Your financial thinking can easily be poisoned by social media.
Content designed to get clicks and make the creator rich can work against your understanding of money.
- Time to practice
- Time to learn
- Time to live
Money buys back your time, so it (unfortunately) predicts part of your future. The good news is it’s easy to upgrade your financial thinking.
The key I’ve found with money is to push the limits of your mind. It’s to go beyond the cliche advice of “buy real estate” or invest in the “S&P 500,” and understand the product of money that you spend your entire life working for.
Here are powerful money thoughts to transform your thinking.
The biggest money debate in history
A lot of why inflation sparks heated debates is because everyone spends their money differently so there’s no single inflation rate — your inflation may be very different than someone else’s, then people get angry that others don’t see what they see — Morgan Housel
The reason many people live in ignorant bliss when it comes to money is they don’t understand inflation. They think it’s actually 2%. Try telling that to someone like me who doesn’t own a home yet. The real estate in my home state is up 16.2% in 12 months. You have to be a millionaire where I live to buy a shack one hour from the city.
It may not seem like a big deal.
“Just live far from the city ya schmuck.”
But living far from the city means I need to lose my wife for at least 2 hours per day while she sits on trains and travels to an office. That’s not cool. I’d like to see her, and that means I can’t live in the middle of nowhere.
Inflation isn’t 2%. The calculation has been adjusted over time. And how you calculate inflation depends on where you’re at in life. Sure if you own a home, car, furniture, and can eat microwave food every night then it might be small. If you’re like me though, inflation is high.
Takeaway: know your individual inflation rate. Invest your money to fight it.
If your income is coming from labor rather than assets, you’re being decimated by hidden inflation.
— Naval Ravikant
It’s not just time that you pay for things in
Money is a measurement of your time. So it’s easy to make choices that prioritize money.
A friend of mine is a senior executive at a tech company. He earns lots of money. The unusual part is he doesn’t have to give up much time. Working no more than 8 hours per day for 5 days a week is fine for him. No one ever questions him. People say he has the dream job.
What they don’t see is what happens behind the scenes.
Every day he sits in meetings. Executives spend most of their time arguing and protecting their “patch.” It’s not about moving the business forward. It’s about moving their career forward. They fight like tigers in a cage to beat the other executives. When he comes home he’s exhausted.
It’s not only time he gives up to earn that high-paying salary. It’s the mental hassle it costs every day.
You don’t ever want everybody to agree with you
When everyone agrees with you when you make a decision, you get paid linearly. When everyone agrees with you after the fact, you get paid exponentially.
— Shane Parrish
One of the greatest investments I’ve ever made is in a blockchain project called Ethereum. The creator of the idea Vitalik Buterin impressed me from day one. His goal is to decentralize all of Silicon Valley and give ownership back to the users of the internet.
It’s a brave plan. When I invested early in the idea people told me I was stupid. I’ve copped plenty of online hate in the last 2 years by writing about it. The returns I’ve made from this investment have gone exponential in recent times.
When an idea is new and you embrace it, people will think you’re nuts.
When an idea goes mainstream people will think you’re a genius. If you want people to agree with you then get a safe job in a large corporation like a bank and have everybody sing your praises with fake smiles. If you want to change the world and do something that goes exponential then forget about the critics.
Critics of early-stage ideas don’t make you money — your financial thinking does. Be early to ideas. Do your own research.
Making money online isn’t evil
There are a lot of people who just like to virtue signal against the idea of making money — Naval Ravikant
It’s easy to feel shame about money. Do you deserve it? What if you manage to make decent money online and get to do whatever you want? Should you be guilty? You shouldn’t.
If you take the time to learn a skill and execute daily, there’s no reason you shouldn’t make money from it.
You don’t feel guilty for going to work and earning money. Why should you feel guilty about making money online? It’s the same thing. Shame culture leaks in. Pockets of the internet want us to just give up and believe the world is screwed and there’s no hope. I disagree.
There’s a Web 3.0 meme that explains our future perfectly. WAGMI
W — We’re
A — All
G — Going to
M — Make
I — It
Writer Ayodeji Awosika perfectly sums up a better form of financial thinking. I’ll edit his idea slightly though. While everyone else focuses on “eating the rich” focus on getting rich enough to buy back your time.
Instagram “rich life” makes us painfully poor
Spending money to show people how much money you have is the fastest way to have less money
— Morgan Housel
All we do when we buy luxury bullsh*t to show off is make ourselves poorer.
We have to work longer and harder to pay for the junk. Even when you own all the latest trends consumerism has designed the game against you. There’s always a newer version of whatever luxury you bought.
The luxury life simply creates a Hunger Games style survival of the fittest battle that pits humans against each other. This leads to a divide in society. This creates an us versus them culture where we shame who is or isn’t in the cool luxury club. I hate this reality.
If we start to reject the luxury life then not only can we retire sooner and do whatever we want, we may be able to enhance kindness towards one another at the same time. It’s a big idea.
Kindness over envy for the win.
Bankruptcy is the beginning of something special
No matter how well you play the money game you can lose. Making money involves risks. Risks can go against you.
Many bankrupts I’ve met over the years stay bankrupt. Why? They think what happens is the end rather than the beginning.
I heard the story recently of a former bankrupt. He started a renewable energy company after being bankrupt three times. The company made hardly any sales. One weekend he attended a trade show. A large battery provider approached his stall to say hi. He took them out for a few beers without having any idea who they were.
6 months later he signed an exclusive distribution agreement to sell batteries for one of the most iconic companies in the world.
You can take away all of someone’s money. But you can’t take away the lessons they’ve learned. That knowledge is what helps them bounce back from anything, even bad luck.
Freedom is a shorter workday
Keynes was not, after all, the only economic theorist who fantasized about freedom from wage labor.
Karl Marx famously wrote that “the realm of freedom actually begins only where labor which is determined by necessity and mundane considerations ceases”.
The basic requirement for freedom, he wrote, was “the shortening of the working day”. — Sarah Jaffe, The Guardian
The idea of buying back your time or working less isn’t lifestyle p*rn. One of history’s greats, Karl Marx, advocated for the idea. As technology continues to do more and more of the physical labor, why shouldn’t we work less and focus our time on work that involves creative thinking?
The number of hours in a workday doesn’t measure the quality of the output. I’ve been called lazy for working 4-day workweeks or doing 4-hour workdays. What’s missed is, that’s what will happen once AI is evolved enough.
The day when humans are free to do whatever creative work they dream of, and earn a living from it, will be a beautiful day. Shorter workdays are inevitable. It’s not a sign society is crumbling or getting lazy. It’s a sign we did something right.
Challenge your financial thinking and how you measure time to get exponential results. The rest is noise and drama that will rot your soul.