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Dear friend,

I will share with you a secret on how to become rich — for free.

1. Don’t lose money

First of all, the biggest mistake we have in trying to become ‘rich’ is by losing money.

For example, wasting $30,000 on a car is equivalent to earning $30,000 — and using that money to pay your rent and living expenses for a year (assuming you pay $2500 a month in living expenses). Better yet, consider you can live very well in Hanoi, Vietnam for $1000 USD a month — which means you can live comfortably for 30 months straight in Hanoi (2.5 years).

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Trust me, I am the biggest sucker when it comes to wasting money. I grew up poor, and the poverty mentality is this:

I better spend this money today, because I’m not sure whether it will be gone tomorrow.

It didn’t help that my dad was a gambler, and always stole the rent money from my mom. The moral it taught me at a young age was:

If I don’t spend this money today, my dad might take it from me, and gamble it away. Therefore I must spend this money today (on shoes, video games, car upgrades) because I might lose it.

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In today’s world– I am the ultimate consumerist. I (falsely) believe that buying shit will make me happier, more creative, and more ‘self-realized.’ Rather than seeking to improve my composition and creativity in photography, I think buying a new camera will fix my life problems.

Furthermore, I think that buying a blacked-out matted-out ‘murdered out’ Lamborghini will bring me everlasting happiness.

Lesson: Don’t waste money

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Remember Ben Franklin’s saying, ‘A dollar saved is a dollar earned.’

For me, the ultimate way of being ‘rich’ isn’t having a lot of commas and zeroes in your bank account. Rather, the ultimate wealth is TIME, FREEDOM, and FLEXIBILITY.

Therefore, money is only useful if it gives you time, freedom, and flexibility. A lot of people are ‘money-rich’ but ‘freedom-poor.’ If you are a billionaire and you can’t even take a nap when you want– you are essentially just a really wealthy slave.

2. Sure gains over uncertain (higher) gains

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“I made my money by selling too soon” – Bernard Baruch

In life, it is better to take sure wins, over uncertain gains.

For example, if someone offered me $1000 for a 100% chance, it would make more sense for me to take that then $2000 for a 50% chance.

In the stock market, we always chase uncertain gains. But it makes sense to ‘sell too soon’ to cash in those certain gains.

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So the easy way of growing wealth is to find more certain investments, that give us higher guaranteed returns, and also by clipping our downside risk of bankruptcy.

Whatever investment you take in life — make sure your risk of terminal bankruptcy (losing all your money is 0%).

3. Create more value

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My philosophy of ‘wealth-creation’ is this: Create more value than you take.

So for example, let’s say you are a wedding photographer and you teach a workshop on how to make more money as a wedding photographer. You have 10 clients who attend your workshop.

You charge $1000 for the workshop, and each of the participants (after attending your workshop) ends up earning another $2000 in shooting weddings. Therefore it is a ‘win-win’ for both you and the client.

The client is happy because they earned a net-gain of $1000 (after their income of $2000 in shooting weddings, minus the cost of your $1000 workshop). You are happy because you gained $1000 in money.

Therefore, figure out ways how you can create additional value for others — as a way to create ‘free wealth’ for everyone. I like to think of this as ‘win-win capitalism.’

Conclusion

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Who am I to speak?

For me, I am rich because I have insane amounts of freedom for my time, mental energy, and flexibility of my schedule. It doesn’t matter how much I have in my bank account.

But consider this– I live in Hanoi (at the moment) where my expenses (combined with Cindy) is around $1,000 USD a month. I earn more money than that through workshops, selling products, and Amazon Affiliate links (around $800 USD a month).

If I have all my basic needs met (rent, food, water, coffee) — and I can have 100% freedom of time, isn’t that the ultimate wealth?

What would you do in life, if your basic needs were met? What would you do with your time and creative energy?

Be strong,
Eric


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