Today I want to talk about money. I will soon be writing my Sigma Lifestyle Manifesto. It sounds grand (and well, wanky), but it will lay out the basics of a Sigma style lifestyle. In a subsequent post I will tell you how I plan to live such a lifestyle for myself. The Manifesto will be an abstract, my lifestyle how I hope to implement it (nod to all fellow devs out there). This implementation will involve money, and a fair bit of it. This has lead me to do a lot of thinking about money recently. Specifically wealth. Game taught me I needed to understand women in order to attract lots of them. The same is true of wealth and money.
You would think that most people understand money. Just like most guys think they understand how to get women. The truth is they don’t. At least from my reading on wealth and what I’ve heard about people’s attitudes to it they don’t.
There are a couple of beliefs which I think are quite common in Western society about money which I think are wrong:
- Money, profit and wealth are bad
- Hard work should lead to wealth
I’ve covered the money is evil thing in a previous article. I find this insane, but it’s an attitude quite prevalent in our leftist society. The less well off don’t seem to realise they’re biting the hand that feeds them when they admonish the wealthy captains of industry. It’s as if the wealth of other somehow makes them poorer. Their logic isn’t flawed, it’s non existent.
Hard work doesn’t lead to wealth, all though it’s usually required to generate it at some point. If you are in any doubt of this, just ask how much a cleaner who works hard for 50 hours a week how wealthy they are. If all goes to plan, in 18 months time I’ll be earning around 3 times the UK median income, whilst only working 9 months of the year. This will mean I’m not working as hard as most people, yet earning much more than them.
The key to wealth, and explanation of why these two points are wrong is as follows:
Your wealth (or income) is a direct manifestation of the value you provide to others
This isn’t 100% true, as it doesn’t hold for inherited wealth or fraudsters, but on the whole it’s accurate.
Let’s take a look at some different points on the wealth scale and see how this works out:
Bill Gates – The richest man in the world. He provided massive value to a huge amount of people by founding a company which provides software that is a vital to the way we live our lives in the modern world. Lots of value, to lots of people, equals lots of wealth.
GPs (family doctors) – They earn 4 times the average UK income. The health services they provide are very valuable as they help keep people well and save lives. Unfortunately for them this value doesn’t scale to lots of people (they can only see one patient at a time), so although well off they are rarely rich.
Me – I earn twice the average UK income. I’m a software engineer. Although potentially my work can deliver a lot of value at scale via the internet, that’s not how it works in reality. I provide my employer value by writing web software. He then harnesses this value over the internet to work at a large scale. My value is just offered to him, not directly to the millions of people who use our website. It’s the business as a whole who offers value to him. Hence I just take a small cut of the value.
A Street Sweeper – 2/3rds average UK income. On the face of it the street sweeper offers a good deal of value. Who would want to live somewhere where the streets were never cleaned? The sweepers problem is that his value is negated by the lack of skill involved in his work. Since the labour is unskilled the supply is abundant, and therefore low value, no matter how much people benefit from it.
So there it is. Wealth is a result of offering lots of value, which can’t be easily competed with, directly (ie not via an employer) to lots of people. On the face of it this may seem obvious, but it really isn’t. This is easily evident in places like the Entrepreneur subreddit where people look for businesses which are easy to start rather than looking for ways to offer value, or amongst the community of wannabe affiliate markers who offer no value but rather try and game a shitty, low content, ad laden website onto the front page of google. It also explains why poor people who squawk about being poor despite working just as hard as rich people are mislead.
Another big one is the whole, “Money can’t buy you happiness” meme. This one is insidious because there is some truth in it, so people fall into the trap of believing it. The truth is no one thing in life can make you happy, but having money clearly maximizes your chances of happiness. If I made $1 million a year, I could pay $20k to have Gianna Michaels or some other hot pornstar shipped over to my luxury flat where they’d bounce up and down on my cock all night. It might not lead to a lifetime of happiness, but that experience would make me happy for the night. Happiness is never a permanent state of being (this too shall pass…), but you can purchase experiences that make you temporarily happy. Since happiness is only temporary anyway, this is fine.
The number one thing happiness buys you is time. If you have £10 million in the bank you have enough money to buy the rest of your life. What I mean by this is that you can afford to never work again (or if you do work it will be your choice, and 100% on your terms). This means you get to choose how to spend every day for the rest of your life. Contrast this to poorer people, who have no choice but to spend most of their days working in a job they need rather than choose. This is my main motivation for being wealthy. I’m not interested in fast cars, huge houses or $10k suits. I want to buy every second of my time for the rest of my life. This is freedom. This is the main reason money can help make you happy, and the people who say otherwise are wrong. Money = time = freedom, and freedom is probably the greatest asset of them all.
If people ever tell you, “There’s more to life than money”, ask them this:
At the moment you have to work 40 hours a week, for most if not all of the rest of your life. Seeing as this is how you must spend your time, wouldn’t you rather make a huge amount of money for those 40 hours rather than the small amount you make now? Even better wouldn’t you rather have so much money that you didn’t have to work those 40 hours? Becoming rich is obviously the best choice.
Funny how poor people who say there’s more to life than money often seem to spend more time talking and thinking about money than rich people do.