‘The rule is to have much less, but love everything you have.’
For me, this was the key takeaway from today’s essay.
So many people become consumed with the task of acquiring ‘things’. While there’s nothing wrong with that, the old adage of ‘quality over quantity’ really does have merit.
Last week, Mark Ford outlined ways to live like a billionaire. This week, he’s back with even more tips to help you create a life you truly love (no billionaire bank account required).
Living Rich: Five More Ways to Live Like a Billionaire
By Mark Ford
What does it cost to dress like the world’s richest? Much less than you think.
If you can forget about brand names and learn about quality, you will save thousands and look better. As with cars, you’ll do better by going after a classic look in clothing. That’s because you won’t have to discard perfectly good items simply because the lapel has changed.
The other big secret of dressing rich: Less is more.
Ralph Lauren — a guy who has the money and access to dress as rich as can be — wears the same thing almost every day: classic cut jeans and a T-shirt.
You can dress beautifully in second-hand clothes. What could be more impressive than a vintage suit, properly tailored, and impeccably clean?
There are books on this subject. They all say pretty much the same thing. A few really nice items are much better — more enjoyable for you, and more impressive to others — than a huge wardrobe of trendy, ordinary stuff.
Want specifics? Get yourself two or three pairs of slacks (or skirts). One or two suits (or dresses). Two or three pairs of shoes. Buy only what you love.
Make sure your socks are cashmere, and that your T-shirts and underwear are the finest cotton (or silk). Use only one cologne or perfume, but love it. Do the same with hair products and cosmetics. The rule is to have much less, but love everything you have.
Buy classic. Insist on quality. Few are better than many. Simple is better than complex. Understated is better than flashy. Do this and you will have what Bill Gates can afford to have: a very pleasant feeling each time you pull on your shirt or buckle your belt.
Food and drink
Want to have a billion-dollar meal? Take a good bottle of wine, a baguette of freshly-baked bread, some cheese, ham and butter, and go to the nearest park with a friend or loved one. You need only a knife and a corkscrew — what you have in your kitchen is fine — to prepare and serve a truly memorable meal.
If there’s an expensive restaurant you are dying to try, go ahead and treat yourself. But not too often. As someone who has eaten countless expensive meals, I know how tiring rich food can be. More importantly, I can remember few expensive meals that surpassed the simple wine-and-cheese lunches my wife and I have enjoyed when we were lucky enough to have them.
Music, books, movies, etc.
With today’s audio technology, even a $300 stereo sounds great. Spend a grand. Don’t even try to tell me you need to spend more than that. The secret is in the music you select. There is music that can make you feel like a billionaire.
The great thing about books? The best ones cost no more than the worst ones. Treat yourself richly by reading only that which makes you feel richer afterwards. The same is true for movies, theatre, and just about any form of entertainment.
Warren Buffet, one of the world’s richest (and smartest) men, keeps his office in a simple building. His walls are panelled plywood. His desk is a tabletop. He doesn’t need the prestige of a cathedral-sized room and an altar-sized desk. He is not God. And he knows it.
But what he does have is a room that is uniquely his, with a comfortable chair and a place for everything he needs. On the surfaces and hanging from the walls are souvenirs to inspire him. Warren Buffet’s office is his own. It looks like no one else’s office and it works for him.
That’s what you want in your office. The right amount of space. Good lighting. A very good chair. And toys that stimulate and inspire you.
Everything else is a distraction. And anything that is there simply to make you seem ‘important’ will only turn off your guests and visitors.
I’m not saying your office should not be luxurious. I am saying it should be luxurious in a personal way. You will be spending most of your waking life in your office, so put as much thought and care into it as you do your home.
Shopping for a Christmas present for my wife, I wandered into an antique shop that specialised in silver. The proprietor — a genteel, 86-year-old lady — showed me this and that. When she sensed I was looking for something very special, she took me to the backroom and showed me an absolutely beautiful collection of silverware by the Baltimore-based silversmith Reed & Barton. ‘If you were a millionaire, you could not buy a finer set of silverware than this,’ she said.
It cost me US$4,500. Nothing to be sneezed at, but that was for a set of 14 place settings and a lot of serving utensils. A regular full service set might cost US$2,500. Now think of that. You can own the finest silverware that money can buy — and an antique at that — for US$4,500 (AU$5,900). Such a set of silverware could last you all your life, could give you pleasure and prestige, and make even your ordinary meals elegant.
I’ve thought about throwing away the rest of my silverware — and using only this. That’s how much I like it.
If you fill your life with all the best luxuries, but you are too
busy running around to enjoy them, you’ve missed the boat
Of all the things money can buy (it can’t buy happiness…I’ve admitted that), time and freedom are the most important.
Here’s my prescription for buying time. Think about your schedule and allocate half an hour a day to do nothing but luxuriate. (For some people, this is easy. For others, it’s tough.) Tell yourself you’ll work smarter this way. Take this half-hour and do something that a billionaire might do. Sip a cup of espresso. Smoke a cigar. Have a cognac. Contemplate how good life is. Thank the gods for your good fortune. Breathe deeply. Smile.
It’s all entirely within your reach.
The way you dress, the way you eat and drink…even the home you live in…can be as good as any billionaire’s. Spend time shopping. Buy very selectively. Limit your possessions. And take half an hour a day to really appreciate the good things you have. That’s all there is to it.
Thanks, Mark. You’ve inspired me to overhaul my wardrobe and scale back the expensive dinners!
I also love your concept of ‘buying’ time; that’s one I’ll have to try (though I might replace the cigar and cognac with some chocolate and a good book).
For Markets & Money
Editor’s Note: Mark has spent more than three decades dispensing wisdom like this…and now he’s compiled it into the most comprehensive wealth-building program in existence…
It’s called the Wealth Builders Club. It includes everything from extra income blueprints (which have the potential to generate thousands of dollars per month) to investment strategies outside the stock market, plus several of Mark’s bestselling books, including Living Rich. Click here to learn more.