This editorial was originally published on Oct 18, 2008. It is being republished as Steve is on vacation.
I think everyone would like more money, but I'm not sure how many of you really want to be rich. In reading through my list of blogs, I stumbled upon Mark Cuban's entry on How to Get Rich and thought it was an interesting read. He gives you some of the advice I would, the most important being "there are no shortcuts." If you remember nothing else, remember that.
I remember years ago, driving around with my Mom in the car. We were on some errand or something, I can't remember, but I know that I was saying I wanted to do something. She told me an interesting story she'd picked up from somewhere, perhaps Reader's Digest since it sounds like something they'd publish. It goes like this: a famous violinist was giving a concert and afterwards attended a party nearby. People were all there to basically see him and one lady was gushing with praise for his performance and told him "I'd give anything to be like you." The violinist stopped and looked at her, saying "No, you wouldn't."
Naturally people stop and stare and the lady is a bit flustered, "oh but I would, " she protests. The violinist then repeats she wouldn't and continues. "You wouldn't give the one thing you must, time."
He meant practice, effort, dedication, etc., and that's really the secret to being rich. You have to really invest in yourself, believe in yourself, and put lots of effort in. Most people don't really want to do that, instead looking for some way to shortcut the process. There are ways to do it, but they either involve picking the correct 6 numbers on the correct week or placing a big bet on a single number, card, roll of the dice, or stock. And it's far more likely that you'll end up losing big with big bets.
I saw an article recently that said half of all US taxpayers make less than $32,000 a year. I'm not sure if that's true, but the article cites the IRS statistics for taxes paid. If you make more than $65k a year, you're in the top 25%. In many places that might be considered rich, and if that's the case, I think the majority of people in IT, especially DBAs, are doing well. It might not be what you want, but it's a good living you're earning.
I think there's a lot more to life than money. Not that I don't want to make good money, but there are definitely important things that aren't related to money. Now it's easy for me to say that, I've been successful, my wife works, and we don't have trouble paying our bills, but I'm a long way behind the Cube. Hopefully most of you are in a similar situation.
If you want to get rich, and crack into the top 5%, earning more than $150k a year, likely you really need to start your own business. If that's a goal, good luck and I'd love to hear about your trials and success. I'd also you to build a business you enjoy, make decisions you're proud of and would tell your kids about. Be fair, honest, and work hard, and send me a note. Maybe I'll even start featuring a few of those down home efforts here.
If that's not your goal, I really hope you enjoy your life and get to do what makes you happy. That's what's important, or should be, to all of us.