Want to get rich? Start by spending less…

Here are three words you rarely hear: “Get rich slowly”.

The fact is that very, very few people get rich quickly. It simply doesn’t happen. If it did, we’d all be rich and the world would be a lovely place. It isn’t, sadly. I tell you this not to burst your bubble, but to help you understand the practical reality of how money works.

Lottery winners are among the few who get rich quickly, and statistics show that within 18 months, most of them get poor quickly. Never having had much money, people generally don’t know how to handle it when they win big, and they tend to spend their way to the poorhouse at great speed.

Enough bad news. It is possible to “get rich”, highly possible. The catch, if you choose to look at it that way, is that it takes both time and effort. You can get rich slowly, which doesn’t sound like fun, but is in fact enormously satisfying when you pull it off. All it takes is the application of common sense and an adult attitude. You are capable of both.


Financial behaviour is a two-sided coin. There’s getting and there’s spending. You might think that one is more important than the other, but both have equal parts to play in the accumulation of wealth. To get rich at any speed, you must take charge of both sides of the equation.

Much financial advice concentrates on the earning side of the equation. Increased salaries or earnings, better investments, more balanced spreads of investments, exploiting temporary opportunities – if you are really interested, a host of concepts can be mastered and made part of your everyday thinking. It takes work, which is why most people are not rich. Hardly anyone these days wants to make the effort, yet everyone wants the rewards. Odd, huh?

On the spending side, one simple rule covers the whole thing. It is: spend a little less. Whenever people ask for financial advice, they almost always want to hear about how to make more money. Hardly anyone – in fact no one, now that I come to think about it – has ever asked me whether they should control their spending. People assume, I guess, that they would need to cut out all the things they like to do, and live like monks or nuns, and no one wants to hear that. The good news is that no one has to hear that. It would be bad advice.

The secret to financial mastery – which need not involve “getting rich” at any speed – is to spend less than you earn. A hair less, or a lot less: that’s up to you. In the weeks ahead, we’ll look at ways of taking control of your financial affairs and one of the first lessons will be to control your appetite for things you do not need. Try keeping up with your own needs instead, and make one of your needs saving a little money each month.

You can have a positive financial future, but you’re going to have to make an effort.

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7 Responses

  1. chriscarpent says:

    The secret to financial mastery – which need not involve “getting rich” at any speed – is to spend less than you earn

  2. Bryan Baker says:

    Professional…what layout is this? I like it. Would you be interested in a link exchange? I think our sites would compliment each other…let me know.

  3. Cdr. DV Isaacs says:

    There is a big difference between spending less and being a miser. Spending less would mean, not spending on unnecessary items. Buy what you need, not what you want. No impulsive buying. Spend though on yourself, family and friends, when you can. Who knows what the future holds. Remember one important thing, someone else will enjoy your wealth, you and your money will be parted in death.

  4. Bryan Baker says:

    I forgot to mention the content of this post in my last comment. One thing’s for sure…you never hear “get rich slowly”. After reading several books by the famous Kiyosaki, Starbucks founder, etc… I can’t agree with you more.

    “Building a coffee company one cup at a time.”

  5. ros says:

    “spend less than you earn…to get rich”

    >>I can’t do that…why? because if I’m rich, I will have worries on how to keep my money, how to earn more, etc…

    very stressful! 🙂

  6. ravi says:

    Reminds me how “less is more.” 🙂

  1. April 20, 2008

    […] Fortunewatch has a good write up on spending less. By doing so you stand a better chance at getting […]

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