com·pla·cent: kəmˈplās(ə)nt/ (adjective) – Showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.
How many successful people do you know aren’t very driven or motivated to look for more opportunities? Innovation is what leads to success and complacency is not the key to innovation. That mindset of being a seeker of knowledge and opportunities is what sets apart the haves from the have nots. Unless the have nots were spoiled spoon fed brats who inherited their wealth; in which case they don’t count.
I am one of those who refuse to be complacent. One of the things that encourage me to stay busy is my desire for an early retirement. I also know that unless I build multiple streams of income over time, I will spend more time working for my money rather than have my money work for me. I can work now or I can work 30 years from now. I don’t know if I’ll be around in 30 years, but I know that if I am, I won’t be as energetic and limber then as I am today. Which means, if I have to pick, I guess I have to work now.
But how exactly am I doing this? Well, as I mentioned in previous posts, in addition to my full-time job, I am now a licensed real estate agent. Will I become rich with this additional income? Probably not. It would be nice, but I don’t know that Donald Trump needs to be concerned about me stealing his crown as the east coast mogul. However, I will say that my first transaction was a $500,000 house. After taxes, I recovered every penny I invested in crafting my professional image (business cards, taking the required class, sitting for the test, paying for my license, administrative expenses, etc.) and still made a profit. That’s just one house, but if I sold 4 more houses by December, I could completely pay off my student loans, after expenses. I think you see where I’m going with this…
I also mentioned in a previous post that I am now a landlord. I get some income from that. I have been dabbling in peer-to-peer lending (more on that later), some dividend stocks, and some low-yielding, but very safe investments in the form of CDs. (Yeah, I know. They’re being eaten away by inflation. But they are highly liquid and easily accessible.)
The idea of having multiple streams of income is to start “training” your money to work for you. It is time that we change our views about money. We need to see cash as an army of little employees who are sent forth to recruit more little worker bees. And as they grow and reproduce, I use the power of compounding and reinvesting to build the next rung in the ladder. One could point out that my work as a real estate agent is still work. But real estate is more of a business than a job. I’m my own boss and make my own hours. How much flexibility do you have at your job*? And so what? Not all your income streams are going to be passive. Even Billionaire Oprah has to get up and do something every day.
I started small and I’m still small, but the war is won a battle at a time. A millionaire is made a buck at a time. So will you seek or will you be content?
(*At the risk of sounding like I’m a character from the movie Taken, I will say that I have a very particular set of skills. I work in the banking industry and I have an MBA. As a result, I understand money, banking and personal finance better than the average person. This makes selling real estate an easy side job for me.
For example, when I show a client a house and can easily tell them all their financing options, talk about the industry, and the impact I think Federal Reserve decisions about the fed funds rate might have on house prices, people trust me and my judgement. They respect my knowledge and that gives me confidence. I don’t need training in that area of the business because I’ve gotten it through years of schooling and corporate work.
Therefore, I am by no means saying that everyone can or even should go and become a real estate agent. But this is something that works for me. You will have to discover what your skills are and capitalize on them. For example, my crafty friend sells crochet goods on Etsy. Another one who is a licensed cosmetologist does hair on the week ends. Find your talent and WORK.)