The World’s Shortest Guide On How To Be Thin and Rich

Much has been written about how to lose weight, but it all boils down to just two things:

  1. Eat less
  2. Exercise more

Similarly, much has been written about getting wealthy, and again, the “secret” boils down to only two things:

  1. Spend less money than you earn (or to put it another way, make more money than you spend)
  2. Invest in your future

Imagine, if you do these four things, you’ll be thin and rich!

But if it’s this simple, why isn’t everyone svelte and wealthy? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Please visit the Carnival of Pecuniary Delights 2, Saving Money Edition hosted by Wisebread.

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Millionaire Mommy Next Door

A self-made millionaire shares her recipe for success, happiness and financial freedom.

36 thoughts on “The World’s Shortest Guide On How To Be Thin and Rich”

  1. It sounds simple! We need to start to get to know ourselves and what our passions are. It would be nice if schools would put more emphasis on what makes us unique, not just reading, writing and math. Passion is what motivates someone to just do it. It’s hard to make your self rich doing something you don’t love to do. Working for just the money isn’t true happiness and it won’t get you too far. That’s the problem with most of us — we are NOT doing something we want to do.

  2. I agree with Jan…it’s that delayed gratification thing. And I love Scott Adams’ rules too.

    I also want to say that the picture of your daughter is one of the cutest things I have ever seen. She looks like a little doll!

  3. Everyone’s metabolism and build is not the same. Two people can eat the same thing, exercise and have different results. Some struggle to gain, others struggle to lose, some eat all they want and can maintain.

    Some save and invest and gain wealth so they can retire and then they try not to outlive their money. Some save and invest and have enough wealth to live lavish now and in old age.

    The problem is not knowing who we are as individuals and enhancing that. Trying to follow the rules that aren’t tailored to our strengths and weaknesses is another problem

  4. Well it does sound simple, and a lot of people have followed that advice, especially the “invest in your future” advice, only to find that their government-recommended pension fund has collapsed and they’ve put far more money into it than they can ever hope to get out, and now they will have to retire on a state pension and rely on their children for any extra support. Meanwhile the children are busy paying off student loans, saving for a deposit, paying high taxes to prop up state pensions and so forth and have very vague notions of saving for their own retirement – they may be wondering “what’s the point?”

    Staying thin is easy in comparison, especially when food is so bloody expensive.

  5. This is my first time posting on your site; but I’ve been reading your blog for a LONG time. My thoughts on why more of us aren’t wealthy is that most people have too much debt and too little income which is preventing them from becoming wealthy. IMHO, student loans are the biggest debt culprit that can prevent a person from becoming wealthy. Many students are taking out student loans and majoring in careers that don’t have big monetary payoffs. Higher education is becoming more expensive so oftentimes the student loan amounts are simply astronomical. Even if those former students never make much more than minimum wage, those student loans are FOREVER. They cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy. I think that students in the arts, public service sector or other traditionally low-pay careers should avoid student loan debt and all the other debt they throw at you when you’re in college. I advise that everyone else completely avoid consumer debt to increase their chances of becoming wealthy.

  6. Lack of good self discipline. In the States it seems most people live for the right now versus giving up a little now to get a lot later.

  7. @morrison

    “No one today should aspire to being thin as a status symbol nor attaining cash wealth to impress.”

    Well, I think those were never the wisest reasons to be thin or rich.
    I just want to stay healthy and be able to choose how I spend my time. And that requires taking care of my body and finances.

    Becoming eco-wealthy sounds great to me, but I don’t see why I should put on weight.

  8. Is it really simple to eat less and exercise more?

    Is it really possible to earn more $$ than you spend? or spend less $$ than you earn with such rising costs of daily living life?

    To do any of the above is difficult.

    That is why it is not easy to be thin and wealthy.

    Invest in your future? Right now, what do most people think their future is going to look like? The past images of enjoying ones’ Golden Years (in luxury, golfing, sailing, traveling the world) has long evaporated from display.

    Seeing a thin person today, means the person is not eating, for lack of food. Seeing a wealthy person just riles the ire in most people today. Having (and showing) any sign of wealth today is verboten and not something one should aspire to anymore. The new status of ‘wealth’ today should be measured in the level of ‘green’ a person chooses to live. I’d call the new status symbol ‘eco-wealth’: growing your own food, eating organic, living right, respecting the environment and your fellow man. I personally think the old way of thinking should be long dead. No one today should aspire to being thin as a status symbol nor attaining cash wealth to impress.

    The White House has put in an organic garden, encourages young and old alike to exercise more, become more energy efficient, think green and become more eco-friendly. This is the new status symbol and one which all of us should aspire to. I don’t want to be thin-I want to look and feel healthy and fit. I don’t want to be judged by the size of my bank account, my investments or the size of my house or car anymore.

    Being eco-wealthy is sustainable and possible for the masses.

    This should be our new reality.

    The past is dead.

