In my previous articles, I described key elements on the path to building wealth. You have to save and you have to avoid credit card debt. Today, I want to write a bit about your dream job and your ideal income.
Wealth is a long term plan. Even if you win the lottery, receive an inheritance or marry somebody who’s rich, keeping that wealth and making it grow takes time and planning. I’m sure you’ve heard it said that ‘the more you make, the more you spend’. It’s true. Just because a person now has an income of several hundred thousand dollars a year doesn’t make them wealthy. Sure, they’ve got the potential. But too often, the increased income merely buys bigger houses and more furniture, new cars and long weekend trips. Higher income does not always mean wealth. We’ve all seen giant houses in foreclosure, cars repossessed and businesses close down. Economy is a cycle – sometimes you’re swimming in money and sometimes you’re desperately broke. So lets take a look at jobs and income.
First on my list is a simple statement that may seem obvious but is necessary just to establish and reinforce a truth. That is, you must work. You must have a job. No amount of charity, government assistance or family support will take you to a point of wealth. It will enslave you. It will deter you. It will keep you locked in a state of poverty. You will not get rich. You will not feel better. You will not get even with ‘The Man’. You will not experience the pride and satisfaction that comes from hard work and an honest income.
I whole heartedly believe in charity and government assistance and family support for a short term rescue and supplement for the necessary steps for getting a job. That might be 6 months. It might be 4 years to attend a college. It might be two years to learn a technical skill. Take advantage of it. Use it. Then get off of it. You cannot be a drain to your family and your community by receiving welfare unless you can give back in some manner, either by service or by repaying the assistance. Stinking thinking means that someone owes you a living. They don’t. You must work. You must have an income. If you reject that truth, there’s no need to read any further about wealth. It will never apply to you.
Second, you must have a job. I don’t believe that everyone must go to college to have a high paying job. I’ve seen too many people start by making cookies in their homes and selling them in offices and then next think you know, you’ve got Famous Amos cookies. I’ve lived in a golf course neighborhood where a lady with a handicapped son started making cheese cakes in her kitchen and selling them to local restaurants. She became a millionaire from her Mrs. Lawler’s Cheesecakes business. I worked with a man who, as a weekend job, bought a dump truck and hauled wood chips from a sawmill to a processing plant that made plywood. He eventually worked two jobs, owned several 18-wheelers and eventually got into land development – all without any college. I’ve seen women from Central America clean homes for $100 per house, getting two houses done in a day. That adds up quickly!
You don’t need a college degree, you just need to work. If you do have a college degree, then use it! I see too many college students go through an entire 4 to 5 years of school, come out with a degree and then decide that they didn’t really want to do what they just studied. Use that degree!! Adapt it to a job you like. Use that degree to open the door to get a job. You have so many opportunities simply because you’ve proven that you have the ability to think, to reason and to stay dedicated to a purpose. Go get a job!
We spend somewhere around 40 hours a week at a job so work in an area that you like. Work with people that you like. Work at a pay level that you like. Work at a job that is rewarding financially and emotionally. Work at a job to build skills to get the next job. Work at a temporary place in order to get to a permanent place. Work where you want to be. Work where you’ll be happy.
I remember when I was young, my dad would drive us to the Cleveland Hopkins Airport. We’d park right under the approach path to the runway and watch the airplanes roar overhead as they flew by. Some of my first dates were on the observation decks of that airport, watching the flights take off, spotting arrivals, watching the ground guides park the arrivals. Who could have ever thought I’d end up getting paid to do that exact same thing! I joined the military, studied hard to pass my aviation training, worked hard to certify in a tower at Ft. Hood, Texas and eventually become a supervisor at the Houston Intercontinental Airport. I had one year of college that was spent learning German, calculus, English, softball, geography and biology, which I dropped. College wasn’t for me. But learning, studying, working and beating my brains out did work for me. That’s what I did. That was my dream job.
