I often write on Quora.com, where I am the most viewed writer on financial matters, with over 263.8 million views in recent years.
In the answers below I focused on the following topics and issues:
- What EU country is best to be based and work remotely from? Is it only those emerging, and cheaper, European countries, or are there other options?
- What are some examples of a “millionaire mindset”? Is it all about working hard?
- There are many millionaires in the world but only about 2,000 billionaires. Therefore, what stops a millionaire from becoming a billionaire? I look at the maths to show why it is difficult, even for most multi-millionaires, to become billionaires.
- Are most real estate agents millionaires, or even a small fraction? I tell the story of a former associate of mine who was doing well, and is now said to be suffering and trying to make a comeback. What does this show about controlling risks?
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What EU country is best to be based and work remotely from?
What do most remote workers want?
Generally it is:
- Decent and reliable internet
- Good cost of living considering the whole equation of higher costs = better wages and business earnings is now broken.
- Travel opportunities nearby
- Low taxes
- Ease of visa applications. For most Europeans, the EU countries are relatively easy.
- Safety of course
- The ability to communicate in English, at least in the bigger cities, until the local language is learned
Given these objectives, many Central and Eastern European countries fit the bill.
At least the ones in the EU. Places like Plovdiv in Bulgaria or Budapest in Hungary for something which is relatively developed but still reasonably priced:
Maybe places like Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia as well. If you prefer warmer climates, then Portugal and some parts of Greece.
Of course, though, it also depends on your situation. Often if you are married to somebody locally, or can speak one of these languages, you might prefer that place.
I would also favour those countries where remote working is seen is legitimate and everything can be above board, with taxes filed and so on.
Trying to move around country to country on tourist visas isn’t sustainable and could come back to bite some people long-term.
What are the traits of millionaire minds?
It depends on how the person received the money and their individual character.
If the person is a self-made millionaire, there are some commonalities and generalizations.
One is focusing on abundance and not scarcity.
- You are already successful as a one-person business. The scarcity mindset worries about hiring new people and those people taking the ideas and competing against you. The abundance mindset knows you have to replicate yourself.
- An abundance mindset knows you can lose money and get it back, but you can’t get time back. So, you need to take calculated risks.
- Money needs to be put to work and invested in a core business and private investments, not hoarded earning 0.1% in the bank. The scarcity mindset is afraid of losing all the money even though there are strategies to ensure that won’t happen.
Another thing would be taking personal responsibility. Blaming the government, “the rich”, immigrants, our parents or anybody else isn’t a productive mentality.
Focusing on our own thoughts, behaviours and actions, and only controlling what can be controlled, makes more sense.
That doesn’t mean we can’t ever be derailed by events out of our control, but that is beyond the point.
If that happens, then resilience, another trait of wealthy people, comes into play.
Taking most of the praise for success, and none of the responsibility for failure, isn’t a good trait.
Learning from failure, and coming back from it, is more important than being afraid of it.
Other commonalities are
- Looking after physical and mental health. The people we associate with contributes to what we get out of life. Want to get healthier? Best to put healthy stuff in our bodies. The same thing is true with wealth. If people spend all day watching doom and gloom, it isn’t good for our mental health or long-term wealth.
- Not being complacent. Making money is one thing. Growing it is another. There are many formerly wealthy people out there.
- Adapting to changing times. The best sports coaches, or business leaders, change over time. Thinking about the “good old days” isn’t productive.
- Not needing to show off. There are plenty of frugal wealthy people out there, or others who aren’t frugal but don’t show off in public.
- Believing that we can change our own lives. Even most former millionaires I know, believe they can get back to where they once were.
- Focus and persistence. Hard work is great, but so is doing it productively (smart work in a focused way).
- Not caring too much about what other people think, without embracing unpopularity. It is pointless to worry about what other people think.
- Playing the long game. Delaying gratification. For example, being transparent in business, or investing to compound over the long-term. Short-term pain or sacrifices for long-term gain. Cutting corners doesn’t usually work out long-term.
- Lifelong learning and being open-minded about changing these up. University is the start of the learning process, not the end.
- Focusing on sustainability. If a business is doing well today, for example, that doesn’t mean it will tomorrow, if the right plans aren’t in place. Taking calculated risks is great, but not silly ones.
What stops a millionaire becoming a billionaire? What mistakes do they make that others can learn from?
The maths. A billion is 1,000 million.
Even if somebody makes their first million at 30 and increased the wealth by 15% per year, they won’t be a billionaire at 70.
