The big question on my mind. On everybody’s mind, really.
As I start to make my transition to my 30s, the money question seems to be everywhere. We’re all so proud of the 401ks we started and the money moves we’ve made. It’s all so nice to flash cash on Instagram and Snapchat. Just like how (in our early 20s) we used to show off how many times we went out in a week or all the people we knew, now the trend is to show off how we’ve got it like that.
I was meeting a girlfriend for lunch last Saturday and as we strolled around Chelsea we chatted about all the good things we were doing for ourselves. Allie was a teacher and after years of partying and living with her parents was tired of being broke. So she was taking things into her own hands and making moves of her own. She got a new job that gave her benefits, she had a tutoring job on the side, and planned to work the after school program. She was ready to make $$$ and I was really happy for her.
I said, “You’ve got to get if for yourself, no one’s going to give it to you.”
She was like, “Absolutely, but sometimes I look at some people and I’m like, how did that Bitch get rich?” “Like really, of all people.”
I didn’t really know what people or bitches she was talking about but it was a question that I had been determined to answer since before we were really even friends.
I remember being in High School and watching MTVs “My Super Sweet Sixteen” and it was this stupid reality show about rich teenage girls planning their over the top sweet sixteen. It would literally be 50K and up type parties. Mini weddings. At the end they would get a new Mercedes or Ferrari or whatever they wanted and I was like WTH how do people live like this?
I became obsessed with understanding how rich people come to be and thats kind of how I got into NYC real estate. I wanted to understand how do people get rich. Maybe if I got close to it, I would be able to understand it and create wealth in my own life.
Well, being a NYC rental broker, you get to see the intimate details of someone’s wealth. You see their tax returns, their employment letters, the professions they chose, the co-signers that they use to get an apartment, the assets in their bank accounts and more! It blew my mind at first, how much wealth was needed to live in NYC. It’s literally wealth I still don’t have but understanding it and seeing how wealth exists in our world helped me accept the fact that I’m not wealthy, at least not in the sense that “My Super Sweet Sixteen” portrayed. Here are the top ways that I noticed people were able to live a wealthy lifestyle.
This is the most common way that wealth is accumulated for most people. I call it, “Getting A Leg Up.” People who come from generational wealth are already starting at 10.
To be generationally wealthy is a true privilege. People with generational wealth not only have the resources and assets to seize more opportunities, they are already raised to use money in a way that works for them and are less likely to fall into debt and other problems that would detract from be wealthy.
Example: Jerry is a 3rd generation American. His grandfather came to the USA and hustled 3 jobs to buy a house and raise his family of 3 children. One of the 3 children starts a business and it becomes successful. Meanwhile the house that their grandfather bought is now worth 3X as much due to inflation caused by the booming tech industry. The grandfather allows one of the other children to take a loan against the home and flip 3 other houses. Another child is successful. The last child was able to go to college and build a career to manage to become a middle manager and make a good living. All three of this grandfathers children were able to make it to middle or upper class. These children have 2 of their own children. Jerry is one of those grandchildren. The original siblings help each other out in raising their children by babysitting and offering advice on best school district. They share resources with each other like baby clothes and books. Grandfather dies and leaves his fully paid off house, pension, and other assets to all the 6 grandchildren in a trust. Each child gets $150K each in a trust to use when they turn 25. Each child has the means to go to college, two of them specialize in a profession like medicine or law, two others start a new business with their trust, and the remaining 2 go into the family business. Jerry is 30 years old, has an Ivy League degree, $150K in a trust and is a partner at his family’s company. That is what generational wealth looks like.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And while that’s true, there is a variety of beauty in this world. But we must admit that conventional beauty has so much power in our society. To be beautiful is to have doors literally opened for us. Now this section isn’t just about women being beautiful. Men can be beautiful too. Just yesterday my 20 year old intern with stunning blue eyes and a linebacker’s build was telling me how the girls at Chipotle gave him free Chipotle. And that won’t be the last freebie or leg up he gets for being extraordinarily handsome. I swear he looks like this actor:
Regardless, doors will open for him because beauty is attractive. And people are drawn to what is attractive. But this won’t necessary result in wealth. Unlike generational wealth, people won’t hand you money just for being beautiful. Often, beautiful people have to leverage their youth and beauty for opportunities for wealth. I once had these model clients. They were REAL models. The types that walk runways for Gucci and Balmain. They made well over six figures just in the US for their beauty. One girl showed 200K from her contract with IMG Modeling. These girls also worked for other modeling agencies in Europe. But wealth is real for these beauties. Once their modeling days are behind them, they could easily marry well to do men in finance who want a wife with good genes and beautiful skin to match. I don’t think many women have that kind of opportunity just handed to them.
