- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 4, 2011

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood minorities today is not racial or ethnic. In fact, the minority I’m referring to comes with people of every race, color, creed and religion - the wealthy. Make no mistake about it. Building wealth is one of the most difficult things someone can do, which is why so few people do it. How few?

Wealth estimates derived from 1998 federal estate tax return data show that about 6.5 million individuals in the United States had gross assets of $625,000 or more and represented about 3.4 percent of the U.S. adult population. As a group, they owned more than $11.1 trillion in total assets, or 32.6 percent of the total U.S. personal asset holdings. That’s 3.4 percent of the population representing 32.6 percent of the country’s wealth.

The wealthy are a true minority in the world and are often criticized and ridiculed for their success in spite of the fact that everyone, given the choice, would rather try it rich than continue being poor. I don’t know where it originated, but the cliche “the poor get poorer and the rich get richer” has been in use for some time, implying that the poor will never rise out of poverty. Is this true? Why do people stay mired in poverty while others can pass on generational wealth?

The first myth that keeps people poor, in my opinion, is the idea of easy money or, more appropriately, get rich quick (without effort). Lotteries, gambling, hot stock tips and music videos all fuel the myth that money comes easily. While it may be easy to make money, keeping it and building wealth is a whole different story. Industries are built around people’s ignorance of building wealth. Like a miracle diet pill that lets you eat whatever you want without exercising, beware of wealth promised without effort. Why do people continue to go to these “quick fixes”? I believe one of the reasons is a victim mentality.

In other words, there is a sense that something is owed to them and that by their existence wealth and ease of living are guaranteed. It is someone else’s fault, or something someone did to them, or a past failure why they don’t have what they are entitled to in life. Another hindrance to building wealth is negative thinking. Constantly dwelling on why things won’t work or why you’re not deserving of success will sap anyone’s confidence or motivation to perform. Another hindrance to building wealth is living beyond your means. The simplest way to build wealth is to simply live below your means and govern your finances as if you’re always in a recession. Save enough money so that you’re spending last year’s income instead of next year’s income and you can enjoy less stress financially. If we look at the first cause of poverty, which is basically a want of wealth without effort, better known as a wish, we can correctly guess that the first step toward building wealth is a burning desire.

The burning desire is what will sustain you and allow you to grow inside when you encounter failure after failure. The desire will cause you to examine yourself and ask what you could do better, how you could have done something better so that next time you encounter a similar situation, you will succeed.

In this process, you’ll realize that all success is built on failure and that is the way you learn. So we realize that anyone can make a lot of money or build wealth but not everyone can multiply it. But there are some benefits of applying the principles of building wealth, even if one’s goal is not to pursue making a lot of money.

Armstrong Williams is on Sirius Power 128, 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m., Mondays through Fridays. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arightside, and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/arightside. Read his content on RightSideWire.com.

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