Affording the Good Life

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A recent article reinforces my rich dad's point of view. The article, "Affording the Good Life in an Age of Change," was in the Strategic Investment Newsletter, published by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg. These two men have also co-authored several best-selling books: Blood in the Streets, The Great Reckoning, and The Sovereign Individual. These books have dramatically affected the way I invest and how I look to the future. Davidson is the founder of the National Taxpayers Union, and Rees-Mogg is a financial advisor to some of the world's wealthiest investors, a former editor of the Times of London, and vice-chairman of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

My rich dad would say, "There are two ways to become rich. One way is to earn more. The other way is to desire less. The problem is that most people are not good with either way." The article and this book are about how you can earn more so you can desire more. Here are excerpts from the article "Affording the Good Life in an Age of Change" as published in the Strategic Investment Newsletter.

"Being frugal is the cornerstone of wealth-building. " Thomas J. Stanley & William Danko The Millionaire Next Door 1996

This reminds me of my complaint with the reasoning of the popular books, such as The Millionaire Next Door, by Stanley and Danko, and Getting Rich In America: 8 Simple Rules for Building a Fortune and a Satisfying Life by my friend Dwight Lee. Both books define success downward by suggesting that anyone who lives an abstemious lifestyle and pinches pennies will become "rich." ...

Yes. If you never earn more than $50,000 a year, you may become a millionaire by pinching pennies. But there is a limit to the amount of wealth you can acquire by living as though you were poor. Even eating Spam or canned spaghetti from Chef Boyardee at every meal would not save enough money to make you a multimillionaire. This helps explain why only one-in-10 millionaires reaches a net worth of $5 million...Simply penny pinching, per se, is only a preliminary step that would permit someone without inherited capital or a significant annual cash flow to make the kind of investment that would lead to riches. For Americans, becoming a "millionaire" is a necessary step to allow you to participate as an "accredited investor" in private placements for private, high growth companies. This is the main route to riches. I was a millionaire in my early 20s. But I quickly recognized even then that a few millions did not amount to much. I could not afford my preferred lifestyle on such a small fortune.

.My conclusion is that the best way to make real money is to undertake private stage investments in private companies.

"Affording the Good Life in an Age of Change" discusses why being cheap is not a way to really become wealthy. Davidson's point is that while it is possible to become rich by being cheap, there is a huge price to pay. In fact, there are many prices to pay. One such price is that being cheap and scrimping money will get you only so far. Being cheap does not necessarily mean that you have the competence to become richer. All you know how to do is to be cheap, and that is an expensive price to pay.

Davidson disagrees and I disagree with the popularity of ideas such as cut up your credit cards and live below your means. That may be a good idea for some people, but it is not my idea of becoming rich and enjoying the bounties of the good life.

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