Why I’m Not Rich

by SMD 

True confession: I’m over forty and have a net worth of ~$20,000. It actually hurts to see it written out in front of me like that.

So why is someone like me, who has every skill and good fortune necessary to be long retired with zero money concerns, staring at such an unpleasant number? Because I didn’t want to pay the price.

What’s the price of being rich? The price of being rich is to be okay with being uncomfortable. I wasn’t, so despite the fact that I was natural entrepreneur and computer programmer in 1978 [read: perfect timing to become a dot com zillionaire], I missed out. Now I’m playing catch-up…big time.

Going for comfort, I spent 25 years — yes that did say TWENTY FIVE YEARS, trying to be a good, spiritual person. Makes me want to puke now. Being a spiritual person doesn’t negate being wealthy, but I was convinced that it did.

A very wise person that I know says: “Money is not worth living for…but it’s REALLY worth making”.

Why? Because it gave me an excuse not to be uncomfortable. It would have been very uncomfortable to follow my heart, so I made up new pseudo hearts and followed them.

For a while, I worked as a counselor in a maximum-security prison. I still laugh when I think of it because it is a known joke in prison, that everyone is…of course…innocent. Highest population of innocent people anywhere, in prison. The reason they all re-offend in my opinion is, they don’t admit that they did anything, that would be uncomfortable. Don’t you just crave to hear someone [oh, like Michael Jackson, for example] stand up and say, “Yes, I did all that horrible shit, I’m fucked up.”

I know now that there isn’t anything preventing me from having abundance in my life. I’m not afraid to be uncomfortable and I’m not afraid to be guilty. It’s the start of the second half, my knees are shot and I’m trailing by 20, but at least I’m in the game now.

Some Other Articles You May Enjoy


16 Responses to “Why I’m Not Rich”

  1. Jscott on June 13th, 2007 3:20 am

    Dude. That was some good food. I don’t read this kinda thing in business much. For what it is worth I was a theologian at one time. All changing the world. Guess what. I didn’t. I also was not real. Gettirng real for me meant different than it does for other theologians. Yet, I left and it was good as One once Said (get it yeah). And now uncomfort is comfort. Took me 7 years after I got to that place. Then it hit. Not just life but the money. Not that it does for everyone. I would have settled for the life. Living man. Living real and reading good books and being okay with life not always making sense and with talking to buddhists and atheists and laughing with fools and hookers and CEOs. THAT is life. Oh, Check it. Really, great post. It hit a nerve. Made me high.

  2. FMF on June 13th, 2007 3:21 am

    Wow, lots to comment on here. A few thoughts: *While $20k isn’t a lot, it’s not far below average. See this post: *I’d say that it wasn’t that you were willing to be uncomfortable (there were far more many people who lost it all during the dot com times than made a bundle), but that you probably just have a habit of spending more than (or as much as) you earn. But I don’t know you, so it’s only a guess. *People mean a lot of different things by “spirituality”, but if you’re referring to the Bible, it actually says the opposite of what you thought. God wants His people to be well off (not just to be wealthy, mind you, but to bless others). Lots of verses on this. Overall, I commend you for your honesty. I’ll continue reading and cheering you on. I know you can make it.

  3. Bryan on June 13th, 2007 3:21 am

    Hey Jon, There’s no going back, so don’t sweat it. Most people don’t even reach the point you’re at. You have a conscious recognition of how money affects you, and you’ve taken the decision to take control. THAT IS HUGE. Take my dad for example. He’s in his 60s, on Social Security, no health care, and in terrible debt. And it hurts to say it, but his situation probably will not change before he dies. He’s already given up, he’s accepted this. The point is this: You’ve got a good brain, two arms, two legs, and the will to succeed. You’ve already won. I’ll repeat that: You’ve already won. It may take some time, but you will be free. The majority of folks never even have the notion of what freedom is. So, no worries, keep plugging away, and take comfort in the fact that you’ve already changed your life. Your entire past got you to this point, which means it was not time wasted.

