A Few Words About Money That Could Change Your Life



It's the eternal topic. Cavemen were no doubt complaining about it around the nightly mastodon roast. It's a topic nearly as old as we are.

Many wise things have been said about the pursuit of wealth over the centuries. Surprisingly, almost all of it is relevant today.You just need to place it in context.

Here are a few of the most useful bits of enduring wisdom for today's wealth builders.

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

There's no better investment you can make than education. If you're trying to build long-term wealth, you need the tools for the task. Education can exponentially increase your lifetime earning power. It allows you to enrich yourself with information you can put to practical moneymaking use. It helps you build social capital. It allows you to form lifetime networks of friends and colleagues.

In short, this is the infrastructure that fortunes rest on. Without it, your odds of achieving financial independence are seriously handicapped.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed like overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison knew a little bit about industry. He accumulated more than 2,300 patents worldwide for his inventions. Edison developed the motion picture camera, the phonograph and electric light bulbs.

He wasn't born with a silver spoon. Nor was his greatness readily apparent. Edison had hearing problems. He was only schooled for a few months. His teacher dismissed him as "addled" and easily distracted.

Yet what Edison did have was an amazing work ethic. As a child, he sold candy and newspapers to earn income. Possessed with entrepreneurial zeal, he started a variety of business ventures as a young man. Before he was finished, he would go on to found 14 companies -- including General Electric, one of the world's largest corporations.

Edison knew that wealth is a byproduct of work. He was tireless in his efforts to create new and better products.

Not all of us have Edison's technical brilliance or business acumen. Yet we can all replicate the driving force of his success -- his ceaseless desire to outwork the competition.

"If you aren't willing to own a stock for ten years, don't even think about owning it for ten minutes." -- Warren Buffett

The Oracle of Omaha is nothing if not consistent. He's been giving investors the same message for years. Yet far too many seem to grasp it.

Buffett believes in the long game. He's made massive amounts of money by betting on profitable and established companies selling things he likes to buy. Coca-Cola. See's Candies. Kraft. Value investments. Great companies at good prices.

Some might call that strategy boring. We'd argue that there is nothing boring about making money year after year.

Buffett once said he buys stocks on the assumption they could close the market tomorrow and not re-open for a decade.

That's a great notion for any long-term wealth builder to consider.

"It is not the man who has little, but the man who craves more, who is poor." - Seneca

Seneca the Younger was a famed dramatist, philosopher and statesman of Rome. Steeped in the Stoic tradition, Seneca knew that true wealth isn't measured in money alone. The real power wealth confers is opportunity. The chance to enrich yourself -- and the lives of others.

Wealth allows us the ability to step outside our immediate concerns and improve the lot of others. It allows us to dedicate our waking hours to pursuing our passions. It allows us great personal freedom. We're no longer at the mercy of someone else. We are free to act on our own whims.

Most importantly, wealth allows us to greatly enrich the lives of our families and loved ones. If we're fortunate, it's a generational birthright to be handed down.

It's far more than a mere scorecard. Or a yardstick to measure our success against societal expectations.

"If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability." - Henry Ford

Fortunes are made. Fortunes are lost. Money itself is no absolute guarantee of security. Knowledge, experience and ability are priceless. Even in the face of brutal financial setbacks, these qualities endure. They are the stuff of which great wealth is created.

Even if he is cash poor, a talented, knowledgeable man is still rich in the most vital areas. His capacity to build wealth remains undiminished.

Ford knew this. He was the son of farmers. He didn't come from wealth. Yet his talent allowed him to build one of the greatest companies the world has ever seen.

The wisdom to act

There's no shortage of wealth-based wisdom. The fundamental truth of earning money is easy to apprehend. Building wealth is fairly simple -- but it's also hard work.

You've heard the words of some of history's greatest wealth creators.

Now it's time to act on them.

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