Is this thing they call the 1% really about money?

Cash Money

I personally think not. Yes, it makes good news. The occupy Wall St. thing was indeed a thing. The bad 1% of the so called “rich” 1% (for those doing real math ‘1%’ is actually 0.01%) make up 99% of that news — for the 80/20 rule on that one. To make matters a little more ironic the people in the United States who actively complain about being in the 99% are, in all factual terms, really already in the 1% if you look at it from a world wide perspective. For the most part, however, the money is a side effect of what I refer to in my mind as “being plugged in.” It is a concept that works for both the local and global levels. First, let’s talk about the global concept…

My father passed away a little more than 20 years ago and if my some miracle he were to be resurrected today he would be walking around in dumbfounded amazement for probably months just trying to take in all of the science fiction around him. Flat TVs (where did that tube go?), GPS (something can really tell you where you are on the planet?), seeing just about anything you want on “TV” without an antenna — or even a subscription to cable, looking up just about anything on any subject or anyone right from your phone, oh, and that phone…they too have changed a bit over that time period as well. The list would go on far further than I would be able to create for, as that frog being killed in the water being brought to a slow boil, I lived through that change on an incremental basis.

That change, however, is the opportunity and it is coming far faster and stronger than it has over the 20 years that have past. As Peter Diamandis says “Want to be a Billionaire? Solve a Billion-Person problem.” Peter even went as far to co-found an institution that centers around the idea of accessing this opportunity. Singularity University’s mission is to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.

I have to laugh at some of the people around me who say they don’t do Facebook, Twitter, etc, because to me what they are really saying is they want to stay where they are and let the world change around them. Not that you must have a Facebook account but rather you need to know the context of what those services are providing and what is possible going forward. You need to be plugged in. Trying to sell something to a target range of people and don’t know what a Facebook “dark post” is? Then you already lost the game.

Is being unplugged an option? Of course it is. For some people it is the option that will make them the happiest. The real equation that every person needs to solve is:

Q: Am I complaining about my personal situation and my ability to provide, or otherwise deliver fulfillment, to myself and those who rely on me?

If the answer is “Yes”, then you need to get plugged in. If the answer is “No”, then don’t worry, be happy. Fortunately, for any answering “Yes” to this question it takes very little money to get plugged in. It does, however, take time, and most likely a shift on what you believe is possible. As with any problem based on personal psychology this could indeed be far more difficult to acquire than the money you believe is the missing piece.

More recently I saw this question asked on Quora: “What kind of mentality differentiates billionaires from millionaires, and “ordinary people”?

The answer Alex Moore gave resonates, at least to some degree, with my thoughts above:

I live and work in Tech/SF/Silicon Valley. I know a few billionaires, a TON of millionaires and even more ordinary folks.

The main thing I see, at least in the tech community is that millionaires tend to be really good at understanding systems of value creation (AKA successful startups) and placing themselves into those systems effectively. They smartly interview for and get great jobs in these companies. They not only do that, but they are smart enough to understand the culture being put into place and they take on the values of that culture and expand those values. They go out and recruit their smart friends and add to the cult. Over laced on this mindset is the idea that the world is a semi-set place. It’s changing, but they view basically their role as something where they can take part in it all. The difference here then between millionaires and billionaires is quit vast.

Billionaires (AKA the founders of these few companies) tend to view the world as a tangibly fungible place. Billionaires see the world and want to move the puzzle pieces entirely around. They look for the faults in the ecosystem and identify massive holes and what could be added to take that value. Then they spend about 10 years maniacally attacking the gap, organizing people, recruiting and generally creating a cult. They create a bible so to speak of values and ideas that bundle together in an appealing way to attract other smart people (aka the future millionaires). The billionaires I know don’t look forward to the weekend. They don’t drink. They work from 5am to midnight everyday including weekends. They don’t socialize with friends, they mix friends and work. It’s all one big chain that supports their vision of the future and tying up the value. This is a different internal programming. It’s admirable. Most folks actually rely on these billionaire groups to get their own jobs.

I think then the last group of “ordinary” folks are simply disconnected from these valuable new parts of the economy. What do you do if you live in Trent, Michigan today? The auto plants around you are closing. It’s tough to be a billionaire potential person in that environment, but 100 years ago in 1912 it was actually possible. Ask the Ford family about this.

So overall, location, timing, industry and proximity can come into play. Tech is what’s happening now, but other industries happened before. 1950s Texas oil well drilling, 1910s autos Michigan, 2010s Silicon Valley. There is much to discuss, but the mindset pieces are the key and may be universal.

Now let’s talk about the local concept that is about money… There is a story that many people do not want to talk about — especially in the United States. That is, how much we spend on things we have either justified ‘needing’ or otherwise spend simply because the money is somehow available. The book The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy is a recommended read and defines an Under Accumulator of Wealth (UAW) as an individual who has a low net wealth compared to their income. A person is an “Under Accumulator of Wealth” if their net worth is less than the product of their age and one tenth of their realized pretax income. Take for example a 50-year-old earning $50,000, according to the formula they should have (50*50,000*10%) or about $250,000 in net worth. If their net worth is lower, they are an “Under Accumulator.”

Again on Quora I saw this question asked: What are some of the success stories of applying the principles from the book ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’?

An answer that came back from Angel Sanchez was as follows:

Look, I’m not going to tell you I’m extremely successful, and many will probably think that what I’m going to describe comes with age.

I began to work at 13 years old (in an official 40 hour job during the summer) and held various other jobs in weekends. After receiving my paychecks I would go straight to the mall and waste all of my money on clothes, the latest gadgets, shoes, sunglasses, and things I basically did not need. I had Abercrombie and Fitch jackets, jeans and shirts bought retail at the mall. I had a couple of pairs of Lacoste shoes, and pretty much everything I thought would make me look cool.

What did wasting all of my money on pointless materialistic things do for me? Absolutely nothing.

My success story, after reading “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, was to pay close attention on what I was spending my money on. People look at me today and say I’m “cheap” because I don’t have the latest iPhone, tablet or computer; wear simple clothes (I apply what Steve Jobs did and wear 1 style shirt always to keep my life simple); don’t like to go out to movies, or eat out a lot.

Yes, I’m no longer “cool”, but I’m no longer broke either. I read somewhere that 50% of Americans couldn’t come up with $2,000 in case of an emergency. Now, I don’t know if that figure is true or not, but I’m glad to say that I’m not part of that group. I’m also glad to say that, even though I’m only 21, I have a decent savings account, retirement account, life insurance plan, investment accounts and diversified investments in gold, silver and palladium.

Like I said, I’m not rich but I consider the knowledge I gained after reading “Rich Dad Poor Dad” a success because wasting hard earned money was not going to lead me anywhere anytime soon.

Be it being plugged in, controlling spending, or more likely some combination of the two, the bottom line is they are not degrees you suddenly graduate to and can then relax within. They are not special clubs you need to pass tests to join or otherwise have accumulated status to become a part of. No, instead, like maintaining health, they are life styles you either have or do not. It is a personal choice no one can ever stop you from making and at the same time it isn’t easy.

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it.”

― Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own

Perhaps another separating factor at the local level is personal integrity. Let’s leave the philosophical right and wrong out and focus, instead, on congruency. The simple act of actually doing what you say you are going to do places one in the 1%. Think of the elation you have when someone actually calls you back on an important issue within a specified time frame. That thrill is there because it has become a rare quality that has value — a lot of value. The ability to execute is everything…and perhaps even more.

(Originally posted on Medium)