The Secret to Wealth – it’s not what you think

There are a number of resources that offer pointers in how to build financial freedom – often bolstered with the offer of a book or CD which, once purchased, will reveal the ultimate secret to wealth. Usually the only person getting rich is the one selling the book.

If you have a good education, a good job and a budding investment portfolio, then wealth is probably not a ‘secret’ to you. Establishing what wealth actually means in terms of your individual life experience is key to understanding at what point you are actually becoming wealthy. Because wealth is always relative – what is a fortune to one person, is merely ‘getting by’ to another.

So what is ‘wealth’? A comfortable retirement? The opportunity to change your career, travel further or start a company? Money that will allow you to live your dreams? How can we build a life that offers the twin goals of both security and freedom?

Old assumptions and old advice

A surprising number of people believe that only the privileged will enjoy wealth. Those born into established families and lucky enough to receive high quality education are the ones afforded the secrets to wealth as though passed down as mysterious scrolls in some arcane ceremony.

Compounding this impression is an overworked list that sounds simple enough to effect but which may still elude people who see it as a long-term slog with uncertain results and benefits ultimately reserved for those with better connections.

  • Study hard, get good qualifications and get a job with above-average income.
  • Get to work earlier. Look dedicated. Make an impression.
  • Study the financial world and learn to invest steadily.
  • Become skilled in more than one discipline.
  • Invest part of your savings in a side business.
  • Live below your means – and always pay yourself first.

It sounds straightforward and obvious. And helpful. And perhaps enough to make you rich. Most certainly it will make you hardworking and diligent. But despite this oft repeated advice, many people lack the discipline to put the rules into action and the resolve to sustain them.

Regardless of individual motivation there is that other obstacle called circumstance. Often circumstances seem so insurmountable they obscure the secret to wealth lying in plain sight. Circumstances are the chief culprits in directing attention away from opportunity and into the nitty-gritty of daily struggle: relationships, debts, career drive, family responsibilities, office politics, divorce, legal battles, etc. Circumstances hold powerful sway over that hidden and fundamental wealth-building secret of… personal choice.

Circumstances

The misconception that prevents people from finding their true potential and ultimately ability to garner wealth or a better financial position in life, is that they are prevented by circumstances. But here’s the thing: personal circumstances do not necessarily hold power over personal choice.

People often feel overwhelmed by circumstances; they feel ensnared, held back, forced into decisions or actions that would be entirely different if they were not compromised and confounded by their particular circumstances. If you dig deeper, you might find it’s simply fear of change. But sometimes it’s more complicated than that: it’s a subconscious preference not to change. And they call it by various names: lack of confidence, conventionality, fear of criticism, fear of failure, the comfort zone, and so on. Even tradition is brought into play: we’ve always done it this way and, even if it’s not working, this is what we understand.

People will argue emotionally about this – offering up a plethora of reasons why they can’t do anything about their situation – why they can’t change. Any vestige of will to change is beaten into submission. And suddenly the reasons you can’t improve your financial situation lie outside of you – unassailable obstacles of circumstance. And there you will stay, trapped by what you may even come to blame on other people.

And the secret to wealth? Waking up one morning and allowing yourself to glimpse the glimmer of possibilities that may lie in your favour. Analysing, evaluating and then developing a plan to prevent personal circumstances from controlling your life as though you are a helpless pebble in the fast stream.

Personal planning

How do you harness the power of personal choice? It’s best to learn this when you are young, although of course it’s applicable at any age. Perhaps if the power of personal choice was taught in schools, we might have braver, more intuitive and adventurous adults. There are fundamental keys to the power you have over your personal life journey:

  • Reading: Whatever educational background you come from, make the effort to learn to read fluently and apply this skill at every opportunity. Whatever you plan to learn, you will have to read it first – either in text books, literature, magazines or online. Reading will increase knowledge, analytical skills, perspective and decision-making powers.
  • Family planning: Big surprise? Best no surprise. Unplanned babies are the biggest ‘circumstance’ that eats away financial goals. Plan your children with a partner who understands the importance of this – with the understanding of what the best education for those children will ultimately cost.
  • Manage debt: There are going to be things that you want in a hurry – but use your developed analytical skills to work out how you are going to manage this debt. Don’t let yourself slide into it, helpless and resigned. If you can rather save and buy cash, you are taking control over the purchase rather than the other way around.
  • Plan for adversity: Many people forget this. Things can go wrong and they have no recourse to recover. Envisioning disaster and factoring in an escape route is as valuable as your investment plan.
  • Plan to improve: What in your circumstances can you change for the better? How can you build on that change for further development? In essence, the secret to wealth is you – and calculated choice.

Small seeds

At Foster Wealth we are aware that not everyone understands the relationship between vision and reality, goals and determination, circumstance and possibility. Because of our knowledge and experience we are able to assist, advise and support clients at every level, handling all questions, encompassing all concerns, helping the fledgling investor to successfully spread their wings. Daily, based on our professional, highly personal approach, we review, analyse and advise on individual circumstances – and help our clients to make the right choices.

Find us at: www.fosterwealth.co.za