"The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else." –Aristotle
The quote attributed to Aristotle encapsulates quite well why having wealth is not an intrinsic value but serves as a tool and a safety net for the adversity in life. Chasing wealth can corrupt you, but it is an understandable goal that makes your life much more livable and less troublesome in the long run.
I've thought about the concept of owning wealth for a long time and I've come to good terms with it. To me it is a tool that enables me to focus less on the tomorrow and to focus more on what I want to do myself. Were I to disregard wealth, I wouldn't even be writing this text as keeping a blog and domain up certainly isn't free. Handling your finances well almost guarantees less involuntary stress in your life – handing your finances excellently guarantees freedom.
The state of being wealthy is hard to define, as the criteria for being wealthy change drastically based on who you ask. A person living in poverty in a third world country would consider working a retail job in the U.S a dream, even though many Americans find it a grim capitalist reality.
To my mind, being wealthy would be the equivalent of not needing to think what you need to eat, living in housing that you own and transporting relatively comfortably, like in a car or having the financial potential to do so. I would determine the monetary benchmark of this to be at about 1,000,000 US dollars with an annual salary that more or less retains this level of wealth. It's plenty for a good house, while still having enough wealth left to allocate to a decently comfortable car if desired and perhaps other smaller amenities like an expensive hobby (golfing, horse riding) or something such as a high tech sound system or TV – just the general financial capacity to discover an interesting device or item online and buying it without thinking about saving up for it.
Acquiring wealth in practice
Becoming wealthy is deceitfully simple in practice: It is all about increasing your net worth exponentially (in an accelerating fashion), so that as the years go on your earning potential steadily increases. Reaching the aforementioned net worth of 1,000,000 US dollars is certainly possible by just saving up with a salary that does not increase significantly yearly, but that takes a long time in comparison. The most optimal way to attain wealth is to pick a specific behavior type to speed up your earning potential so as to pile up wealth. In the next chapter I've listed my observations of the paths that I consider most consistent and reliable to attain wealth that anyone, with enough effort, can attain in most modern societies.
The main paths to wealth
I want to make one thing very clear: I am not here to sell a get-rich-quick scheme or offer you hidden keys to wealth. In fact, I don't even sell anything! These are my thoughts regarding the safest and most effective ways of acquiring wealth, with subsections to be released later as separate articles. I've identified these paths through discovering different kinds of people and exploring different stories about career paths to financial success. I've tried to only include paths that are very consistent around societies and have a relatively reliable success rate, granted that enough effort is exerted. This categorization excludes small niches that require astronomical luck (or probability, if you prefer a more scientific term) like becoming a famous music star or a cryptocurrency millionaire.
I have identified the following three consistent paths:
The High-flyer: working ambitiously academically to springboard into a great and quickly developing career
The Entrepreneur: developing a business out of a new and functional idea and having ruthless financial skills to make it a big success
The Frugal: earning an average salary but saving and investing a majority of it to further decrease costs and increase profits in the long term
These are the three types of lifestyle choices that I've seen pop up in every developed society as a consistent way to eventually acquire significant wealth, with the entrepreneur being the type with the most potential but also with the most risk (as a high-risk/high-reward structure), and the frugal being the least risky but also least potential as income starts out considerably lower in comparison.
As you can see, none of the paths involve a significant amount of chance as even the luckiest entrepreneur has to be remain consistent enough to keep their customer base happy and operations running. These three paths are labor-focused, as academic success, developing a new idea or working rigorously and building wealth through frugal tactics are all experiences that are definitely very unpleasant at times.
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