I have seven brothers-in-law, and they are all financial illiterates. Both sides of the family: my wife’s brothers and my sisters husbands. It would be more poetic if each one corresponded to the “7 Deadly Sins” but they all correspond to sloth and I don’t think being financially clueless is one of the deadly sins.
A few years back one of these guys found himself in jail for not making child support payments to one of the many broads he’s knocked up over his life. He has something like 8 kids scattered around and he can barely support himself. One thing I learned about the legal system is that if you wind up in jail for failing to make child support payments, you are in some special kind of limbo and you can actually rot there forever. It’s like debtors prison. “You’re fucked.” was what one of the lawyers we called told us (friday night going into a long weekend). “More accurately, your brother-in-law’s fucked.”, he elaborated, “It’s too bad he didn’t murder somebody. We’d have an easier time getting him out of there”.
Long story short, he wasn’t going anywhere until he ponied up the outstanding payments, around $25,000 worth. And since we’re talking about a guy who can’t stay ahead on his prepaid cell phone, it looked bleak. Being the “Rich Uncle” in this family, it naturally fell to my wife and I to do something. Some of others also chipped in, so we only had to plunk down $20K out of the 25 and we had him out in time for Sunday dinner.
He came by the house to say thanks and I felt it necessary to sit him down for a heart to heart talk. The basic upshot was this: By the time you’re 37, you’re supposed to be able to wipe your own ass. In fact, if you have a string of kids by then you’re even expected to wipe theirs too. That means not living a hand to mouth existence, it means having the financial means to carry your commitments, not mooch off your family (he was still bumming rent off his mother from time to time) and for God’s sake, stop getting girls pregnant. That’s when he told me his current girlfriend was expecting their child, he was going to marry her and “get his act together”.
My advice to him was:
You need to become wealthy – otherwise you’re screwed.
He had the better part of a dozen kids already, another one on the way, planning to get married, and still can’t make rent, stay current on his child support payments – and by the way – now owes his extended family 25-large.
He agreed with me, but like most people, had no idea that becoming wealthy was actually attainable for anybody much less how to go about it. So I did what family does. I offered to shepherd him along the path. I told him the basic secret of becoming rich (which is one sentence, three words) and I told him that I would mentor him, show him the ropes, help him discover his own personal “fast track to financial independence” and give him a crash course on how not to be a financially illiterate dumbass anymore. Like anybody, he had certain talents and he was smart (when it came to something he actually found interesting). Everybody has some unique qualities that give them an edge at something, so we just had to help him discover his own innate edge and then use it to lever himself out of poverty.
At the time, he seemed excited, like this was possible for him and that there was hope. I gave him two books to read, “Start here”, I said, “Read these two books right away” then we’ll start weekly coaching sessions. The two books were Richard Dobbins’ What Self Made Millionaires Really Think, Know and Do and Richard Kiyosaki’s Cash Flow Quadrant .
It’s been four years since that talk. I’ve never heard from him since, aside from the occasional family function where the “unpleasantness” of that weekend are never mentioned and the subject of the loan seems long forgotten (by him). I began politely reviving the topic recently, by asking for my books back. I remembered them when I wrote “Nevermind Manifesting Money, How About Becoming Rich” and began requesting that he bring them back ahead of family functions “you know, if you’re not reading them, otherwise hang on to them”.
On Easter Weekend he finally brought them. I didn’t need to ask him if he read them because he observed as he handed them back to be “Sorry that they’re a little dusty”. He had never cracked a cover.
This man is typical of the multitude of people who wonder why they can’t catch a break in life, why there is never enough paycheck to stretch through the week, why can’t they get ahead just a little bit while some other people have so much wealth, complete financial independence, in fact “more than their fair share” (HA!).
He was holding the answers right there in his hands. They were sitting, neglected, in a pile, somewhere in his apartment for years. All he had to do was crack open a cover and read just a few pages and he would have realized right there that he was holding the secret to the universe. Well, the perhaps not the “secret of the universe” but at least the keys to the kingdom of wealth and abundance.
It was all spelled out in plain english that anybody could understand, it was there for the taking. He just ignored it, and handed them back to me covered in dust.