Do Nothing and Grow Wealthy

Posted on 23. Dec, 2010 by in Creating Wealth

Doing Nothing

Christmas is coming soon and it’s fair to say I’m pretty excited, it’s quite possibly my most favourite time of year.  Not because of the gifts (I don’t need much), a little because of the food (I love a Christmas feast), and a lot because I get to enjoy time with my family, but most of all because of what it brings.

In Australia, Christmas conveniently coincides with summer.  I love summer in Australia, It’s hot, like really stinking hot! The kind of hot where the roads melt and stick to your sandals (we call them thongs in Australia), the kind of hot where you can feel the sun biting into any piece of skin that hasn’t been lathered in sunscreen, the kind of hot that makes you lazy, sleepy and totally unmotivated… I love it!  It’s the perfect weather for going to the beach, lounging by a swimming pool, wearing shorts, drinking beer and enjoying the huge array of sports that appear on television just for your summertime enjoyment.  Doing nothing is awesome, but what has it got to do with wealth creation?

Doing Nothing is Hard

Although I am particularly well practiced at it, doing nothing can actually be a lot harder than you think.  People often get itchy feet and need new things to keep them interested and busy.  That’s why they do things like:

  • Buying sh#t they don’t need
  • Changing jobs regularly
  • Buying new cars
  • Selling and buying new homes far too often

I know that there are reasons to do some of these things.  Changing jobs might be in your interest, you may need a new car because the last one stopped working, your family may have grown or contracted to a point where you need a new home and let’s face it, we all like having a few things that we don’t really need.  The point is that most people do too much of this and need to learn to do less.

How To Do Nothing

Not Buying Sh#t You Don’t Need

You can’t go anywhere these days without someone trying to sell something to you and sometimes it can be very hard to resist.  The only remedy for this is self control and sticking to a budget or spending plan.  Not buying sh#t is a great way to retain more wealth, but sometimes its nice to treat yourself too.  Find the balance and it will get easier.

Not Changing Jobs

Sometimes this is necessary, I’ve done it quite a few times for various reasons and you shouldn’t let it hold you back from achieving more by not doing it.  The best case scenario would be moving to a situation where you are working for yourself to grow your own wealth.  The alternative is to do something that you love which will allow you to grow within an organisation and most importantly keep learning.  People that are serial job changes generally have a lot more trouble at creating wealth as they often lack the patience to see things through.

Not Buying New Cars

I touched on buying new cars in a recent post about servicing your wealth.  I like new cars, they smell nice and are fun to drive, but I just can’t bring myself to buy something that looses up to one quarter of its price as soon as you get in it!  I am glad that there are a lot of people that do like doing this however, as it means that I can buy an almost new car for a lot less money.  For some, cars are a status symbol and they feel better about themselves in the latest and greatest.  If you can really afford to do this then good for you, try and keep it for as long as you can.  If you can’t really afford it or are just trying to impress everyone else, then you might want to rethink your wealth strategy.

Not Selling and Buying a House

This is a big deal for most people.  Although some make a living from it, it can be an expensive process that could cost you thousands over your lifetime.  If you do this for a living, then well done, I’m a fan of your work!  If you don’t do it for a living, then have a really good think about selling and buying before you decide to do it.  It can often be cheaper to renovate your existing home to get what you want.  If you do need to buy a new home, then consider keeping your current home as an investment rather than selling it and losing a potential income stream forever.

How To Do Something

Doing nothing by practicing patience can be a great way to improve your wealth, but sometimes you have to do something as well.  As it’s getting close to the end of the year, I don’t want you to work too hard so I would simply suggest thinking about what you want your wealthy life to be and how you are going to achieve it.  Don’t tax yourself, do it drinking beer by a pool or sipping wine by a fire (if you live on the other side of the world).

If you need some helpful resources to get you thinking, you might like to subscribe to the Money Cactus RSS feed, or fill out the form in the side bar to join my mailing list and get my free eBook.

