How to Be Rich

Marshall Brain has a fun slide-show called “How to Make a Million Dollars“:

Last week I was invited to speak to a group of 200 students at Duke University. The organizers gave me pretty much free rein in picking my topic, so I decided to talk about [How to Make a Million Dollars].

How to make a million dollars is: a) something students are interested in, and b) something I am qualified to talk about. And the talk went really well. So well, in fact, that I have received requests for copies of the presentation.

The gist of it is to start a business. If it doesn’t work out for you, start another. And another. And another. Until you succeed.

Here’s three alternative ways to be rich:

1. Regularly spend less than you earn. It’s slow but effective. You won’t be mega-rich but you’ll be richer than you are now.

2. Measure your wealth against those poorer than you. We usually define ourselves as rich or poor in comparison to those around us. So move to a neighbourhood where people mostly earn less than you. You’ll have the biggest house and nicest car in your street. Better still, move to a country much poorer than yours. If you can keep your current income, you’ll have a lifestyle the envy of those around you. Be careful though: with envy comes venom. You’ll be an obvious target for theft.

3. Choose to define wealth in non-monetary terms. If you earn little but live as a bum in a Western Australian surfing town, catching glorious waves on a glorious beach every day, you’ll have a rich quality of life. Expect to be looked down upon by your relatives who don’t understand your lifestyle choices.