When I think of the words “rich life”, I think of Ramit Sethi’s work. On his famous blog and in his book, I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Ramit shares a lot of his wisdom around money.
In this post, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned about living a rich life. They don’t perfectly line up with Ramit’s tips, some of these are my own.
But if you’re ready to earn more, build wealth, and mix it with a life you can be proud of, I’d say you’re on your way to living a rich life. Here’s how to do it.
1. Be thankful
I think the number one secret to a rich life, and probably when I struggle with the most, is to be thankful.
It’s hard. As you earn more and buy more, you’re subject to something called hedonic adaption.
Basically, this means that our brains are more wired to focus on the negative. And you get used to the good things in life that used to make you happy, and expect new and better things.
So, well I’m all for earning more, thankfulness is at the core of everything.
Be thankful for what you have. If you’re healthy. If you have people who love you. If you still earn more than 90% of people in the world – which most of my blog readers do, no matter where they’re from.
2. Buy time
It’s almost cliche among personal finance writers and billionaire YouTube gurus, but it’s true.
Money is not the most valuable thing. Time is.
You can always get more money. Once your time’s up, that’s it. You can’t get more of that.
So if you truly want to live a rich life, your goal is not just to accumulate more money. Your goal is to accumulate enough money to buy back your time.
You might spend that time working on things still – even if you reach financial freedom. A lot of us do. But if there are hours in the day that you own, that nobody else owns, you’re on your way.
This could mean hiring people to free up some of your time. Or it could mean building systems to create passive income.
There are different ways to get more time. But I’m a firm believer that your goal in life should be to work in order to live. Not the other way around.
3. Spend your time on things that scale
Yesterday, we were having a family dance party to the song “Baby,” by Justin Bieber. He wrote that song when he was pretty much a baby.
But he still earns royalties on it. He created something that still makes him money. And other than probably having to play it on tour, there’s not much he has to do to keep getting that money.
More people should be like Justin Bieber.
So many people throw their time away, working at jobs where you will do the same thing today that you do next week that you do a year from now.
The time disappears and you have nothing to show for it.
But what if you spent your time on something that scaled? For me, this was a blog. As I write this blog post, I’m doing it once.
Whenever the time comes that you read it, I will probably have forgotten about it.
But it will still be earning me money from those pretty little ads on the screen.
What if you spend some of your time and energy building something that will make you money, instead of throwing your time into a dark well and never getting it back?
And this brings me to my next point…
4. Build and buy assets
It’s related to buying time back. But the vast majority of people work every day and have nothing to show for it.
One of the secrets I’ve learned to wealth building is that wealthy people build and buy assets.
If you’ve ever read the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, you will know that most Americans don’t know what an asset is.
Most people think an asset is something big you spend a lot of money on.
Robert Kiyosaki famously said, “an asset is something that puts money in your pocket.’
So no, a home is not an asset. To get the value out of your home you would have to sell it, and then you’d be homeless.
The only asset the average American has is a retirement fund, which pays interest in dividends for them each month.
It’s great if you have a healthy retirement fund. But there are no limits to the income producing assets you can build and buy.
A business is an asset, as long as it’s cash flow positive. Investing can be an asset. Buying real estate rentals is an asset.
For me, like I said, this blog is an asset. Assuming the value keeps up in traffic keeps coming it’s possible to sell a blog like this for millions.
Learning to build and/or buy assets is one of the secrets to living a rich life.
5. Invest in yourself
I used to always hear entrepreneurs talk about how important it is to invest in yourself. I always figured they were talking about spa days. And, don’t get me wrong, taking a spa day can be investing in yourself. In your mental health.
But over time, I’ve realized that the amount of money I earn is in direct relation to who I am. The skill set I have and my ability to monetize that skill set dictates how much I make.
So, if I take a course to learn a new skill, I’m investing in myself. If I hire a coach to help me level up, I’m investing in myself.
Most people don’t get it. Shelling out money for these kinds of investments can be terrifying. But in the end, properly investing in yourself will make you earn even more. And that’s why it’s worth it.
6. Build your money brain
I’ve fought with a poverty mindset most of my life. I was raised fairly poor, and even as an adult, I’ve wrestled with a little voice in my head that says “there’s never enough money.”
Even once I started earning a lot, that little voice said “there’s no way this is going to last.”
I have a money brain that I have to fight with all the time. And for me, dealing with my money blocks is one of the essential parts of living a rich life.
See, no matter how much money I have in the bank, I can’t enjoy my life if I’m terrified it’s all going to disappear. If I’m living with anxiety that it won’t be enough.
That’s a terrible way to live.
The belief that I am always working on is this:
- There is always more money out there. I’m amazing at earning it. I can relax and enjoy my life because I know that there’s lots more money coming.
