Get Rich like Bill Gates

It always amuses me how most white men I meet who are filthy rich, look like the most nerdy weirdos on earth. So much that, when visiting Nassau (Bahamas), a friend of mine told me the story of how Bill Gates once visited the island and was hunting for a property, and the realtor did not know who he was and completely disregarded him as someone without enough money to afford a house. My own father always told me ‘the appearance doesn’t make the man’, I love my dad. While Bill Gates was a very privileged kid with a lawyer dad, it does not take away from the fact that, I continuously see a correlation between one who live within their means and are aware of their finances, and being rich in the long run.

I pride myself in being frugal, but I am also well aware of the fact that I enjoy the finer things in life. Coming from a third world country, you easily fantasize about nice things, and you want it. Living in a capitalist country like Canada, you are surrounded by billboards and now social media posts, that constantly sell you the idea that you need ‘stuff’. You know that you can live without the latest $500 iPhone, or live without that  nice pair of Adidas Gazelle sneakers, but let’s keep it real, walmart sneakers are poor quality and straight up, they’re ugly. However, to retire early, or retire rich (that day will eventually come), you have to set the ground rules now. Sadly for many young people, and even most adults, the concept of being financially organized is a thought that either gives them anxiety or boreds them. Just like Rome wasn’t built overnight, you will not reach financial comfort or wealth instantly, it has to be built overtime.

I am no financial advisor, but here are things I do to keep myself on track financially:

  1. Know how much money you have or make. If you don’t make any money, but want the finer things in life, work for it. Don’t be a moocher or get yourself in endless debt. Credit cards isn’t your money, it is a strategy for the economy to keep you imprisoned until you realize you cannot buy a house or rent an apartment because your credit scores are horrible.
  2. List out your needs, with a dollar sign next to it. It makes me laugh when my privileged friends say dumb things like ‘I don’t need money, I can live on little’. Then you realize their parents have paid everything for them their entire lives. Write down your necessities and have an estimated cost next to it. For me, that includes eating healthy foods, spare cash for socializing with friends, and setting aside some amount of money for my savings just in case things go bad in life and I need the money.
  1. Live within your means. This is a hard one, for all of us. Of course I love eating my fresh salmon, I like quinoa more than rice (I sadly don’t have an asian metabolism, carbs accumulate in my thighs), I love to travel, and I love wearing Topshop and Levi’s denium. But, if I have to think long term and not feed my immediate needs, if I go to the mall, I go intentionally. When I walk into Zara and see that gorgeous summer season orange dress, I ask myself the question: Do I need it? Am I going to wear it once? Are there more than one occasions that this can be worn? If I buy this $150 dress, will I be able to pay my phone bill by the end of the month?
  2. Know the difference between a need and a want. One is a necessity, the other a an occasional luxury to indulge in to treat yourself when you deserve it, not all the time if you don’t have the means.

I know it’s often depressing to think about restricting yourself from spending money, we all want to enjoy life. Nobody, well some of us, do not want to look like those ghetto hippies who smell funky because they reject the spending ways of our modern world, and dumpster divers or be someone who deliberately only shops at dirt cheap grocery stores where canned food is the only standard. Not to be offensive towards people living below poverty and have to resort to canned food or dumbs to live, but for them it is not a choice. If you have a choice to live below your means, and you want to live a nice life eventually, be honest with yourself and cut down on your frivolous spending.

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