quite. When an inflation rate of 2.5% is factored into the mix, that $1 million you’ll have in 30 years will actually be worth just $476,743. In short, you’ll be a half-millionaire at best.
Now, if you’re someone who has put all your eggs into the long-term investing basket then fortunately you are realizing this harsh reality now and not 30 years from now so count yourself lucky. But this unfortunate truth begs another question, what’s the solution?
As we’ve seen from the example, long-term investing can grow your wealth but it shouldn’t be your primary means of wealth generation. In combination with investing, what you want to do is focus on maximizing your income. As you can imagine, when you’re investing $5,000 a month versus just $900, the chances of becoming a millionaire will rise significantly. So how do you make more money? Simple, you provide more value.
In today’s day and age, adding more value can be done through educating or entertaining a large number of people or by offering a very unique and valuable skill set to the open market. This is why you see a lot of YouTubers making insane amounts of income because they offer something of value and have the reach to spread their value far and wide.
Alternatively, this is why specialized doctors are so highly paid. They offer an essential service to the public and given how scarce their skillset is they can demand very lucrative rates for their time worked.
Therefore, yes, you want to have your money work for you by investing it but don’t solely rely on long-term investing as a means of wealth generation. Instead, combine investing with continued income expansion and when the two come together, achieving all of your wildest wealth goals will be within reach!