By Hanniz Lam

I should think that making more money amplifies the character that you are. For example, if you’ve been brought up to always look out for others and you’re a hero in your neighbourhood, you will continue being the kind-hearted person that you are, no matter how much more money you make.

A good example is Keanu Reeves who is known to be kind, generous and down-to-earth. For the first film in the trilogy, Reeves made USD$10 million up front, which, when combined with his back-end deal, upped his salary to USD$35 million.

Amazingly, when the time came to negotiate his back-end profit sharing deal for the second and third “Matrix” films, Keanu insisted on handing over a significant portion of his back-end points to the films’ special effects and costume design teams.

Each member of these teams received $1 million dollars per person, instantly making them all millionaires. But Keanu didn’t stop at just the special effects and costume teams. He also gave the entire stunt team on the “Matrix” sequels Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Warren Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, turned 91 in August. Remarkably, at an age where most people’s cognitive functions have entirely regressed,  Buffett still captures the world’s attention as the fifth richest person on the planet.

FUN FACT: 99% of his wealth was earned after his 50th birthday.

Buffett continues to live in a modest home in Omaha, Nebraska, which he bought for $31,500 in 1958. Adjusted for inflation, it’s about $276,700 in today’s dollars.

Buffett doesn’t spend much on technology, at least when it comes to his mobile phone. Until 2020, he used a flip phone instead of a smartphone.

Buffett eats the same thing every morning for breakfast — McDonald’s. He spends no more than $3.17 on his order.

Buffett isn’t a fan of high-end designer suits. He only wears suits — of which he owns about 20 — made in China by designer Madame Li.

Buffett tops off his style with an $18 hair cut.

warren buffett

He also puts a lot of money toward books. He’s said he has a “disgusting pile” of books by his chair, and he spends 80% of his day reading.

So the bottom line is, don’t worry about money turning you into an evil person. You’re strong enough to retain your values as you grow.

What can making more money do?

Making more money can save you TIME

You can use money to literally save HOURS every day. You can pay for convenience (live closer to work and cut your travel time by 90%, hire a house cleaner or personal chef or personal assistant). You can pay to save time and get faster results (personal trainer, tutor, classes).

In short, you can spend more time doing the things you love, not the things you have to do. Here is how money can save you time:

You can make more money working a full time job

Yes, business people say why work for people when you can work for yourself and make more money? Yes, when running a business you might make more money many years down the road with lots of effort put in upfront but you can earn more money immediately when you’re earning a monthly salary.

The thing about earning a salary is you have to save and turn your earnings into an asset.

With your own business, you have control over your time

That’s the difference. At a job, you need to show that you’re warming up your seat, you’re accountable to the company for every minute you spend. In your business, you can schedule long lunches with your favourite people and clients. You can contribute to bigger causes that matter to you along the way, not when you retire.

When you make more money, you can stop worrying about the small things

What’s RM50 or RM100 when you’re making RM10,000 a month without moving a muscle?

You choose the level you want to play at. You can spend your entire life worrying about bills and get nowhere. 

Instead of worrying about where to spend your RM10 lunch money on, you can spend time thinking about how to make better money decisions eg

  • Investment fees
  • Asset allocations
  • Salary negotiation
  • Mortgage interests
  • Banks with high interest returns

Ask “What if?”

Money is such a taboo subject to most people. When you ask people about how they feel, their top answers include “no money la,” or “cannot afford la.”

If you always feel bad about it, you’ll avoid it. To change that, reframe your question: Ask “What if?”

Ask “What if I quadrupled my income?”
Ask “What would I never think about again?” For me, it’s ordering appetizers at Chilli’s or Baskin Robbins ice cream.
Ask “Who would I bring with me on my next trip?”

Money is about relationships, not just accumulating more.

It’s so easy to fixate on what you don’t have. Society reinforces it with all its headlines about economic woes and inflation. But how many of us have really asked, “What if?” What if I earned 4x what I earn today? What would I do with it? This is a totally different conversation than most of us ever have. It allows us the possibility to dream and plan.

You can keep your old friends —and add new people

You don’t have to throw your old friends away! As you grow as a person, you’ll attract the people who want to grow with you and you’ll be attracted to people you want to learn from. No harm in that. Your old friends are those that you can act silly with and relax with.

You get to choose WHY you want to earn more

In the old days, these were the signs of wealth: Big car, big house, golf club membership, antique collection.

Today, lots of us want flexibility, zero commute, the ability to travel wherever whenever, and to spend on food and entertainment we love.

When you earn more, you get to decide. 



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