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The Difference Between the Non-Poor and the Ultra Wealthy


There is a huge difference between being debt free with $100,000 in net worth and being ultra wealthy. Yesterday was a huge eye-opener for me. As many of you may know, I sit on the Board for a local non-profit (don’t be too impressed – I volunteer my time and receive no compensation for these efforts). I am by far the youngest individual on the board, and (lucky for me) many of the other individuals that volunteer are retire executives and millionaires that want to impart their wisdom on the younger generation.

Since the summer season is drawing to a close here in Michigan, a few board members and myself decided to go out for a round of golf yesterday. This is where the eye-opening began. Since we are all involved in finance in one way or another (I am a financial analyst, Brad is a VP of a local bank, Mark is a retired executive, and Jerry is a retired financial advisor – P.S. I have changed the names to protect the innocent) the conversation naturally gravitated to personal finance and money. The main story of the afternoon was about an investor that backed a company with $500 million of his own money, which soon became valued at $7 billion within just a couple of years! That’s crazy!

My Brain is Thinking On Too Small of a Scale

Most of my posts are about how to increase your wealth by $1,000 here and there. Not millions! Am I thinking too small? I think so.

One of my main goals is to pay off my house by the end of next year. This would mean that I would pay down $55,000 over the course of 15 months. This seems pretty aggressive compared to many, but if I compare my goals to those that have made millions of dollars within a just a couple of years, my goals look incredibly crappy!

I once had a friend that hated classwork. He didn’t always catch onto things very quickly, so his goal in each class was simple: don’t be the dumbest kid in the class. Naturally, with this goal in mind, he was always getting grades that were the 2nd or 3rd worst in the class. But, since he was meeting his goal, he was fine with that.

That’s how I’m feeling right now. I’m fighting to be just a little better than the dumbest people in America. While everyone is out spending money that they don’t have, I’m just trying to outdo them by a narrow margin and stick to my budget, while increasing my net worth only slightly every month.

My Latest Money Maker

It was just a couple of days ago that I decided to buy a truck to flip (Article: Let the Car Flipping Begin). I was so excited about the potential of this flip…..until yesterday. I would have been absolutely embarrassed to talk about this idea to the guys yesterday. Sure, I might make a thousand bucks, but what kind of lasting residual does this investment create? Absolutely nothing!

Think Bigger!

Of course, life is not all about making money, but with the proper mindset it can be done rather easily. And, with money come options. I could finally do what I want with my life rather than what I have to do. I need to keep reading my book, “The 4-Hour Workweek” and pick up a few books about where futurists believe our economy will be in the next ten years. By thinking ahead of the curve and taking large actions instead of these small thousand dollar investments, I should be able to achieve much larger goals for myself in this upcoming year.

Do you have large goals? Do you think that I have been thinking too small?


Weekly Round-Up

Here are some reads of the week that I enjoyed, but to be honest, some of them might be thinking a little too small as well. What do you think?

How Many Credit Cards Should I Have Until It’s Too Many? at Financial Samurai

Why Are You Still Broke at Eyes on the Dollar

Why Most Personal Finance is Probably Wrong at The Money Principle

Leadership and Financial Parallels at My Own Advisor

Financial Gain Without Pain at Money Counselor

Dear Government….Grow Up at Debt Roundup

How Do You Stack Up to People Your Age Financially at Young Adult Money

Is Working From Home Cheaper at Making Sense of Cents

Your Career is Your Most Valuable Financial Asset at Free Money Finance



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Thanks for the mention of my government rant! I have done some car flipping before, but it is more of a hassle than it is worth. Also, in my state, you can only sell 3 cars a year before you have to get a dealer’s license and pay a lot more fees. That really puts it out of the income producing category for me.

    • I think in my state the number of cars is 7, so there’s a lot more room there. I will most likely only do one or two though. For me it’s kind of fun, so I do it just for kicks, but he extra money is always nice. 🙂

  2. I don’t think there is anything wrong with starting small. I know I would love to be able to put down a couple million on a company and have it become worth billions. However, I will be lucky if I’m able to accumulate a couple million in my life so the odds of me investing in all in one proposition is unlikely.

    • Micro! It sounds to me like you’re thinking like your name: Micro. Don’t underestimate yourself! If you think that you can earn $20 million in your lifetime instead of just $1 million or $2 million, then I bet you’ll find a way! Don’t let small thinking get in your way of something big.

