Forbes magazine defines “wealthy” as an individual with a net worth of over Ten Million Dollars.
The individual who came into sudden wealth as well as the one who had built a fortune over time must know that it is always about relationships. What is important then is to watch how relationships change, evolve and dissolve when it becomes known that you are wealthy.
The list I developed here may help you keep your sanity, your safety and your prosperity when you become wealthy and others try to get a piece of you. I wrote this list in 2004 and it helped me grow my relationships and my money. I would not change a thing even now after 11 years:
1) If you feel worried, anxious or a bit stressed, stop and remind yourself that you have money. If the matter you may be concerned about could be resolved with some money, then relax it is not so bad.
2) Your spouse will expect you to give her/him a lot of credit so be generous and give the credit where credit is due. This will help you continue building a good and happy life together. You do not want her/him to feel less valuable or neglected.
Keep enjoying the simple and small things in life with your spouse. If you don’t, you might drift apart and the emotional impact could easily destroy you both and ruin all what you’ve built.
3) Your kids may subliminally expect more, be less driven, more playful and less resourceful than if they’ve had to go make it on their own. Therefore, you must spend more time and effort with them to foster a very powerful bonding and deep relationship. Then instill in them the right work ethics and in time they will grow to appreciate the personal satisfaction an individual gets from growing and contributing. Good education and good habits will make them follow the right principles that will help them prosper so the wealth you created could continue from generation to generation without anyone losing sight of the important things in life.
4) Your siblings and possibly other close family members as well as some friends may expect more from you: From financial help, to extra attention, to an array of other things that were not required from you previously.
5) The team of people that helped you get there will deserve more and expect more out of you from: Respect, to recognition to meaningful rewards. If you do not do so and continue to develop them, then they may refuse to handle more responsibility and end up leaving you to grow alone or with someone else that most likely in time will try to compete directly with you.
6) Consider that you may have to socialize with some powerful people that you may not like very much. People like unfriendly government officials, or well-connected bankers or even some prominent full of themselves attorneys etc. You have to do that cheerfully so that they do not get too jealous of you and try to block you, challenge you or negatively affect you or your business endeavors in any way.
7) You must remain nice. People only get in trouble when they get nasty. There is nothing wrong with appearing to others as if you have an easy-going personality: Friendly, humble, kind and rather generous, as well as maybe even loving. This will become very valuable when the going gets tough, as it invariably does, and you may need to fight someone back. The general public and the media may then take your side, be easier on you in such a difficult time and may even rally for your cause. Only the weak and fearful like to act tougher than they are.
8) You must be more aware of your surroundings at all times and increase the level of safety and security for yourself and your family.
9) You must be more alert regarding con artists, losers and those with a shady past. Be careful how you distant yourself from them. Cut ties but do not burn bridges. Do it diplomatically so they do not feel left out and retaliate covertly by creating bad rumors to ruin your reputation or overtly by attacking your reputation. When the devil comes knocking, you must ignore even the pounding!
10) You must understand that you can no longer: Apologize for free, thank people for free or even ask for favors without paying or rewarding the people who will perform a task for you. If you do not follow this rule, then except to be looked upon as an unfair person who is a cheapskate.
11) The most important thing you must have to preserve your wealth is a handful of valuable well-located commercial real estate properties that produce reliable growing cash flow. This is how you can pass on your wealth to future generations especially if you dictate how the properties and income will be managed after you are dead and gone. You can control your wealth much easier after your death if it is in real estate. Therefore make sure you have no to low debt against your properties and structure your life insurance policy to pay off any and all debt upon your demise.
12) Get the best tax structure that allows you to compound your money at the lowest tax rate possible and pass on the assets to your loved ones without any delay or tax impact. This can be accomplished by using the right entities in the proper jurisdictions that offer the maximum incentives.
13) Consider that the best asset protection program will hide your equity not your assets. If you make a mistake, accept the fact that a potential opponent may jump at the chance to sue you, especially when supported by a hungry attorney who knows that you are wealthy. Going through a court trial could be dangerous for you. This is because there is no such a thing as a “jury of your peers”. Very few will relate to your level of wealth. So you would be better off either settling outside of court without admitting any wrongdoing and moving on with your life. Or simply using the Ultimate Asset Protection program that removes all the equity in your assets and places it under an entity that you control.
14) In financial confrontations almost everyone will expect you to be the one who will let go and compromise.
15) If you offer a partnership opportunity with others, they will most likely demand more attention and higher returns of you
16) You need to realize that people in general will have different reactions around you: Some may try to impress you, while others may be intimidated by you and even some would want to challenge you. Sadly however, many will only perceive you as someone who can just hand them money for a donation or give them a loan for their innovative and crazy idea or business venture.
Remember that the best way to know what they will do with your money is to check what they have done with their own money. Check out how competent and ethical they have been and test them regularly and frequently to ensure they’ve got what it takes to get the job done.
17) Beware that at such a high level of net worth you may be scrutinized by others: Competitors and rivals, government agencies and media, con artists and criminals. Therefore you must be 100% on your game: Alert, focused and ethical to protect who you are, what you do and what you have. Never trust anyone 100% at all times. Create checks and balances in everything you do. Work off of checklists. Surround yourself with the right people who helped you grow. Have attorneys put things in writing and verify each important step you will make.
18) Always keep some cash and property far away, out of anyone’s reach and knowledge as this may come in handy if the tide turns against you for any reason. At such a time you cannot count on anyone else, and count even less on those whom you’ve helped in the past.
19) Sooner or later you will realize that living in nice places is something that will dictate not only your lifestyle but also your moods and daily habits. Choose the best places to be and ideally live in condo resort hotels. They make life a lot more pleasurable, safer and way more convenient. It certainly beats having a bunch of homes that you will be forced to maintain on a regular basis.
20) Finally, know that if you are not a spiritual person who values God, health and happiness (mainly based on peace of mind, interest in life and positive relationships with others) above the mere accumulation of wealth, then you may be doomed to constant anxiety, challenging relationships and border line depression no matter how wealthy you are or how much wealthier you will become!