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« Not All Index Funds Are the Same | Main | Launching the Career of Your Dreams: How I Achieved My Dream Career Within 4 Years of College Graduation, Part 1 »

February 13, 2011


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In 1848 tens of thousands, if not more, headed to California to find gold. Many died along the way, many ended up broke, few made anything out of it. Goldrushes appear over and over in many different guises. The attempts to get wealthy with little work and quickly will always be with us.

I think the same mentality even extends further into debt resolution. People who use debt consolidation fail to remain debt-free 70% of the time. Why? Their "I want it and I want it now" behavior remains,and they just charge their way right back into the same financial mess they tried to clean up.

I realized my father had given me advice when I was a teenager and I hadn't picked up on it until I was 24 or 25 (sadly). He didn't give me this advice out loud; he gave it to me via his actions. When I was in my teenage years (13-19), my father was in kind of dead end in his career. A job in accounting which had seemed lucrative when I was a child had stagnated. He had spent years living frugally with my mother and raising me and my two older sisters, but had little money for retirement and was still only halfway through a 30 year mortgage. There was no money to send me to college either, and I knew that bothered him. He had played the lottery for many years, one or two tickets every drawing- hoping that would solve the worries that kept him up at night.

I don't know what the catalyst was, but he suddenly decided to go back to school (over 20 years after getting his first bachelors) and to become a CPA. It took a few years while working full time to get the second degree and the certification. Now he is nearing retirement, makes well over twice what he made at that time, and will not have to worry about retirement anymore. As a result, my mother who had health problems a few years ago was able to retire early.

He has not bought a lotto ticket in at least 10 years. Again, too bad it took me so many years to get the lesson there.

DIY Investor:

The 49ers travelled great distances, hiked up into the mountains to live alone or in very rough-and-tumble mining camps, they worked in the wilderness and put up with the elements, enduring the very difficult work of mining the land with primitive tools. I would not describe the 49ers as motivated "to get wealthy with little work".

49ers from some other countries (China, for example) were even more limited in that they weren't allowed to work a claim until after it had been abandoned by locals.

Whatever else one might say about them, they weren't trying to avoid work.


Another example of the Get-Rich-Quick mentality is the “make money online” crowd. I see tons of people trolling forums and blogs looking for some magical formula that will let them make boatloads of cash without doing any real work. These people are just suckers for the snake-oil salesmen waiting to take advantage of them. The saps buy one “Instant Cash!” product after another and just dig themselves deeper and deeper into the hole. The truth is there is no secret formula other than hard work. But that’s not the answer people want to hear.

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