Getting rich, made simple – parts 2 and 3

In ‘raises- are they for suckers’ I promised a followup on how to get rich. I have discovered it through years of painstaking research and the results may disappoint you. I am basing this on nothing but the accumulated reading of my life to date. So with no more buildup, here it is – how to get rich: Spend less than you earn. Stay healthy. Stay happy. That’s pretty much it. I discussed #1, “Spend less than you earn” Monday. Here are points #2 and #3:

2. Stay healthy. Getting sick is expensive. Staying healthy is cheap. I do not do all of the following, but I am convinced if I did I would become incredibly healthy and stay that way for a long time:

  • Become a vegan. If not that, become a vegetarian. If not that, stick to fish and poultry. There is little value to eating meat other than the taste of it, but the cost to health, the environment and your wallet is out of proportion to the enjoyment. Try to cut back and enjoy fruits, vegetables, bread… it is possible to eat a meal without meat. Try it sometime!
  • Eat natural foods (not necessarily organic, but nothing with aspartme, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, etc.). Not everyone can afford organic food, and in some cases it may be overkill. You can argue the actual effect of Nutrasweet or artificial flavorings – maybe nothing in the long run – but there certainly are no benefits. Read this book.
  • Get mild aerobic exercise on a regular basis. Take the stairs. Walk in the park. Jog a bit if you’re so inclined. It doesn’t take much.
  • Limit alcohol intake but drink a little bit on a regular basis. Have a glass of wine. Drink a weekend martini. Enjoy a drink with your food, and let it help you eat a little more slowly.
  • Always wear a seatbelt. This piece of advice is a no-brainer. If you don’t do it, you are inviting poverty – through injury or death.
  • Get regular checkups. Finding a health problem is never pleasant, but I am 100% confident that there is not a single medical condition that gets better the longer you don’t know about it.

    You can argue with any one of those, but basically a vegetarian who always wear a seatbelt, visits the doctor regularly, jogs in the morning and enjoys a glass of port in the evening will probably live longer than most people. Maybe not – it’s just my opinion! Staying healthy will make you rich in several ways. It will save medical expenses, obviously. Being a vegetarian is cheaper than eating meat. If you are healthy, you will do better at your work or your business. The reasons go on and on, but staying healthy will help you be rich, period.3. Stay happy. Similar to my ideas about staying healthy, I can’t claim to follow all of these by a long shot, but each one will make you rich in two ways: first, you will be healthier with less strain on your heart and mind, and second, you will be richer in spirit. As a bonus, these ideas may even help you accumulate more money.

    • Work at something you love. Find a passion and make it your life. Even if it doesn’t earn as much as some other work, your life will be richer and success will come.
    • Work for yourself, not for someone else. Even if you work in a big company, you can still adopt a mindset of ‘working for yourself’ – but you have to love what you do.
    • Live in an environment that optimizes your life. If you love nature, don’t live in Manhattan. If you love the cultural richness of a big city, don’t move to Smallville.
    • Don’t allow negative influences such as TV in your life. Life is too short to fill your mind with horrors you do not intend to do anything about. Stay informed about issues that matter to you, but even if you are ardently anti-Politician X, you don’t need to read about his every move. Turn off the TV.
    • Choose your friends wisely, then keep them. Having positive, supportive friends will help you with a million things: enjoying your social life, networking, providing a support cushion when times are hard and constructive criticism when times are good.
    • Keep your family close. I know that none of the relationships I have with co-workers or any but my closest friends will ever come close to the lifetime of intimacy I share with my family, both my biological family and my married family. These people will be deeply entwined in your life, for good or bad. Make it for good.
    • Stick to long-term monogamous relationships. I think this goes without being said, but you’ll be happier if you have an exclusive relationship with one partner. It’s hard for love and happiness to develop if you have multiple sexual relationships. I am sure people might argue that there is value in being single, and there is – but having a stable, loving, supportive relationship with your ‘significant other’ (I sound like Dr. Phil) is better in the long run.

