This is a general difference that I’ve observed over the years on how the poor and the wealthy tend to treat their money.
The poor tend to treat their money as if it’s boxes of cereal. It’s just there to be consumed and used. If one put 2 boxes of cereal in their pantry, a year later it’s still going to be 2 boxes of cereal. One may place a couple extra boxes of cereal inside the pantry to be left along for an emergency, but that’s about all the management they do with it. If one manage to come across extra boxes of cereals? Then it’s time for a cereal feast, where one have cereal for 3 meals a day. What happens when one runs out of cereal to consume? They try to get it elsewhere by means of work, overtime, selling the wedding ring, etc.
The rich, on the other hand, tend to treat their money as if it’s a flock of sheep (or at least hire people who does). Sheep is also to be consumed, sure – mutton is delicious. But if one puts two sheep in a pasture and take proper care of them, one would easily have 3 or more sheep a year down the road. It’s possible for one to have a big enough flock of sheep that one can dine on mutton all year long and never runs out of sheep, ever. The sheep simply make more sheep.
The wealthy are not necessarily superior or of a different stock compared to most of the people living paycheck to paycheck that I know. This difference in attitude accounts for most of the divergence in the monetary paths they take in life. If you think of your money as simply something to be used up like cereal, then you’ll either always run out, or always depend on an external source of it (i.e, working for the rest of your life). The stories of lottery winners or young athletes with multi-million dollar contracts in sports leagues, only to end up piss poor 10 years down the road anyway, tend to demonstrate what happens to people with the cereal mentality even when they’re fortunate enough to come across a large sum of wealth.
People with the sheep mentality toward their wealth tend to manage it in a way where they try to use it to create more of it. They’re more likely to withhold immediate gratification just to give the sheep time to reproduce, so to speak. Changing your own mentality so that you see money as living entities capable of reproducing on its own, such as a flock of sheep, is the first and most important in becoming financially independent. Once this subtle tweak in your own attitude has been made, you’ll seek out more technical information like how to keep your money safe or the best way to invest or cut expenses given your own current situation on your own. You’ll suddenly have big blanks in your knowledge base that you’re eager to fill.
Cereal or sheep – this is a core value most people don’t question. It simply exist deep inside of their mind as a basic value that they use to perceive and interact with much of the world. Making a conscious and dedicated switch from cereal to sheep can change the very foundation (more specifically, one foundation out of several for most people) of one’s life itself.