Tag Archives: Truth

The truth about Millionaires.

Everyone wants to be a millionaire.  I always had it as a goal, a first step.  First I wanted to do it by the time I was 25, then I set it for 30.  Now I have a goal of doing it while I am 35.  But this time I have a firm plan to get there.

First off most people think that if you are one you will be set for life.  In many cases that is correct, but in most cases it took risk to get the million and most people who have it take those same risks and lose it.  There are ways to earn without too much risk, but mostly that is very slow.  Other people simply go crazy, they get the money too easily and spend it all.  Over 80% of lottery winners have a negative net worth just 5 years after they win.  They get this huge lifestyle, and then spend spend spend, and when the money runs out they borrow like crazy.

I personally know a lot of millionaires.  I don’t know of any who made the money trading time for money or having a job.  I know a few who won it, but the VAST majority worked hard, ran a business and invested the profits.  Some are in farming, some are in insurance, other have a business in one form or another but most are in real estate.  And all of the millionaires that I have asked about this invest heavily in real estate.  Time and time I hear that no matter how you make your millions that real estate is the best place to store the money.  Another common factor among those that have made and kept millions is that they live WAY below what you expect.  They drive older cars, they don’t shop at the fancy shops.  Most of them live on less than 60k per year.  That is still 5,000 per month.  While they were making their money they lived on much less.  Those people you see shopping at all the ritzy malls and spending thousands of dollars are usually people who earn a lot, and spend even more and have a negative net worth.

So what does it take to have a net worth over a million dollars.  I define it as all assets, at the price you could sell it for today minus all debt.  It is hard to value a business so I usually set that as valued as 8 times last years earnings as long as you project those earnings to go on.  Using that measure I actually was a millionaire once during the years that my business was really profitable, but I could not project that computers would become a commodity and that my business would start to lose money at huge rates until I was in the hole.

Also you can only grow your net worth from your personal profits each month.  If you have $3,000 in monthly expenses you need to deduct that from your income before you see if you have enough.  For me I have about $3,000 that I must spend each month to stay current.  About half of that is servicing debt, and could be gone if the interest rates were not so low.  If I am starting with a net worth of zero and I want to be a millionaire in 2 years I need to pack away about $42k per MONTH.  That is a crazy number, and that is why people with jobs don’t hit it.  Even if you had 8% interest on your side and you wanted to do it in 10 long years you would need to save over $7,000 per MONTH.  This is why less than 1% of the people are millionaires.  Even if you earned $120k per year and spent only $3k per month it would take you 10 years of constant effort.  The biggest problem is that when you earn that much, you usually hang out with other people who earn that much, and they start talking about their new cars, second homes and their vacations, and you feel “less than” for living on such a meager $3k per month and you can not maintain it.  It is like a bucket with a ton of holes in it, the more water you pour in the faster the holes take it out, and it never really gets full.  So the answer is clearly not a job, even a high paying one.  You have the limit of how much you can earn because of who you work for and with.  So a business is really the only answer, but to have a good business you need to be as good or better than all of the other businesses out there, or you need to have an idea that really sets you apart.  If you have a really great idea that can duplicate all over the world you can even become an instant billionaire.  This is what they folks at YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have done.  The first ones cashed out when the company was only 7 months old.  The second two have yet to cash out, though twitter just sold 2% of the company for $200 million, making the company worth over $10 billion.  But it is hard to come up with such an idea, most usually stumble upon it early.

So now we all have an up hill battle to climb.  So if you want to be a millionaire in 2 years from today you need to come up with an idea that makes you $50k per month on a constant basis.  Or if you want to build and sell a business you need make one that earns $125k-$150k next year, and that number is AFTER your take from the company because the company will need your or someone like you after you sell it.  The way you design a million dollar company is much different than the way you design a company that just pays your bills.

When you are looking for a large net worth you need to keep in mind the laws of large numbers.  One of the easiest ways to get there is to sell a product over and over.  Even if you only make $10 each time you do it, that means that you need to sell 100,000 items.  So plan your business accordingly.  If you need to sell 100,000 items that means that about only one out of every 1,000 households needs to buy your product.  Depending on your product that may mean that only 1% of the population even needs to know about your product.  But to even get 1% penetration may be a hard thing to do.  But one good viral video could do it for you, or one good endorsement.  Thousands have made it rich this way.

You can also get there by helping others reach for their dreams.  Imagine if you could help people earn a living and you got a cut of what they did.  For me this was always by hiring sales people.  I basically would set their wages to where they would get 40% of the profits that they generated.  I would pay for their phone, a place for them to work, I would help them close deals and I would design the products that they sold, I would even pay for them to have a base salary in case sales were slow that week.  The more successful they would be the more successful I would be.  If I have 3 or even 4 of these people it would keep me busy.  Imagine if I had 30 or 40, and if they averaged making $2000 for themselves per month, that means that each one would make me $3000 per month.  That alone is a million in a year!  Becoming a millionaire is REALLY a team sport.  I don’t know anyone who has worked to get a million who did not have a team behind them.  Most people I know help out people all of the time because the more people they help the more they make in the long run.

