Currently, money is on everyone’s mind; how to make it and how to keep it being at the top of the list. It’s inspired us to write down our top ten rules of money to live by, now and beyond 2020.
I want to preface this article by saying that this is not your typical ‘save for a rainy day’ and ‘don’t buy takeaway coffees’ blog. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. The time wasted worrying about the price of café coffee or searching for a reduced-priced petrol station is time that could be spent developing solutions, building businesses or creating value in the marketplace and thereby creating wealth. A thousand takeaway coffees will never change your position of wealth in the world. However, an entirely new perspective on money will do exactly that.
These are the ten rules of money that I swear by.
Money deserves attention. As with anything in life, the more attention you give to something, the more of it you will notice and the more of it you will acquire. Being interested in money means that you will actively manage your money in a way that works for you, not against you. The act of giving attention to money is equally, if not more, important as earning it. Ignoring it amounts to nothing. Check your balances, evaluate your income streams and give it attention.
Money deserves respect. Here’s why: Money provides an immense opportunity to help those around you; your loved ones and the world at large. Keeping this in the back of your mind whilst earning money gives you the fuel to earn more. Once you find that fuel – one that is bigger than yourself – nothing can limit your earning capacity. And the feeling that comes to you from giving back to the community is truly irreplaceable.
Get educated. I’m not referring to traditional education but rather, educating yourself on how money works. Invest 10% of your income into personal or business growth. This includes books, courses, masterclasses, workshops, events and mentorship. I love studying how money works and how currency has developed throughout history and across various civilisations.
Create a buffer. This is not the same as savings. Create a buffer of funds equivalent to six months of expenses (or three months minimum) so that if everything stops turning, you know you and your family will be ok. To do this, set aside a minimum 10% of your income via an automated bank transfer.
Spend! Stagnant money is useless. Once you’ve decided on a minimum buffer, spend everything beyond that. This probably feels counterintuitive to everything you’ve ever been taught, which is a good thing; you’re expanding your mind and understanding how money can work for you. When spending, think about whether your spending is an investment; either in yourself by way of education, or your business. Beyond the buffer, keep yourself ‘broke’. (Broke is not the same as poor.) Money has to be out there working for you. If not, you might find yourself working your butt off every year with little to show for it.
Be tax efficient. For the majority of the population, income tax is the single largest expense. Ensure you are making purchases and creating income in a tax effective way. This is as relevant for employees as it is for employers. Ten years ago, I was the CEO of a company earning $465k annually, and it’s disheartening to recall that I was earning half of that. At the time, I continued to buy property so that I could claim on depreciation and reduce my tax liability – that’s what I call saving. This is where the game is – the game isn’t about going to 711 for coffee instead of Starbucks. Tax is the single most expensive item in your life. Work out how you can legally minimise it.
Surround yourself with like-minded people. By surrounding yourself in people who are interested in money, and associating with positive, inspiring and successful people, you have a far better chance of achieving success yourself. We are the sum of the five people we spend most of our time with. Your network has a huge influence on your net worth.
Value time over money. Most people do mundane tasks themselves in order to save money. I urge you to change the way you view your time. If you can spend your time earning or learning, then you will be better off in the future. Rather than doing mundane tasks, spend your time wisely – creating, inventing, developing, planning, investing and managing money.
Seek mentors. Choose your mentors carefully; they may not even realise they are your mentors. I call them my personal board of directors. You should be able to name five of them. Talk to these people and ask them about their journey. If no-one in your direct circle has reached a level of success that you wish to acquire, then learn from people you don’t know – read books and autobiographies and watch masterclasses. There’s no shortage of information out there.
Get rich quick is bullshit. Avoid get-rich schemes, fads, gimmicks, lottery, gambling and anything else that seems too good to be true. For 99.99% of us, building wealth is a journey and it doesn’t happen overnight. By planning to create your wealth over your lifetime and creating milestones along the way, you have an opportunity to zoom out and enjoy the journey. But this is key: you have to stick with it. Building a house with no foundations is the same as building wealth with no foundations; it will only fall over if you don’t understand how to create and maintain it in the first place.
Here’s a bonus one: be disciplined. No one is born with this – you have to create it for yourself. Notice the successful people in your life and the one thing they have in common. And finally, you will understand what it takes to get where they are; commitment.