The other day a friend of mine approached me excitedly, saying, “I found
the house of my dreams. It’s in foreclosure and the bank will sell it to
me for a great price.”
1. Buy everything you’ve always wanted to
30 Surprisingly Difficult Ways to be Extraordinary
“How good is the price?” I asked.
By Tyler Tervooren
“Just before the real estate market crashed, the seller was asking
$780,000 for the property. Today, I can buy it from the bank for
$215,000. What do you think?” she asked.
That branded bag. The speakers. You know how you always went past a
shop, and looked lustfully at the glitzy product and thought to yourself
“Once I start earning, I’m coming here”. That moment is here. While
saving is good, this moment let go and let your materialistic side take
over. You’ve worked hard and you deserve yourself a little treat.
“How would I know?” I replied. “All you’ve given me is the price.”
Life is simple, but living remarkably is not nearly as easy as all of
the“5 Ways to be Successful”articles on the internet make it out to
be. In fact, it’s quite hard and there is no guide you can follow, so
you’re going to have to make your own.
“Yes!” she squealed. “Now my husband and I can afford it.”
2. Clear off your dues
Of course, that doesn’t mean that someone else’s success isn’t a good
place to start learning. A remarkable life is hard, but it’s worth
“Only cheap people buy on price,” I replied. “Just because something is
cheap doesn’t mean it’s worth the cost.”
I spend most of every day thinking of more ways to step up my game and
take things to another level. To this day, I’ve never come up with an
easy way to do it. That’s okay because, if I did, it probably wouldn’t
be very valuable anyway. No, to be remarkable means to take risks over
and over again on difficult things that might not work. It means
stepping outside the comfort zone that contains most people, and
exposing yourself to danger.
I then explained to her one of my most basic money principles: I buy
value. I will pay more for value. If I don’t like the price, I simply
pass. If the seller wants to sell, he will come back with a better
price. I let him tell me what he will accept. I know some people love to
haggle; personally, I don’t. If a person wants to sell, they will sell.
If I feel what I am buying is of value, I’ll pay the price. Value rather
than price has made me rich.
Do you remember the number of coffees your older and earning friends
took you out on while you were a student? Or all those chai-sutta
accounts with the college canteen you forgot to settle in a huff of
exams and placements. Now is a good time to sit back, do a round of
audit and clear off all your loans and dues. Preferably with a thank you
note. Clearing your dues also includes various bills like your mobile
phone, credit cards etc. Living debt-free is one of the most effective
ways to live a peaceful life.
So that’s what I try to do. I don’t always succeed; in fact I fail quite
a lot. Yet, I’ve never been upset that I tried. Here are 30 ideas I’ve
used, all with varying degrees of success. I hope that they can help you
in your journey to lead your own remarkable life.
Against my advice, my friend sought financing for her “dream” home.
I don’t claim to be extraordinary myself. In fact, I’m pretty sure that
doing so is an immediate disqualification. But, I can say that every day
I try and hopefully get a little bit closer.
Fortunately, the bank turned her down. The house was on a busy street in
a deteriorating neighborhood. The high school four blocks away was one
of the most dangerous schools in the city. Her son and daughter would
either have to go to private school or take karate lessons. She is now
looking for a cheaper house to buy and has asked her father, who is
retired, for help with the down payment. If her past is a crystal ball
to her future, she will likely always be cheap and poor, even though she
is a good, kind, educated, hard-working person.
3. Send a token of your gratitude to those who helped
My Point of View
Leverage what you’re already good at…
What follows are some thoughts on why my friend will probably never get
ahead financially — especially in this market.
Often, we get so caught up in the excitement of a new job, and all the
other new things that come with it, that we forget about the people who
directly or indirectly helped us get there. The people who told you
about a job, the people who referred you or simply someone who guided
you through the interview rounds. While all it takes is a free “thank
you” or a personal note to remember those people and thank them, it is
extra special if you can send them a personalized thank you gift which
could be sweets, chocolates, a gift or simply a dinner treat.
Everyone is born with a unique set of talents. Take as much time as you
need to figure out what yours are because they’re the most valuable
tools you’ll have for the rest of your life.
She and her husband have college degrees but zero financial education.
Even worse, neither plans to attend any investment classes. Choosing to
remain financially uneducated has caused them to miss out on the
greatest bull and bear markets in history. As my rich dad often said,
“What you don’t know keeps you poor.”
Take pride in your abilities, and always use your powers for good
instead of evil. Someday, you’ll be remembered for what you did with
She is too emotional. In the world of money and investing, you must
learn to control your emotions. When you think about it, three of our
biggest financial decisions in life are made at times of peak emotional
excitement: deciding to get married, buying a home, and having kids.
4. Start investing
…But fix what needs improving.
My dad often said, “High emotions, low intelligence.” To be rich, you
need to see the good and the bad, the short- and long-term consequences
of your decisions. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but it’s
key to building wealth.
It’s common in today’s world to simplyoutsource your
someone who’s better at them. That can be useful at times, but never
take it for granted.
She doesn’t know the difference between advice from rich people and
advice from sales people. Most people get their financial advice from
the latter — people who profit even if you lose. One reason why
financial education is so important is because it helps you know the
difference between good and bad advice.
