Category Archives: Money

Can You Be A Billionaire?

Will I become a billionaire if I am determined to be one and put in the necessary work required?


One of the many qualities that separate self-made billionaires from the rest of us is their ability to ask the right questions.

This is not the right question.

(Which is not to say it’s a bad question. It just won’t get that deep part of your mind working to help you — mulling things over when you think you’re thinking about something else — sending up flares of insight.)

You’re determined. So what? You haven’t been racing naked through shark-infested waters yet. Will you be just as determined when you wash up on some deserted island, disoriented and bloody and ragged and beaten and staring into the horizon with no sign of rescue?

We live in a culture that celebrates determination and hard work, but understand: these are the qualities that keep you in the game after most everybody else has left, or until somebody bigger and stronger picks you up and hurls you back out to sea. Determination and hard work are necessary, yes, but they are the minimum requirements. As in: the bare minimum.

A lot of people work extremely hard and through no fault of their own — bad luck, the wrong environment, unfortunate circumstances — struggle to survive.

How can you *leverage* your time and your work?

Shift your focus away from what you want (a billion dollars) and get deeply, intensely curious about what the world wants and needs. Ask yourself what you have the potential to offer that is so unique and compelling and helpful that no computer could replace you, no one could outsource you, no one could steal your product and make it better and then club you into oblivion (not literally). Then develop that potential. Choose one thing and become a master of it. Choose a second thing and become a master of that. When you become a master of two worlds (say, engineering and business), you can bring them together in a way that will a) introduce hot ideas to each other, so they can have idea sex and make idea babies that no one has seen before and b) create a competitive advantage because you can move between worlds, speak both languages, connect the tribes, mash the elements to spark fresh creative insight until you wake up with the epiphany that changes your life.

The world doesn’t throw a billion dollars at a person because the person wants it or works so hard they feel they deserve it. (The world does not care what you want or deserve.) The world gives you money in exchange for something it perceives to be of equal or greater value: something that transforms an aspect of the culture, reworks a familiar story or introduces a new one, alters the way people think about the category and make use of it in daily life. There is no roadmap, no blueprint for this; a lot of people will give you a lot of advice, and most of it will be bad, and a lot of it will be good and sound but you’ll have to figure out how it doesn’t apply to you because you’re coming from an unexpected angle. And you’ll be doing it alone, until you develop the charisma and credibility to attract the talent you need to come with you.

Have courage. (You will need it.)

And good luck. (You’ll need that too.)

(Source: Justine Musk on Quora)

The Starter Budget

There are a million ways to set up a budget, from simple to insanely complex. Honestly, only time (and your income and expenses) will guide you to your best personal approach to budgeting. The most important thing, just starting out, is to have some sort of budget, so that you can anticipate expenses and know when you have to save a little more or get to splurge a bit.

For this starter budget, let’s just assume your income is what you get to take home on your paycheck – already, there will be things taken out such as taxes, social security and such. Your goal is to be able to live with the money you take home.

Let’s break your expenses (what you spend your income on) into some simple categories and look at a basic and sensible ratio of expenses:

  • Housing (30%) This is your rent, mortgage payment, utilities, etc. plus any home repairs and improvements you need to do.
  • Food (10%) This covers both groceries and dining out.
  • Transportation (20%) This is your car payment, insurance, gas and any car repairs.
  • Personal Expenses (15%) This is all the extra stuff: clothes, haircuts, going out to the movies, Christmas presents, prescriptions, doctor visits, cell phone, etc.
  • Debt (15%) This is for paying down and loans (other than mortgage or car loan) and any credit card payments.
  • Savings (10%) This is how much you should sock away each paycheck.

Imagine you bring home $1,000/month – using the above figures, you can easily figure out how much rent you can afford and how much car payment you can afford and how much to spend at the grocery store each week.

You can free up some extra funds if you can manage not to take on much debt in the form of other loans and credit cards.

Start putting your savings into a savings account – try to get 3 months of income saved in there. This is what you’ll use if something goes belly up or you need an emergency car repair or new refrigerator. Try to keep it at a 3 month level as much as possible. Once you do that, talk to a financial advisor (or perhaps they have a savings program through work) and put your savings into longer term investments.

If you keep on top of this, you won’t get behind and you’ll have far less stress as you live within your means.