I used to golf with a fella who started in the trucking business. I’m not really sure if he had a college degree or not. All I knew was, he worked dispatching trucks that shipped all kinds of goods across the country. He eventually became a district manager. He and a friend transferred that shipping experience to a new venture in air cargo. They started shipping many of the same kids of things by chartering cargo space on airlines. Eventually the company expanded, bought some of their own planes and opened offices around the country. My friend became a station manager here in Houston. After several years, my friend asked me if I wanted to buy his golf cart from him because he was moving again. I asked him, ‘Where are you going?’
“My wife and I are selling this house and going to go buy a house in New England. We’re also going to find one in Colorado”
“How are you going to do that?” I asked.
“I sold my shares of the company. I’m retiring with $30 million in the bank”.
I had no idea he had that kind of money! I asked him, “Well then what are you going to do, sit around and watch the sun set?”
“Not even! I’m thinking about importing cigars. What do you think about that?”
Well, to tell you the truth, I thought you would stop working all together at that point! But he wanted to start a business importing cigars. He was going to ‘work’ at something he enjoyed. To the best of my knowledge, it doesn’t take a college degree to dispatch trucks or to import cigars. It just takes work!
You can do the same with the things you love to do. Paint, art, dance, nurse, sell, manufacture, dig, build, nail a nail, fix a pipe….whatever it is you love to do. You can do it. That can be your dream job.
Your dream job will give you the ideal income! By working at a job that you enjoy, your motivation, your dedication and your vision of what you can do are much brighter. It will allow you to find your niche in life. It will give you the power to negotiate! Your dream job will be a platform to either get raises from your current job or business, or it will launch you to your next one. The income you receive from each of these jobs is your ideal income until you decide to increase it. That ideal income is where your wealth comes from. Your ideal job is where you get money!
Money is what you will use to build wealth. How much wealth and to what level you intend to go is up to you. Most of us eventually will find a certain level of comfort when we arrive at that point. We reach a point where we decide that this is how hard I want to work for this amount of money. I’m content. I’m happy. I’ve balanced out many parts of my life with work, family, health, church and activities. I’ve reached a zone of comfort. I may work to raise that level or I may coast for a bit and enjoy my hard work. But we all reach a point where we know that this is the level I want to be at and there’s no more reason to make another jump in income. I’m happy at $50,000 a year. I’m happy at $250,000 a year. I’m happy that my business is making $6 million a year. Whatever your level of comfort and contentment, we all reach it. And hopefully, with a good attitude of appreciation and a spiritual life to back it all up, you will also find the wonderful capacity to enjoy the whole journey that got you to that point.
Along the way, we must develop the capacity to enjoy our lives. Often people look at someone they view as a success story and don’t get to see what they’ve done to get there. In my case, I’ve hit so many obstacles, so may brick walls, so many self-doubts, so many downs that I’d probably make you sick with my pity party. We all have those. We all hit dead ends. We all have an idiot boss. We all have pay cuts. We all face fears in the workplace. As a result we need to learn to find stability, peace and objectivity along the way. We must learn to be content as we strive to achieve. We must learn to enjoy our life at each stage of growth. We must appreciate what we are blessed with today. That way, when we reach that point of being wealthy, we’ve built the capacity to enjoy that life!
People will say that there are those that can’t work. How can this ever apply to them? I recognize that there are those exceptions that do require special care and a lifetime of devotion. There are those that have lost their health, or have problems way beyond what any person should have to deal with. These are the people who deserve assistance and care from those who have built up wealth. These people should not be forgotten or left lacking. These people deserve our care. But these are very few in numbers compared to people who are able to actually do some kind of work. I have a family member who falls in this category and you know what? He works! He works at a ‘Goodwill’ type of facility. Work is hard but work is good therapy. It builds pride and self worth. Work is productive. Not working is trouble. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop – and I believe that! Not working is a sure path to depression, bitterness, resentment and low self-esteem. Get out of that syndrome as fast as you can. Go to work!
Wealth comes from working. You must have a job. You must work. Dream your best dream, then work towards a job that fills that dream. Use the income from that job to begin the long term process of building wealth. Your job is where you get money. Money builds wealth. Work to get money. Work at your dream job to reach your ideal income.
My next article will be about one of the most perplexing truth’s regarding wealth that I’ve ever adopted: Giving.