It’s Not about Rich and Poor but Producers and Consumers

First a little word association. I say:

Rich, wealthy, or entrepreneur. What comes into your head?

Ebenezer Scrooge counting coins by the single glowing coal at his London office?

Plump monocle-wearing Mr. Monopoly scampering away with his loot?

Perhaps J.D Rockerfeller who amassed $418 Billion in 2021 adjusted dollars.

In The Media, the rich are either vilified or lionized and it is generally more of the former. Pause and think how this might have changed your attitude to money and building wealth. Does it seem possible, or just the preserve of luck, through inheritance or impossibly rare talent?

Sure there are celebrities, famous footballers, musicians or actors who posses rare talents. Chances are even despite being over 6-foot I won’t be being picked for a Bulls game any time soon. The reality is the rich are no different from you and me they have simply figured out a simple equation:

Wealth= value you produce — your consumption.

Still not convinced? Perhaps along the way you have picked up the limiting belief that wealthy people are somehow evildoers and gaming the system for their benefit. In his excellent documentary Can’t Get You Out of My Head- Adam Curtis talks about how the Illuminati was chosen by Ken Thornley in operation mind f*** because he thought no one would believe such a crazy story that the world was being run by a Bavarian group that basically went out of ‘business’ in the late 18th century.

As the popularity of Alex Jones shows. He was wrong. Very wrong.

I digress. It’s quite simple. Money gives you freedom; which in turn allows you to enjoy better relationships and the ability to optimize your health. Both of these pillars rely on the one commodity they ain’t making more off time.


We all consume to some degree even a monk on a mountain top needs to forage for berries for sustenance. But this is not a post about survival in the bush but about the levers we can all pull to become wealthy. That said if you are up to your eyes in credit card debt. Stop now do not pass go do not collect that new BMW on finance. It follows that if you are consuming more than you produce you will likely have a negative net worth. It is key to realize that your income is a measure of the value you provide to society, not the whims of your boss, not which town you live in. The buck stops with you and it is time to start taking responsibility.

The value you produce now and thus your income is governed by your skills and experience. A brain surgeon is paid more than a cleaner because that role demands a high level of ability in a specialized field. The price of getting it wrong for the surgeon is the loss of a precious life. How would you feel if the next time you find yourself on the operating table and the specialist comes in hungover? On the flip side, if your cleaner forgets to take out trash it’s no biggie.

Still with me? In 2021 credentials especially if you are a financial advisor are what is known in poker as ‘table stakes’ -your entry point. But in reality, letters after your name only get you a seat at the table. If you have been paying attention you’ll know that mindset, not money is the real foundation to building wealth. You should think of mutual funds. Individual stocks and crypto as just optional extras on your Lambo. Your mindset is the engine.

A wise man once said whatever trial you are struggling through ‘you can choose your thoughts’, or how about ‘nothing is ever good or bad but thinking makes it so.’ Now you must start choosing your words to match. Going back to our brain surgeon if he said during the pre-op appointment “Gee, I think I can operate on you and I will try to succeed,”* If you heard that you would be running away faster than Usain Bolt in Beijing.


My therapist explains that she sits down every 6 months and looks forward, asking a couple of simple questions. Where am I going next? What future am I hoping to build for my family? If you are under thirty then this message is particularly important. So listen up! Just out of college and about to embark on your career, or start a business venture. A good exercise is to throw it forward what future self will this lead to? The right choice early on can make a huge difference and accelerate your path to wealth. Think about playing pool; potting the black and winning the game vs potting the white and fouling is just a matter of a few degrees. So stop making treasonous choices.

Life Experience

Further down the path, like me and into midlife? All is not lost- the sum of your experience counts. Showing up every weekday at the office with a positive attitude counts. As I was reminded recently, if you are in the advice businesses (financial or otherwise); folk in their 50s or 60s are more likely to listen to you if you have fought a few battles in the corporate trenches. I think this was a nice way of saying no one listens to a fresh graduate, but hey-ho…

In my career, I have had to make moves up and down the ladder. In 2016 my passion for all things investing and finance led me into the clutches of a high street bank. It didn’t work out (I never made it out of probation!) but being at the interface between people and their current accounts taught me important lessons about our financial psychology.

Code-Based Leverage

Ready to make the jump from consumer to producer? The good news is that it is easier than ever to share your ideas. Indeed a whole ecosystem has been built, fortunes have been made and most of the planet is connected. If we rewind the clock to the 70s the early vision of Silicon Valley pioneers was to enable a public sphere where everyone could voice their views, today this consists of blogging, podcasting and YouTubing. In case you haven’t realized by now we have fallen well short of that utopia. Instead, we are locked in our own eco-chambers, surrounded by inflammatory content or by ‘influencers’ flaunting their hired wealth on Instaglam.

Some of the best thinkers out there have turned away completely and are famously not on social media. We would do well to make like Cal does and switch off the noise.

Content is King

But I haven’t cut the cord on my fiber connection just yet. There are tonnes of great content producers out there….

Even if you lived to a hundred you will only scratch the surface of great blogs, TedTalks and books. That is why it is more important than ever to start with the best ones. Remember; producers are wealthy because they create value, because they have decoupled their earning from fixed 9–5 hours they now have ownership of their time.

Phillip Pullman doesn’t have to re-write Northern Lights again, it earns him money while he sleeps.

  • That bestseller by Stephen King that keeps you up all night. Value.
  • The latest documentary by Werner Herzog opens your mind. Value.
  • Em’s latest album. Value.

I could go on.

The creation of wealth is not I repeat not evil. It is a simple equation the more lives you touch, the more people you serve the richer you get. It isn’t a zero-sum game. It is a win-win.

So go for it. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Start that website, open that Etsy store, sell on Amazon*. Harness the power of the internet to deliver your ideas to the world.


— Addendum

I’ve failed to mention a third group of people- Enablers. These are folk who are further up the ladder and instead of kicking you off they reach down a rung and pull you up. People like the Balaji S. Srinivasan who created to do exactly that. Rewarding anyone on the internet with Bitcoin bounties for tasks and tutorials. So now whether you are in a crowded favela in Rio or a freshman closeted away at Harvard the playing field is slowly being leveled.

The old power structures run by the east coast elites are gradually dissolving before our eyes. This means collectively we can set about building a fairer world.

*Amazon affiliate link. Seeing as I can’t sell books anymore ¯\_(ツ)_/¯




Max blogs about finance. Living a rich and meaningful life now while building a plan for financial freedom in ten years or less.

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Max Sheridan

Max Sheridan

Max blogs about finance. Living a rich and meaningful life now while building a plan for financial freedom in ten years or less.

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