I was recently reflecting on my father’s success and other financially successful immigrants I have helped over the last couple of decades in the primarily Mexican American working class community of East Los Angeles. I recognized that all of them share some very similar wealth habits.
Lesson #1 Working hard for yourself can create financial opportunities not available as an employee. They came to the United States looking to create a better life for their families. They quickly realized that having little formal education and poor social networks were not going to make them rich. They also realized that being caught up in the politics of the day or the macroeconomics of the US wouldn’t help them either. So they took it upon themselves to create their own opportunities through building their own small businesses. They put their nose to the grindstone, worked hard every day, moved forward slowly and then years later, never having given up, they were financially successful.
Lesson #2 Having a sense of urgency to get things done versus putting them off for tomorrow creates results. They have hungry mouths to feed and not making money is not an option. They get up every day and go to work. They never call in sick and rarely take vacation days. They out work everyone they know, including employees half their age. Their belief is why wait until tomorrow to get it done, when it can get done today!
Lesson #3 They watch every penny they spend and save money to invest in creating a better future. Every successful immigrant I have worked with took a portion of their earnings and reinvested the money back into their business or other opportunity in which they had the potential to build equity – like real estate. Notice that I didn’t say that they invest their profits. Most people spend everything they earn and never see a profit. They just take a portion of whatever revenue comes in and then put it aside to build their wealth. My parents never had the fashion of the month, the car of the year, or ate out at the restaurant of the day.
I am always amazed when I see so many people hurting financially. Whenever I have a sprinkling of doubt about my finances, I reflect on the lessons I have learned from my father and other successful immigrants. Come to think of it, I don’t think that I learned any of these lessons at school…just saying.