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Are You A Wealth Sprinter Or A Wealth Marathoner?

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by Paul Kindzia in Happiness, Personal Finance
May 15, 2018

When I hear people discuss their personal wealth approaches (or lack thereof) it often leads to conflict, confusion or even arguments between people proclaiming to have “the best approach.”

I really like a Dave Ramsey quote that he uses which is;

“I like the way I’ve built wealth better than the way you haven’t.” – Dave Ramsey

First off, if you are ever having a discussion with somebody on the best way to build wealth, it may help if you determine whether or not the person you are speaking with has actually built wealth themselves.  Otherwise, you just end up with two cackling-hens theorizing upon a topic of which neither actually knows anything about from personal experience.

Second, based on my observations working with a number of wealthy people, I would state;

“There are a million ways to make a million dollars.  You just have to figure out the one that works best for you.” – Paul Kindzia

Third, making money and building/preserving wealth are actually two different animals. Wealth building is based upon principles that are timeless, across all cultures that are used in any economy.  We talk about principles over and over again on this blog but a few of them include;

  1. Make a substantial living (earnings can come from any number of sources)
  2. Live below your means
  3. Invest prudently
  4. Maintain adequate emergency funds

The first type of wealth builder could be described as a sprinter.  These tend to be entrepreneurs.  Becoming wealthy over 40 years is of no interest to them.  They often think and feel, “What’s the point of having all of that money when you are old (the old wheelchair wealthy)?”  They want the money and they want it NOW!  They are willing to cram vast quantities of work into shorter blocks of time (a few compressed years) to then have a big payoff usually in the form of a liquidity event of some sort (sale of company for instance).  Or they work like mad to build a company as quickly as possible that generates vast cash flows that go towards their overall wealth plan needs.

The second type of wealth builder is what could be described as a marathoner.  That’s the slow and steady approach that we often hear about.  You may hear, “Pay yourself first.  10% or more of your paycheck should go to savings over decades while living a frugal life.”  The purse is filled over 40 years.  You can go to Disney World for your 65th birthday to celebrate your not-so-overnight success.

It’s very important to know what type of wealth builder you are so that you act accordingly to your true underlying personality.

It’s not that one is better than the other.  It’s more like one is better for you than the other because of risk tolerance, patience, margin of safety, probabilities, lifestyle, core personality, and personal skills.  Some people are just more natural grinders than others.  It’s often easier and more predictable to become wealthy over longer periods of time by just sticking to the proven principles of success with often “ordinary” jobs or professions.

The sprint method is not so easy and entails more risk.  Sometimes the sprint method takes a number of attempts and failures and it still takes the person 20 or 30 years to become “an overnight wealth success” but that’s ok because during those decades they were doing what they were born to do (be a risk taking entrepreneur).

You only have to get rich once and hopefully you have the behaviors of wealth success when it comes to wealth building and preservation.  Please note, many people can have fantastic liquidity events or make a pile of money in short periods of time and still go broke (never end up wealthy).  Examples could be professional athletes, musicians, actors, and entrepreneurs that sold companies at remarkable levels and still ended up bankrupt.

Everybody has the right to go broke.  But everybody also has the right to behave like a wealth builder.

Good habits lead to good behaviors.  Good behaviors lead to good decisions.  Good decisions lead to a good life.  Live by principles and choose wisely.

Nobody likes Mr. or Mrs. Crabby Pants – so don’t be like that.  Be happy.

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