If you want to make it rich selling something, or helping other people get rich you need a system to manage the entire thing.  A system is really the key.  The good part is with a little math you can start to think about the system now, you can design the system now that will take you to the millions you want to have.  A good system with the right principles will take you there.  Run a simulation on your system, if it does average will it get you to where you want to be, is your system too small?  Is your system too hopeful, does it require that something unknown will happen to catapult you into your success, if that is the case it probably will not happen.  You can’t predict such things.

I really hope this helps you put your dreams in perspective.  And I hope you start to think how duplicating a successful system will get you there.  You need to focus on people, you need to focus on results.  Your plan must have the muscle to get you to your goals.

When you get your millions remember the little guys, remember to give back.  Millionaires are some of the nicest, most humble and most generous people I know.  Most millionaires are not they greedy people the movies and media make them out to be.  They usually are very humble because they know that peopled helped them along the way, and that being nice to people and helping others is the key to their success.  They feel lucky that they made it.

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The Generation Gap and the Church

That is a huge and growing Generation Gap in the United States.  They have been talking about this at church recently.  About how there is a “Missing” Generation in the churches of America.  How people from 19 years old until 35 are vastly underrepresented.  I am in that group, and I agree, we are vastly underrepresented.

A Quick Warning: This blog entry will be about averages and the groups as a whole, there will always be exceptions to every case but generally the following is true.  I deal with the general public all of the time and I have had friends of many different ages.  I will use the way a church operates during this entry to show the differences.   Watch this video to see facts about the world you may not know.  [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpEnFwiqdx8]

The older generation simply does a poor job of relating to our generation.  There are some fundamental ways that we think differently, and these differences get in the way often.

Interactive vs Broadcast

To me the most profound difference is the way that we interact with other people and with the world.  For most of those over the age of 35 the world was mostly a broadcast world.  People made TV Shows, made newspapers, books, and gave sermons, and you sat there and watched or listened.  You appreciated what was going on and that was it.

But the mindset of the people under the age of 35 is an interactive one.  We grew up with video games and soon after computers.  We decided what we would watch, what we would listen to, and when.  We want the world to work together.  In corporate America this has created the power of teams, almost every successful business puts people in my generation in teams, and empowers those teams to make some decisions.  This is why the most successful show on tv is American Idol, we want to vote to see who stays on.  We have YouTube and Video On Demand, so we can watch anything we want on out time table.

The successful church must realize that for people in this generation the Sermon is just the introduction to the conversation, and they must make ways for the conversation to go on and to get the input When they don’t we simply feel frustrated.  Our generation is very tech savvy so even if they brought the conversation online afterward it would much better than the way it is cut off now.   The older generation is done, and ready to move on.  The successful churches introduce the topic and start the discussion online days before the sermon on the pastors blog, and comments are posted and replied to, so when the sermon comes on sunday my generation is excited to go and see it to see if what we said made a difference, it makes us hunger for it and we are sure to attend. I am talking about much more than just saying Amen here and there.  Actually that looks kinda fake to us.  I often feel like a pastor is up there trying to answer all of the questions that he thinks that the audience may have but never bothers to ask them what their questions are.

Values

On Tuesday night on ABC they have a show called “What would you do”, it is basically a hidden camera show where they set up situations to test peoples ethics.  On the show they said that one of my generations main values is the Value of Tolerance.   Our generation is very diverse, and people often express their thoughts by how they dress.  I really don’t think that the older generations gets that we really don’t care that much on how you dress.  We will take how you look and make some preconceived notions but if your actions are different we quickly can change that.  Who cares how you look, it is about who you are.  I think that much of this comes from the fact that successful people in our generation come with all sorts of different looks and different backgrounds.  I basically will treat you the same if you wear a suit, or if you wear torn shorts and a old raged shirt as long as you act the same.  I think that much of this also comes from the fact that we carry on most of our relationships online or on the phone.  I have people I have talked to for hundreds of hours over a period of more than 5 years, who I have done business with, who I joke with and have tried to inspire and build a relationship, but whom I have NEVER met in person and never even seen a photo.  I think that concept is totally foreign to people in older generations.

Another main value of my generation is Truth.  Being real, being authentic.  I think that we are much harder to offend than people of older generations.  We want to get to the point, to get real.  The point where it starts to get good for us is well past the point where older people get offended.  One thing I find very lame in church is that pastors stop way too early, they stop before they get to the meat, or the truth because if they do keep going on someone may get offended and walk away, but in doing this they look weak to our generation, unwilling to be authentic for fear of what others may think.  Remember that our generation is the generation of tolerance, and because of that we are hard to offend, plus we have seen it all and heard it all on TV and on our computers.  For us it is about community, we know that no church is perfect, and no church leader is perfect, and that it is OK to have opinions that are different than the leaders.  Older people want to find the church leader that thinks exactly like them, and for this reason the leaders usually are reluctant to take a stand, this keeps the older generation from leaving but it looks completely fake to my generation and turns us off.