You may consider your first salary too paltry or yourself too young to
actually consider investing. But each and every penny invested correctly
helps multiply the money over the long term. The sooner you start
investing, the better. Open a recurring deposit with the bank of your
choice after due research and earmark a certain sum to be automatically
siphoned off from your bank account into the deposits account. Five
years down the line, you’d thank yourself when you count all that
interest, and of course all the savings you can count on for your
Endeavor to become better at the things that hold you back and never
assign part of your life to someone when you don’t fully understand what
they’re doing with it. You’re the one in charge, so make sure you get
what you actually want.
As the current crisis demonstrates, our schools teach very little about
money management. Millions of people are living in fear because they
followed conventional wisdom: Go to school, get a job, work hard, save
money, buy a house, get out of debt, and invest for the long term in a
well-diversified portfolio of mutual funds. Many people who followed
this financial prescription are not sleeping at night. They need a new
plan. Had they sought out a little financial education, they might not
be entangled in this mess.
Find what only you can give back.
A Thank You to Jon Stewart
5. Help someone
At the intersection of all your talents, weaknesses, and perspectives on
the world lies yourultimate gift to
the unique thing that the world needs and you’re the only person on
Earth that can give it.
Speaking of finance experts, I personally want to thank Jon Stewart of
‘The Daily Show’ for taking on Jim Cramer and CNBC. Jon Stewart did an
incredible job of representing the millions of people all over the world
who have lost their savings in the market. He was right in saying he
thought it “disingenuous” to advise people to invest for the long term
through their retirement plans while knowing full well that traders
could steal Americans’ retirement money by trading in and out of the
market. Most traders like Cramer realize that investing in mutual funds
for the long term is financial suicide. Cramer should have spoken up,
but we all know why CNBC won’t let him tell the truth. If he did, the
station’s advertisers would leave.
If you devote your life to anything, let it be to finding this. It’s
unlikely that you’ll regret it.
While I applaud Cramer for going on ‘The Daily Show’ and facing the
music, I’m afraid he was marginalized by Stewart — certainly outgunned
— and he has lost his credibility. He may pay an even bigger price if
the SEC decides to dig deeper.
You’ve just embarked on a path to self-dependence and financial freedom.
You can buy yourself things, eat fancy food, travel etc. But remember
there’s a big unfortunate section of the society which can’t. Think of a
cause close to you, and donate an amount you think you can afford, or
simply spend a little to make someone’s day.
Build a few deep, lasting relationships…
Jim Cramer is a very smart man. I watch his show. I just do not follow
You don’t need a lot of them to be happy, but a few incredibly close
friends or relatives – people you can talk to about anything – will make
life a lot easier and more enjoyable to get through.
In closing, I will say what I have said for years: We need financial
education in our schools. Without it, we cannot tell the good advice
from the bad.
6. Go on a trip
When things are harder than ever before and you don’t know where to
turn, these are the people that will keep your head on straight. Do
everything you can to help them and you’ll get the same in return.
…But keep as many loose ties as possible.
You’d always looked at those people on Facebook checking in at fancy
places and grudged them because you couldn’t afford to. Now you can.
Don’t let the lack of money come in between exploring the beautiful
world. You’re an adult now. Like a wise man once said, invest in
experiences, not products.
It’s just as important to network with as many people as you possibly
can. You can’t have 10,000 best friends, but in today’s digital
keep you motivated, tell you jokes, and help you with the odd problem
you’re having are not that hard to come by.
Let people know how you can help them, and you’ll attract plenty of good
company to make life just a little bit better.
7. Pamper yourself
Improve yourself every day…
Never take a great life for granted and never take a miserable one as a
sign of defeat. Do something, anything, every single day to make
yourself a little bit better than you were yesterday.
So busy you’ve been grappling with a new job, placement hassles, and
going back all way to your exams and studies, that you forgot to give
yourself the tender loving care you needed to. Go get a nice spa
massage, a facial or simply binge on some ice cream. You have worked
hard, and your salary is the most tangible form of reward of your hard
work. A little indulgence can be forgiven.
Read a book,sing a
Whatever you do, never stop working to learn more.
…And help someone else improve every day.
8. Get a gym membership
You don’t exist in a bubble, and your community, whatever that means to
you, is only as strong as its weakest member.
Take the time, every single day, to help someone over a hurdle, to learn
something new, or to do something meaningful. Not only will this improve
their life, but it will improve yours and everyone’s around you.
Your busy days are about to start and it’s the advent of a sedentary
lifestyle. Right now is the best time to buy yourself a gym membership
to keep yourself disciplined about keeping fit for the rest of your
working days. Sitting around at your desk all day and doing late nights
will take a toll on your fitness and mind. An early headstart into
fitness and your back will thank you later.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Every person on the planet has their own agenda and you don’t stand a
chance at getting anywhere with yours until you understand theirs.
9. Invest in life and health insurance
When you feel like you have something to say, wait. Ask yourself if
you’ve taken the time to hear what’s been said to you. By understanding
others, you’ll be far better suited to help them understand you once
it’s your turn.