New Civilization News: Wealth Secrets    
 Wealth Secrets27 comments
picture8 May 2002 @ 17:06, by Flemming Funch

I've noticed that most people who appear to have monetary success are not at all sharing how it happened. People who have an abundance of money are usually extremely vague when you question them on how that came about.

You know, I'd like most everybody to be successful and abundant and confortable in their lives. So, I figure, if we just shared widely the most workable methods of arriving there, we could all just use those methods.

Unfortunately I don't think it works that way when we're talking about money. Most people who are very financially comfortable can't give you a formula you can follow. Either because they don't know, or because they arrived there by some coincidence or one-shot opportunity that can't be duplicated, or they arrived there through some shady transactions that they would rather not share.

I think it is mostly because our money is based on the lie that it represents the production of something valuable over time. Where really what it represents is the aquisition of a profit, i.e. getting more out of something than you put into it. Ideally, getting something for nothing. The best way of making a lot of money would be to have somebody else forced to pay you for nothing, repeatedly.

But we usually prefer to pretend that money follows those who're doing good things, or who have the right energy, or who are hardworking and noble people, or who at least have a workable plan. And there's something to that, but I think it is mostly a pretense. At best, you gather money because you're good at gathering money, not because you do good things.

I feel somewhat comfortable speaking about this because I myself have been very up and down, several times, and right now I'm up, but I still didn't manage to find much of a formula to how I'd be financially successful. OK, I work hard and try to do the best I can, and if I don't have anybody with money to do it for, I'll promote myself until I get some work. But that doesn't always work. OK, I've always survived. I've never actually physically starved or been homeless, although I've been very close to both, and I have never been rich either. But I've been a year behind in my rent, I've gone backrupt, had my house foreclosed, etc., and I've also at times earned very good money. And none of it seemed to be much in sync with whether I actually did good work or not. I was working equally hard, or rather harder, when I was un-susccessful.

And at times when I've looked around at the people I know who are financially abundant, it rarely is an ongoing manifestation of the value of their hard work. It very often is a one-shot kind of thing.

Like, one person is doing well and doesn't have to work, because she has a trust fund. I.e. she was married to a successful businessman who left her with investments that'll keep her comfortable the rest of her life. That's great, but I can't emulate that.

One friend of mine is a professional investor. That is, he insists that he never works, and he mostly spends his time going to events or going on vacation, and looking for things to put money in. All I could get out of him is that he had some metal-plating business many years ago, which he sold, and then he invested the money, and he just kept doing that. Stocks, real-estate, etc.

One friend is rich and has a mansion and a Rolls-Royce and a yacht and owns a bunch of companies. His family was wealthy and pretty much set him up that way. Great and inspiring guy whom it is always fun to hang out with. But none of it really rubs off. When I've tried to hook him into any tangible projects involving money it hasn't quite worked out.

Whenever I've managed to look a little into the history of people I know who seem to be able to live a life of leisure, I've mostly either met complete vagueness, or I've found a one-shot thing that somehow lasted for a long time. Royalties from something one did 20 years ago, or a settlement in a law suit, or an inheritance or something.

There was an employee in my department a number of years back, at the time of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Russia. When she heard the news on the radio she grabbed the phone and called her investment broker, and bought a bunch of future options for selling grains. A couple of days later that made her $40,000. More than her normal yearly salary. You know, Russia was a big grain producer, and the prices would go up because a lot of their crop now couldn't be sold. What can I learn from that? Oh, certainly to be aware and to look for opportunities and to act on them. A good business person will do that, and that isn't all luck of course. So, good lesson there.

But my point is that most financial affluence hasn't come from just doing valuable work over the years. It has come from people grabbing one-shot opportunities, which they then reap the benefits from later.

