I was casually skimming through my social media on the weekend and folks were living life man! I see people in exotic locales, rocking Rolex’s and Audemar’s, Red Bottom shoes, clubbing and drinking bottle service. For a second there I thought I was watching the latest episode of celebrity housewives. A bunch of people chasing the image of what they see on the TV screen.
What I am finding is that we are all out trying to give off the illusion of wealth. The problem is that we are only showing what is the illusion. The stuff. What we think is wealth is really just high level consumption of marked up goods. The true movers and shakers can spot this and that is why they call us liquid money. Not because we don’t have money but because we spend it on feelings and emotions. Most of which are rooted in inferiority.
“We rock a lot of ice because we got a lot of pain”, J Cole.
This blog post will talk about how I think we are aiming for the wrong wealth goals and in aiming for those wealth goals we will either lose it after we get it or spend so much on looking like we have it that we never get it.
Now, what I am realizing is that most people don’t really get close to wealth. If you don’t work in industries like law or finance you are likely surrounded by a bunch of employees doing employee things. If this is the case, the only money you see is celeb money. The problem is that celebs are often times paid to promote the brands they wear and this is all don’t via lifestyle branding. Kim Kardashian is an expert at this. This is where they put their lives on a pedestal and you, wanting to live that life, buy the things they use so you can feel as special as Kim. The problem is that feelings will leave you broke.
Choose your lifestyle wisely
If you are going to choose a lifestyle to chase, make sure you are chasing a lifestyle of someone who is truly wealthy because of what they do, not someone who is wealthy because of what they sell to you. (Read my article entitled “Get Advice from Rich Men not Sales Men). Whenever I have been in a work situation I always drift to the CEO. When I get there I watch their actions, not so much their words, even though words can be helpful. At the firm I am at now I connect with the CEO and his father. This is because his actions are the actions I want to map my life toward, not those who are content with being an employee even if they don’t realize they are content with being an employee.
One thing I will never forget is a conversation we were having around the lunch table. All the employees were sharing their stories about flights they have taken and how they fly first class. The CEO made a point that he has never flown first class. I was shocked. But then again I wasn’t because I know the culture he comes from.
This is the polar opposite of what I see on social media where everyone is chasing the look of the only wealth they likely have direct exposure to, the celebrity. True wealth foregoes luxury and goes in on business. Celeb wealth lives the glamorous life, the life that wont last long. This is troubling and it has to change. You have the opportunity to either celeb it up OR, asset it up. I challenge you to asset it up and make your money permanent not temporary like your IG likes.
I was watching this interview of someone I respect in the realm of personal finance. I was listening to them talk and the conversation rolled around to dating. Someone that I thought was pretty astute at personal finance shunned the idea of using a groupon for a date. Then they brought up the idea that they plan to eat three meals a day prepared by a chef and I was immediately #triggered. That isn’t what wealth looks like, that’s what DJ Khaled’s life looks like.
“Consumption consumes the black community” – BKF
A lot of celebrities aren’t wealthy, they are high income. High income people are dependent upon the next check, the next gig, the next opportunity. This is significant because there are a ton of distinctions between rich and wealthy. If you chase the celeb life by buying stuff, you will continue to be dependent upon the next check, the next gig, the next opportunity.
The problem with following people who live fake lives is you end up with a fake life! You don’t want to waste all that time you could have been doing the right things chasing people who flaunt brands that sponsor them or who fly on jets paid for by the owner of the label. You want to follow the owner of the label. This is why I google the team owner and then see what he did to become the team owner.
Sidebar: A common thread I saw among team owners was that they went to law school and worked in real estate.. Welcome to Todd everything…
(The real wealth is behind the scenes not on the main stage)
The people you see on TV, are likely there, living the life of a celebrity based on the check that they get for being on TV. This can be misleading. You see these people in luxury everything, bouncing around with no assets and you think, cool, I just need stuff. So you go out and chase stuff with your capital, the same capital that you need to buy assets with.
When you get around real wealth you realize that most if not all of their money is going back into the business to produce more money. Real entrepreneurs know that that $300,000 car was a machine that would make him $2m. This is why you see Gary V taking commercial airplanes. This is why you don’t see successful business men in big chains and covered in logos. To a business person, that 2m can be lent out at 12% to generate income of $20,000 per month! To a consumer, that 2m is a lifestyle upgrade. New Rolls, new home, luxury everything. Few years later they are broke like they started. Don’t believe me? Just look at all the people that win the lottery.
So when I see folks with full time jobs living like Beyonce I chuckle. It makes me sad that they don’t know any better, but I am happy that I do. If you are reading this blog now you know too.
Its not about showing its about knowing.
We as a culture have to get into the habit of having and not flaunting. Inferiority is expensive but poverty is worse than inferiority. So, instead of buying things to feel less inferior, stack that money to protect against lean years or disasters.
One thing I admire about the Jews is they value prosperity. To them, prosperity is security. When you have money you can fight your battles. When you have money you can always feed and clothe your family. This is significant because cash reserves allow for this, not your Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton isn’t bailing your cousin out of jail and it isn’t paying the back taxes on your Auntie’s condo.
So the point of this post is that we have to shift the line of thinking from looking like money to having money. This is a similar line of thinking to my “stop looking rich post”. We as a community don’t own enough to do all the flaunting that we do. For the next four to 8 years it would behoove us to chill on all the consumption and focus our resources on creating businesses, housing and better schools. We have the resources. The problem is just where we are placing our resources. Come to Todd Capital and work with us to put your resources in a place that creates wealth for you not wealth for others.
Be great, invest well,