How the rich stay rich; a lesson in lateral thinking
A friend recently told me the story of how a millionaire thinks. Not every millionaire of course, just one in particular. It's ingenius, as you will discover. But it really made me ponder about the decisions I make every day, and if I could make better ones just be exercising that underused part of my anatomy - my brain.
The story goes something like this, and forgive me if I paraphrase but my memory is far from photographic.
The millionaire's loan...
Our millionaire, let's call him Anton, walks into a popular bank in the middle of New York City and requests to speak to a loan officer. He doesn't alert the staff to his immense riches, he simply says he's going away on business for a few weeks, to another country, and needs to borrow a small sum of money - $5000. Banks being banks they immediately asked for security on the loan, after all they're not just going to let anyone walk away with a big wad of cash.
Anton then points out of the window to the shiny new Ferrari parked right in front of the bank. He took the title, paperwork and keys out of his pocket and slapped them down on the counter like a man on a mission. The staff went to work checking out the validity of his ownership and sure enough, everything checked out. And of course, which bank is going to turn down a quarter of a million dollars in collateral for a measly $5000 loan? This was a no-brainer (an ironic turn of phrase as you'll soon discover).
Anton left the bank with his $5000 and the bank employee took Anton's keys and drove the brand new Ferrari down into the bank's underground garage. He assured Anton that it would be perfectly safe down there. Anton then left the bank and caught his flight to his faraway land, I think it was China.
Anyway, two weeks go by and sure enough the bank opens Monday morning to see Anton stroll in and slap the $5000 he had borrowed back on the counter, plus the interest which was around $15. The loan officer asked that the car be brought round to the front of the bank and then asked Anton a question. "Our bank prides itself in details and customer service" he said "and while you were away we did a background check, it's routine, and discovered you are actually one of the wealthiest men in America. Why on earth would you need to borrow $5000, it just doesn't make sense."
Anton smiled, picked up the keys from the counter and said "Can you tell me another way I could have parked my new Ferrari in the middle of New York for two weeks, for just $15, and still expect it to be in mint condition when I get back?" With that, Anton walked out of the door and the loan officer smiled a bigger smile.
My first reaction to this was "cheapskate." But then I realized this man probably made his fortune by thinking in this way; by seeing a saving opportunity around every corner. Sure, he could have stashed his Ferrari in a high-quality garage for hundreds of dollars but his mind refused to accept that scenario. There was a cheaper way, just as safe, and he probably got a buzz out of finding a new way to buck the system.
So, with this in mind, I ask all of you to think about ingenius ways that you can get exactly the same service or product for less in the coming weeks. I would love to know your stories, and I know they will help us all look at our world in a different way. The bottom line...the rich stay rich by thinking laterally. You can do it, too. We all can.