Chris’ note: Merry Christmas Eve to the readers who celebrate. Today, in the holiday spirit, we have a special essay from colleague Teeka Tiwari. He tells us why he’s thankful… and pays it forward by sharing three habits you can adopt to achieve financial freedom.
I owe my success to America…
If you’ve heard my accent, you know it’s a mishmash of New York City and England.
My friends describe it as “Brooklish”… as in Brooklyn and English.
I wasn’t born in the U.S. I grew up in Britain’s foster care system…
I lived in a cramped, unheated room on top of a garage. At night, I watched my breath coil into a frigid mist. The future looked as bleak as my tiny room.
Since I was 12, I dreamed of working in the stock market. I shared that dream with my school job counselor.
He told me to be more realistic… “Be a telephone repairman,” he advised me.
But I knew in my heart that my future was in the financial markets.
As a teenager trapped in the foster care system, I realized no one was going to rescue me. I had to rescue myself.
So when I turned 16, I left for America…
With just $150 in my pocket, I set course for the financial capital of the world – New York City.
What I found changed my life forever…
It was 1987. New York City was full of enormous opportunity… obscene luxury… and bottomless wealth – all right next to crippling poverty.
I worked three jobs. I even offered to work for free on Wall Street until a guy named Frank gave me a shot. I started off as an assistant to the big-time brokers and eventually became a big-time broker myself.
In two years, I became the youngest vice president in the history of investment firm Shearson Lehman…
Then, after 15 years on Wall Street, I suddenly left.
I was never happy on Wall Street. Sure, the money was good, but something was missing. I couldn’t shake the feeling I was going through life as a taker, not a giver. Wall Street had trained me to focus on putting fees first and customers second. And that just didn’t sit well with me.
I couldn’t enjoy my wealth. Because the higher I rose through the ranks, the richer I got… and the more I noticed the widening gap between the elite and regular folks. Elite investors had access to better research, faster executions, and the most lucrative deals.
I realized all I was doing was helping rich people get even richer…
I knew I had to make a radical change. So I took a risk and quit my job… leaving millions of dollars on the table. I launched my own independent research firm to share my insights with regular investors.
My goal ever since has been to help everyday investors bridge the widening wealth gap.
We aren’t born with the knowledge to do that. So if I can help bridge the gap for you, I believe that’s work worth doing.
I was raised with some screwy beliefs about money.
I was taught money was evil. Rich people were mean and underhanded. You must accept you will never be rich.
Maybe you can identify with that type of upbringing.
But money is completely devoid of consciousness. It doesn’t sit there and think, “Oh, this person is deserving. Let me flow to him,” or, “This person is undeserving. Let me not flow to him.”
Instead, money is a byproduct of three habits…
Habit No. 1: Live on less than you earn.
If you consistently keep more than you spend, you’ll have a surplus of money. Simple, right?
Habit No. 2: Maximize your ability to earn from your current job.
Your single biggest source of income is your job. Most jobs will pay you more money as your skill rises.
So the quickest way to make more money is to improve your skills. Put yourself on a skill-development track to become world-class at your job.
If you don’t know how… no problem. Here’s what you do…
Offer to take the most successful person at your company out to lunch. Ask this person about their work habits. Acknowledge their success and ask them, “What do you do that’s different from everyone else?”
Don’t interrupt them. Just listen and take notes. By the end of the lunch, you’ll have the beginning of a blueprint for becoming world-class at your job.
If your firm doesn’t recognize your improved performance, that’s okay. Find another employer that will. Be sure to negotiate for more money. And never leave a job without having another one lined up first.
Habit No. 3: Create multiple streams of income.
If you’ve nailed the first two habits, No. 3 is how you turbocharge your wealth.
This is where you invest in low-risk, income-producing stocks, real estate, or private businesses. Also, this is where you can incorporate a “side hustle” for extra income.
Side hustles include – but aren’t limited to – Uber driving, Postmates/Grubhub deliveries, selling crafts on Etsy, buying and selling on eBay, etc.
You just keep reinvesting all your surplus capital into low-risk, income-producing investments. Lo and behold, in about seven years, you’ll be rich.
Did you do anything wrong to get this wealth? Did you tread on anybody to create this wealth?
No and no.
So you can see wealth creation isn’t complicated. But it is difficult. It’s difficult because we’re bombarded with ads to buy stuff every minute of every day. That makes habit No. 1 – live on less than you earn – the toughest to acquire.
But without that habit, you can never create lasting wealth.
If I have any agenda, it’s to spread the message that ANYONE can become wealthy. My entire mission is to take my hard-won wealth-building lessons and share them with you so you can increase your wealth.
I enjoy helping everyday investors change their financial lives more than I ever did helping fat cats get fatter.
And there’s another reason I’m giving back…
I was never handed anything in life… except a green card that let me work in America.
America gave me the opportunity to get everything I value.
So when I see that flag swaying – and hear the national anthem playing in the background – it still brings tears to my eyes.
I can’t convey in words how I feel about this country. Love is not strong enough. America gave me opportunities, mentors, love, friendship, and the type of painful life lessons only a free-market economy can provide.
I still have faith in America. I still believe if you work hard, save, and invest wisely, you’ll be rewarded.
Just like I was…
I know times are tough. But you are tougher. You can take control of your actions and start changing your life right now.
As we celebrate the holiday season, I’m especially thankful.
Thank you to my readers for the opportunity you’ve given me to be of service to you. You’ve changed my life in ways I never could have imagined. I’m more grateful to you than you will ever know.
Let the Game Come to You!
Editor, Palm Beach Daily