How I Went from $23K in Debt to $150,000 Net Worth in 5 Years
Here’s the bottom line: I went from dead broke to having about $150,000 in net worth in five years. Are you wondering how I did that? The way I can tell you is to give you four reasons why most people are broke—dead broke and not a dollar to their name.
As I said, I came from nothing. I had zero dollars. I was working a slew of dead-end jobs and living at home with my parents. I was 21, getting into trouble, and hanging out with the wrong people. But most importantly, I was just dead broke.
I want to share with you four things I’ve noticed about my previous self when I was dead broke. And I see these four commonalities in others who are now in the same spot I was.
#1: Faulty Belief System
The biggest difference between someone who has nothing and someone who has some money saved—be it $10, $100, or $1,000—is the belief system. Broke people tend to have the belief that money is very hard to acquire. It’s almost this underlying feeling that they don’t deserve money. Money’s just not worth the sacrifice. But it’s just a belief system. The rich have the belief system that money will come to them if they take certain actions. If they put systems and processes together and act upon them, then money will be attracted to them.
I used to have the mind-set that I could never have $100,000. I could never have a million dollars in the bank. And I don’t have a million yet, but I will get there soon. That is my belief system, and I work toward my goal knowing I will get there.
Even if you don’t have the money or don’t have any evidence that you can build a profitable business, you’ve got to start to believe it. It’s called having faith in yourself and your dreams.
#2: Invest Extra Money When You Can
When I was broke, anytime I would make a little extra money—maybe I got a good tip delivering pizza—what do you think I would do with it? Maybe it was an extra 30 or 40 bucks. You might be thinking that’s not much, but to me at the time, it was good money.
And I would just spend it. On nothing in particular. Nothing that would help my situation. Fast food. Going out. Movies. I wouldn’t invest it. I wouldn’t put it in the stock market or an index fund. I wouldn’t invest it in a business. I didn’t have a business at the time. I never even thought about investing it. I would figure, “Okay, I have an extra fifty bucks. Let’s go do something stupid with it.”
What I notice is that people who are broke, anytime they make more money, they spend more money. They get a raise, they get a better apartment. They get an extra hundred bucks, they go out drinking. With some people, you could give them a million bucks, and they would spend a million and a half. It’s a viscous, viscous cycle.
And the people who get ahead in life with their finances, what do they do when they make more money? What happens when they get a jump in salary of, say, $10,000 a year? They don’t all of a sudden upgrade everything in their lives. They invest it; they save it; they put it back in their business. They let it compound; they let it grow. It means all the difference in the world.
#3: Plant Seeds
When I was broke, I wouldn’t plant seeds to grow my wealth down the road. I was too comfortable with the status quo. I wasn’t looking to the future. I’d put in my hours at whatever job I happened to have, go home, and not put an additional thought into what my life could be. I wasn’t planting any seeds. I had no side hustles. I could have been going to garage sales or thrift stores. I could have been doing all these crazy little side hustles—washing cars, raking lawns, walking dogs. There are a million things you can do. And if you want to get ahead in life, you’ve got to start planting seeds.
Maybe you’re selling on eBay right now and making $1,000 or $2,000 a month. So now you plant that Amazon seed. Start up that YouTube channel. Look into craigslist or Poshmark. Maybe you want to start up a little window-cleaning service.
When you hustle and start planting seeds, over time you will notice that certain seeds are growing and blossoming and turning into these beautiful things. And with the internet nowadays, there are so many things that you can like do on the side a couple hours a week that could blossom into a beautiful passive revenue stream.
#4: Don’t Get Yourself into Debt
Broke people tend to get into debt. And the debt in turn keeps them in debt and broke. Say you don’t make all that much money, but you have the available credit for a big house and a nice car. You can’t really afford those new clothes, but you do have room on one of the dozen credit cards in your wallet. But then the interest rates get out of hand, and you can barely make the minimum payment. Then you are stuck in a losing game.
It seems like simple advice, but don’t spend too much and buy things you either don’t need or can’t afford. Even little purchases add up in the end and will weigh you down with debt.
Yes, you can invest in business, but while you are building your business, be frugal with the rest of your life. Keep expenses as low as you possibly can. Grow your net worth and avoid debt like the plague. Debt will hinder your future.
Putting These Tips to Work
When you keep your bills low, you can start focusing on planting different seeds. You can invest in things that will compound wealth in the future. You will believe that this is all within your grasp.
If you want to get out of that viscous cycle of always being broke, you can do it. Not too long ago, I had nothing. I’m not hugely rich, but I’m doing pretty well for myself. I believe a lot more wealth is in my future, and for now I’m continuing to chug along. I know I can make it happen. You can make it happen too.
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