Friday, October 5, 2012

The Rich are Different

I am not one of those rah-rah kind of motivational writers. In fact, one of my friends reminds me that skepticism is not a gift of the spirit. However, I am coming more and more to believe that rich and poor are more a state of mind than conditions of the pocketbook. I have written in a previous post entitled Timelines about the important correlation between time, planning, and wealth. The rich think year to year. The very rich think decade to decade.


Consider these two stories. Both of them are true. I am sorry that for the sake of confidentiality I can not be more specific.

I was talking about money with a certain individual (now there is a surprise). He told me that when he was in high school (circa 1970) he dated the daughter of a wealthy man who was a power in the city where they both lived. One day he came to visit his girlfriend at her home in the good part of town. On a table in her house was a model of a city, in fact it was their city, but it didn’t look anything like what was actually there. Her father told him that he and his partners were planning to rebuild the city. He told the boy, they needed to determine what parcels of land to acquire in order to gain strategic control of the downtown area. As the decade of the 1970s progressed, the city already in bad shape, grew worse. By 1980 whole areas of downtown were in serious decay.

Then a miracle occurred. The entire center of the city was reborn. Where there were once abandoned factory buildings, there are now expensive offices and condominiums. Where there were old decrepit buildings and bankrupt stores, there are now gleaming new buildings housing insurance companies and regional bank headquarters. Main Street, once a congested eyesore, can now be described as a nicely landscaped upscale food court. There are parks, walks, a civic center, and top rated hotels. This city is considered a model of urban renewal where local government and businessmen coordinated their efforts to rebuild a better city. The individual telling me the story said he thinks about that tabletop model every time he visits that city because the model on that table is the city of today. His girlfriend’s father and his friends built a better city for their children and now these men and their children own that city.

Over 40 years ago the future took root in the present in the minds of a few farsighted men who could see beyond what existed in the material world.

Ah you say, but I have no money. It is easy for the rich to get richer, but I am poor. For me it is impossible. Consider the second story. There was a certain man. He has been dead for many years. He was a poor dust bowl farmer during the Great Depression. He was so poor he literally had trouble keeping shoes on his children’s feet. Because his wife was terrified of debt, they managed to hold on to their farm through the depression. They were one of only two families in that part of their county to accomplish that feat. Even when this man was poor, he was planning for his children’s future. Before he died he bought farms for each of his four children. He believed in land. If you own farmland, he reasoned, you can always feed your family. Three of his four children graduated from college. All of them went on to become successful in their chosen careers. Only one of his children stayed on the land. Over time the son who choose farming as a profession, acquired more and more land until he became the wealthy owner of a small empire. Now that land supports him in his old age. He has already passed control of some of his land to his children, the grandchildren of a desperately poor man. He has also taught them how to acquire and manage land even if they do not choose to be farmers.

If you want to change your life and your family tree, put your mind into your future. Plan on how to get where you want to go; then, one step at a time, move toward your dreams.

1 comment:

  1. God bless the poor man and the legacy left to his children and his children's children. One must believe that such a life was steeped in faith and that the true legacy passed on to the family was one of relationship, faith, education, and humility.