I often write on Quora.com, where I am the most viewed writer on financial matters, with over 429.4 million views in recent years.
In the answers below I focused on the following topics and issues:
- How can I change the attitude to money that I learnt from my parents?
- What was recently revealed in the Uber investigation?
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Source for all answers – Adam Fayed’s Quora page.
How can I change the attitude to money that I learnt from my parents?
It is a great question because all of us have been influenced by our parents, friends or society’s attitude to money – even people who have overcame it.
I grew up in a family myself which wasn’t into investing or starting businesses. I also come from a society which doesn’t always appreciate money-making.
Countless entrepreneurs who have lived in America say that plenty of Americans aren’t envious of money-making as they assume that they, too, with some luck and hard work, will be that person one day.
It reminds me of Bono’s quote from U2:
“In the United States, you look at the guy that lives in the mansion on the hill, and you think, you know, one day, if I work hard, I could live in that mansion. In Ireland, people look up at the guy in the mansion on the hill and go, one day, I’m going to get that bastard.“
The same norms exist in many countries. So, the first thing to get over is the feeling that wealthier people are more likely to be corrupt, bad, evil etc., or just all inherited it.
In the modern age, that applies to a smaller and smaller minority, as per the stats below:
Beyond that, society and parents have also influenced people regarding risk. It is false to suggest, for example, that keeping money in a bank account is safer than prudent, long-term investing, which is adequately diversified.
However, you asked for ways to overcome or change, attitudes inherited from your parents or other people.
The best ways are:
- Spend more time with self-made wealthy people. When you do that, you realise most aren’t bad or corrupt people and aren’t especially special. Often, you will feel like, “if they did it, then why can’t I”? This will allow you to visualize success as well.
- Read and listen to podcasts from several self-made wealthy people. Like with the first point, however, try to not just focus on the extreme cases like Musk and other billionaires. Also, read about everyday multi-millionaires who have just gotten rich slowly, and find out how they did it.
- Educate yourself more on risk, as it is this area where there are the most falsehoods out there.
- Remind yourself of some fundamental truths. Many successful people speak about working up from first principles. What do we know to be true? Here are some examples when it comes to wealth – we know that people like convenience and the path of least resistance which is why tech firms are so big, that certain investments have always beaten savings long-term, and the more calculated risks we take, the more likely one is to pay off. We also know that if we start younger, we have less to lose and more to gain due to compounding, but we are never younger than today. If you keep reasoning up from first principles, it helps.
- Eliminate as many harmful and toxic people and influences from your life as possible. If needed, have a change of scenery by moving cities.
- Focus on solving other people’s problems where possible. If you help more people, you are more likely to make more money yourself and do so in a way that makes you feel good about yourself and the world.
- Take baby steps. Improving by 1% or even 0.1% weekly will soon add up. Production comes before perfection, and human beings are hardwired to procrastinate and overthink, so best to just get started imperfectly.
Once you do number 7, and get some small wins, you will probably believe more is possible, and the mindset shift will begin.
What was recently revealed in the Uber investigation?
I presume you mean the last one.
There have been several “scandals”.
This article lists 15 scandals.
The most recent one alleges, amongst other things, that senior politicians such as Macron helped Uber.
Unsurprising. It feels a bit like the Panama Papers “scandal”, but coming from a different angle. In other words, close to a non-story. Big firms lobby politicians to get favours. Who would have known?
In any case, today’s scandal is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper. It will soon blow over once people have had their entertainment.
Brewdog had a “scandal” a few months ago. Now they are opening up the UK’s biggest pub.
What I do know is that Uber has been smart with many of its business decisions. I spoke about Uber in a few of my other Quora answers before this story broke.
Did Uber do everything compliantly? In many cases, no. If they had waited to comply in every country they operated in, they would never have gotten to where they are today.
They asked for forgiveness and not permission. They just went for it. They only avoided markets which outright banned them.
Once enough people started using them, it got more difficult to ban them, which made them compliant in retrospect in some countries.
Even if they are fined tens of millions now, they will still be in a better position than if they had taken another approach.
There is a simple reason for this. Whatever you think about Uber and similar such firms, they are good for the customer.
How many people reading this have travelled to a country on business, especially developing ones, where some sleazy taxi driver has charged to overcharge you?
How many people have been worried, especially women, about being sexually harassed inside a taxi? And how many people just can’t get access to a traditional taxi in some parts of town?
The traceability of Uber makes it safer. I lost my wallet in an Uber recently, and I doubt I would have got it in a traditional taxi.
A few days before losing my wallet in a Dubai Uber, I was in a small town in the UK, visiting family. It is a place where there are literally only two or three registered Uber drivers and no alternative apps?
What was the result? A 20-30 minute wait at the taxi train station, and fully booked taxis when I was trying to come home after 23:00.
That is why services like Uber won’t go away, even if a newer, more efficient app eventually supersedes them.
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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 739.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.