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How can someone who is poor become rich and is it even possible?
That was a question I’ve wondered for a long time. Growing up, we always had enough for what we needed, but that was it. I began wondering what was the meaning of life and why do other people seem to be more successful than others.
Being poor was not fun. In middle school, I experienced a really embarrassing moment. A kid asked real loud in front of everyone asked, “Why do you wear the same pants every day?” I know he did it to make fun of me and I experienced embarrassment and anger. A lot of other kids seemed to have really nice clothing. I had two shirts and two pants. That’s it.
I knew I wanted to be successful financially, but I had no real plan. They don’t teach money in school and I couldn’t find anyone around me who really knew how to manage finances. So like many others, I did my own thing. But my plan didn’t work.
When I began learning how to handle money the correct way, I was already a young mom and had a family. Still living with my mom (yikes), my husband worked to provide for everything we needed. But we were still only breaking even and I still didn’t have any nice clothes.
Think about that. A young mom living at home with her parent with no job, no car, no income. Once I got my hands on some really good financial teachings, I knew my life was changed forever. I learned that rich is a mindset and by becoming successful at mastering your mind for abundance, it will surely come.
But it was not easy!
Fast forward three years, we have more than $1,000 in an emergency fund (currently working for around $6,000-7,000 before investing in low-cost index funds), we own two cars that we paid less than $3,000 in cash for, I’m in a full-time management position, enrolled in blogging school to become a work from home mom, and my husband works part-time to watch our amazing, rambunctious son.
And yes. We moved out of mom’s and into our own rental home.
So How Did It Happen?
Although 3 years is quick on the scale of a lifetime, it did not seem fast at all. There were many mornings I woke up at 4 am to begin studying and researching. Throughout the day I would listen to sermons and seminars. I was addicted to growth and just wanted to learn everything I could about being successful in all areas of life.
But there were also days of massive depression, wondering if things would ever change.
The life I was seeing was not the life I wanted. I was working so hard for minimal results. Plus, it was certainly a different lifestyle than others around me. One day, my aunt came over. She saw my stack of books. At that time, I was reading a psychology book and taking notes. She called attention to it and said, “She looks like she’s doing school work.”
It made me feel weird. I love learning and sharing with others, but I felt I couldn’t share with others. Money is such a touchy subject, if I began teaching those around me without being a real expert, they would get offended. Wouldn’t they?
I always received responses like, “Life isn’t that easy,” “That’s not how life works,” and “I already know about that.” No one seemed as interested in it as I was. And I was a believer. I knew that if it worked for others, it could work for me. There was no way I was throwing in the towel before I reached my desired goals.
Even some of you reading now are freaking out and saying things like, “$1,000 in cash, that’s it? Don’t you know you’re losing money due to inflation by not investing that money?” Yeah, I know. I have a financial plan that I’m sticking to. So let’s get to it.
The first financial book I’ve ever come across was The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. I was not yet in a mental state where I could apply everything in that book, but it set a foundation. Everything he said made sense and he used the Bible as the backbone for his teachings. And I love Jesus so there was no better way to relate to me.
However, I wasn’t wise enough to study the book in full, so I took another book home the library. This one was called Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. This book was different because not only did it talk about why people are successful, it also talked about why the poor stay poor. Then, I jumped to many other books and they all helped me achieve what I have today.
Financial Books That Changed My Life Forever
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
This was the first book that ever revealed to me about the power of a mindset. The rich and the poor think alike. What a poor man sees as an obstacle, the rich see as an opportunity. If you were wondering about the title, Mr. Kiyosaki had a poor father and a best friend who had a rich dad. He was able to see how the two did things differently and had two opposite lives.
Since this book is so small, I definitely recommend that you pick one up and read through it.
Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins
If you want a full textbook about investing, this is it. This book is over 600 pages and I’m so crazy that I read it twice! This book is truly one of a kind and I wish everyone would read it!
Tony Robbins covers breaks popular money myths and replaces them with the truth. Then, he teaches you how to invest and what things to avoid at all costs. In the end, he presents gold: all the secrets he’s learned from the 1%. Ray Dalio, Sir John Templeton, Jack Bogle and so many more are interviewed and they share how to win the game of money.
Tony was poor himself, so every dollar that is made on this book is donated to Feeding America. How can you resist?
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
This book was the first I’ve ever read on finances. Although I wasn’t wise enough to comprehend the depth of it, it set up a great foundation and changed my life. Dave teaches from a Christian point of view and has learned all his tactics from the Bible.
Dave is a man who went from a millionaire to almost bankrupt in just a few years. He had so much debt and had to begin all over. Many families have been changed from his teachings and so has mine. I’m a huge Dave Ramsey fan and would recommend his teachings to anyone.
He’s got a fun personality, can make you laugh, and is very easy to relate to. He understands because he’s been there, but probably worse.
Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze
You’ve just met Dave Ramsey, but now you’ve got to meet his daughter Rachel Cruze. She’s a New York Best Times selling author and reveals how being a Ramsey kid affected her and why his teachings worked on them.
Dave and his daughter talk about every stage in a child’s life and how to prepare them to become successful adults. Since the school system doesn’t teach our children how to spend money, that means we have to. We all want our kids to be successful and pass our own expectation. This book is a great guide that can work at any stage.
Some key takeaways from this book for me were:
- Teach your kids to earn money.
- Allow your kids to spend their money.
- Let them make dumb decisions now rather than later.
- Teach them integrity.
- Teach them to give.
- Show them how to budget.
- Let them write the checks.
- Give them freedom.
- Lead by example.
Don’t protect children from everything in life. Let them live, grow, make mistakes, and learn. If they can have the freedom to make the tough mistakes now, it’ll save them a lot of hassle in the future. I would definitely recommend this book to any parent who wants their children to succeed financially. No doubt!
Q: Let me get this straight, you became successful financially because you read books?!
A: Yes and no. Yes, these books can change your life, but only if you do the work. Knowledge is potential power, but unless you act on that knowledge, you will be in the same situation a year from now. I’m currently on Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step #3, but I wouldn’t have gotten here if I didn’t do steps 1 & 2. There are no shortcuts in life, but you can make your life easier and achieve your goals faster by learning from those who are experts.
All of the authors above were once poor and now they’re millionaires. Don’t you think their advice is of value?
If you want to be financially free, pick up a book and begin to read. I want you to experience financial security, but I can’t do the work for you. Therefore, below are purchase options for the books covered in this post.