One of the reasons I like the game of cricket has to do with my fascination about the character of a cricket player. Most people’s attitude about cricket is that it takes too long. They prefer something that can start and finish very quickly so that they can get to the results. A cricket player has to exercise extreme patience, stamina, focus, concentration, and skill. This is true for a lot of sports people, however, in cricket, this may take the whole day or, in the case of test cricket, up to five days.
What does this have to do with the character of a wealth builder? Building wealth can be likened to the game of cricket in terms of the character of the wealth builder who eventually succeeds. Get rich quick schemes don’t work. Let me make a quick review of The Millionaire Next Door, by Drs Stanley and Danko, who put forward what they call the portrait of a millionaire. They point out that sixty-six percent of these millionaires are self employed. “Interestingly,” they remark, “self-employed people make up less than 20 percent of the workers in America but account for two-thirds (66%) of the millionaires.”
One may ask, they are self-employed doing what? They are running businesses that are considered dull to normal. They are welding contractors, auctioneers, rice farmers, pest controllers, paving contractors, electricians, plumbers, etc. Does this mean that they are not educated?
On the contrary, only 20% of them are not college graduates. 80 percent have graduated from college. Many of them hold advanced degrees. 18% of them have master’s degrees, 8 percent law degrees, 6 percent medical degrees, and 6 percent Ph.D’s.
Our biggest problems is that with this levels of education, we think running a plumbing business or an electrical supply shop is below us. The more degrees we get, we think we deserve a high paying employment contract in some well established company. These companies don’t want to hire expensive overqualified people because they’re interested in paying dividends for their investors. They keep restructuring and “right sizing” to shake off any expensive person and put them on a short contract so that they can get rid of them easier if the need arises.
Building wealth is hard work. The research in this book shows that over 66% of these millionaires work forty-five to fifty-five hours per week. They are also fastidious investors. They invest annually over 20% of their annual income. They invest on the stock market. They invest in their businesses, and they invest in their own pension funds.
They live well below their means. They live on a budget. They have and they take financial advice. They don’t pretend they know anything about investing. They have focused on creating passive income streams. If they decided to stop working today, they can still live for well over ten years and beyond as their savings continue to earn money for them.
A typical employee cannot survive for three months if they’re fired today. Beyond three months they start losing even the assets they had gathered. And yet most of us would rather be employees than self-employed in “dull” businesses.
Our import bill as a country is over BWP 20 billion. All that money leaves the country to buy goods and services that we could perhaps supply ourselves, if we were willing to be entrepreneurs.