Why You Won’t Be Rich
One of my new favorite poems is from “My Wage,” The Door of Dreams, by Jessie B Ritenhouse:
“I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store.
For Life is just an employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.
I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.”
If you are working for a salary or hourly wage, especially if it is a low one, you may be asking too little of life! I know I did for years.
But this really is just one of the reasons you might never accumulate wealth. In my book Choose Wealth – Be a Millionaire by Midlife, I have detailed what I think are the reasons many of us don’t reach financial independence. This post will give you a taste of those reasons.
You lack the vision and desire to be a millionaire.
Perhaps you have never been exposed to wealth. Maybe your family has always been poor and you just think that is the way things are supposed to be. Very few young people have the good fortune to be steered from the path their family has set. Even fewer break the mold themselves. You don’t understand that you could choose to be wealthy.
If you don’t have the desire and vision to be a millionaire, you won’t set the goals or make the plans to get there.
You kind of want to be rich, but along the way other things are more important to you.
Perhaps you agree that it would be better to have a few cool million later in life, and perhaps you start out eager and ready to make the plans and do the deeds to get there, but somewhere along the way you get distracted. You decide to spend the money instead of save it. You decide that it wouldn’t be all that bad to put the vacation on the credit card, because, well, you just don’t have the money saved for it yet.
It’s OK to consciously decide to pursue something besides monetary wealth. It is your life and you set the goals.
But if you want to pursue something else AND have wealth, you need to prioritize. If you can’t pursue it now, will you go back to it? Which is more important and to which will you devote more of your time and attention?
You lack the conviction that you can be wealthy.
No one you know made it to a million. Your parents or spouse or siblings or friends ridicule your dream of wealth and convince you that you can’t reach your wealth goals.
If you let the naysayers hold you back, you never convince your self that you can be financially independent.
Walter D. Wintle penned this idea into a poem.
If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s (or girl’s) will-
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man (or woman),
But soon or late the man (or woman) who wins
Is the man (or woman) WHO THINKS HE (SHE) CAN!
You are unwilling to embrace a mentality of plenty.
If you grew up in a poor household, your parents no doubt stressed frugality and thriftiness and reminded you at every turn that “money doesn’t grow on trees” or “we can’t afford that”.
If you believe money and wealth are scarce, you may find that you are content with less. You are not envisioning how far your investments could go, how high you could rise in the organization or how big your business could get.
As the poem at the top of this post says, life gives us what we ask for, nothing more. Don’t settle! Ask life to grant big dreams and fulfill big ambitions – you have a better chance of becoming wealthy (financially or otherwise) if you do.
Why? Because what you ask for is your desire. Your desire drives the goals you set. When you reach your goals, you are done. You settle for less than you could have had, or end up with plenty, depending on what you requested.
You want it all NOW.
If you never learn to delay satisfaction of your wants, you may well find yourself spending money you don’t have. You may wake up one day, surrounded by out of date clothes, a new car with a big loan and lots of things that don’t bring you wealth or happiness. Instead, you could have advanced your net worth and ended up as a millionaire.
You think it is all about the money.
Becoming millionaire can seem almost accidental, if you are living the life you want and enjoying the journey.
If you obsess about accumulating money, no matter the method or the means, then at some point, you will tire of the pursuit. In order to persist, you must enjoy what you do, you must feel it is something worthy of your time and effort and you must get some kind of a reward from it other than just the money.
You refuse to learn how.
Earning, saving, investing and managing money are skills that can be learned. If you never seek a mentor, read a personal finance book, understand your credit score, look for ways to save or learn how to deal with a broker, you will have a hard time making it to a million.
You refuse to multiply your power.
People who build financial independence let time, money and opportunities work for them. They look for ways to leverage each – multiplying their power by making their time worth more, letting their money earn more and taking on those opportunities when they come along.
You give up.
Life sometimes deals a hard hand to us. If you were dealt lemon after lemon in your life, you may be tempted to give up.
As George Allen once said:
“Health, happiness, and success depend upon the fighting spirit of each person. The big thing is not what happens to us in life – but what we do about what happens to us.”
The above is a partial excerpt from my book Choose Wealth! Be a Millionaire by Midlife. You can buy it from your favorite retailer, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.