“Everybody needs money. That’s why it’s called money.”
Danny DeVito’s line, written by David Mamet, in the movie script “Heist” (2001)
Contrary to certain expectations, this article is not about a fast method of making money effortlessly. On this topic, I invite you to read my article ”„Wanna Make Big Money?”. However, the promise in the title is by no means a hoax, because it is precisely earning money easily what I am inviting you to read in this article.
In 2013, I participated in financial independence courses and in a competition on entrepreneurship issues. Nothing new. It wasn’t the first time, as I have also written in “The premises of entrepreneurship.” However, this time it was something different – something happened which has turned all the theory I knew into something practical, which has had important, however not amazing, effects on my life. For this, I wish to especially thank Corneliu Ionescu, an extraordinary trainer. I don’t mean to say that I’ve become rich overnight because I don’t really care about money. What do I mean? Read further on… There are a few simple things that you may however misinterpret. So let’s take it step by step.
Money is a means of getting whatever you want
In general, I have not particularly sought to make money, because, in my experience, money is a piece of paper or a few numbers on the computer monitor that come and go. My life has not significantly improved because of money, as I have always had what I needed for living expenses and education. For me, money has always been a means. I have not worked hard for money but I have learned hard so that I won’t have to work hard for money. To a large extent, I have succeeded. This was not my merit, but it was, directly and indirectly, my mother’s merit, who has given me a large share of my financial education and money.
My formal and informal education in the communication field has cost a lot of money. Most of my money, besides my health. To give you an idea, the most expensive course I have ever paid for was 800 euros for 3 days. And it was worth it. The most expensive book I have ever bought was 72 $. And it was worth it. It has often happened to me to eat less or cheaper/poorer food because I chose to pay for a course or a book. So, if I think of money as a means of education, this is a motivation for me.
“If you think that education is expensive, try ignorance.”
How not to formulate your money-related objectives
I wish to be correctly understood: I am not saying that one doesn’t need money in life: one needs money to make money. However, money cannot represent an objective in itself or an engine for certain ideas. There is no point in setting yourself to get a certain amount of money if you don’t associate that amount of money to motivation, a desire, or a clear purpose: what are you going to do with it? What is your use of it? What do you need it for? And this desire had better be positively expressed, not: “I want to get rid of poverty”. Money is an effect, not a cause.
“Making money is like digging with a nail while losing it is like pouring water on the sand.”
(Financial) independence and a few myths regarding it
Independence is usually perceived in the sense of financial independence that allows one “to do what one wants when one wants”. To me, this seems to be a rather narrow and untrue perception of independence, although, although taken as limited as it is, not even Romania has ever been independent. Usually, the first ones that we become independent from are our parents, and this independence is very valued in Romanian society. However, in fact, we miss the fact that we can never really be independent of our parents because what connects us to them is a much more important and normal dependency: the emotional one.
Actually, financial independence cannot really be achieved employing a job, or one’s own business either, especially because parents often “still help”: they provide food (which is called “cooked” or “free” because it is from one’s parents) or money for food or the fact that one doesn’t pay for rent if living in a place that belongs to them, for which reason some brag about getting by with less money. There are often omissions that one makes along the way.
Usually, the indicator of expenses for a young man under 30 years old is often higher than the indicator of incomes, and as incomes increase, so do the related expenses. The payment of the difference using installment bank loan doesn’t count, like any contract through which a bank loans you money is a form of direct financial dependency, and also much more dangerous than the one on one’s parents. Moving the financial dependency from parents to the bank does not solve the financial dependency issue but only shifts it to another sword of Damocles, which is, however, more socially acceptable. Parents don’t ask for anything back and, at a certain point, they die, unlike banks, which perpetuate their existence irrespective of the number of individuals appointed as managers in time.
The first step is, however, financial independence
In my opinion, true financial independence is achieved when you earn every month more than from your passive income (for instance, investments, copyrights, etc.) than from a regular job. With a regular job, you sell your time and work and achieve independence – in the best-case scenario, in the field in which you are qualified. Let’s say that you manage to save something from your salary, and not spend more than you necessarily need, even if there is a good justification for it. You can very well earn 10,000 Euro per month; if you spend just as much, you can still be called poor, because money DEPENDS on your work. If you get into an accident and can’t work anymore, then all your so-called ”independence” is gone. What kind of independence is this?
“If you do so as your expenses increase at a slower pace than your income, and if you save or invest the difference, you will become financially independent for all your life in your work field.”
As for the “other” independences… Deal with the financial one first, then think about the others. And remember that your parents may soon become financially dependent on you – you don’t actually expect them to live off of their pension! This will most likely happen sooner than you imagine.
How to intelligently cut your expenses and increase your income sources
To manage to have enough money, there are two methods: spend less and earn more. The best way is to apply them together. Make a realistic and honest calculation regarding the amount of money you spend every month, on what, and how you actually get that money now. Be completely honest. It’s no public information – you can keep it to yourself. Then set out to increase and diversify your sources of money, so that it would cover and exceed your monthly expenses. Also, remember that you don’t need money for absolutely everything. You would be amazed to find out what you can get for free, for instance on Freecycle.org. You can find further 29 here. Some of the services that you are willing to pay for are offered by others for free – also visit Timebanking. Another idea is to borrow from friends and relatives certain utensils that you would otherwise spend money on or transform an expense into an investment – as students living in a hostel do when they buy a washing machine and offer washing services to an entire building. If you don’t know where to start, I invite you to read an article published here on Analytic Vision – I have calculated that to survive in Bucharest as a young professional, a decent budget would be between a minimum of 400 and a maximum of 860 Euros per month – whereof these (read here) would be the minimum expenses only for the roof over your head, maintenance, utilities, food, and clothing. Have a look also here for the translation of these items into Romanian.