The good thing is that the genetic lottery isn’t the only way to cash in on beauty. With youth comes natural beauty. Men and women are realizing this and capitalizing on their youth, building online businesses and brands for their youtube channels and Instagram accounts. From ages 16-35 women are at the peak of their beauty/youth. For men that time frame is 20-40. Just imagine how big of a business you can build in 20 years. You can build an empire. I could go on and on about how pretty privilege is a thing but I think I’ll save that for another post. The good thing is that beauty and youth can truly be the stepping stone to success for those willing to step out of their shell and grab it.
Some people are more hustlers. I think I fall into that category over beauty. I’m sure my youth has helped me a lot in gaining opportunities and getting my foot in the door. But I’m not THAT pretty. More like a girl next door type of look to me. So I’ve had to rely more on my hustle and charm. Hustle and charm are not easy skills to attain. You need a mix of street-smart, hunger, people skills, charisma and intelligence to really win in this category of wealthy. A talent or two won’t hurt either.
To be be clear, the definition of [hustle] according to Urban Dictionary is: To have the courage, confidence, self belief, and self-determination to go out there and work it out until you find the opportunities you want in life.
There are a million ways to make money hustling. I truly believe there’s enough pie for everyone. Hell, you can all bake your own pies. We live in a world that is rapidly changing with growths in technology and change in culture and opportunity. Youtube star are making millions, Instagram Influencers are getting paychecks. You can literally open a new store on Etsy and sell those handmade bracelets you always get compliments for or those handmade soaps. You can become a motivational speaker. Or you can be like me and do real estate and work your way up. Or start in any industry and work your way up.
This, to me, is the backbone for all wealth. There had to be someone to get the moneyball rolling whether it’s you or your grandfather. There really isn’t much substitute for grit, perseverance and grind when it comes to breaking socioeconomic barriers.
Being book smart is important and if all else fails, you can’t go wrong with book-smart. It’s the type of hustle your parents always pushed for. “Education is everything,” my father said, “No one will ever be able to take your education away from you.”
And that’s true, I just wasn’t prepared to face the level of intellectual competition that I would face in that one year of law school.
My sister was, though. She finished her studies to become a doctor. After watching her go through 4 years of premed, 4 years of med school, 2 years of residency, another two years of fellowship and enough testing and studying to make your eyes bleed, I’m not sure I would say that I envy her life now. She truly earned it and now makes 250K a year working 32 hours a week. 32 hours a week!
Being smart is not just reading books and stating facts. It’s competing with all the other smart and intelligent people to be the best. I never felt more insecure of my own intelligence that I did during that one year of law school.
Think about beauty pageants that line women up according to their beauty and grace. Intellectual pursuits is kinda like that except with your brain and how smart you are.
No thanks, wasn’t for me.
I think the bulk of what I’m trying to get at is that obtaining wealth for a majority of people is not easy. But it’s not unattainable. And as long as it’s possible for you to get to the next level, you should be striving to make that happen. I’ve been broke and now I’m comfortable; I wouldn’t say wealthy but I anticipate maybe 10 years from that. Being broke sucks, staying broke is tougher. A lot of people don’t realize they can get up and change their situation. I’m here to tell you, YOU CAN.
I like to call it “bootstrapping it.” And IMO gaining wealth from your own hard work and grit is more satisfying than having it handed to you. Most of us reading this are not from generational wealth, it’s up to us to make our own wealth. It’s going to be a lot of trial and error, a lot of failure, but all you need is that one moment. All you need is one big win and all that failure will be erased.
I wish you all the best of luck on your journey for progress and wealth. Please share like and follow if you liked this post. I follow back!