The 1%ers

Wealth is generally misunderstood.  Many people want it.  Fewer people know how to get it.  Fewer still put in the time, skill and effort to build their own.  Almost no one knows what to do with it once they get it.

The wealthiest people have money now, but if we come back and look 50 or 100 years from now, do you think their families will be super-rich.  Pretty unlikely.  In the early 20th century John D. Rockefeller was the wealthiest of us.  His wealth, in current value, was in the trillion dollar range.  Bill Gates and Warren Buffet together are barely a seventh of that.

Time diminishes the concentration of wealth.  Taxes, fractioning of the total by distribution to heirs, poor investments, philanthropy and consumption dissipate even the greatest of wealth. Equality is just a few decades away.

The 1% demonstrators are impatient.  That impatience is an indicator of people who don’t know where money comes from, how to get it, or how to keep it. Why would we pay much attention to those people?

The world is inherently uneven.  Sometimes it is wealth, sometimes something else.  Are there demonstration about 1%ers by height, or athletic ability? No!  How about 1%ers by hair  quantity?  Maybe slim?  Or attractive?  Or singing ability?  Or ability to tolerate fools?

No likely demonstrations.

Why?  Because on these metrics, most people get it.  The world is not equal.  If you want to sing better, you could work at it.  Some do.  Like Derek Sivers.  If you want to be thinner, then better diet and more exercise for you.  More attractive.  There is always cosmetic surgery.  More athletic.  Practice will help.  Better job. Maybe more education or training.

To notice that the world is unequal is of no value to anyone.  That is captioning the obvious.  It can lead to envy, though.

Envy is a non-productive.  It harms your efforts to acquire what you envy, because it reduces objectivity.

More wealth can be yours and as easily as professional quality singing.  Find out how to acquire more wealth. (Hint: Make a bigger contribution to society.)  Invest in yourself so you have more or better skills.  Invest the time to become excellent.

It is not easy to be excellent.  A newly graduated dentist may have the knowledge, but only experience will give them the speed required to make an exceptional living.   Then, the discipline to do it for decades, all the while avoiding catastrophic losses and profligate spending.

If you want more wealth, make fewer weak decisions.  Most failure is because people lack the discipline to follow simple rules.

On the plus side, notice that you have some skill, talent or feature that is in the 1% range.  Everyone does.  You are unique; just like everyone else.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. Contact:  

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