In the Caribbean community, we face an uphill battle when trying to create lasting wealth and earning enough to give our children sound financial foundations for their futures. We are faced with obstacles like discrimination, smaller support systems and cultural hurdles like a belief that heaven does not favor the rich. Despite these challenges, you can still empower yourself by changing your relationship with money and building productive habits that support your goals. David Mullings speaks exclusively to Island Origins about how to build generational wealth. Learn how below:
The Right Mindset
It is easy to believe that you are too old, too young or too poor to begin building wealth. Get rid of that thinking today, and then get going, no matter how small you start. It is important to have the right mindset. If you believe that money is evil or that all debt is bad, then you might never create substantial wealth. Your beliefs about money must match your financial goals. Giving your children a better life, having a stress-free retirement and donating heartily to the causes most important to you all require money. So, you must invest over the long term to accumulate more of it.
Let’s debunk a prominent myth: hard work alone will NOT create wealth. Building for the future requires a level of comfort with financial risk, as you must make money work for you (rather than you working for money). Parking your money in a bank account is relatively safe, but it earns you very little. Investing in corporate shares through the stock market is more risky, but it can earn far more. And you should understand the difference between good and bad debt. Good debt, such as a mortgage on an investment property, can generate ongoing revenue and improve your returns. Bad debt increases your costs without acquiring you any income-producing assets.
5 Laws of Wealth Creation
Once you have the right mindset about money, you need a destination, a plan to get there, discipline and a coach. Like learning to play a sport or a musical instrument, it is always better to have a teacher as a guide to substantial wealth creation. However, you do not need to personally know the teacher. You can research the practices of your chosen role models, as many wealth creators have shared their approach. All you need to do is study it and apply it. One book that I will recommend is The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.
It’s also important to note that wealth creation requires a different investing approach than wealth preservation. Michael Lee-Chin distilled the lessons from Warren Buffett into what he called his Five Laws of Wealth Creation: Back in December 2020, he and I discussed the billion-dollar businesses he was affiliated with, and I remarked that proven repeatability in science makes something into a law. His framework for success is to:
- Own a few businesses
- Domiciled in strong long-term growth industries
- Understand the businesses
- Prudent management of other people’s money
- Hold for the long-term
If you think about any billionaire on the Forbes List who has created wealth, including Michael Lee-Chin, these five laws will apply. For me, this is a clear sign that we should all be following this plan.
Find A Role Model
Once you have the right mindset, you need a financial goal, a plan to achieve it, discipline and a teacher. As a young soccer player in Jamaica, my coach taught me the importance of learning the game by studying the best athletes. Wealth creation is no different.
There are proven methods and it is always better to have a teacher, even if it’s not someone you personally know.
Early on, I made a list of five highly successful wealth creators and studied them. You too can research the practices of role models who align with your personal financial goals. Many wealth creators have written books outlining their successful strategies. One book that I recommend is “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.”
Speak to a licensed financial advisor and open an investment account with a company like Charles Schwab, JP Morgan Chase, Vanguard or any other reputable broker. Consistently set aside money each month to buy shares in companies you understand. This allows you to practice dollar-cost averaging (averaging out the price you pay for the shares over time) rather than trying to time the market (buying when prices are low and selling when they are high), which rarely works.
A simpler, more accessible option is to buy an S&P 500 Index Fund, such as the Vanguard VOO, and not stress about owning individual companies. Over 20 years, the index has always beaten a savings account. The hardest part about investing is controlling your emotions; you must be able to ignore the market dips and focus on the long-term.
Anyone can build wealth. There is no “get rich quick” formula, but patience, increased financial knowledge and discipline will ultimately be your best tools on your journey to monetary success.
David P. A. Mullings is Chairman and CEO of Blue Mahoe Capital Partners Inc., an impact investment firm focused on wealth creation and transformational investments.