It’s a daily battle, and sometimes the old Chris rears his ugly head. But I’m working on it.
How about you? What money blocks do you wrestle with? Most of us have them, even if they’re not the same as mine. Here are some common money blocks:
- Earning more will make me a bad person. Often from kids who grew up poor with parents who resented wealthy people, some people associate wealth with wickedness, even subconsciously.
- I’d have to work way harder to earn more: ever watch the kids at Mcdonald’s? They work hard. I haven’t worked that hard since I was a teenager and I did tree planting. You can learn to make more money without spending 100 hours a week at the office.
- People like me don’t become wealthy. There are people from all walks of life who learn to earn more. Believing this doesn’t help.
Whatever money blocks you have, it’s important to start dealing with them to live a rich life.
7. Think differently from the pack
One thing I’ve wrestled with in the past is the fact that I don’t own a house. My wife and I have lived all over the world, which is amazing!
And although we could a house right now, we are choosing not to. (We probably will in the next year.)
Dang that’s hard. Our society loves home ownership. We associate it with adulting. Every time we meet an adult they ask, “so when are you going to buy a house?”
And it’s hard to explain that we have a pretty great deal on rent, our mortgage would be 2 to 3 times as much as we currently pay, and that’s not including taxes and home repairs.
And that’s why, when I heard Ramit Sethi say in an interview that he rents, it made me really happy.
But this illustrates something bigger.
Our society has a set of rules they live by:
- Stay in school and work hard
- Get a good job with a pension
- Put your head down and don’t make trouble
- Buy a house if you want to be an adult
- Oh, and you need two cars and that vacation to Disneyland
A lot rack up debt and misery trying to keep up with the Joneses. So, one of the secrets to living a rich life is to learn to ignore it.
It’s hard to do this all by yourself. But if you can find people who think like you, even if just online, it makes it easier.
8. Set goals
One of the things I believe is necessary for a rich life is goal setting.
I used to listen to people talk about manifesting. And it led to me sitting around repeating a lot of positive affirmations like “I am a multi-millionaire” as part of my morning routine.
Yeah, if you’re into the law of attraction, I’m not trying to knock it. But it’s not my thing.
However, I am into goals. Creating clear actions that relate to the life you want.
The famous framework for goal setting is SMART. This means goals should be:
- Time Bound
This is great. One of the things that’s helped me with goal setting though is to focus more on actions than on outcomes.
For example, for this blog, I could say: “I want my blog to earn $10,000 a month in passive income.”
That’s a wonderful goal. But I don’t always have control over that.
But saying “I will post three pieces of content every week on my blog” is totally within my control.
Instead of setting goals around outcomes, try to set goals around inputs.
- Instead of “I will write a New York Times bestseller”
- Try “I’ll write 10 pages a day of my book.”
- Instead of “my company will make $50,000 next month…”
- Try “I’ll reach out to 50 potential clients this month.”
9. Spend on experiences
Houses, cars, toys, all of these things dip with time. The minute we drive that shiny new BMW off the lot, it starts dropping in value. Everybody knows this.
But we forget that it also starts dropping in value in our mind. Remember hedonic adaption?
So, what is it that actually lasts?
I’m so glad you asked. Experiences! Studies have shown that when people spend their money on things like vacations, they get so much more positive benefits.
If you want to live a rich life, make sure that some of your budget is going towards things that make your life memorable.
We managed to spend a few years traveling the world when our kids were young. They still talk about it.
They can’t for the life of them remember what toys we bought them last Christmas.
10. Design your life
Last year, I went deep into the rabbit hole of research for a new book. I was studying work and purpose, trying to figure out how people could find work that matters to them.
- I met some people who are doing work that they loved and earning great money.
- I met some people doing work they love earning next to nothing.
- And I met other people doing work they didn’t love, but it paid them enough to do the things they love in their time off.
Which of these groups of people were the happiest, you ask?
I’m so glad you asked.
The truth is, I couldn’t tell the difference.
In a world that tells people to “follow your passion“, it was surprising to realize that the people doing so weren’t always the happiest ones.
In fact, some of the happiest people were the ones doing work they didn’t love, but earning great money and building an awesome life on their time off.
Here’s what this tells me about a rich life.
Whatever route you decide is for you, design your life. Don’t just fall into it. If you feel like you want to earn more money, try to move in that direction. If you want to build financial freedom in order to follow a passion project, work hard on learning that.
There’s no one right answer. But if you have the agency to feel like your life is yours and you are making the decisions, you will be a million times happier.
Design your life. Don’t settle for less. And chase it.
These are my 10 secrets to living a rich life. I hope they help you in your journey. At the end of the day, you get to choose which of these things to focus on.
And in my experience, living a rich life is an ongoing thing. Good luck!
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