Do you LIKE making money?
“I’ve been asking myself for so long how I can earn my living. Now that I have found out, I’m asking myself: how do I manage to survive this method?”
Anne Bancroft’s line playing the role of Annie Sullivan, written by William Gibson in the play and script “The Miracle Worker”
Usually, between 20 and 60 years old, people spend about a third of their life working, a third of their life sleeping and the other third filling their remaining little time, in between, with what some call personal life – whose quality very much depends on education, professional life, and entourage. Very often, the young people who have just finished school are under the impression that their professional life will be a career that will go like “clockwork” on an ascending trend. However, we don’t live in the industrial era anymore. Jobs don’t have such a broad horizon anymore, as they used to in the past when our parents and grandparents used to work for 10-15 years in a factory or company. The line of professional development will soon be a broken one that, after several attempts, failures, and disappointments, will come close to what we are meant to do.
The workplace must not necessarily be a “scârbici” (informal amalgamation of Romanian words “scârbă” meaning “disgust” and “serviciu” meaning “job, work”) where we would constantly and reluctantly be forced to accept others’ stupidity and nonsense, to earn our right to breathe under a roof, with food at our disposal. If you work on something that you like and which brings you money, then you won’t have to work a single moment in your life – or at least you won’t perceive it as work.
If you like your work and don’t consider it to be only a source of money, then your life will be more pleasant and meaningful. To like your work, you must do something you know and that you would be good at, whose ropes you would know. For that, you need three things: learn, know yourself and gladly embrace work.
1. You need education – which is bought with money. Even if your parents haven’t managed to help you with this, you must at least like to learn. And even if you first chose work over studying, remember though that education is important. I know people who have been working ever since they were 17 years old abandoning school, and who have returned to school at around 30 years old after they “got started”, and graduated, which has offered to them better perspectives.
2. You need to know yourself, know what inclinations, gifts, and talents you have, to cultivate them. I, for instance, have the inclination to offer suggestions in writing and verbally, utilizing articles and consultancy. So I educated myself in this respect. You may have other inclinations. There are people whose job is to support you in knowing yourself better – and sometimes they do it better in an hour than you do it on your own in a year. They are called psychologists, coaches, career advisers; the money you will pay to such specialists to know yourself better cannot be replaced by anything and will be the best investment that you will have ever made in your life – and I am saying that from my own experience, both as a young man who didn’t know himself, and as a professional accredited career adviser.
3. You need to gladly embrace work, but this is easy if you find what you are good at, learn how to do that, and start earning money from it.
Thus, you can make money easily and gladly. If you don’t put any personal value in your work, then nobody else will. If you don’t get off on the right foot, i.e. you either haven’t educated yourself to practice your professional talents or the way you practice them doesn’t bring you financial independence, I have good news: it is never too late to start again.
“The amount of money you earn is the measure of the value others attribute to your work. To increase the amount of money you get, you must increase the value of the work you provide.”
How to set out to earn money – summary
- Find why money is important to you, what you are going to do with it and how much you really need.
- Choose a positive inspiring motivation, which would be the purpose why you would set out to get a certain amount of money monthly.
- Accept the fact that you are dependent, especially financially, and live with it as you surpass it.
- Make a record of what you spend on, determine how you plan to earn more and which expenses you should decrease.
- In a clear and precise manner, set a well-motivated purpose that you would aim at and an amount of money attached to it. After you have attained it, maintain it and express an even better purpose.
- To become financially independent, set money aside every month and don’t touch it. That implies savings, not debts.
- Once you manage to do these things, you will notice that you start thinking differently, and money is no longer a concern but a means.
- Find what you like to do precisely. This will cost but not as an expense but as an investment. Learn to do that thing as well as you can and start earning money from what you like to do until you can support yourself from that and save monthly.
- As soon as you manage to maintain what I have written at item 8, do ONLY that and you will have a dream job, your work will be a pleasure and you will earn money easily (even though not necessarily quickly).
- However, along the way, realistically remember that no tree of money has been invented yet and don’t look for fast ways of getting rich. Not that they wouldn’t exist but if you haven’t found them yet, it means that you still have something to learn, so change your searching strategy. Try to do what I have written in this article. Although it is no key to happiness, there’s a good chance that they will make your life more pleasant.
“When you are happy simply being yourself and not comparing yourself to others, everybody will respect you.”
Finally, I am convinced that you also knew what I have written in this article. The implementation is made step by step and requires perseverance, even if you take two steps forward and one step backward.
PS: If you want to know yourself better and discover your potential, email me at Marcus.Victor.Grant [at] Gmail [dot] com
Career Adviser/Global Career Development Facilitator
Co-founder and former member of the Romanian Coaching Guild
Text Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2014-present. Translation by Cristiana Brezeanu of the article “Cum să câştigi bani UŞOR. Citeşte aici!” published in Romanian at the 13th of January 2014 on Discerne. Text Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, all rights reserved.