Looking at my own history, there was a period of 5 years or so, many years ago, when I was most successful financially. It was all based on one 5 minute meeting. I had done a little extra job in my spare time for an upstart company affiliated with the company I worked for. They had paid me my normal over-time pay, I think $12/hour or so. I thought it was too little, and that I ought to be paid more like a real computer consultant. I asked for $40/hour, and said I would quit the project if they didn't pay me. The president negotiated me down to $30. We both thought we were only talking about a limited project of a few weeks, of maybe 10 hours per week or something. But the project mushroomed, and pretty soon I was designing the computer system for a rapidly growing insurance company, and its whole survival was hinging around that computer system. We never changed our deal, or even talked about it ever again, but I was pretty much working 80 hour weeks for years, and just handed in my invoice for close to $10,000 every month, and they just paid it. Oh, it was certainly worth it for them, and I worked hard for it, and it was quickly a $50 million/year company. But it was a lot of money in those days, and I was paid as much as the president of the company. And what I was paid was not based on how valuable it was. If they felt they had a choice about it, they'd paid me less than half. But we made a deal, at one point in time, and that stuck.

I was doing work for a company funded by a fellow who makes $600,000 per month. What does he do for that? Nothing much, but he was in the right place at the right time when a certain vitamin multi-level marketing scheme started up, and he has thousands of people under him selling vitamins for him. And he's good at standing up in front of a crowd of people and telling them how successful he is, and inspiring them to go and work hard on being like him.

I'm searching for more sustainable formulas for success. Do they exist? Is life fair, or is it all a matter of luck and ripping other people off when you have the chance? I hope not.


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27 comments

8 May 2002 @ 23:27 by mmmark : Please laugh at my take
I don't think it matters how to make money, or lots of it. This post seems to assume that there is a value in making it, yet there is only value because we agree to use money to represent value. We now have more emphasis on gathering it and keeping it than on any other aspect of western life - so that prevents us from placing any intention on doing things that can be properly reprented by money. I think this is very lucid stuff you wrote, but we need to design ways to make ourselves equally rich without money.  


8 May 2002 @ 23:50 by ming : Oh, I agree
Yes, of course. But we're so stuck in it, even if we try to pretend we're not. I've never thought as much about money (or the lack of it) as when I quit my last job in order to 100% just do the stuff I was really inspired to do. To walk my talk. And I was doing so poorly that I spent most of my energy on being stressed over not being able to pay my rent. But, yes, I'd really like us to get over that whole money thing.  


9 May 2002 @ 01:49 by jazzolog : Rich Yankee Bastards
Naturally gentlemen, I wish to inject good old democratic politics into the discussion. (A groan is emitted from the Webmaster's desk.) Actually, in this case, I shall turn you over to a wonderful essayist named James Higdon, who here reflects on why he is not a Republican (this year) [link] . He also ponders something the current Administration apparently does not: what is our duty as the wealthiest nation on Earth?  


9 May 2002 @ 02:05 by scottj : Two thing required to make money
First the eye for an opportunity when it passes by and second the lack of any real social conscience to raise doubts about grabbing it with both hands the instant it presents itself. So many people are complete moral scizophrenics when it comes to money making.

Any and all unearned income like huge profits and investment earnings are made at the expense of large numbers of poorer people. Unequal distributiion of wealth is the nr1 economic problem and the attitude of the rich dudes are at the core of the process.  



9 May 2002 @ 05:30 by istvan : A natural phenomena?
Perhaps some of the insights into the nature of power lies within the natural environment and legacy of evolution itself. The most pwerful beast of the jungle, the king of beasts the lion is actually a common thief, and aabuser of the female lion. The male lion rarely does any huntimg, but lets the females do that. The lyon will take the pray from the chetah who did the hunting. He can do that by his ow sheer phisical superiority.
This has been the legacy of the powerful human throughout history. Look at the fancy robes of past elite classes. Does'nt they remind you of the lyon? Look at the current political powermongers, what does this indicate?
Scottj, i am glad you mentione scizophrenia when it comes to wealth.
I see rich people as the most mentally ill and insecure beings of our species.
How insecure a man has to be to have to amess billions to feel secure? How unknowing of of his nature as a human being a man has to be to have to strive for the title of the richest man on eart have to be able to value himself. Like bill Gates, who at the same time uses billions of peole who turn on their computers. I might add how stupid i have to be to allow myself for him to do that?  