  3. I feel like to get those big opportunities you need to put in a ton of time and effort or have a lot of money to throw around. Of course you can get lucky and not need one of those two and hit millions, but the chances are much smaller. Of course, you can also lose it all on big bets too.

    • Yes, it may take a ton of time, but what if 10 hours per week could earn you $1,000 a month, but 20 hours per week would earn you $10,000? Would it be worth it to you? Sometimes double the effort doesn’t mean just double the income, but could be exponentially more! Thanks for the comment Lance. Always love to see you reactions to my posts!

  4. Derek, you seem to be thinking right; my experience is that the big gains come from little changes and wins. Yes, we have an enormous goal: we set out to make £2.5 million (close to $4 million, may be) by October 2018. Doing well so far and we shall se how it goes in the future. Oh, and thanks for mentioning my post :).

    • Great job Maria! I love hearing about your massive goal and I can’t wait to hear how it all goes. Keep me posted!

  5. I don’t necessary think you have been thinking small, you have been doing it just normally…with what you had an what you knew. Now though that you have been exposed to something bigger and the people and means to help you get there are available, you’d be thinking small by not attempting something bigger and bold.
    Reading about something bigger is all well and go, seeing it firsthand on the other hand changes one’s perspective completely…you start seeing and actually believing in the possibilities.
    And now that I have mulled over that…I need to think way way bigger and start wherever possible to make those dreams a reality!

    • I’ll be thinking bigger with you buddy! If you start making millions, be sure to let me know so I can get my butt in gear as well!

  6. I think your car flipping idea is great and maybe you’re thinking not too small but also not too big enough. Though, thinking big can be great its the small steps that you’ll me making that will lead you to your goals.

    • That’s true Mark, and maybe this one instance will give me an even bigger idea! Thanks for the encouragement.

  7. Thanks Derek for including my “Financial Gain Without Pain” in your Round-Up.

    To become super-wealthy (if that’s your goal), then I think one does have to ‘think big’ and take big risks. I think though that we have to recognize that there may be 10 stories of failure for every one story like the $500 mil to $7 bil story your friend told. Risky ventures often don’t work out!

    To become secure–as opposed to super-wealthy–I think one needn’t take big risks, but rather reasonable risks coupled with controlled spending and a commitment to saving first and avoiding high-interest, unsecured debt.

    • Sure Kurt! Sometimes these huge investments are risky, but honestly, the more money an investment costs there are fewer investors involved. Sometimes an investment can be very secure, but only a handful of people that can invest. These are the investments I would look for.

  8. I think whatever your plans for making money are, they all add to the overall picture. If they aren’t taking away from your main source of income, you can build on them until you are where you want to be. I don’t need $50 million either. Our rental only nets a bit under $300 per month right now, but hopefully we can expand on that and add more properties down the line. Think big but do it in terms of your needs. Thanks for the mention!

    • Great point Kim. While certain money making plans might be small, they might lead to something bigger and better!

  9. I suppose it’s just like starting out with one’s own portfolio. It usually starts out pretty small, but with proper investing (and a lot of diverting large parts of your own income into it), it is much easier to leverage it to your own advantage.

    • Good point Chris. Most of us have to take that first baby step, but the important part is always looking for somewhere new to walk after that, rather than just being content with taking that one step and calling it good for life.

  10. Everyone starts small – it’s how you learn.

    There are two ways to get into the big leagues – start small and gradually do bigger deals with your own money, or start small and gradually do bigger deals with SEM – someone else’s money.

    The former is safer, but the latter will teach you more, faster.

    The key is to realize that there are too many people with too much money looking for investments but no time to find the deal. If you can find the deal and then find the money, you carve yourself out a taste of the deal, and suddenly you have money for a slightly bigger small deal of your own. Do this enough times, and you can start using your own money for the big deals.

    Like starting a business, finding the money is easy, if you have the right business. With investments, finding the money is easier than finding the deal.

    • I always prefer the gradual start (unless you’re in an incredibly fast-moving trend of course). It’s a great way to learn and grow for as little money possible. There is a tremendous upside to what you are doing and very little risk. Thanks for the comment Jack. I always love to hear what’s on your mind as it usually varies slightly from my line of thinking. 🙂

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