“Aah, come grasshopper, wisdom you seek.” Okay, I might be mixing my Kung Fu quote with my poor Yoda impersonation there.
Honestly? I disagree with the statement. It’s no harder to achieve wealth than it ever was. It might seem more difficult, but that’s explainable.
We got into a false belief up to 2007 that markets rose forever. They don’t. We’ve also come to believe that wealth will come quickly and without effort. (Yoda again: “Not, it surely will. Yessss.”)
My tips for Generation Xers to achieve financial independence are actually three ingredients for one recipe ... delayed gratification mixed with growth assets and gearing.
Delayed gratification: Remember the marshmallow experiment? They left four-year-old old kids in a room with a marshmallow and told them they could have two marshmallows if the first one was still there when the evil scientist came back in 10 minutes. About 90 per cent failed. Those who “passed” went on to be noticeably more successful in life, including with their finances.
Gen Xers need to understand that in order to create wealth (the second marshmallow), they need to not spend some of their money now and invest it wisely for later.
Growth assets: The delayed gratification money then needs to go into growth assets – shares and property. Growth assets don’t grow every year. But, on average, they will grow faster than cash and bonds.
Gearing: While not applicable to everyone, it’s most likely right for Gen Xers. Property and shares are the types of assets that gearing can, arguably should, be used for.
Or, patience, wisdom and a little aggression ... grasshopper.
Bruce Brammall is the author of Debt Man Walking (www.debtman.com.au) and a licensed financial adviser.