9 May 2002 @ 12:12 by sharie : Living the good life...
I've known many millionaires. I didn't envy a single one.

I've learned it's most satisfying to need very little and to be among friends who live wonderful, fulfilling, satisfying lives developing their gifts and talents that we offer for free.  



9 May 2002 @ 14:28 by ming : Money doesn't smell
A Danish saying translates to "money doesn't smell", which says roughly the same thing as money being blind. When you have money, it doesn't matter where it came from. Whether you worked hard for it, or you killed for it, the money is the same, and buys the same stuff. Oh, the universe has its own laws of karma, but money doesn't care. I want to know where it came from, however.  


9 May 2002 @ 15:22 by b : Money flows
Ming, I love this thread. I'll barely mention the people who critisize money and those who have it because they don't and won't. Or posters who respond to some thing else then your wonderful presentation of this enriching subject. So, as one who has seen rough times but continously has money, flows money, plans gradient returns of money for effort performed, I often weigh risk against result. Between those two is performance. There is an abundance of things and it is possible to tap into the flow of that abundance. Difficult if you are real needy, if it is absolutely necessary. "Scared money doesn't win" old gambling adage.  


9 May 2002 @ 15:24 by b : Money
Ming, can I get my handle back as member name? I will pay you if you want.  


9 May 2002 @ 16:38 by haniel : What worked for me.
I recently moved to the USA from Europe, and for me, it came down to being in the right place at the right time. I was lucky a vacancy opened up in an IT department which I still work at.

I worked hard, made sure my position was high profile, worked to establish good relationships with collegues and made sure they knew that I was an asset, not just a person pulling a check. Doing that double a good salary into an excellent one.

Now I'm looking at investing in additional property in the city, in areas where there will be good growth. Contacts in planning departments means I can get a pretty good idea where property prices will rise dramatically.

So for me, it's been luck, hard work and knowing when an opportunity is presenting itself.

Good thread.  



9 May 2002 @ 17:42 by ming : Give me Money
Reserve your personal NCN member handles for $100! And if you call in the next 4 minutes I'll give you not one, but TWO of these exquisite balloon hats. ... Just kidding. Indeed, I've discovered too that it is much easier to make money when you don't really need it. If you really don't care, you can just ask for any amount you feel like, and sometimes people will actually pay it. And banks will only lend you money if you can prove that you really don't need it. Seems unfair sometimes, particularly when you're the one with he need, but it also seems to be just a universal mechanism, where somebody who reaches too much for something will actually repel it, and those who really don't care are likely to pull it in. Some action/reaction, supply/demand, reach/withdraw kind of thing. I've noticed it myself, for example, in the past where I've interviewed a lot of people in order to fill some job position. If somebody made very clear that they really, really needed that job, and they needed to take care of their family, urgently, I instantly would feel rather reluctant to give them the job. Sad to admit, but true. Or if somebody was being kind of arrogant and making totally unrealistic demands for salary and benefits, I would be kind of interested.  


20 Jun 2002 @ 18:20 by protech : Rich Dad, Poor Dad
A [very] popular book out at the moment is Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I found it an excellant read, and went on to purchase and integrate his other books, Cashflow Quadrant and Retire Young, Retire Rich (and, as you'll see, join his excellent affiliate program!)

His books are full of anecdotes, and your reference above Flemming to interviewing a "needy" person reminded me of one of those. (I'm not going to type it here....It's worth it to read the book! :-)  



20 Jun 2002 @ 21:52 by ming : Money and You
Well, although I didn't read any of his books, I did the "Money and You" seminar which I think is what he made himself on. A very intensive 4-day transformational, motivational, entrepreneurial kind of thing. Which I have somewhat mixed feelings about, as it was probably the most mind-manipulative thing I've ever attended, but it was certainly transformational.  


26 May 2004 @ 02:54 by Bernard Goh @61.14.80.2 : Info Needed
Hi, I am from singapore and I would like to find out where did you attended the "Money and You" seminar ? any help is very much appreciated. thanks millions in advance.

Regards,
Bernard Goh  



26 May 2004 @ 10:59 by ming : $&U
It was in Los Angeles, at least 10 years ago. Why are you asking? As far as I remember, Money and You was in Singapore too.  


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