I’ve worked in finance and spent years learning about assets — particularly digital assets. People ask me via social media how I made enough money to face retirement in the next five years.
They seem to think I have many secrets about how to make enough money to retire that can change their life. Here’s how I did it.
1. Invest your money rather than save.
Saving your money is stupid. Inflation will eat away at your money. You make money when you invest what you have in real assets.
2. Understand the idea of purchasing power.
Governments print money to fight recessions and fund wars. When they do, they take away the purchasing power of the money you have earned. The only way to repay the huge debt the US Government has racked up is by either: 1) Raising taxes 2) Printing money out of thin air.
Increasing taxes won’t repay the debt. That leaves option two which we’ve been doing as a global economy since 2008. You can overcome the attack on your purchasing power when you learn about inflation hedge assets.
3. Lose all of your money.
Let money show you another side to life. Start a business with your family. Choose a marketplace to sell on. Import goods from China. Buy low and sell high. Let the business become huge. Bring on investors and see that they are like having a boss whip you with a whip.
Believe you were destined to be a hotshot entrepreneur. Take the money from your online business and pour it into cars and free drinks for attractive people you want to sleep with. Become a total ass in the process. Treat people like absolute dirt. Tell poor people to work harder. Abuse random charities and tell them to stop asking for donations. Let your ego run your life.
Start a second business using your overconfidence from the first business. Park your car each morning in the reserved car space for BMWs and Mercs only. Get out of the car and slam the door like a boss. Keep your head up so you look confident. Walk into the office and give advice to people twice your age. Take the intersection of luck and the rise of the internet for granted. Tell yourself you’re amazing and you built this empire because you’re brilliant.
Go out on the weekends and try and pick up using your money. Flash $100 bills. Talk down to the bar staff. Tip service workers like they’re your slaves and you’re the emperor. Wear loafers that cost twice the weekly minimum wage of a person you call a ‘worker.’
While all of this is going on, get greedy. Not just a little bit greedy. Treat your family like they serve you now. Don’t visit your grandparents or repair broken relationships with aunties and uncles. You’re too busy hustling and making money. Keep making the money. Watch the problems enter your life. Watch those problems get out of control.
See, in a matter of months, your money-making machine almost crumble because of one bad decision. Realize the end is near. Find yourself out on the streets late at night talking to your employees and predicting conspiracies. Watch yourself lose your mind from all the money and the thought of it been taken away from you. Watch your self-worth become your net-worth.
Show up to the office one day and realize it’s all over. Say goodbye to the employees while you hold back tears. Pretend to be strong when you know you’re weak. Offer to give them references for their next job, knowing you’ll be lucky to find a job yourself.
Go home when it’s all over. Sell the luxury car. Catch trains to visit friends. Learn what it’s like to have nothing. Check your bank account and see your savings evaporate fast. Trade in the luxury life for a simple life that is enforced by how much money you have in your back pocket. Accept the gift of an old car from a kind family member you neglected when you had your business.
Drive their car back to your empty home. Pick up the car cleaning accessories you had for your BMW. Take the car down to the local car wash and see if you can shine it into something that resembles the BMW. Watch your worst nightmare, a big spider, jump out from underneath the car. Scream at the top of your voice and then watch it crawl away.
Finish cleaning the car and notice how it hasn’t morphed into anything you could imagine in your dreams. Feel slightly grateful you even have a car for a few brief moments.
Return home and look for a job. Apply for everything. Watch the phone never ring and the thought of moving in with a distant family, to survive, become a reality. Keep trying. Pick up the phone one Monday morning and talk to a nice lady named Fiona on the other end. Say hi and pretend to be okay when you’re not okay. Say yes to the job interview knowing something is wrong… you feel sick.
See the doctor. Try and find out what is wrong with you. Try all of their suggestions: a change in diet, fructose tests, colon inspections. Roll up the following week for the job interview. Have the thought of presenting your failed business journey almost bring you to tears. Watch your hands shake and feel the sweat drip down your back and stink out the interview room.
Get a call saying you made it. You got a job in a call center working for a bank. Notice the contrast between making loads of money and earning minimum wage. Work at the bank for eight years. Learn about how money works. Serve people who have money, and who don’t have money.
Spend your time after work learning about different assets: stocks, real estate, gold, digital currencies, bonds, cash. Apply the knowledge and invest what you earn. Take the money you earn from being a part-time writer and invest it, too. Feel like you’re smart with money. Watch the money grow.
Make enough money to cover all of your expenses for a year, in advance.
Feel no different.
Simultaneously, work on yourself. Face your inner demons. Get help. Face mental illness too. Be kind to yourself. Realize you’re doing the best you can. Forgive yourself for your messy past, where you acted like a dictator with too much money. Say sorry to the people you hurt. Forgive people who you banned for life because they violated one of your rules. Forgive people for no reason at all.
Look at what makes you happy now: family, your partner, messages from readers, mending of broken relationships.
Feel what it’s like not to run towards money. Notice how fancy cars, houses and luxury goods have zero appeal to you. Take the simple things in life and let them change your life.
Have money allow you to buy back your time, instead of spending money on things that create a never-ending trail of debt. Make the acquisition of wealth secondary. Focus on how you can be helpful. Get excited by all the people you can meet and do life with.
Learn to make a difference rather than a profit.
4. Become a content creator.
Content creators are part of one of the biggest wealth transfers in history. Everything is content. Storytelling through words, videos, audio, photography and illustrations is a booming business.
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This article originally appeared in Medium.