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“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” – Vince Lombardi


Do you sometimes look at others with money and think they have the Midas touch?

Do you sit around wondering why others can make, grow and maintain wealth and you’re not quite so fortunate?

It’s not magic.

People that make money in business do it because they’re not only hard-working but also consistent and persistent. They make money their friend, but never the master. Debt, not understanding your finances or continuously chasing the dollar with no real appreciation about how to multiply and maintain it means that money is your master. And, when money is your master, more than likely you have a negative relationship with it. You can get your act together.

When I was a kid growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money. Most families don’t have it. Still, some people become very financially successful without the benefit of having their parents instill in them the understanding of how to become wealthy.

I had to learn it in the school of hard knocks, and there are some ideas that I always tell younger people or those who reach out to me wanting to know how to make money, grow it, and more importantly, keep it.

Spend Less than You Earn

This little piece of wisdom seems obvious, but you would be surprised by the number of people who overspend. According to NerdWallet, in 2017, household debt in the U.S. exceeded $931 billion. The average credit card debt is $15,983 and households owe approximately $133,568, which includes mortgage debt. When, according to the Bureau of Labor Statisticsthe average family earns $865 a week, that kind of debt is excessive in most households.

Speak About Money, Honestly

Lots of people think they can speak about money, but when you dive into the details with them, they’re in denial about how much they earn and spend. It feels good, I suppose, to go out and spend with “retail therapy” but the fastest way notto make or maintain money is to misspend it and with little thought. It’s essential to be truthful with yourself if you’re seeking to build wealth.

Ignore the Jones’

If you’re looking at your neighbor’s new car in the driveway, the chances are that he’s in debt. And, he may even be living beyond his means. Forget about what the Jones’ are doing. Corporate America did an amazing job of selling the public a bill of goods on having to own the biggest house, car, or whatever else. It’s not important. If you want to grow your money, you have to be careful with it. No one cares––except you––if your house is the smallest one in the neighborhood. What matters most is the size of your bank account and investments should you someday need a rainy day fund, find yourself or your family in need of medical care, or heading toward retirement.

Plan for the Future

I’m a big planner and never assume that the money I’m making today is what I’ll be making tomorrow. I take on minimal debt and am always to have a lot of financial room to maneuver, even if I don’t use it. If you’re in debt and want to move toward financial success, then make today you begin to chip away at the load. Stay at it every week and contribute to the elimination of your debt. Once you’ve got that done, move on to place a heavy focus on building a nest egg. Do your research and learn about money. There are plenty of resources for the average person to learn about personal money management including Money, NerdWallet, and the countless apps and online courses available.

Finally, always make sure you have at least six months of cash reserves in case of an emergency that prevents you from earning. But, one of the most important lessons to remember in the drive to build and maintain wealth is to make sure that what you’re spending your time doing earning it and what you’re spending money on aligns with your passions and interests. Money is a good thing, but having a healthy relationship and seeing it as a tool to do more of what you love––in a healthy way––is what will help lead you to your financial goals.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact”(Free Digital Download)

© 2018 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.