Recently, I wrote a blog post on my experience with a “get-rich-quick” scam. I lost a total of almost $2,000 over a few short months. I reflected on my actions, and realised that it was my greed that caused my ultimate downfall.
Not my naivety, not my dire financial situation.
But my greed.
Sure, I was young and broke. But I could have gone out and found proper work. There are always vacancies in food or retail industries. Maybe I would have earned only a minimal wage. But that’s still good money that would’ve helped my crappy financial situation.
Unfortunately, my lust for wealth had consumed me. I believed all the dreams of fancy houses and nice cars. I fell for all the fantasies that I could make easy money working from the comfort of my own home. I blissfully ignored every single red flag that came my way, living in a bubble that was a far cry from reality.
I was greedy as hell, and that led to me losing almost all the savings that I had.
The Destruction of Greed
Greed is a scary thing.
The thought of earning moneybag, after moneybag? The belief you could buy a big house on Bel Air, with an infinity pool overlooking everything else? That’s greed.
When greed overtakes your mind, you ignore all the red flags signalling for you to stop. You disregard anything that’s even mildly realistic. You believe that the laws of the universe don’t apply to you. Because you’re going to be that one lucky duck who walks away with a fortune.
Greed is the reason people gamble their life savings away. Greed is the reason people hold on to a failing stock for far too long. Greed is the reason people speculate wildly in the financial markets.
Greed is the reason why people mortgage their homes to buy stupid shit like tulip bulbs.
And greed will be the reason why people lose their lives’ savings. Greed will be the reason why people lose their homes.
Greed will be the reason why people’s entire lives unravel before their very eyes.
Greed, is destructive. And scary as hell.
The only thing that can save you is gratitude, for what you already have.
When you’re content with what you have, you won’t blow your money trying to make a quick buck. When you’re grateful for what you have, you won’t get caught up in the endless pursuit of wealth and material crap.
Gratitude is something I try to practise every day.
I’ve faced a slew of unfortunate events in my life. I wasted a good many years of my life trying to be someone I wasn’t. Because of my poor choices, I earn only $2,825 a month from my full-time, 45-hour a week, corporate job. It’s nothing to shout about. And I certainly don’t earn as much as the next FIRE guy. I’ve got to side hustle, scrimp and save real hard, just to make my savings as significant as possible.
But you know what?
I’m grateful that I have a job with a pay-check that can cover all my living expenses. I’m grateful that I learnt how to keep my spending as minimal as possible. I’m grateful for my almost-six-digit nest egg. I’m grateful for the little bit of freedom that it gives me.
I’m grateful that the unfortunate events have taught me valuable money lessons. Lessons that I desperately needed to learn. I’m grateful that I started this blog because of those lessons. I’m grateful that a few people have taken notice of this blog.
I try to be grateful. Even in my darkest days when my insomnia kicks in. Even when my anxiety gets amped up a notch. Even when my depression plays tricks on my mind.
Being grateful for my current income is why I no longer fall prey to “get-rich-quick” schemes.
People would argue that to be rich, you need to take on a lot of risk. Maybe, one of those “get-rich-quick” schemes will eventually pan out. And you’ll be rich beyond your wildest dreams. That’s the greed talking.
But I don’t need to get rich quick, because I’m grateful for my income. I’m grateful for my high savings rate, which will allow me to get rich slowly. My gratitude saves me from losing money in “get-rich-quick” schemes.
Being grateful for the returns from indexes is why I won’t lose any money when the financial markets tank.
People would argue that I’d only get average returns. They would tell me that I wouldn’t be able to find the next Apple, or Google. How the hell do I get rich, without the amazing returns from those kind of stocks? Without some kind of speculation? That’s the greed talking.
But I don’t need those fantastic returns, because I’m grateful for the returns that I get from simple indexes. I’m grateful for being able to invest without losing sleep. Without losing my peace of mind. My gratitude saves me from watching a stock I invested in crash and burn. Along with every cent of my capital.
Being grateful that I can put my writing skills to good use, is why I won’t waste time and money chasing risky business opportunities.
People would argue that to earn millions, you need a super profitable business model. And you need to risk everything you have, to pursue your business for the profit. That’s the greed talking.
But I don’t want to start a business I’m not passionate about, just because I want to make some money. If I were to start a business, I want it to be something I’m obsessed about. Like this blog. I’m grateful for this blog. I’m grateful that I love writing. I’m grateful that a few people have said such heart-warming words about my posts. Even though I don’t make any money from my blog, I’m still grateful for it. And my gratitude saves me from losing all my money in a business venture that I don’t care about.
Being grateful saves me. From the destruction that always comes hand in hand with greed.
So, be grateful for what you already have.