Image by el clinto

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10 Responses to “Do Nothing and Grow Wealthy”

  1. Dan Blakely

    23. Dec, 2010

    Hey Shaun – nice simple post that gets to the point. I agree that it can be hard to do nothing given demands on us… and I have personally been working to unplug more, spend time with the family and just generally live in the moment more.

    I’ve made a couple of runs at making one day a week a rejuvenation day but have not had much luck – some honey-do, kid-do, etc gets in the way. So I recently decided to take a little different tact – might be a little family New Year’s Resolution.

    Idea is that I always tried to impose a rest day on myself and then on my family… seeing now that was not a great approach and I need to make it a family commitment so that’s one plan for next year.

    Any thoughts on the one-day a week off idea?

    • Shaun

      23. Dec, 2010

      Hey Dan,

      I like the one day a week off idea, but its tough to do with a family. Personally I have a hobby that keeps me fit at the same time (rock climbing). I do it almost religiously on a Tuesday evening for a couple of hours (and more often if I can swing the time). The main point is that I have made a commitment to do this with some friends and it is my time. I love spending time with my family and I’ll do anything any other time, but that spot during the week is taken. If you commit to something yourself and stick with it, then family and friends should understand and work with you. You can’t impose something on them, but you can ask them to let you do what you love.

      Hope it works out for you

  2. Jessica07

    24. Dec, 2010

    I loved this post. The “Buying *Stuff* You Don’t Need,” part, especially. After getting my double degrees, I thought I was going to go mad with boredom. I had a full-time job, but not having things to study just about killed me. That’s when I decided to work from home as well. Once I got that all organized, I still had lots of time on my hands, and that’s when I got Calypso (see “Stop Standing in Your Own Way” post, via MomVesting). You’re absolutely right: Doing nothing is actually harder than it sounds. I fail miserably each time I try.

    • Shaun

      24. Dec, 2010

      Hi Jessica,

      There is nothing wrong with being driven, although I doubt that most people are like you. It looks like you have used this to your advantage though! I really like that you do something for yourself that has other benefits too, your Calypso was great 🙂

      I hope you have a fantastic Christmas

  3. Moneycone

    24. Dec, 2010

    All those who didn’t put any money in the stock market last decade either due to laziness or ignorance, came out on top compared to those who did!

    • Shaun

      24. Dec, 2010

      Hey Moneycone,

      It’s funny how inaction can sometimes be beneficial isn’t it?

  4. Jim

    25. Dec, 2010

    There is nothing better than the long hot summer that is Austrlia at Xmas time. Doing nothing is great over the holidays and you are right, its a profitable past time.
    This is my first time to your site. It looks great – I’ve subscribed as well.

    • Shaun

      27. Dec, 2010

      Hey Jim,

      Thanks for visiting and subscribing, it’s great to see a fellow Aussie here!

  5. Richard Stooker

    12. Jan, 2011

    Hi, Shaun,

    My version of getting rich by doing nothing relates to investing.

    Lots of people make it way too complicated and time consuming. They read THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and endless investing blogs and books. They study annual reports. They spend money on trading software and buy investing newsletters. They program Excel spreadsheets to analyze price history.

    Yet it’s been proven that none of that stuff works, even for the professionals. And even if it worked for them, the rest of us can’t compete.

    So I just advise putting your money into securities that pay income, especially stocks that pay dividends.

    Once a month or so, reinvest those dividends into new shares of stock, so your income keeps growing.

    Continue until you retire.

    If you want to work hard, do something that will make you more money, so you have more money to invest with. That will boost your portfolio much more than spinning your wheels deciding to buy Stock A or Stock B.

    Or just enjoy life while your portfolio grows.


    European Public Real Estate Association

  6. Jane Sanders

    01. Feb, 2011

    Wonderful post, Shaun. My main problem before was changing cellphones too often. Now, I am more patient and I just wait for free phones.