opinion: your messenger may be richer than youThere is a problem with many people’s definition of wealth and success. More often than not their definition of success is attached to the acquisition of success symbols and the euphoria that goes with them. Many people are more concerned with how they are perceived by others than building true wealth. It is a form of distortion of reality and you need to confront reality before any true and lasting change can occur in your life.

How you define things matters. Take the concept of asset and liability for instance. For several years the definition of assets and liability stayed within the domain of accountants. For several others the meaning of asset simply meant whatever they purchased with money and the more expensive the item the greater the value in their mind. Thankfully, in recent years, due to the writings and teaching of some financial educators the understanding of several individuals has shifted to its true definition. An asset is now simply what puts money in your pocket while a liability increases the amount of money that leaves your pocket without a commensurate return.

The ignorance of this basic economic principle has proved costly to many middle class professionals. One of the characteristics of most middle class professionals is that they define themselves by certain status symbols such as the car they drive and the clothes they wear. This is good as long as the good does not get in the way of the better. Unfortunately, for many, it does get in the way of wealth creation. The more they earn the more they spend on liabilities. They change cars and keep changing to the latest without investing in tangible assets.

Unlike most middle class professionals the low income earners that are in most offices often acquire real estate assets before most of their bosses who earn far more than they do. My personal interaction has revealed that many low income earners move into their own house before many of the middle class professionals. Many low income earners often start investing in real estate before their boss. In real estate terms, some messengers could be richer than their bosses.

One key reason for this anomaly or odd reality is the tendency of the high income earner to prioritise the wrong things. The standard of living is set so high that many live to pay bills rather than journeying into financial freedom. Most middle class professionals have high expenses based on flamboyant and exorbitant living.

The natural outcome of this is the tendency to procrastinate investing until they have enough money to spare. The real estate goals are set so high that they cannot be matched with present income. While it is good to dream big and set big goals, it is equally good to start with whatever you have wherever you are. Instead of waiting for the day when you will be able to afford the most expensive houses in the future, it may be pragmatic to start investing in the not so flamboyant with a future that you can grow into.

This reminds me of my personal experience with two friends that represent the dilemma of the middle class. The first friend travels a lot and works with a big financial institution. Whenever he returns from his trips, he comes back with ties, shirts and bags for sale to those who did not or have not travelled. He believes that the best investment you can make is in your image.

The other friend is a teacher and earns considerably less. He believes in investing his extra money in real estate. He acquires his properties by paying in instalments starting with small deposits that fall within his means. He has over the years built a healthy portfolio of properties using this method and is now worth several millions. He believes in you denying yourself of some present pleasure in order to gain future benefits.

Many low income earners almost by default start investing in real estate earlier than their high come earning managers. While the latter is increasing expenditure the former is more concerned with reducing expenses. This often starts with the goal of reducing the amount of money spent on house rent. This leads them to property acquisition and home ownership. This is one of the reasons why the development of new areas is often stimulated by low income earners.

The fact that you earn more than a person does not mean that you know more than that person or that you are richer than that person .We can learn from each other. You can learn from the simple common sense approach of low income earners. If you are focused and discipline, you can reach your goals faster.


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