[Part 1] Living Rich: How to Live as Well as a Billionaire
Founder’s Note: I’ve lived a good life. I’ve stayed in some of the swankiest hotels on the planet… ate at some of the best restaurants… and fished with some of the richest men on the planet. But when it comes to the topic of “living rich,” I yield to Mark. He’s taken the idea to the next level. He’s made teaching others how to do it his life’s mission. Over the next few issues, he’s going to share some of his best tips for leading a “rich guy” lifestyle without breaking the bank. This is going to be fun. – Andy
When you think about the rich – the really rich – you may find yourself marveling at their… well, their money. Take Bill Gates, one of the world’s richest men. If you think $10 million is a fortune, then consider this: He has more than 10,800 of them.
If he put his money in $1,000 bills, he’d have 108 million of them! His wealth is so great that the interest on it makes him about $60 million richer every month. Bill Gates makes more money every time he takes a nap than most Americans make in 10 years.
But how much better does he live? Sure, he’s got a huge house. And a yacht. He’s probably got a jet too. But who needs that crap? Really!
If you make at least $100,000 a year ($150,000 if you are attached to a family), you can live as well as Bill Gates does, and I’ll prove it to you in this message. If you aren’t yet making that much, you’ll have to put aside today’s message until you are. If you’ve been following along with my other articles, it shouldn’t take you very long.
Let’s start by identifying some of life’s basic experiences:
Now, the purpose of becoming rich – you would think – would be to make each of these experiences as rewarding as possible. The more money you have, the more choices you have in terms of these experiences.
Take sleeping. What does a billionaire want out of his sleep time? I’d say the same thing you would: blissful, uninterrupted unconsciousness. And what will give you that? (Besides peace of mind, which you can’t buy.)
Answer: a great mattress.
And how much does the world’s best mattress cost? According to Business Insider, the top mattress is less than $1,500. That means you can buy yourself a million-dollar sleep on a billion-dollar mattress for no more than $1,500. If you are making $100,000 a year, you can afford it.
So get rid of that lumpy thing you are sleeping on and find yourself the absolute best mattress you have ever sat on. Buy it and go to sleep content that Bill Gates can have it no better.
I’ve written more extensively about this particular topic, as well as others, in my book Living Rich: How to Live as Well as a Billionaire on a Middle-Class Budget. If you’re interested in learning more, give this book a read.
How to Live Like a Billionaire When You’re Not Even a Measly Millionaire
You can pay almost any price for anything, but after a certain price point, you are no longer paying for quality; you are paying for prestige.
Take steak. Ask someone who knows about beef and you will be told that the quality of steak is entirely a matter of the meat you buy. (Let’s face it – there’s no great skill in cooking a flank of beef.)
Buy a New York sirloin at Ruth’s Chris and for around $51, you are eating the best steak money can buy. If you’d eaten the same piece of meat at Le Cirque, before it closed in 2018, you’d have paid around $75. What’s the difference?
Yes – just prestige.
The same thing is true when it comes to your clothing. Beautiful, comfortable clothes are not cheap, but they don’t have to cost a fortune. You can buy the world’s best pair of slacks for $150, or you can spend 10 times that amount. The difference will be the label on the waistband.
Champagne, anyone? The website Money found that the best champagnes were less than $50.
And so it goes on. The point is this: The best material things in life are affordable. They are not cheap – quality never is – but if you buy them selectively and use them with care, you can enjoy a life as materially rich as Bill Gates’ on an income that wouldn’t get him through lunch.
Here’s how you can live rich, starting today…
Your Dream House
I have lived in a three-room mud house in Africa and a 5,000-square-foot mansion – and I can tell you this: The quality of a home has very little or nothing to do with how much it costs or how big it is.
Think about the houses you most admire. They are probably NOT huge and flashy. One of my current favorites is a modest, three-bedroom house in Cleveland, which has been transformed by the lady who owns it into a lush, luxurious museum of her love of travel, dance and learning. Every room is a gem. I am completely comfortable and endlessly amused in this rich and interesting house.
Its value? As great as Bill Gates’ 40,000-square-foot monstrosity in Seattle – yet this one has a market value of about $150,000.
I have a friend, a wealthy friend, who loves cars, especially sports cars. He drives a Camaro. Why would he? Because he says it is as good as a Corvette, a Porsche or even a Ferrari. Instead of forking out $150,000-plus… he gets his thrills in a car that costs one-sixth that price.
What about prestige? Well that’s what you have to pay more for. But if you are willing to go the classic route… and buy a car whose design doesn’t change every year or so… you can buy yourself prestige at affordable rates. For example, I drive a mint-condition NSX that you couldn’t distinguish from a brand-new one. My car is worth about $30,000. You’d have to pay almost three times that amount for a new one. The same holds true for older Mercedes and BMWs.
In fact, in terms of “living rich,” you should never buy a new car. You’ll save a bundle by purchasing a late-model vehicle with low mileage. If you shop around, you can find a 5- or 10-year-old car that will cost 25% or 30% of the new car price, but will be just as good.
What does it cost to dress like the world’s richest? Much less than you think.
If you can forget about brand names and learn about quality, you will save thousands and look better. As with cars, you’ll do better by going after a classic look in clothing. That’s because you won’t have to discard perfectly good items simply because the lapel has changed.
The other big secret of dressing rich is this: Less is more.
Ralph Lauren – a guy who has the money and the access to dress as rich as can be – wears the same thing almost every day – classic-cut jeans and a T-shirt. Pat Riley, one of the best-dressed men in America, wears nothing but Armani suits. He has a number of them… but nothing near the number you’d think to look at him.
You can dress beautifully in secondhand clothes. What could be more impressive than a vintage suit, properly tailored, impeccably clean?
There are books on this subject. They all say pretty much the same thing. A few really nice items are much better – more enjoyable for you, more impressive to others – than a huge wardrobe of trendy, ordinary stuff.
Want specifics? Get yourself two or three pairs of slacks (or skirts). One or two suits (or dresses). Two or three pairs of shoes. Buy only what you love.
Make sure your socks are cashmere ($30 at Bloomingdale’s) and that your T-shirts and underwear are the finest cotton (or silk). Use only one cologne or perfume, but love it. Do the same with hair products and cosmetics. The rule is to have much less, but love everything you have.
Buy classic. Insist on quality. Fewer things are better than many. Simple is better than complex. Understated is better than flashy. Do this and you will have what Bill Gates can afford to have: a very pleasant feeling each time you pull on your shirt or buckle your belt.
Next week I’ll continue my recommendations…
What gives you the feeling of living rich? Tell us about it at email@example.com.
About Mark Ford
Mark Morgan Ford is a lifelong practitioner of writing, teaching, entrepreneurship, martial arts and philanthropy. He has written more than two dozen books on business, entrepreneurship and wealth building (several of which were New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers). As an entrepreneur, he has been involved in dozens of multimillion-dollar businesses, including one whose revenues exceeded $100 million and another that broke the billion-dollar mark. And as a real estate investor, he has been involved in more than a hundred projects and developments, from single-family homes to apartment buildings, office buildings and resort communities. He shares the lessons learned from his decades as an entrepreneur and investor with readers of Manward Digest.