    Shouldn’t we all move forward?

  9. This post was inspired by a reporter who asked me to give my .02 cents about an article she’s writing on the “secrets of millionaires”. She wanted 2 tips – specific tips – not the obvious I stated here. This got me thinking about how we already know what it takes, but we’re looking for the “secrets” that only “some” of us supposedly know.

    Obviously there are lots of little “baby steps” along the way, and this is what I aim to share with my readers here. But I keep coming back to what *I* think is the biggest obstacle — one’s internal, personal belief system and mindset.

    We all face obstacles along our path to wealth, health and happiness. I DO understand that some of us face bigger obstacles than others. Life is not fair. And our current economic conditions have put more obstacles in front of all of us. But I do believe that most obstacles can be navigated given enough motivation, commitment, passion, education, and one’s conviction that their goal CAN be achieved. I believe that when you set your mind to something, it is possible to achieve. Once again, I submit that my “Treasure Map” (vision board) exercise is the KEY ingredient to my personal success.

    One of the things I never say is, “I’ll try”. Oooh, whole new post forming in my head right now…

  10. By the way, I didn’t really mean to have a go, I have also been taking on board what you have been saying. By halfway through last year I had paid off my credit card debt (the student loan is another matter but it is slowly being whittled away) and had a high-paying job where I could afford to save quite a large proportion of my income. So luckily when I lost my job at the start of this year I had enough saved to keep me going for the three months it took for my benefits to come through (now that they have come through, I have a lot of that money back). Unfortunately there aren’t many jobs out there for property lawyers at the moment so I am using the time to try and diversify. I have also learned from being on such a low budget and when I am working again I should be able to save even more.

    But the burden is still on my generation (20s-30s) to support the baby boomers as they head into retirement, while we suffer from financial burdens not even dreamed of by previous generations. Putting money aside for retirement didn’t work for them, so why should it work for us?

  11. Morrison, Velvet Jones — I agree. We are all completely unique, and I celebrate this fact. Not everyone wants to be thin and/or wealthy. Besides, it’s always a matter of degree: some feel they’ll never be thin or rich enough. If I were to guess, these two topics rank high in book sales and conversations. Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in between believing you can do something you want to do, and being content with what you already have.

    I like the idea of sustainable eco-wealth.

  12. Since when did thin = healthy? Oh yeah, since we started assigning character to appearance.

    Anyway, it’s clear that neither are simple. Maybe if we lived in a vaccum and we were ALL the same, then we’d all be thin and wealthy. And boring. But seeing how that’s not the case, everyone has to do the best they can with what they have. That goes for their bodies as well as their money. As long as we all be honest with ourselves and do the best we can for our lives, there’s nothing more we can ask of each other. As morrison pointed out above, being honest with ourselves mean some would eat less, some would eat more. Some would spend less, some would spend more. It’s about people having the freedom to be and live honestly as themselves. As long as we judge other for how big or small they are, how much money they have or if WE think they are or aren’t spending the money like WE would, we’re going to continue to have issues.

  13. Losing weight is more involved than eating less and exercising more. What you eat and how you exercise are significant factors. But in the spirit of keeping it simple, I’d reformulate as 1. Eat less junk and processed foods and 2. Exercise more. I agree with the spending less than you earn as the most basic strategy to accumulating monetary wealth. You can factor in things like quality of life, etc., but in the end, you should make sure you don’t spend more than you make.

  14. Two things I want to add. Spend less, make more and remember time is on your side. That’s one. The other is that seeming to do isn’t being and wanting to do isn’t doing.

  15. The more you try the better it’ll get :) We don’t all fell like we can do it because it helps us to see short-term results before committing to long-term changes. Babysteps, people! As FlyLady says, it didn’t get this way overnight, so you won’t fix it in a day. Just start bit by bit and the progress you’ll make will motivate you to continue the good behaviors!

  16. This is purely elegant. So simple, clear and succint, why can’t we follow it? Now I am going to have to swirl this in my head for a few days. Fantastic post!

  17. Love this!! It really is that simple, we just allow detours to get in our way! You cannot become wealthy by spending all you make, and you cannot become thin by eating foods you shouldn’t. The most important concept is that you enjoy the journey, embrace the process and know you are a work of art!

  18. sometimes you need to be reminded of how simple the answer really is.

    doesnt make it easy though. just cos its simple.

    also I agree with the eat less – and better.

  19. Excellent advice – we should all heed it!

    I recently blogged about “paying yourself first” – too many people simply spend what they earn and save what is left over – usually this means nothing!

