In the first episode of this series, we discussed in general terms the various players in our hypothetical economy. In this episode, we shall be focusing on The Money Formula: the salaried worker. We have already discussed who they are in the previous episode hence we would be focusing more on the details or how they think.
The premise: In this hypothetical economy, to make money, you have to push a wheelbarrow for a certain number of hours.
We repeated the premise here because that is the bases on which this series is built. You will always need to refer to it to understand how the particular player relates to the economy. If you have not read the first episode, I will suggest strongly that you do now before you continue.
The salaried worker
As already introduced, the salaried worker earns money based on pushing the wheelbarrow for a certain period. They have a simple money making curve; more time, more money. The majority of people fall into this category but the word ‘salary’ may have you thinking it is only the employed. Either you are self-employed or working for another person or an organisation, if your income depends on how long you work, you are in this category.
We shall look at a medical doctor with independent practice as an example. Imagine a doctor has 4000 people queue up at his office on a very good day. Can he serve them? No, even if he manages to serve 100 of them, he might be doing a really poor job that day. The most likely thing is that he will turn away the vast majority because he has a limit of both time and energy.
This shows that even if you are self-employed unless you find a way to scale your services, you are still underpinned by time limitation. It is like training yourself to master pushing 2 or 3 wheelbarrows at a time or loading your wheelbarrow twice as much. In the end, there is always a foreseeable limit to which you can go.
The number one principle to building wealth is: Never have a ceiling to your income expectations. This category definitely defies this rule. But don’t fret, there are ways to compensate for this and it will become clearer as we progress.
Barrier of Entry
This category has the easiest barrier to entry in terms of financial and skill capital. if you don’t understand that don’t worry, I will explain. The barrier to entry literally describes what is on the way. What does one have to overcome to enter?
You just have to learn how to push a wheelbarrow, prove to a barrow owner that you can push it well enough and there you are, you are in, easy.
This process of learning how to push the wheelbarrow may not be as easy as mentioned here, it may involve long weeks, months, or years of painstaking training but in the end, it still just boils down to the basic principle. Learn how to push the barrow, get your hands on one and there you go, pushing yourself to an hourly, weekly or monthly income.
The good thing about this category is that it forms the base of the economy. Everything else depends on this category. They are the base of value creation. The economy is built on it. If there is no one to push the wheelbarrow, then our economy collapses. The businessman won’t buy plenty of barrows, the entrepreneur can’t make them, the bank can’t lend any money and the government won’t get any taxes to collect.
Let that sink in for a second. So if this category is this important, how come they are the poorest in the economy? I will explain.
Think about it, plants don’t move, they are stuck in one place and only get cut for food. Point is, you may not want to be a plant. However, plants are the base of our food chain. They capture energy from the sun, stores it in the form of food. We eat this food and our body extracts the energy necessary to keep us alive. But that does not mean we also do not benefit them, we provide them with the carbon dioxide they need and we take care of them and when we die, they feed off our flesh in form of manure.
Sorry for boring you with all that science, ugh!, I almost dozed off. However, it is important to help us understand what is happening here. Nature is full of repeating patterns of behaviour. The most important things seem to be the most basic. No one thinks of Oxegen until they can’t have it. It is like that.
Point is, everyone starts here, if you don’t push the barrow, it is hard to know how to manage people who do let alone how to make them. If you are here, see it as a learning opportunity for you to graduate up the ladder. We will look at the options you have later.
We often think that this is a risk-free zone. This is the reason most people end up here. After all, If I just push the wheelbarrow every day, I will earn my income and everything will be OK. This mindset keeps most salaried workers living paycheck to paycheck. Look just above the paycheck and you will see the biggest risk here. As soon as the paycheck seizes to come, you are a month or two away from begging on the streets. This is why the government has provided a compulsory saving system/insurance for everyone under this category in case of the day when you can’t work anymore. But is it really reliable?
People around here often take solace in the fact that they can’t easily lose a public job hence they are secured but hey, don’t be overly optimistic here. Things can change really quickly and it may be physically impossible for you to continue in your line of work. Do you think the government or anyone will be caring enough to continue to pay your secured income? No. Remember, when you don’t push the wheelbarrow, you don’t earn.
Can you see how risky the apparently safe zone is? It may be the riskiest parading as the safest. Talk about wolves in sheep’s skin.
Take a look at the risks and opportunities as a salaried worker and think deeply about if you really want to be here. Mind you, with all the limitations, there are wealthy people here. But it does take a lot of learning, planing and taking action. The chances of becoming wealthy here are pretty slim but it is still possible.
One way to do this is to acquire a high-income skill. A high-income skill is the kind of skill that is in high demand but has a rather high barrier of entry. For example, a doctor or a lawyer can earn much more because the field is not easy to enter and it is in high demand. More so, being a specialist even makes it better. Some other high-income skills in the market today include; Copywriting, salesmanship, computer programming, digital marketing and other trade skills as Plumber, Electrician, Mechanic, event planner etc. If a skill can pay you a monthly salary of GhC7,000 to GhC10,000 or above then that is a high-income skill. With that, you can easily build wealth with your monthly savings if you learn to play smart.
One rule of thumb to becoming wealthy is making sure you are paid for the value you create and not for your time. It is not very common around here. Most people actually prefer to be paid based on their time and not the actual monetary value they create. Most people don’t believe in their own ability to drive revenue hence hiding behind time makes perfect sense. Also, it puts the responsibility on you to work to ensure your own income and most people will rather not take that responsibility. However, if you want to be rich, you have to be paid for the value you create. After all, If you don’t want to be responsible for your own wealth creation who should?
There is also a phenomenon that is not very common here. Instead of getting employed as a person, you get employed as a company. It will be like the employing company is contracting your company for those services. This way, you get some tax benefits as a company. In this arrangement, you don’t get some benefits of an employee but you get the freedom to engage other similar businesses. If you do it right, you can recruit more people into your company and end up with an agency company. This may not be possible with public organisations but with private businesses, it can actually be discussed especially if you are really good at what you do.
You also need to activate your continuous learning DNA. Most broke people often think they know it all but rich and successful people don’t think that way. Building wealth is often the matter of developing yourself rather than just piling money in your account. Rich people know this. They keep learning new things every day to improve themselves.
When you have a rich mind, you can lose all your money today and you will be rich tomorrow. On the other hand, if you have a poor mind, you can win $1,000,000 in the lottery and be poor yet the next month. We have seen it happen all the time. I believe the adage “Anyone can get money but very few people can be rich.” rings a bell.
That is because most people believe they already know everything hence they don’t feel the need to learn anything new. Meanwhile believing you know and actually knowing are two completely different things. This deficit of knowledge means you can’t manage money and if you can’t manage money, you will never be rich.
People often tell me, “I wished I liked reading but I don’t, if I see a long article, I am out.”. They speak as if someone was born a reader and they weren’t. but when those same people find a gossip article, they will read everything and ask for more. It is always about your motivation. If you know you don’t know everything and have the opportunity to learn, you will read in spite of the discomfort. So if you find this trait in you, it a sign that you need to change. Even though I doubt if such a person will read to this point.
The bottom line, try to read personal development stuff. Learn about smart investing or get a smart investor to manage your money for you. Fact is, you still need to understand what your money is being invested into. Learn about business and money. Ask questions and study rich people. When you develop yourself to a millionaire state, you have to be a millionaire. Everyone starts from somewhere.
Ultimately, you can quit being a salaried worker and climb the ladder. However, make sure to have enough skills and experience before you make the jump. When climbing most people often use the excuse that they don’t have capital. Please read the article on capital here. Connect with me and see you in the next episode, until then, enjoy your day.