Wealthy people don’t listen to these people. So who do you listen to?
The thing to keep in mind when you are taking advice from anybody is this, if you do what they did, you will become what they are. The question that you have to ask yourself is this, do you want to become like them? If they are in debt, you will be in debt if you do what they teach. If they have to work, because they are always broke, you will be broke too, if you do what they do. What about people who tell you that going to college will make you financially successful? Are they broke? Are they in debt? Are they going to have to work for forty years before they can retire? Do they have a job just to earn enough money to survive? These are tough questions, very tough questions. How can somebody show you how to be a master of your financial destiny if they can’t even master their own finances? If they are so smart about money, how come they are broke, or even worse, in debt?
What I have found that works well for me is to assume that when it comes to financial advice, I can put people into two categories. Either a person doesn’t know what they are talking about, or they are deliberately trying to take my money from me by lying to me. An old saying serves to illustrate this point, “What you do speaks so loud that I can’t hear what you’re saying.” Question everybody, including me. See if what I say will stand the test of common sense.
In the case of people who try to convince you that doing something will benefit you financially, are they going to get any money if you do what they recommend? Sounds sort of basic doesn’t it. But if somebody makes money if you follow their advice, their advice is tainted, at the very least. And if a person makes more money as the purchase price increases, such as a real-estate broker, whose commission gets bigger as the purchase price of the house gets bigger, you are well advised to be extremely careful. If you buy a more expensive house, they make a bigger commission. But it is you who gets stuck with bigger payments, bigger taxes, bigger insurance and more upkeep. You are stuck with these bigger expenses for many, many, years. The real-estate broker makes a few thousand more dollars at closing, but you end up paying lots more every year, and for many years in the future. They get a few more thousand dollars quick profit, and it costs you many tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long term. Any time someone is trying to sell you something, it is to benefit themselves and not you. If you assume that they could care less about what benefits you and your family, you will be one very wise person indeed.
If the person who is telling you how to handle your finances, are they really competent to be giving you advice on money? I don’t mean to belittle your parents or friends, but you have to look at how they handle their own finances to see if you want to be listening to what they are telling you. Do you want to be deeply in debt your entire life, working for 40 years, just scraping by, in order to retire at age 65, and then spending the rest of your life worrying about being able to have enough money every month to pay the utility bills and afford food too? If you don’t, then you probably don’t want to do what they have done. And you probably don’t want to go to college either, because that is how most people with college degrees live. The truth is, that’s how most people live, whether they go to college or not. College education is not what determines your level of financial success.
Seek advice from somebody who is debt free, and has enough investments where he or she doesn’t have to work any more, and you will get totally different advice than you would get from somebody who is in debt, and who’s vision of the world is that you have to work until you are sixty-five before you can retire. Advice that is as different as day and night, black and white, salt and pepper. If you want to learn from somebody, first find out if what they have is what you want.
You have to place your own financial well being ahead of everybody else’s if you are going to build wealth. Sounds logical doesn’t it? You might think that you are putting yourself first now, but if you have any debt at all, you are not. If you spend money on anything for the purpose of impressing other people, you’re not putting your own best interests first either, because impressing others doesn’t improve your financial life.
You have to look at handling your money just like war, everybody is trying to kill you financially (take your money). You either fight back with deadly force (you are not going to let anybody take your money from you) or you are dead financially. Most people do not have this attitude, and because of this they are broke and in debt, and they will stay that way the rest of their lives.
You don’t have to hate people. You don’t have to kill or even hurt others. You don’t even have to disagree with other people, to win this financial war. All you have to do is to not let them take YOUR money. You have to do whatever it takes to protect your money.
Most people think that they are already protecting their money. They would never leave a purse or wallet unattended. They would never leave the car doors unlocked with the keys in the ignition. They would never leave home without locking the doors and making sure the alarm is on. On the surface, most people seem very security conscious when it comes to protecting their money, and the material things that they own. But these appearances are very deceiving. For all the effort to make sure that thieves don’t steal their purse, car, or break into their home and steal a few thousands worth of money and possessions, most people totally throw caution to the wind when it comes to tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars that they let others steal from them over their lifetimes when it comes to their investments. Listening to real-estate brokers and mortgage lenders will cost you hundreds of thousands of hard earned dollars, which could have turned into millions of dollars if you had invested them wisely, instead of having them stolen from you.
You have to get it into your head that everybody is out to lie to you, telling you anything, to get you to give them your money. Most of what you are being told is a lie, and the only person who benefits is the person who is telling you that lie. I am not saying that occasionally some salesperson or broker will actually try and treat you right, but if you start out with this very skeptical attitude, you will find that you made a very wise decision indeed. After all, when was the last time that a salesperson tried to convince you to buy a less expensive item when you are ready to buy a more expensive one. If a salesperson thinks that they are going to lose the sale, and thus their commission, they might try and sell you something less expensive, but if they think you are willing to buy a more expensive item, on which they will earn a bigger commission, they will never give up that bigger commission, even if a less expensive item was in your best interest. There are exceptions to the lying, greedy salesperson, but they are so rare that you would be well advised to assume you will never meet one. If you ever do meet that rare salesperson who is really looking out for your best interest, then it will be a very pleasant surprise indeed.
If you approach any situation where you are spending your hard earned money with a totally skeptical frame of mind, you will find that a very large part of the money you would have spent would have been totally wasted. Money that could have been invested wisely, and making you wealthy, if you had not wasted it.