Who Wants To Be a Billionaire?

The Annual Australian Rich 200 List appeared last week, complete with a new wealthiest individual, Anthony Pratt, head of cardboard conglomerate VISY with wealth estimate at just over $12.6BN.

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Last year’s leader, property tycoon Harry Triguboff, added a billion or so to his wealth, which is now estimated at $11.45BN. Mr Triguboff is one of 58 list members who have made their money in property, easily eclipsing the next largest group which was investment – having just 21 people making their fortunes that way.

In all, there are now 60 billionaires in Australia, up from 53 recorded last year. With the combined wealth of the top 200 wealthiest in Australia equalling $233BN, that means that the average wealth of list members is just over a billion dollars each. Given that there about 18 million adults in Australia, there is only one billionaire for every 312,500 adults. A very select group of people.

I’ve been following this list since it was first bought out in 1983 as I am fascinated with successful wealthy people. I figure that what has been achieved by one can be so achieved by another. I’ve watched them come and go from the list when their wealth dropped and even re-enter later in life as they found another way to create wealth.

There are as many lessons in their failures and how they handled them as there are in their successes.

So what wants to be a Billionaire?

That sentence reminds me of the song made famous by Frank Sinatra who asks “who wants to be a millionaire? I don’t.” Frank asks a number of questions like “who wants to wallow in champagne? Who wants a supersonic plane? Who wants a fancy foreign car? Who wants to tire of caviar?” To which the answer to all is “I don’t.” You can read the lyrics here.

I don’t know about you however I think that there are quite a few of the things on that song list that I would like and a few I wouldn’t.

There is no doubt in my mind that a life in Western society with money can be a lot more fun than without money. Just ask the millionaires and billionaires. Then ask the people living, by choice or otherwise on the streets. Though I am wise enough now to know that money alone will not happiness bring.

Equally I am sure that money just doesn’t gravitate towards or stay with anyone without a certain set of circumstances. Having studied this list, along with individuals globally who have spectacularly succeeded, I can conclude that there are a few really important, yet seemingly very simple steps you need to take as you travel on the road to wealth.

  1. Have a plan and a clear vision of what it is you want in your life. Whether its $10,000 or $10 million in the bank, what matters is that it is your vision and your plan – one that you can believe in.
  2. Take consistent action on your plan – Jim Carrey is famous for writing himself a post-dated cheque for $10M, carrying it around with him for 3 years before he made that amount of money for his lead role in “Dumb & Dumber.” He also famously said that although there was power in the writing of that cheque, it would not have worked if he had just sat around hoping something would happen. He hustled. Day in and day out – for years.
  3. Get educated – you can learn the easy way by modelling off others, or the hard way by personal experience. Having had my own share of hard lessons, I know it is better to follow the path of others before you who have achieved what you want to achieve. Books, courses, conversations with people who have successfully completed what you want to are great shortcuts to success.
  4. Proximity counts – get around others who are doing what you want to do. Find a mentor or coach who has done or is doing what you want to do. Even our billionaires take advice from people who know more than they do on certain subjects. Henry Ford was said to have a stream of professionals who would wait on the push of a button to enter and tell Ford what he needed to know. All the knowledge you need is held by someone – you just need to find who has it and will share it with you.

There are plenty of reasons to amass wealth – you just need to pick the one/s that will get you up early and keep you up late.

I am reasonably certain that most of the millionaires and billionaires who appear on that list have figured out the four points and their reason or reasons.

How about you?

Who wants to be a Billionaire?

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