Since starting this blog, I’ve had a lot of internal debates. I often wonder if I’m doing the right thing and if focusing so much on money is healthy. Is it a bad thing to want to become a millionaire? Will people look down on me for talking about money so much? These are the kind of things I’ve battled with in my head.
Today I want to discuss the idea that striving to become financially independent is not a bad thing. Really, we are all trying to become financially independent if we’re planning on retiring at some point in our lives. I just want to “retire” earlier than age 65. So why do some feel like obtaining wealth is an evil pursuit?
People do not like feeling like they aren’t doing enough. When you look over and your peers or acquaintances seem to be getting ahead and you’re stuck, it doesn’t feel good. A lot of us react to this situation by saying things like “they just got a lucky break” or “they must be cheating in some way to have gotten their success. This kind of attitude is wrong and is only a way to justify yourself when you know you haven’t been doing as good as you could have.
So do you really have to rig the system or steal from people in order to get ahead? Can you actually become wealthy and still be an honest person? The answer is yes you can and it’s actually easier than earning money in a dirty way. Honesty is a hard thing to find these days and people will love you for it. The more people trust you, the more opportunities you will get and the more you will earn.
Money amplifies your true character. The more you have, the more your character will show. That’s why you hear of so many lottery winners and NFL players losing it all in a short amount of time. If you aren’t good at saving money and don’t have happiness where you are currently in life, suddenly adding a few zeroes to your bank account isn’t going to change that.
Since having more money will just make you more of who you already are, the issue of pursuing wealth really comes down to an individual basis. If you’re a drug dealer and want to save more money so you can grow your drug business, you’re pursuing wealth for a bad reason. If you’re a normal 9-5 employee at a decent company and want to build wealth so you can travel to third world countries and do volunteer work, you’re pursuing wealth for a reason that is going to benefit the world.
Sure, there are some bad characters out there that are filthy rich. That doesn’t mean that everyone who is wealthy is evil though. For the Christians that like to look down on obtaining wealth, wasn’t King Solomon the richest person alive in his day? He was also the wisest (and probably the most honest) person in the world as well.
Becoming a millionaire just so we could say “we’re rich!” isn’t the goal. The plan is to save and invest enough money so that we can live off the dividends. This would free us up to pursue only things we truly want to do. I also kind of have to hit a million since that’s what this blog is about and I have to make it to my financial black belt!
Becoming financially independent is a more worthy pursuit than just being content with “getting by” in my opinion. You’ll have to wait until your in your sixties to truly pursue your life goals if you settle for saving a small percentage of your earnings over the course of your career. At this point, you’ll be so used to working every week that you’ll probably feel kinda lost and not know what to do with your free time. If you retire earlier in life, you have a lot more time and energy to follow your dreams and pursue something awesome.
So how do we build wealth in an honest way? There’s many different ways to go about it but here are some examples:
Ways to earn money
- Develop valuable skills so you will be marketable to employers.
- Get a job (if you don’t have one)
- Change careers if you’re stuck in your current position and not earning much.
- Start killing it at your job and try to get a raise.
- Figure out your market value and determine if you’re underpaid. Start searching for other opportunities if you could earn more elsewhere.
- Start thinking about side hustle opportunities (like flipping things from yard sales).
- Create a business. This is probably the quickest way to earn wealth if you have valuable skills.
What to do with your money
- SPEND LESS THAN YOU MAKE!
- Start a savings goal. (Start with a dollar a day if you don’t think you can save much).
- Start contributing to your retirement account and set it to automatically come out of your paycheck. (at least contribute enough to get the match your employer contributes).
- Ramp up your savings rate as much as you can. (I’m talkin like 50% of what you make!)
- Start a non retirement investment account so you will have money to retire on before you hit age 59-½ (the age you can start withdrawing from retirement accounts without getting penalized.)
- Start investing in real estate.
- Pile up a huge amount of money and eventually it will earn enough on its own to support you.
And that’s all it takes! No stealing or dirty work required. Just good ol’ fashioned hard work and saving what you make. The rate at what you earn and save will determine how quickly you can hit FIRE (Financial Independence and Early Retirement). I hope this post clears up any mixed feelings you might have about becoming rich. It isn’t an evil pursuit and as long as you’re a good person now, you should be able to remain a good person when you have the freedom to do what you want with money.
Nathan created Millionaire Dojo to document his journey to reaching a million dollar net worth so that others may be inspired to follow the same path. He and his wife reached a net worth of one hundred thousand by the age of 25 and has been featured on Business Insider. His blog focuses on practical advice that can be implemented immediately in the form of saving money, earning more, and investing to create passive income.