Monday, March 28, 2011

Do You Sincerely Want to be Rich?

TheStreet has an odd one up this afternoon on 10 Reasons Why You Aren't Rich.  Rather: virtually every word of it is good advice--take charge of your life, get rid of bad habits, don't blow it all on toys, etc.  I'd concede that a list like this is likely to keep you out of the poorhouse.

But rich?  Somehow the adviser missed the most obvious way to get rich in this society (aside from being born that way) and that is that you've got to want to  be rich.   I know I've veering dangerously close to a feel-good pep-me-up here, but I'm sure that nothing breeds money quite so well as the desire to breed money--plus prudence, responsibility, good habits, all that other stuff.  

I know: the unemployment lines are littered with former mortgage brokers (say) who just loved to have all the moolah splashing around.  The point is they didn't follow the other rules--they drank their own Kool-Aid.

And I know it is easy to identify those models of probity and prudence who are also zillionaires: Warren Buffett, of course; John Bogle; Peter Lynch. They're all paragons of good behavior but they also liked making money--so much so they seem at times almost to have forgotten that they were doing it. 

Meanwhile, there are quite a number of schoolteachers, ministers, social workers, whatever, who do buy the prudence and responsibility line and are still chugging along on $45,000 year.  The point is, the ones I'm talking about--they don't really mind.  Wasn't it Joseph Heller who said he had one thing no zillionaire has, and that is "enough"?

Trivia note: That headline is from one really superb business book. At least I remember it so. Wonder if it would hold up well after a generation.


Elise said...

I mind!

dilbert dogbert said...

It is a supply and demand problem. Sort of like the lottery. Lots of demand, every player wants to win, but small supply, only one or few winners.
I knew how to get rich in California real estate but did have money to ante up and too many serious responsibilities to plunge with debt.
I guess if I was really serious about wanting to be rich I would have gone whole hog and assumed that my wife and children would be happy homeless.