Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Whoever said becoming rich was going to be easy?
Actually, it was pretty much everyone who’s written one of those self-help, become-rich-like-me books.
You read these things and see that attaining wealth is just a series of simple steps, adorned with exceptionally simple words.
You do this. Then this. Then this. And there you are, buying a ten-bedroom mansion on Kauai.
What could be simpler?
Of course, buried within these tomes are morsels of good advice and sensible logic.
There are even some suggestions for life along the way. But I sometimes wonder why, if all these books create a platform for success, there still aren’t that many millionaires around.
Could it be that people aren’t very good at following simple instructions?
This is possible.
I’ve just had a friend put me onto a book called The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach.
The mere title offers the glorious promise that comes with the certainty that success will be yours.
Bach is a self-made millionaire who’s written many books and offered (presumably) sage financial advice.
He explains that The Automatic Millionaire isn’t a get-rich-quick book. Rather, it attempts a more measured approach.
At its core, though, is one (yes, simple) piece of advice.
Bach tells the story of a couple called the McIntyres. From them he learned what he says is the one decision people don’t make but should on the march to financial independence.
Bach was perplexed when he met them. He writes that Jim McIntyre was 52 and had never earned much more than $40,000 a year. Yet he was ready to retire.
So had he won the lottery? Had he struck it big on the stock market?
Where I come from, the question might be: “He robbed a bank, right?”
The answer from Jim McIntyre was this: “Most people think that when they get their paycheck, the first thing they should do is pay all their bills — and then if there is anything left over, they can save a few dollars.”
McIntyre explained that this is the wrong way around.
What you should do is pay yourself first.
His first step was put a little money away, then address the bills. He and his wife Sue didn’t find it easy at first. But they disciplined themselves to not miss the money they never saw.
Bach says he followed this advice. He started by just putting aside 1 percent of his income. He then graduated to putting a little more away, until he got to 20 percent.
Even though this is something of a mind-game, there is a certain sanity attached.
How much do you trust yourself? How much of an ability do you have to forget what you really have and pretend that you have a little less to live on?
What happens when you get that regular email from MyHabit, Bloomingdale’s or Crate and Barrel reminding you that you’ve been so remiss in not buying anything from MyHabit, Bloomingdale’s or Crate and Barrel lately?
Do you pump up your credit cards? Or do you tell yourself: “Self, we just don’t have the money”?
On such simple decisions your future financial happiness might just lie.