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October 11, 2013 / Dale Melchin

Wealth is NOT Evil!

Christians or people of another faith or spirituality, tend to “specialize” in a particular dogma because of a psychological hang up we have regarding it.  In Christian circles the issue of money is one of these hang ups.  Sometimes it’s a passive aggressive offhand “letting the Lord handle it” kind of an attitude rather being actively engaged in economic activity.  We might have a job or even a business, but we often times will feel bad about our success or act as though it is somehow wrong to safe guard those assets.  In short, we may subconsciously feel that money or building wealth is evil.

We think wealth looks like this:

greedy_man

But really, it looks more like this:

Rabbi_Lapin_High_Res_Photo

Or this:

warren buffet

Or this:Zuckerberg

The New Testament never said that money was the root of all evil. It is the love of money is the root of all evil.  The phrase in 1 Timothy 6:10 “love of money” is philarguria and a according to some scholars has the same overtones as lust or ardent desire.  But this does not make money or wealth evil of itself.  Money is an amoral object, just like guns or knives. The morality or immorality comes from the person’s relationship with money.  That morality or immorality also extends to attachment or aversion.  I say this now because if you lust after money you are wrong regardless of your ability to get it.  If you are averse to money and consequently are resentful toward those have it, regardless of the others relationship to it are equally wrong.  The reason being is that we are called to be free of both lust for money, hatred for it, or hatred of those who have more than we do.

Earlier this week, I listened to a podcast where Dan Miller interviewed Rabbi Daniel Lapin author of Thou Shalt Prosper on the subject of wealth.  One of the first questions on that podcast that was asked is does God want us to be rich?

Interesting question.  Rabbi Lapin and Dan go on to address the aforementioned negative paradigms regarding money.  I’ll let you listen to the podcast which I will link to at the bottom.

Rabbi Lapin goes on to make the argument that God has facilitated the environment for people to become rich.  God wants us to be obsessively preoccupied with attending to one another’s needs, wants and desires.  He’s created the environment where human economic interaction is rewarded.  The interaction is based on the following factors.

The demand for the product you are offering is the first thing.  You have to have a market.  It is also based on the number of people who know, like, and trust you.  This directly correlates with how rich we become.  As a result, the natural consequences of serving the needs of others, we become wealthy.  They went on to talk about other points, which I will not go into here, but this first part of the podcast really rattled my thinking.

Here are the Key takeaways from this part of the podcast.

The first is God wants us all to be rich.  Not gonna sugar coat it, He wants us to be rich.  I don’t mean this in a health, wealthy and prosperity gospel type of way.  I mean this in the sense that he has created a system where work, demand, and interaction are rewarded over time.  We aren’t all going to be Bill Gates, but we can all win, even if it is to a lesser extent.  It’s relative.  For instance, I may only make and keep 5 million dollars.  But if I watch my expenses I can retire on that.  I can invest it and make it more, or I can invest it in a very conservative annuity and make almost $4200 a month and still be fine.  And I can still take the surplus from that and reinvest it.  If expenses stay modest it can be done.  Or you may make 42 million dollars, put it in the annuity at 1% and make 420,000 a year.  It doesn’t matter, its relative, and there is plenty to go around.  It’s not a win-lose paradigm since wealth is created and perpetuated.

Now, I am going to make some people mad.  If we aren’t rich or at least trending in that direction, something is wrong.  But let me explain why.

According to JM Demarco in the Millionare Fastlane he talks about buying into the conventional wisdom that if you work for 50 years, are mindlessly frugal, you’ll come out a winner on the other end.  That is the paradigm of the previous generations.  And it is a paradigm that doesn’t work anymore because corporations are cutting or outsourcing jobs.

The solution that Demarco proposes is getting into a market that you are passionate about, with high demand and solving the problems more effectively than your competitors.  Doing this does several things.  The first is it puts you in control of your life and not your corporation.  The second the potential for retiring while you can still enjoy it is relatively high.  Beyond the next several steps, you need to let go of the mentality that the j-o-b is going to make us rich.  It isn’t because there are too many factors beyond our control.  Income cap depending on the job you have, the fact that the corporation could lay you off at any time, and the stock market could tank, annihilating your 401k.  Changing this situation is a prerequisite to the others I list below.

Now if you are a business owner and you aren’t getting the traction you want it’s one of these problems.

We are not well known enough.  In other words, you have a marketing problem.  You are focusing too much on the craft and not enough on marketing the business.  Now in the business that I come from, which is the construction business, specifically painting, you have to be at the top of your game.  You have to have compelling reasons for your prospect to pick you over the others.  One of the ways to do that is to be everywhere.  Get on the internet, blog about your product, make little freebies that you can give to clients and other people to get your name out there.  This isn’t an exhaustive post on marketing, but the key is to get your name out into the marketplace.  Be known!