One huge value of older folks is that of Authority.  But to us we know that the world has become interactive, and that for many decades we have been betrayed by authority giving false information, and because of this we doubt everything.  For the boomers you just tell them that something is true and they run with it, but we research it, we have Goggle at our fingertips and we use it, 23 Billions times a month on average.   We know that big companies can have no web site at all and we know that a guy running a business in his underwear in his dining room can have an impressive and huge website.  We know that some crazy person can edit Wikipedia and change the information you are reading.  We also know that an unknown with a good idea can publish it and have a million readers in a few days.  For most of us there is no ultimate authority or truth, it is just millions of interpretations of truth.  This is the very reason that it so very hard for the church to reach us.  First there is only a broadcast, no conversation, and when they broadcast they tell us what is their truth, but their truth is different from what others have said and they do little to prove their truth.  They read something out of the bible to people who may not truly believe the bible is truth, they have heard so much that discredits it.  Again this is why a conversation works much better than a broadcast.

Another value of our generation is that of Equality and fairness.  Most of us believe that everyone should have an equal chance at success, that we should all have a say in things.  We all want a turn to share what we know, we want to be empowered.  In business school there were a lot of good lessons, and one that stuck with me the most is delegation.  First if you are a leader you need to delegate as much as you can, you cast the purpose and vision of the company and then delegate to smart people who have bought into that vision and give them the power and freedom to do what it takes to make you successful and the results will always be more than you ever thought it could be.  If we don’t know the WHY to a task, and how our efforts fit into the big picture than we feel like what we do is not so important so we just don’t do it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODQ4WiDsEBQ]  Another virtue of our generation, and one that has caused some of the largest generation conflicts is the Ubuntu concept.  People in my generation see the world as one huge mass of humanity.  We should be helpful to others, we should share with others, we should build a community of caring, trust and unselfishness.  An African word has been used for many decades to express this concept, that word is Ubuntu.  Recently a group of programmers took this concept and named their operating system after it, because they built their entire OS on this concept of community.   They call the OS Ubuntu, in a few short years it is already better than windows, and as more things work with it it is gaining market share, recently passing the Mac OS as the second most used OS, and I think that it will overtake Windows as the most popular OS in the world in the next decade.   People in my generation make stuff so that it can be useful to others, and we don’t care if they use those things, and for the same reason we don’t ask if we can use what you made, we download your music, and your movies and use them however we see fit.  An open society is in direct conflict with the current system of copyrights.  Some smart companies are releasing their content to the web, and letting people change it and build on it, making those companies totally hip and cool.  While other go after and sue people who do the exact same thing, GM recently after people liked one of their commercials so much that it was posted on youtube and 3 million people viewed it, then they sued to take it down, are they that dumb.  (Well I did see their stock price recently so I guess that is my answer.)

We are used to information on demand.  I can access more information from my desk in 20 minutes than what would take a whole day in the library of congress just 20 years ago.  We are a generation that is flooded with information and rich content, but at the same time we yearn for a real human connection.  We don’t just want to sit in a lecture but we want to be part of the conversation and push it forward.

Final Thoughts

There is a verse in the bible that goes “Teach a child in the way he should go and he will not depart.”  By the time someone turns 21 they have formed 95% of their habits, and generally decided where their life is going.  For 100’s of years church was the center of society, but in the 1960’s it started to fade, there was a leadership crisis and for the first time the population as a whole doubted if we would be involved in a war.  Until the 1950’s most expression was banned, and by the 1960’s it was unleashed, and there was a new culture that was raised up, one without God at the center.  The people who were teens during this time did not go to church much and did not make it important to their kids.  The concept of church lost critical mass, it was very uncool to go to church.  Almost everyone that I know under the age of 35 is in church because they grew up in church, very few found church later on.  Now we have millions of “Unchurched” in our generation, many have never been to church or when they did they felt like they went to a lecture, they made no connection, they felt like they had no say in anything so they just never went back, and they took that opinion with them.

To reach these people is a very hard task now, because they feel that they are doing fine now, and that they don’t need God.  Many churches express God like a Magic Gene who solves all of your problems.  My current church is not like this but many churches I have visited basically have the same theme over and over, “Life is hard, life is tough, the world is unfair and against you and you need to make God part of your life so he can fix it.”  I hate it when I hear people say this.  To my generation life is awesome and great, we have more at our finger tips now than even existed for our parents, we are generally happy with out lot in life.  The message that would work for us is this “God can be your best friend, he will help you when you need it and celebrate with you when you do good, he has great plans for your future, full of hope and success.  The better you follow His advice the closer you will get to His vision for you life.  Join us and you will have an entire community at your side working to make God will happen in your life.”  Too bad few churches today are preaching this.  I love how we say in our church “Success to you and Success to the kingdom of God”  Because that is really what it is all about, lining up our definition of success with that of what will create success in the kingdom and then going for it.

The church that successfully reaches my generation will be the one that speaks the truth holding nothing back, allows us to participate in the conversation, allows us to discover what is truth, and allows us to all work together to build a community, getting rid of the idea of leaders and followers.