Article image: Stuff / Design: Archi Banal
Article image: Stuff / Design: Archi Banal

MediaJanuary 17, 2023

How to be a rich boy

Article image: Stuff / Design: Archi Banal
Article image: Stuff / Design: Archi Banal

A prolific property investor says being wealthy is simply a matter of the mind. Emily Writes has a few other suggestions for getting rich.

This story was first published on the author’s newsletter, Emily Writes Weekly.

Is being wealthy just a matter of mindset? That’s the headline that greeted Stuff readers a few days ago. An intriguing question, but the answer of course is no.

To save you the trouble of reading Graeme Fowler’s advice or books, I thought I’d give you a free guide to being rich. It won’t guarantee your wealth, but it sure will give you a head start.

I’ve carefully read every piece of advice from every Guy Caucasian and Lad Snow and they all say basically the same thing:

  • Work hard!
  • Take risks!
  • Be bold!

I get it. Everyone wants to feel special. And the super rich wealth hoarders of the world especially have Main Character Syndrome. They truly believe they’re rich because they’re uniquely talented. This mistaken belief is constantly reinforced for them by sycophants who believe in the myth of trickle down economics.

Even those of us battling post-Covid brain fog know the truth though. If hard work was behind wealth, the richest person in the world would probably be a solo mum who works three jobs.

The reality is, the best way to become ultra rich is to do the following:

Be white

Compared to the average hourly pay rate of white/European men, Pasifika men earn 22.9% less, Middle Eastern, Latin American and African men earn 19% less, Māori men 16.7% less, and Asian men 10.8% less. It literally pays to be a white man.

Be a man

Wahine Māori and Pasifika women earn 23% and 24% less compared to the average hourly rate of white/European men. Asian women earn 17.4% less and white/European women earn 11.9% less. Women in the group labelled “other ethnicity” (according to The Strategic Pay report) earn 22.0% less.

Seriously, gender and ethnic pay gap equates to $17.6b in lost earnings. It’s enormous and we’ve become so used to this gap that we barely talk about it any more.

The gender pay gap (Image: Tina Tiller)

Get given money for being daddy’s special boy

You know the best way to make money? Get given it by your dad. Easy peasy. And then, don’t pay tax on it. Half the world’s billionaires have lived in countries with no inheritance tax on their wealth that they passed on to their kids.

According to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), America’s richest families have not only increased their wealth by billions in the last year, they have worked (hard) to ensure the system supports this exponential growth in future too. Chuck Collins, a co-author of the report, said: “If the system is functioning as it should, we should not see wealth accelerating over generations, it should be dispersing.”

It’s no different in Aotearoa, we have no inheritance tax! A landmark 2018 OECD report recommended that countries levy both a capital gains tax and an inheritance tax. But it was ignored, so go for it, daddy.

Get the bank to give you more money to buy houses

If you’ve given up on getting a mortgage because proof you’ve paid rent for 20 years without ever missing it is apparently not enough for the bank – you’re not alone. Thanks to changes to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA), many people I know can’t borrow. That’s just anecdotal though…It’s probably your growth mindset that’s at fault. We’re just not thinking rich enough.

House prices were at record highs in 2022, increasing by 20.5% over the previous year alone, as reported on Stuff. According to CoreLogic’s affordability figures, in the first quarter of 2004, the national house price to income ratio was 4.9. It took an average of 6.5 years to save for a deposit. Graeme Fowler, he of the wealth mindset, bought his first rental property in the 80s, when house prices were two-to-three times the annual median income.

Today, average house prices are more than 10 times the annual median household income.

CoreLogic’s most recent figures put the national house price to income ratio at 8.3. That’s on average 11.1 years to save a deposit.

But instead of doing that, just think positively and buy multiple houses using the passive income of a sky-high rent on your “investments” to cover your mortgage. Don’t rent, obviously, as our national median weekly rent remains at an all-time high.

Just buy houses like these (Photo: Getty Images)

Don’t have a disability or a child with a disability or a loved one with a disability

People with disabilities are often disproportionately poor. They are more likely to become poor and, when poor, are more likely to stay that way. According to Statistics New Zealand, disabled children and children in households where someone is disabled are more likely to be in poverty according to the nine child poverty measures used in Aotearoa.

recent review of the literature on poverty and disability found that people with disabilities in 10 countries face larger, extra costs of living, compared to people without disabilities. These costs can range widely, from an estimated US$1,170 to $6,952 per year.

Don’t pay tax

According to Oxfam, only four cents in every dollar of tax revenue came from wealth taxes. Not only that, tax rates for wealthy individuals and corporations have globally been cut dramatically. The top rate of personal income tax in so-called rich countries fell from 62% in 1970 to just 38% in 2013. Oxfam says: “In some countries, such as Brazil, the poorest 10% of society are now paying a higher proportion of their incomes in tax than the richest 10%.”

Be rich already

Did you know two-thirds of the new wealth amassed since the start of the pandemic went to the richest 1%? How’s that for a growth mindset! The 2023 Oxfam report (as reported by The Guardian) found that “for every $1 of new global wealth earned by a person in the bottom 90% in the past two years, each billionaire gained roughly $1.7m. Despite small falls in 2022, the combined fortune of billionaires had increased by $2.7bn a day.”

If you’re rich already you can be as bold as you like because you’re not starving. You’re not terrified you’ll be evicted because your landlord increased your rent again, despite the fact that they won’t even notice the increase.

Just being rich makes you richer. The report found that a rich investor in the 75th percentile of wealth distribution who invested $1 in 2004 would have yielded $1.50 by the end of 2015. That’s a return of 50%! But, an investor in the top 0.1% would have yielded $2.40 on the same invested dollar – a return of 140%.

It’s almost like the ultra rich will always get richer and the poor will always get poorer and we will never ever exit this exploitative, murderous cycle without upending the system.

Or it’s growth mindset.

Keep going!