      I am convinced if you follow these three guidelines, you will be rich. Don’t look to a raise or an investment or to the lottery to ‘deliver’ you. Follow these three steps and you will always have enough for a rich life.

      12 comments

      • I’m not sure about the Vegan/Vegetarian thing. In fact, the biggest part of my groceries is always vegetables and fruits. If I would have to compensate for meat, I would have to eat much more of those. Am I really going to save money? Or feel healthier? I am in a better shape than most vegetarians I know. I think humans a made to eat everything. It is just a matter of balancing your meals. A good workout will clean up everything anyway 😉

      • For the most part, I agree with what you say and think it is some great advice. I would disagree with ya when you say ‘There is little value to eating meat other than the taste of it”. Other than the obvious high qualily protein that your body needs, red meat also contains Heme Iron which your body needs and is not found in veggies and grains. Balance is the key though, as to much red meat is not a good thing either. The way I see it, the big guy upstairs gave us canine teeth for a reason. Enjoy a nice steak on occassion!

      • Health wise I don’t think that there is anything wrong with eating meat (some people have moral objections, but that is another matter). The point is how much, of anything, do we consume? Most meat is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, but it’s not unhealthy to have moderate amounts. Just as it is not unhealthy to have a drink now and again. (Notice that I don’t come right out and say that it is healthy).

        I think it comes down to an enjoyment of life issue. You need to enjoy life and that might include eating meat and desserts, drinking alcohol, etc. But everything in moderation.

      • I figured people wouldn’t like the meat comment! 🙂 Generally, if your meat costs less than your veggies it means you’re buying factory farm meat, which isn’t good for you. If you are buying free-range, grain-fed, organic poultry or natural beef/pork (hard to find organic beef/pork), it’s a lot more expensive, calorie for calorie, than veggies and fruits. Meat raises cholesterol levels and has high levels of fat. I’ll refer you to zen habits for a more thorough defense against the “vegetarians lack protein” misconception.

        WC is right, moderation is key, but meat in moderation means tiny, tiny amounts. I think Thomas Jefferson said that meat should be viewed as a seasoning rather than as a food – a serving of meat is smaller than one’s palm, and many people view anything less than a quarter pound of meat as inadequate for a meal, which is not moderation.

        It’s a personal choice at the end of the day – one’s own belief system really determines much of what you do in regards to meat. For me, I think it helps the environment, saves money, improves health (digestion and longevity), but I understand that sometimes people just want a burger (because I do, too)!

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      • Great post! Living a rich life is so much more than money. You could be swimming in $100 bills, but if you’re unhealthy or unhappy, you would never feel rich.

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      • I wouldn’t say that no calorie sweetners like NutraSweet have no benefits. If it satiates the sweet tooth without sugar’s calories and other negative effect, it can be a valuable tool.

      • Well, actually it’s not fair to say they have no benefits. Probably better to say that the negatives outweigh the positives. I steer 100% clear of Nutrasweet now, although for years I would have been the #1 proponent of using diet Coke, etc. to stem hunger.

        I think now that the urge for sweetness is better satiated by fruit or even small pieces of natural sweets rather than Nutrasweet. The long term health effects of aspartame aren’t really understood yet, and I’m leery of chemically-created compounds like that.

        Personally, if I need low-cal sweet stuff I get Splenda, since it’s derived from sugar. I would have a much tougher time making an argument against that, although I very rarely imbibe/eat Splenda, either.

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      • Justin Hensley

        I was sorta with you until you recommended the Natural Cures by the crackpot Kevin Trudeau. The Natural Cures book is filled with speculation and out right lies backed up by no credible scientific evidence. Not the type of book that should be recommended to others.

      • @Justin: Fair enough. I know it’s not a scientific work, but I think it’s at least valuable reconsidering the possibility that alternatives to current thinking might exist. I wouldn’t recommend someone use Natural Cures as a source for finding cures, but I would recommend it as a source for starting discussion. It is a recommendation based on opinion, not fact, for sure.