The American dream of wealth creation is still real for average people as long as they avoid doing what normal people do and then take actions that normal people won’t take! While some suggest, “I don’t need to get rich, just comfortable,” with inflation threatening and the dollar dropping, getting rich may be the only way to survive in the future.
I’m an average American — I didn’t get rich quick, wasn’t lucky, definitely not privileged and didn’t attend a fancy school. I created wealth by avoiding the mistakes most Americans make and took actions that most average people refuse to take.
A majority of Americans have been made to believe that creating wealth is either almost impossible or not important. It only takes a bit of observation to see that the only group of people that are not at risk today are the very rich. Blame them, hate them, resent them but the reality is they are safe and everyone else is at risk. They will be able to survive inflation, housing bust, tight credit, unemployment, and whatever else is thrown at them. The idea of just being comfortable is a risky venture with inflation threatening and the value of your dollars plunging.
Here is a short list of pitfalls to avoid and actions to take that will ensure even the average can become rich.
Pitfalls to avoid:
- Spending on “stuff”
- Not saving “years” of cash
Over the last few years, the most punished are those who borrowed the most. Even sophisticated investors got caught in the insanity of using debt to expand their businesses.
I avoid all borrowing unless the debt (interest cost) is paid by others. I have never borrowed for my primary business but will borrow to buy apartment buildings because the income from the property will pay the debt down on the building.
Avoid spending money on “stuff.” I know guys that have zero savings and as soon as they get a bonus they blow it on stuff. I didn’t buy my first Swiss watch or German car until I had a million dollars working for me.
Financial planners suggest three months of cash in savings. In my newest book, The 10X Rule, I explain how even “the professionals” incorrectly estimate what it takes to create financial freedom. Consider the millions of people that have been out of work so long that the government extended unemployment benefits to 99 weeks! Three months?! You need three years of savings for emergencies and investments!
Shortlist of actions to take:
- Increase your income.
- Save as much as you spend.
- Bank cash in “sacred” accounts.
Increase your income immediately. Increasing your income doesn’t mean you have to change jobs, look for new things to do at the company you work to create additional income. Then get multiple flows of income from other sources even if it means taking a second job.
Start saving $1 for every $1 you spend. I started this at the age of 25 and most people think it is impossible but it’s not. For every dollar I spent, I had to save (after withholding taxes) the same amount. If I spent $6000 a month I had to save $6000! This will force you to focus on both parts of the wealth creation formula — spending and creating.
The third thing is to put your free money into multiple “sacred” accounts. Never leave your money in checking accounts, get rid of it by assigning it to “future-use” accounts. Put all overages into accounts that are sacred and will not even be used for emergencies. Warren Buffett is famous for hoarding cash so that when a great opportunity presents itself he is loaded up and can pull the trigger.
Creating financial wealth, even getting rich, is still available to the average American if you just avoid the pitfalls and take the right actions. Only 3 percent of all the millionaires inherited their wealth, 41 percent of all millionaires didn’t go to college, their average GPA was 2.9 and only one-third of all millionaires work for themselves. And if you think money won’t make you happy, 70 percent of all millionaires say money created a higher life satisfaction.
The only secret about getting rich is that there ain’t no secret! Don’t be suckered by “get rich quick” schemes or think that getting rich is as simple as some supposed “law of attraction.” The American dream is not dead and creating wealth for the average American only requires going for it, hard work, discipline, saving, good investing, and executing a plan!
Grant Cardone, International Sales Training Expert and NY Times Best-Selling Author