I’m both ghetto and bourgeois. Before I go any further, allow me to first explain to my bourgeois friends what “ballin’-outta-control means. Ballin’-outta-control is urban vernacular—slang. It means to do well, succeed, or ascend to the top of your profession.
While at church this past Sunday, the pastor was breaking down Satan, sin and demonic thoughts. When the pastor touched on jealously and envy, he used various stories to illustrate his point of view. The primary point of one of his stories was showing how people become jealous and envious when they see other people with nice things including clothes, cars, and homes. He stated (I paraphrase) that when you become confident in your own ability to grow, succeed, and acquire some of the finer things in life, you’ll become an enthusiastic cheerleader of others who are striving to do well instead of harboring jealously and envy in your heart.
On our way home from church, my wife asked me if I ever get jealous or envious when I see people wearing fancy clothing, driving nice cars, or living in luxury housing. I responded “Jealous? Not at all—in fact I feel sorry for people when I see them with these status symbols of success.” I think the pretty lady expected me to respond differently for she looked at me and paused. You too may be wondering why do I feel sorry for people who are ballin’-outta-control.
As a child of poverty, I’d determined years ago that until I become wealthy, I would learn everything there is to know about money. Well, I have officially become a “financial nerd”. I know the route to riches. Let me be straight up with you. There’s no short cut to financial prosperity. There’s no stagnation in the process to becoming wealthy. You’re either growing richer day by day or you’re growing poorer day by day. Here’s the good news—everyone reading this column has the potential to become financially independent or wealthy in their lifetime. Don’t believe me? If you do some research, you’ll learn that more than 80 percent of today’s millionaires are first generation rich. They started with nothing and through diligence, sacrifice, perseverance, and economy, over time they became wealthy. The bad news is that although eight out of 10 become wealthy, the wealthy group represents 1 percent of the population. This means that 99 percent of the people reading this column will not become financially independent or wealthy. I think it’s safe to say that everyone reading this column welcomes the idea of being wealthy. If that’s the case, why will most of us fail at achieving that goal?
Here’s a million dollar secret—to achieve any worthwhile goal, it’s not so much what you’re willing to do to achieve the goal. It’s what you’re willing to give up to achieve the goal. Knowingly or unknowingly most of us would rather look rich than be rich. Ninety-nine percent of the people reading this column will sacrifice their ability to become wealthy tomorrow for the price of a compliment today. When you see people flaunting around with status symbols—clothing, cars, houses, etc., you think wow they’re ballin’-otta-control. I think wow, can you imagine the payments on that thing. I then think, I hope they’re not laid off in the near future. I hope that they manage to save some money for a rainy day. I hope they remain healthy and able to work. I hope the skills they have don’t become obsolete. I hope they manage to save for retirement. Then I think about the opportunity cost of making payments versus investing. If they would have invested that money instead of making payments each and every month, they could have become wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. Don’t get me wrong. I like nice things and I aspire to have nice things. I simply refuse to spend myself broke in the process of acquiring nice things.
I think this way for wealthy people as well. Consider Sam Walton, founder of Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart. He’s been dead and gone for years yet the fortune he amassed while living has placed five of his heirs in the top 10 on the Forbes Richest 400 list. It’s a known fact that Sam Walton drove a modest looking pick-up truck to and from work for years.
If you want to pass on wealth like Sam Walton and be a true baller (success), understand this, “if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.”
(Mortgage and Money Coach Damon Carr is owner of ACE Financial. Damon can be reached at 412-216-1013.)