  4. Jon on June 13th, 2007 3:22 am

    Bryan, unfortunately you are right. I have read that the average saving is about $5000 at age 50. Probably some equity in the home however. FMF. I was never a spender. Before last year, I never earned over $20,000 a year, and average was more like $15,000. I just never got in the game. Thanks for the comments.

  5. FMF on June 13th, 2007 3:22 am

    Yep, it’s hard to accumulate a bunch on $20k per year. But looks like you’re on your way far above that now.

  6. geyer on June 13th, 2007 3:22 am

    I saw a post in a forum the other day with this quote: “first get rich, then get holy”

  7. Shake on June 13th, 2007 3:22 am

    Nice post Jon. Found your link thru one of your posts on Mark Cuban’s blog. I think the hardest thing to achieve is balance in life and you’ve figured out in reverse of what most others do. Money is important but not at the expense of everything else and vice versa. Abundance shouldn’t be judged through the lens of money alone. By the way it is possible to come back from 20 down even though your knees may be weary. Best of luck in the 2nd half.

  8. Jon on June 13th, 2007 3:23 am

    Thanks Shake, All us Canucks have a little Steve Nash in us, so we love a challenge and come-back opportunity.

  9. jaimito on June 13th, 2007 3:23 am

    You seem to be a decent person. Wont get very far, I am afraid. But keep trying/

  10. $talks on June 13th, 2007 3:23 am

    Loved the post – it is inspiring that you are upfront and honest with yourself and are now staring reality in the face. Thats exactly when change happens. After-all, making $$ isn’t real, it is all derived from one’s head. Sounds like your head has it together and thats all that matters. Keep working day-in-and-day-out and don’t ever sell-out like so many scared ostriches with their heads in the sand by wearing a tie to ‘work’ and denying any other possibility that exists outside the shakles of 9am-5pm. Keep planning dude. And ‘Jon’ your last comment was really bitter and lame….

  11. $talks on June 13th, 2007 3:24 am

    sorry, I don’t think it was ‘Jon’ who left that bitter comment. I am referring to the person who left the last comment as lame: “you seem like a decent person. Wont get very far I am afraid” Care to enlighten us about how you reached such esteemed financial heights?

  12. Joe Sandon on June 13th, 2007 3:24 am

    I liked your post -It was inspirational to me – You comment – The price of being rich is to be okay with being uncomfortable – Made me think – Hard – The other thing to consider is one can be working his life away on low returns. As far as the Internet riches are concerned – Got to figure out a way to give Real Benefits to Users, that they Really Need & that they Really Benefit from – then create lots of traffic & much like the day is guranteed to follow the night – The money will come……PERIOD! – …Best of Luck

  13. D. Clevele on September 23rd, 2007 12:29 pm

    I am 25 , and have sacrificed my job ( which paid good by many peoples standards) , my home, my credit, and my car. The reason being is because there is no doubt that dreams require sacrifices, and patient endurance through many firey trials ( meaning the way you feel inside about such seemingly hopeless conditions) to give you the tools you need to succeed without depending on someone elses dream . I have spent a long time trying to be right spiritually, but only found out that guilt creates fear, We all do bad things, so what . Let’s stop feeling like we can’t be prosperous if we aren’t perfect. Do you think the people in Hollywood, or on wallstreet are perfect. No they just don’t allow there actions to take root in a negative way. Its called being human.

  14. Nabeel Khan on December 6th, 2008 9:12 am

    i am 22 and i still i have lost , lost in life, i wish i could be rich too,

    and one day i will be, just remember my name, you will be hearing it once more in your life,

    its never too late to start trying,

    losing is not when you fall, its when you refuse to get up after falling.

    good luck

  15. Abhilekh on July 24th, 2010 9:37 am

    Nice one….
    We need to just work on getting more cautious about our goals which i have started doing right now…..Lets see whats in it for me…..

  16. jake on October 5th, 2011 2:51 pm

    I wish I was rich. I’m tired of being poor. I hope God
    gives me the winning lottery ticket. I wish I don’t
    have to work for anyone anymore. Living off the interest
    of my money, that’ll be great.

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!