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I was just rereading last week’s post where I said that I believed delayed gratification to be the most important Making Money 101 tool of them all.
And, as I said, I truly believed this to be the secret of my financial success …
… until this very morning!
We then started to really live our ‘new life’ as multi-millionaires: we acquired the houses, the cars, the paintings, the vacations, the technology …
[AJC: feel sorry for us, yet? ]
… but, today we did something just as important (since we are stripping and renovating entirely the new house, which is actually an old house, built in the 1940′s and last renovated some 20 years ago):
We sold some second hand light-fittings for almost $200!
No, you didn’t misread: the new multi-millionaires didn’t just say to the builders “it’s a soon-to-be $6 mill house, so throw the junk away … or, take what you want” … they sold some stuff for $200
Just in case you still don’t see the irony, here was the process:
1. We went to the house and decided what we wanted to sell: a few light fittings; some old built-in shelving (total hoped-for sales price circa $700)
2. We photographed everything that we wanted to sell
3. My wife and son listed each item on eBay (about 5 or 6 separate auctions)
4. My wife dealt with the two ‘winners’ (only two of the items actually sold first time around: both were light fittings)
5. I met the winners separately at the house and helped them remove the light fittings
6. I ‘upsold’ both: one with a heated-towel rail and extra light fitting for an additional $9, and the other for an additional $50 of lights
7. My wife and son are busy relisting the shelving and unsold lights as I am writing this … Round 2. Ding!
So, I spent a whole morning – plus all of the lead-up work – ‘earning’ exactly $140 …
… in some circles (millionaire circles, that is) that would be regarded as sick
But, that’s when it hit me: it was not delayed gratification that set the grounds for our later financial success …
… that’s a result, not a cause.
And, it wasn’t saving 15% – 50% of our income, or putting money into a 401k, and so on … they are all results, not causes.
It was the respect that we had and still have for money as a tool to help us live our Life’s Purpose that caused us to do all of these things …
… read that again, carefully: I didn’t say ‘love’ or ‘need’ or ‘desire’ or ‘greed’ … I said respect.
If we want the money to live our Life’s Purpose, we have to respect money as one of the tools (just one, not even the most important) to help us achieve that. Just as a hunting nomad would respect his hunting weapons, a farmer his plot of land, a charter pilot his aircraft, and so on: we respect the money that feeds us and fuels our needs.
This means that we don’t squander it needlessly, we save it when necessary, and we spend it when it doesn’t make sense not to … that’s Making Money 101, and it just hit me like a sledgehammer between the eyes: delayed gratification is the tool, but gaining a healthy respect for money is the lesson that we all need to learn.
I won’t forget this lesson … will you?