Have you ever noticed that no matter how much you earn, you find a way to spend it? Well, you’re not alone. Many people seem to have a way of living up to – or even beyond – their means.
How many times have you seen a person who won the lottery lose it all and become broke five or six years later? How about the great athletes of recent history?
Take Curt Schilling for example, who made and spent in excess of $100 million over his 20 seasons with Major League Baseball. The same is true of directors, actors and entertainers Willie Nelson, Billy Joel and Francis Ford Coppola; all went broke.
This also happens to the rich-beyond-their-dreams prize fighters who hit the canvas with a thud. Look at the up-and-down-and-out career of former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson, who made more money in his time than any other boxer in history – nearly half a billion – only to become bankrupt.
But five-division world champion Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr. is about to beat Iron Mike’s earning record. Like Tyson, Mayweather fought his way up from hardscrabble beginnings. In September 2013 he scored a guaranteed purse of $41,5 million for a bout against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. His take became more than $80 million based on pay-per-view totals.
Before this giant payday, he had already topped the Sports Illustrated Fortunate 50 list, ranking among the richest athletes in the United States. I love Mayweather as an extraordinarily gifted athlete, with a work ethic like few people alive have. He’s also incredibly generous with his friends.
But Mayweather fought his way to the top of this list before, only to lose his fortune to wild spending sprees and bad investments. He is reported to spend recklessly, carrying a backpack filled with $1 million in cash, just in case he needs to make an emergency donation to Louis Vuitton.
Like so many achievers, the champ is smart as a whip and my hope is that he is following better investment practices today. But according to 50 Cent, Mayweather’s former business partner, the champ has no income outside of fighting. The rapper summed up the boxer’s financial strategy: “It’s fight, get the money, spend the money, fight. Fight, get the money, spend the money, fight.”
1. Get off the hamster wheel
Sound like a ridiculous strategy? Unfortunately, many people can relate: Work, get the money, spend the money, work is the American way.
If these individuals could not build on their talents and blessings and earn their way to financial freedom, how can you expect to earn your way? You can’t.
But what you can do is make a simple change in strategy and embrace a whole new mindset. It will change your life. You have to move from just working for money to a world where money works for you.
It’s time to step from the sidelines and get into the game because ultimately everyone must become an investor to be financially free.
You’re already a financial trader. If you work for a living, you’re trading your time for money. Frankly, it’s just about the worst trade you’ll ever make in life: You can always get more money, but you can’t get more time.
I’m betting that the primary ‘money machine’ in your life is you. You might have some investments but may not have set them up with income in mind. If you stop working, the machine stops. The cash flow stops. Your income stops. Basically your financial world comes to a grinding halt. It’s a zero-sum game, meaning you get back just what you’ve put into it.
You’re also an ATM of another kind. The acronym suggests that lousy ‘time-for-money’ trade. You’ve become an anti-time machine.
It might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but for many people, it’s a reality. You’ve set things up so that you give away what you value most, time, in exchange for what you need most, income.
If you stop working, you stop making money. So let’s take you out of the equation and look for an alternative approach. Let’s build a money machine to take your place and set it up so that it makes money while you sleep.
Think of it as a second business, with no employees, no payroll, no overhead. Its only “inventory” is the money you put into it. Its only product? A lifetime income stream that will never run dry, even if you live to be 100. Its mission? To provide a life of financial freedom for you and your family.
If you set up this metaphorical machine and maintain it properly, it will hold the power of 1 000 generators. It will run around the clock, 365 days a year, with an extra day during leap year, and on the Fourth of July, too.
Theodore Johnson worked for UPS and never made more than $14 000 a year and yet in his old age he was worth more than $70 million.
When he said he had no money to save, a friend told him that if he were taxed, the money would be taken out of his account and he’d never see it.
So he created a tax for himself to make him wealthy. Even though he made little money, he took 20% of his money and it went straight into an investment account. Over more than five decades, that compounded to make him $70 million.
If the government taxed your business, you’d pay it. Maybe it’s time for you to place a ‘tax’ on your business – one that sets you up for financial freedom and that gives you an alternative, a secondary business with no employees and overhead – a true ‘money machine’.
But your machine can’t start working until you make the most important financial decision of your life: What portion of your paycheque do you get to keep? How much will you pay yourself off the top before you spend a single dollar on your day-to-day living expenses?
3. Save to step off the 9-5 conveyor belt
How much of your paycheque can you – or will you – leave untouched, no matter what else is going on in your life?
Think about this number because the rest of your life will be determined by your decision to keep a percentage of your income today to ensure you always have money for yourself in the future. The goal here is to enable you to step off the 9-to-5 conveyor belt and walk the path to financial freedom.
When I asked Burt Malkeil, who wrote the classic investment text A Random Walk Down Wall Street, what the single most important mistake of investors was, he said, “So many people fail to tap into the power of compound interest.”
While many are aware of the concept of compound interest, most Americans make the same mistake, thinking they need to earn a large sum of money to become financially secure, stable or free. In reality, a small amount of money consistently set aside will provide a greater ability to achieve financial freedom.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how much money you earn. If you don’t set some aside, you could lose it all. But once you set up your money machine, don’t just set it aside stuffed under your mattress. Accumulate it in an environment that you feel certain is safe but that still offers the opportunity for growth.
