expanding your means

“Most people would rather live within their means rather than expand their means.” – Robert Kiyosaki, Retire Young, Retire Rich


Most of us would rather be rich than poor. Rich may not mean monetarily rich – it may mean experiences, family, friends – but generally wealth enables the accomplishment of many other goals.  How can you do it?  You can save.  You can invest wisely.  You can reduce debt or decrease expenditures.  The hardest way to get rich, but the only way that really works, is to expand your means.  You have to earn more than you spend, consistently and constantly.  You have to expand your means.

I get frustrated reading about achieving wealth by cutting out lattes. Sure, you can be better off if you don’t waste money on Wii’s and lattes.  You’ll achieve your goals sooner if you invest in index funds instead of speculating on stocks.  You’ll be richer, sooner, if you choose a good career that allows for upward mobility.  You’ll win out – in today’s America – if you choose a public-sector job that guarantees benefits.  Sad, but true.

But one thing that most people will never try is to increase their “means” past their primary income. It’s hard.  I struggle to do it.  If I asked you to generate, tomorrow, an extra $10 cash in hand, could you do it?  Even if you make six figures a year, could you figure out a way to generate $10 above your normal daily haul?  It would be difficult for most of us.  Most of us would rather watch Lost than attempt it.

Expanding your means will make you wealthier than saving money. If you save $5, you’ve saved it once and you’re done.  If you come up with a new business model that makes you an extra $5 today, and might – might! – make you an extra $5 tomorrow you’ve created a new income stream.  Making a tiny bit more will change your life far more than saving a bit.

Kiyosaki’s phrase is telling. Most people would rather live within their means… and they’ll pay for it in the long run.  Don’t kid yourself:  it’s tough to live within your means.  With the onslaught of advertising and “keeping up with the Joneses” it’s hard to resist the Wii’s and the Kindles and the latest fashions and the gourmet foods.  If you can, kudos to you.  I think I have so far, but it’s a constant struggle.  But it’s akin to health:  if you can avoid heroin, you’re in better shape than a junkie.  It doesn’t mean you’ll live to 100.  To do that you have to excel – you have to beat the norms, the average and the mean.  Don’t think that skipping the morning latte is enough.  You have to make that extra effort to create more wealth.  Sitting back and “not buying” is not enough.  You have to go out, and make more. You to create wealth, not just avoid spending.

photo by matze_ott