Another potential problem is that we are not trusted enough.  Now in the construction business, especially painting, this is a problem.  There is just a negative halo effect that surrounds contractors of all types unfortunately.  It is because of the tendency to reduce cost, be late, or change things at the last second.  Now, there are several out there that I know are trust worthy, and I know them personally.  I’ve collaborated with them in the past, but they are far and few between.

One other issue is that we are not liked.  You may have a quality offering, you may be a trustworthy person, but if you don’t have the soft skills to be able to build rapport, you aren’t going to get the repeat business or referrals to be sustainable.  So you have to have a level or respectable salesmanship when you are in business.  Or the other problem can be being too shy can demonstrate a lack of confidence, and that can lead the prospect to not being confident in you.  Being likable must be in place.  I realize that those who are trusted are ultimately loved, but you still have to have the soft skills.

We are not in a market where we are solving a real problem.  In other words, we’re just like our competition.  Nothing that really sets us apart.  I mentioned this earlier but he key to being successful is to do something 10% or more better than your competitors.  A common problem in construction is lateness to the job site or just not showing up at all.  One commonsense way to fix this is to call the client the night before to confirm, and call while you are on the way there or if they are comfortable with it send them a text the day of!  There are other ways to do this in the industry, but that one is at the top of my mind.

We are in an industry or job market where this more supply than demand.  This is a huge problem, especially for our college graduates.

The big corporate jobs are highly competitive, and everyone is going after them.  The way to get into a saturated market is to be either cheaper or better than the competition.  However jobs involving independent skilled labor are starting to have a shortfall and as a result they are becoming unsaturated.  Now I realize this varies from place to place and you have to do your own research.  But that is the problem with trying to find the silver bullet for success in finding work.  There is no silver bullet.  Previously, going to college was the silver bullet.  But all that did was saturate the market.  It isn’t the college’s responsibility to make sure you are marketable.  You have to do that by connecting with your God given calling and following that, not just trying to “see what’s out there.”  You have to do both.

We lack the skills necessary to attain wealth.  I’ve touched on this briefly but I’m going to revisit it in detail.  The first area is Soft Skills, and the second is Hard Technical Skills.

Character, respectability, and likability are absolutely necessary no matter what industry you are in.  Yes, even the would be gear head has to be able to communicate with the shop manager.  Or the accountant.  Or the computer programmer.  The second area is hard technical skills.

Even if you are a salesman, you have to have hard technical skills as well.  Communication is both an art and a science.  You also have to be able to command a high amount of product knowledge in order to sell to the client.  In an area on the opposite extreme like accounting your computer programming, you have to be highly competent at those technical skills and be able to collaborate with other accountants or programmers or (insert name of introverted highly technical industry here).  I realize that I’m swinging back and forth between extremes here, but you get the point.  You have to be excellent at what you do or else, the market won’t want you.

If we are not going in that direction, we need to take inventory of what we’re not dialed into, God’s not obstructing me, and we are.

For myself I know what the issues have been.  I previously had a lack of vision dictating my career goals and objectives.

Those of you who know me, know what that all entailed.  I’ll boil it down to that I was listening to men rather than God.

Getting back on point, the other problem for myself personally aside from vision the following.

I have a tendency to be a spend thrift.  I like things that money can buy.  The other issue is that I previously lacked rigorous financial discipline.  Demarco in his book talks about being frugal being both a good and a bad thing.  You want to build discipline into yourself.  That is absolutely vital.  But doing it to the point where life is a constant misery is no way of doing things either.

The key in my case, and perhaps in yours is to drill down and take action in forming new habits.  Remember, we can’t break old habits.  We have drown out the bad ones with good, new ones.

The next thing we need to realize from these two positions on money is that avarice and aversion are equally wrong, as they are the same attachment just polarized the other way.

Avarice is an attachment to money, whether you have it or not. Aversion is attachment polarized the other way, we don’t have money so we hate it and judge others who do have it as being evil.

You don’t get rich by being evil.

greedymanNO

People aren’t going to buy from you if they know you are underhanded.  If you are a swindler, the word will get out about you eventually and it will hurt your ability to expand.  However, If you have great soft skills, are an expert in your field and are trustworthy, people will flock to you!

And you can’t be in business if you believe that what you’re selling is underhanded, you have to believe in yourself.  You need to find a new product, improve yourself or change your attitude about yourself or your product.

Oh and here is that link to the podcast.

What is your attitude toward money?  What would changing it make possible for you?

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