The Millionaire Next Door

Wealth Building Lessons from the World Cup

It is unfortunate that much of the information emanating from the World Cup focused on bad officiating.  No doubt the officiating was not of the same caliber as the athletes.  In fact,  much of  what was written about the championship game centered around the claims by many of the Netherlands’ players, supporters and even some members of the press that bias was exhibited repeatedly in distributing penalities.  Even if they are correct, the Netherlands did not score a single goal in the championship game.  Knowing that a bias exists, one must play harder and be more determined than his opponent.  Score enough goals to offset the bias.

What does this have to do with building wealth?  Many of the letters and e-mails that I receive are authored by people who blame others for their lack of economic success.  Allow me to paraphrase some of the recent comments:

I would really be wealthy if I hadn’t paid 3% of the value of my portfolio all these years to a investment manager.  He made money every year; I didn’t.

My 28-year-old brother, a high school drop out who still lives at home, just received 90% of my grandmother’s estate.  It didn’t help that I had an MBA!

If I had only majored in business, not fine arts (as Mom and Dad insisted). . . .

Most economically successful people know how to leverage.  They have learned how to capitalize upon disadvantages, reversals, biases, nepotism, “bad calls” and  lousy luck.  They do not dwell on an unfortunate situation; they direct their emotional energy into succeeding not into hating and resenting.  Many a millionaire has told me that their very success was a direct function of experiencing “bad calls” from relatives, teachers, employers, pricey financial advisors, the press and a myriad of other so-called unbiased referees.  Or, as one disinherited multi millionaire recently told me, “success…from proving that my parents bet on the wrong horses.”

5 thoughts on “Wealth Building Lessons from the World Cup”

  1. I would even go so far as to say that many of the most successful people are that way BECAUSE of the obstacles they faced. Successful people thrive on a good challenge to be conquered.

  2. Don, I totally concur. It’s the confidence and self reliance of getting over obstacles not avoiding them or complaining about them that helps people succeed. Sadly I often see parents shelter their daughters while not doing the same to their sons. The result is the daughters don’t get the same “opportunity” provided to the “stronger boys” to grow and overcome obstacles. In my experience can translate into a more difficult transition to surviving on your own as an adult. Avoiding dealing with reality wither it’s by making excuses or even through someone else’s protection doesn’t help one become stronger or more successful.

  3. Bruce Benson (

    It is also the case that just doing certain things(frugal, investing, deferring kids, etc.) can result in unexpected wealth in a normal lifetime. You don’t have to be obviously wealthy (as often stated in this blog) but neither do you need to achieve noted business titles or 95% income levels to get there (also attested to by those great numbers showing who translates income to wealth efficiently – I loved those). Just about anyone can do it, if they start early enough and are simply average economically. This is a great insight for folks who don’t want to chase the $$$ but still want economic security while pursuing what they really want to do.

  4. There’s saying I remember that I think applies here: There are no short cuts to any places worth going.

    Sadly, most people would rather not face problems and challenges and I think it stagnates people from reaching their full potential.

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