Of course, most people don’t increase by 15% per year. In fact, it gets harder to scale in business once you have more.
It might be “easy” to double your money from small business investments, it gets harder with larger ones.
Here is a simple example
If you spend $10,000 a month on focused Google or Facebook ads, and deal with the leads yourself as the owner, you might be able to make a lot.
You can make 100% from the sales – the costs because you aren’t requiring others to help you.
But now let’s say you are bigger. You are spending $1m a month. Now you need to spend a lot of money on automation tech, workers to outsource the leads too, more infrastructure, taxes etc.
Therefore, the only people who build $1billion+ business are in areas which are very high-growth and scalable.
Of course, there are other issues as well, as some contributors below have eluded too.
Complacent for one. Statistics have shown that there should be more billionaire in the world than there are, if it wasn’t for the inherited wealthy wasting the money.
It isn’t easy for somebody starting with $0 to become a billionaire. If you inherit $100m at a relatively young age, it is much easier of course, but few compound it enough.
Then there are those who become satisfied with how much wealth they have, early retire etc.
That is more of a philosophical issue. If you are already hyper successful, is it worth working 19 hours a day to become even more successful? It is a matter of opinion.
The bottom line is almost everybody wants to become wealthy, no matter what they say publicly.
Therefore, if it was easy to get hyper wealthy, then almost everybody would do it.
One of my favourite quotes on this matter comes from Mark Cuban. He was asked if he would become a billionaire if he started out again.
He said “a millionaire? No problem. A billionaire? Not sure, that takes some luck as well”.
Bill Gates has made similar arguments himself in the past.
The get rich slow maths works for being a millionaire or even a multimillionaire at retirement.
A 1,000 million? A different story. It often requires a combination of luck, talent, working hard and smart.
The book Outliers from Gladwell has some very strong arguments about this.
The only thing that would change the maths is if medical technology developed to such an extent that most people could live healthily past 200, and therefore the compounding equation would alter considerably.
Are real estate agents millionaires?
I know quite a few real estate agents. Some are friends, associates etc.
In 2013–2014, I knew a real estate agent when I lived in Mainland China who was inside the top 0.1% or at least 1% in his industry.
Many people probably envied him at the time. He was only 27–28. He had his own business.
He was earning a lot of money, taking advantage of a huge trend at the time – Chinese people sending money out of the country to buy in places like Australia, the US and UK:
Now he is close to broke, and trying to come back.
What happened? The following things
- He didn’t invest his own money even though he suggested others do so.
- He focused on only making commissions/transactional money. In other words, every time somebody bought a house, he made money. He didn’t go into areas like managing the real estate and making 1%-2% residual income on the price of the property.
- He had bad spending habits
There his life was like a juicer. Easy in, easy out!
More commissions in = loads coming out. I am sure the high-end bars restaurants appreciated his custom!
Ironically, so must have the owner of his flat where the rent was incredible.
Then the commissions fell dramatically for many reasons, like the new restrictions on getting money out of China.
He still needed to pay the rent and his staff salaries. Then it ended. To put it succinctly, he didn’t know how to manage cashflow.
That includes his personal cashflow and the businesses’, not to mention risk management.
So, the more sensible thing to do would have been to invest his own money into private investments and get into residual income areas.
Less upfront, but more stable. It could have complimented his existing business.
Or go in the direction of somebody like Graham Stephen, who makes residual income from YouTube speaking about real estate:
His situation is similar, on a smaller scale, to football clubs. The European Super League was started due to the fact that football clubs are claiming to be broke.
That isn’t the issue. They still make more revenues than in the 1980s or 1990s, even adjusted for inflation.
The bigger problem is that as revenues increased, more went out to players, agents, transfer fees etc. Therefore, profits haven’t increased even though revenue has.
So, to answer your question, a small percentage of real estate agents are making a lot of money.
An even smaller amount actually become millionaires by assets, and stay like that.
Like in other industries, those that make it understand the maths, and managing risk.
Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?
Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 263.8 million answers views on Quora.com and a widely sold book on Amazon
In the article below, taken from my online Quora answers, I spoke about the following issues and subjects:
- Why is investing in commodities or options more risky than investing in stocks? I look at the fundamental reasons why stocks tend to rise over time, whereas commodities are stagnant.
- What are the friendliest, and cheapest, countries for American expats?
- What are some high-income skills? Marketing, accounting, sales or something else? is it important to have soft and hard skills, or is having just one OK?
- Is it really possible to just buy assets and live from the capital gains, without getting a job? I look at the practicalities.
To read more click on the link below.