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In Die Broke Stephen Pollan introduced a new radical new strategy for spending, saving, and investing money in today's financial market.In Live Rich, he now concentrates on the earning side--with the compelling observation that living rich has less to do with net worth and everything to do with freedom. You can live the life you want by adhering to the four tenets of the Live Rich ...
In Die Broke Stephen Pollan introduced a new radical new strategy for spending, saving, and investing money in today's financial market.In Live Rich, he now concentrates on the earning side--with the compelling observation that living rich has less to do with net worth and everything to do with freedom. You can live the life you want by adhering to the four tenets of the Live Rich philosophy:
There's one common element, however: freedom. Look at all the different dreams of a rich life, and you'll see every single one is based on having the freedom to do whatever you want to do. Living rich is having the freedom to live on the beach, to buy whatever you want, to travel the world, to create art for art's sake, or to spend your life in service to God. Living rich is also having the freedom to set aside your fears and seize the reins of your life. To live rich is to be free, and to be free is to live rich.
Living rich isn't the same as being rich. No one whose mind is healthy really equates a rich life with being wealthy. Money, in and of itself, isn't what we want. But what we do want may be able to be purchased with money.
Obviously it takes money to buy that house on the beach, to purchase all those lovely things, and to afford first-class travel. But it also takes money to be able to do nonmaterial things, like create art or lead a life of prayer. All of us, even artists and contemplatives, live in a capitalist world. It takes money to obtain the necessities of life -- food, clothing, and shelter. That money comes from either our own work or the work of others.
Someone, somewhere -- perhaps a spouse or a parent -- is working so the idealistic artist can spend time painting. And someone, somewhere -- perhaps some wealthy materialist paying $10 for a jar of preserves -- is working so the devoted Trappist monk can spend all his waking hours at prayer.
You might not be comfortable acknowledging it, but money plays a big part in whether you're able to live rich, to be free.
So far, it seems that living rich would be pretty simple. Since you're the one who decides exactly what living rich means, and since money -- in one way or another -- is what enables you to pursue that dream, all you need to do is get enough money to fulfill that dream. But if that's the case, if it's really that simple, how come so few of us actually live rich?
From Die Broke to Live Rich
Two years ago I wrote a book called Die Broke. It advocated treating assets as resources to be used, in whatever way you choose, during your lifetime, rather than as treasures to be hoarded and passed on after your death. I wrote it in response to what I saw in my own consulting practice. I'm an lawyer and financial adviser on Manhattan's Upper East Side. My practice is small, but offers a wide range of services: I help my clients with everything from their personal finances to their careers and businesses. I offer very personalized service. That's why I was deeply affected by what I saw happening just a few short years ago.
I saw my clients diligently follow all the rules of personal finance they'd been taught (by me as well as by other authors and advisers), yet still find themselves falling short of their goals and dreams. In my search to help them I discovered it wasn't my clients who were failing, it was the system. They were simply following a misguided philosophy and outdated rules designed for an economic environment that had disappeared.
After a great deal of thought and research, I came up with what I thought was a new, more workable, more effective philosophy of personal finance, along with a set of simple, pragmatic rules: Quit today, pay cash, don't retire, and die broke.
The response to Die Broke exceeded my wildest dreams. With all due modesty, I knew my philosophy and advice on personal finance worked. After all, I see the positive results every day in my office. However, I didn't realize the extent to which my clients' financial fears and frustrations were echoed in the general public.
Admittedly, my client base isn't a cross-section of the American population. While my clients come from a variety of ethnic, social, cultural, and religious backgrounds, most are middle- and upper-income New Yorkers between the ages of twenty-five and fifty. I didn't know so many people of other ages and from other places would find the Die Broke philosophy helpful in eliminating the frustrations they felt with their personal finances. I suppose, whatever else you can say, positive or negative, about New York baby boomers, one thing is clear: They are on the cutting edge of social and financial trends. The success of Die Broke and the realization that my clients' fears and hopes were no different from those of the rest of the population has led me to offer the advice from the other part of my consulting practice.
I take, for lack of a better word, a comprehensive approach to my clients' financial lives. As I mentioned, I get very involved in their world. Rather than working with them on just one element, say their investments, I treat their money and their circumstances as a mosaic of various pieces that make up what I call the business of living. Die Broke dealt with one half of the business of living: spending money. This book, Live Rich, deals with the other half of the business of living: earning money.