And while your machine is running, you can trade less of your time for money, freeing you to spend your days doing things you truly care about. This is the first and most important step in putting yourself on the road to financial freedom. Take that step today.
11 Things You Need To Know About Bitcoin
The cryptocurrency has had a tumultuous existence so far.
11 Bits about Bitcoin
Even the most tech savvy among us have a hard time wrapping their heads around Bitcoin. It’s a hot topic and a frequent point of discussion among investors, entrepreneurs and stock traders, so you should want to know all about it.
For starters, here’s an overly simplified explanation of Bitcoin: It’s a digital currency (there are more than 800 now) that isn’t controlled by a central authority such as a government or bank. It’s created by “miners,” who use computers and specialised hardware to process transactions, secure the currency’s network and collect bitcoins in exchange. Supporters say it allows for more secure transactions over the internet. That’s in part due to blockchain, a technology that records cryptocurrency transactions chronologically in a public digital ledger.
Bitcoin is only eight and a half years old, but it’s the oldest and most highly valued cryptocurrency out there. In such a short time, it’s had a rocky and controversial history, but it’s also attracted a fair share of high-profile supporters.
Click through to read 11 bits about Bitcoin that will make you at least sound like you know what you’re talking about next time it inevitably comes up.
The birth of Bitcoin
The origins of bitcoin trace back to 2008, when its creator, who went by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, published a proof of concept for Bitcoin. The proof was then published to a cryptocurrency mailing list in 2009. Nakamoto left the project in 2010 and disappeared, but other developers picked up the work. Bitcoin’s birthday is Jan. 3, when Nakamoto mined the first 50 units of the currency.
An elusive creator
The true identity of Bitcoin’s creator has never been confirmed. Newsweek claimed to have found Bitcoin’s creator in 2014, identifying Temple City, Calif, resident Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. He has vigorously denied it. In 2015, an Australian entrepreneur named Craig Wright said he was Bitcoin’s creator, but he couldn’t produce the evidence to support his claim. Whoever Nakamoto is, that person is very rich, as the creator is estimated to have mined a million bitcoins in the currency’s early days.
Very expensive pizza
The first transaction involving bitcoin was reported on May 22, 2010, when a programmer identified as Laszlo Hanyecz said he “successfully traded 10,000 bitcoins for pizza.” As of Aug. 28, 2017, 10,000 bitcoins are worth about $43 million.
You can spend bitcoins
Federal Bureau of Bitcoin
At one point, the U.S. government was one of the largest holders of bitcoin. In 2013, after the FBI shut down Silk Road, a darknet site where people could buy drugs and other illicit goods and services, it took over bitcoin wallets controlled by the site, one of which held 144,000 bitcoins. Investors have been making a killing by bidding on government-seized bitcoins.
A mountain-sized setback
In early 2014, Bitcoin suffered a devastating loss after the alleged hacking of Mt. Gox, a Japanese exchange. About $460 million of the currency (in 2014 value) was stolen. It was the largest loss of bitcoins ever and raised concerns about how secure the currency was.
The billionaires’ takes
Warren Buffett, perhaps the most famous investor in the world, was not so keen on Bitcoin one of the only times he addressed the currency. “Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically,” he told CNBC. “The idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is a joke in my view.”
Fellow billionaire investor Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, had even stronger words about Bitcoin: “You can’t have a business where people are going to invent a currency out of thin air. It won’t end well … someone is going to get killed and then the government is going to come down on it.”
But not all billionaires are against Bitcoin. Mark Cuban has said its value is inflated, but he recently invested in a venture capital fund that backs cryptocurrency. Richard Branson, however, has spoken more optimistically about it.
Related: The Currency Revolution
Wealthy twins and a smart teen
Other notable investors in Bitcoin include Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (the Harvard-educated twins who sued Mark Zuckerberg claiming that Facebook was based on an idea they’d had). They invested $11 million into Bitcoin in 2013, an amount said to be about 1 percent of all bitcoins in circulation at that time. The Winklevoss twins have been petitioning the SEC to create a bitcoin exchange traded fund. The agency rejected the idea earlier this year.
Another is investor and entrepreneur Erik Finman, who invested $1,000 into Bitcoin when he was 14 years old and is now a millionaire.
Celebrities want in
Celebrities have also expressed enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency. Actor and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow advises Abra, a Bitcoin wallet, and Ashton Kutcher, Nas and Floyd Mayweather have all invested in Bitcoin start-ups.
Support from a big financial institution
In August 2017, Fidelity Investments became a rare standout among financial institutions in embracing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The company allows its clients to use the Fidelity website to view their bitcoin holdings held through digital wallet provider Coinbase.
“This is an experiment in the spirit of learning what these crypto assets are like and how our customers may want to interact with them,” Hadley Stern, senior vice president and managing director at Fidelity Labs, told Reuters.
A hard fork
On Aug. 1 2017, Bitcoin experienced what’s being called a “hard fork” as a result of a few issues, including the limited number of transactions that can be processed per second. Essentially, the cryptocurrency split into two, with Bitcoin Cash debuting.
Here’s how Rob Marvin of PCMag explains the situation:
“The Bitcoin fork speaks to a fundamental ideological rift over what’s more important: Preserving the decentralised nature and independent control of the Bitcoin network, or accelerating transaction speeds to make the cryptocurrency more viable for mainstream ecommerce and payments.” Bitcoin Cash allows larger blocks of currency and more transactions per second.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.