  20. You’re right – everyone knows what to do to become more healthy and wealthy…then why don’t they? It boils down to lack of action. If everyone put into action, the principles they know, the world would be a different place. I’m sure we can all think of hundreds of excuses why we can’t take action – but that’s all they are – excuses. Don’t let yourself by into them – don’t be afraid to be different and take action…you’ll be amazed at the result. If you are reading this right now – why not take action immediately. If you want to be healthy, why not start with something simple – get up and go for a walk/run. If it’s wealth you’re after – why not do some reasearch and get motivated and do someting to achieve that goal! All the best :-)

  21. Hi Jen,

    I found your site through Nathalie’s recommendation. Wow, I’m impressed with your achievement and think it’s wonderful that you’re donating the proceeds from this blog.

    Many people find delayed gratification difficult, which is why they try to save and invest, and then give up and spend because the results seem so slow in coming. That’s what I think anyway!

  22. Isn’t that the truth. I think that our society keeps us broke. Perhaps a conspiracy theory? ;)

    I mean, come on! Don’t we need the cell phone, the full package of cable, the cable internet, etc… I know plenty of members that don’t think they can live without all the bells or whistles or even downgrade there current packages. Just think if we invested all that money. It’d be wonderful!

  23. I agree that those four things sum it up, but the devil is always in the details. We tend to forget that we are social creatures, we look at what others have and do, and we want what they have, particularly if we perceive it as good. We are wired that way. It takes real conviction and a level of maturity to fight that desire especially when there is a bunch of societal pressure to have certain items, like a cell phone. Add to that decades of high power marketing research to discover how to press our buttons, combined with the introduction of cheap credit allowing us to make it happen now, and it’s easy to see how so many people can easily fall into the trap.

    In addition, it doesn’t often happen “at once”. I didn’t get seriously overweight in a year, or even in a decade. It crept up on me, often from injuries (sometimes while trying to lose weight), and sometimes from poor rationale and decisions (e.g. I’ll start exercising and dieting after the holidays). Did I see it coming. Sure. Did I try to do something about it. Sure did, and it often worked to some level of success but was like one step forward two steps back in the end. Same can apply to your finances. You can be breaking even or be getting ahead, but it doesn’t take much to put you on the other side of the equation and onto a downward slope. A vacation you take on impulse. Having four of your friends all get married in the same year, and your standing in three of the weddings. Sudden illness of a parent out of state and the costs of dealing with that. Add to that our typical rationalizations of, “we can afford the payments” or “I’ll use my tax refund to pay that off” and it’s easy to see how the debt creep occurs. Finally, just because you may be aware of your situation and willing to try and do something about it, doesn’t mean your spouse, your parents, your friends, your kids, etc. are all in agreement with you. Social pressures are hell, and it can be really hard to stand up to all of them. Think about it, three years ago if you mentioned being frugal you were probably called a cheap bastard, either jokingly or seriously, by many of the people around you. Similarly, the minute you start to try to change your eating habits it seems those around not only make the type of food you’re trying to avoid, but they insist you eat it or you’re insulting them.

  24. Hope is a good thing and may be the best of things – Quote from Shawshank Redemption. I think its this “hope” that tricks people into thinking that debt can always be paid off as long they have income coming in and they can always loose weight as long they diet- starting “tomorrow”………

  25. I agree. Sometimes certain things are out of our control. I know a young man who was raised by his grandmother. He was born addicted to drugs because his mother was an addict. His grandmother did the best she could but she was bitter and was verbally abusive to him for much of his life. He grew up without a family car and many other things we take for granted. He has struggled mightily to do things some of us do without thinking. He is very much on his on own in the world now and he’s lucky to be employed at all, with us being in a recession right now. I say all this to make the point that it would be very hard for him to spend less than he earns-he doesn’t earn much. It’s not always simple to be thin or rich. I think he’d be ecstatic to enter a middle class life style.

  26. This just makes me laugh sometimes. My brother is a high end personal trainer who basically gets paid to make people move more and eat less. Of course it’s more complicated ( some have issues that prevent normal workouts ect. ), but for the majority of us….that’s exactly what we need ( more movement, less food ).

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  28. I have ALWAYS believed in having a positive cash balance and a negative calorie balance, so the above advice/post comes as a real inspirational boost!
    Am still on my way to getting rich (;-D) but am definitely thin lol!

  29. Just wanted to say how much I love this. I never comment on anything, but wow, this is great. I think the problem is that people today are too focused on things being “fast” and “instant”… from the ever-convenient ATMs to ramen noodles… neither of which are too healthy! “Miracle” lose-20-lbs in 1-week diets, “get rich quick” scams… all “instant” transformations without any real gratification in the end. Slow it down and do it right… it’ll take time, but it’ll work. Young people today as a whole (I am one, by the way, but I hope I’m an exception to the rule) are ridiculously short-sightedly self-serving.

    Thanks for this post, I’m afraid your good sense is rare…

  30. I read somewhere that there are only two real motivators in life –

    avoid pain
    gain pleasure

    the power of avoiding pain is far, far greater than the power of gaining pleasure – so people will continue over-eating/not saving because they wish to avoid the short-term pain of “feeling hungry” or “not being a consumer” – this short term pleasure though ultimately leads to long term pain.

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