Written by Jerry Engler Tuesday, 05 February 2013 13:58
Whether you are rich or poor largely depends on your own habits. Yes, some of us are born to wealth and others are born to poverty. But we live in largely a free country where our own habits can cause us to lose our money if we are rich, or gain our money if we are poor.
There is at least one sustaining principle that can help you gain a higher level of wealth, but first I want to touch on something my father used to say.
He’d say, “Poor people have poor ways.” I should have listened better because for too much of my life I had poor ways. He might have added, “Rich people have rich ways.”
Contrary to the great discussion we have about taxing the rich more to support those of low income and station in life, it often is the habits of the poor that keep them poor if they are able bodied.
The national discussion we continue to have largely loses sight of this principle. Neither the president nor Congress can create economic well-being, wealth or jobs for us. Their business is taxation, and even redistribution of wealth, to take care of basic needs and services that they and their constituencies believe we need. Their actions can benefit in defense, basic services and so-forth, but they also sometimes mask that they are basically detrimental.
The wealthy among us, assuming they did it by being moral and honest, got that way through insights of business, inheritance, being in place at the right time for a beneficial situation—all the ways we can think of to gain wealth.
But they often also gain in wealth, increased self-sustaining ability if you want to call it that, through a simple principle.
You may call me simple after you read this, but simple often works better than anything else.
It’s a better method than anything else.
You save a portion of your income every month—or whatever time frame you are paid by, whether biweekly or semi-annually. You do this no matter what you work at or whether it is $10 every pay period, $1, $100 or $1,000.
You tell me you can’t afford to do this? That means you are choosing poverty, not that someone else put you there.
You’ll get by, and you’ll live.
You never borrow money if you can see a way to provide basic needs from cash. Never borrow money to buy a car—get by with an older car. Look at that next new thing you really think you need even if it’s a $5 toy you want because you can’t have better. Save the $5 until you can have it anytime without a sweat.
If the Federal Reserve doesn’t raise interest rates anytime soon, save in your bank account until you have the money to buy a stock or mutual fund, many of which gain 3 or more percent annually just in dividends, or find another thing that pays more that you understand or believe in.
Mostly, don’t let it be anything you have to personally do work for to make it gain. Your job is to put money into it, not to fret away what you already have.
Why would anyone ever buy anything like a lottery ticket, with its low percentage chance of winning, when buying shares of a dividend paying stock or mutual fund has the likelihood of paying you every month of your life with no labor?
Sure, these things can lose money. But if the history of the United States is any indicator, they always come back. You can also withdraw money from one stock to purchase a better one, or count on your mutual fund provider to do the same thing.
Or, if interest rates ever go up, do the same with a guaranteed bank or savings institution account.
Your job or your business can provide income, or growth, but you need something sustaining outside livelihood for continued success.
Don’t hesitate to invest in the things you understand, believe in or that are around you—even if they aren’t in your field of expertise.
You can buy shares of Westar Energy so the company’s dividends are paying you for those electric power lines running overhead. Find out the name of the company drilling the next oil well here to see if you might want to own shares of it.
If you use Johnson & Johnson products, buy Johnson & Johnson. If your business is agriculture, buy shares in a fertilizer production company that pays dividends, such as UAN at Coffeyville.
Or, ask your mutual fund provider the names of companies or stocks the company invests in for your own interest.
I know that much of this sounds simplistic to some people in business, and they are tempted to say this guy just doesn’t understand.
But we seem to have a multitude of people who don’t do what they simply can do, and they suffer from lifelong repercussions.
Seeing is believing, saving is surviving.