If I told you that some of the best business advice in the world came to me from a crack cocaine addict who went to prison, became a poet and died young because of substance abuse – you’d probably think I was crazy.
But Felix Dennis, the founder of Maxim – a men’s magazine - had a colorful life.
Although he spent over £100 million in his lifetime on drugs, fine wine and women, his book – 'How To Get Rich' – is one of the rare books on wealth actually written by somebody who achieved stratospheric financial success.
In 2014, Felix Dennis passed away, leaving an estate of over £500 million.
For the record, he decided to give it all to protect a forest he had spent years planting.
But through his book, he also left us the most important business lessons he ever learned.
If you don’t get turned off by the title of the book, or the character of Felix Dennis himself – then I highly encourage you to read it.
It’s an absolutely fascinating read with incredible insights into how he built his vast fortune.
One lesson, in particular, gets repeated time and time again, and it’s the one I want to share with you today.
It’s a lesson that applies to everything we do at Beyond Entrepreneurs and one that’s been responsible for the wealth of virtually every successful entrepreneur ever to have lived.
That lesson is ownership.
As Felix Dennis puts it – ‘ownership isn’t the important thing, it’s the only thing.’
The problem, he says, is that a lot of people think that wealth is something reserved for geniuses or people who have great ideas (or who make great apps).
But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Felix Dennis boils down the key to long-term wealth to one simple concept: the ownership of productive assets that compound over time.
To Felix Dennis, focusing on becoming an owner is what will make the biggest long-term difference to your financial life.
You can earn a high salary, but if you don’t save what you earn, and invest it in productive assets, your illusion of wealth will stop the day you stop working.
That’s what continues to happen to countless movie stars, athletes, and artists.
But it's also what happens to almost all entrepreneurs.
For years, sometimes decades, they can earn more in a year than most people earn in a lifetime.
But if they fail in their business venture and their active income dries up, then they have nothing left.
The reason for that is that they don't own anything productive of value, that keeps growing.
The way to avoid that, according to Felix Dennis, is to make it a priority for you to become an owner of assets. You will not only avoid financial ruin, but with the right discipline, you could even set yourself up for generational wealth.
That's why we teach members of our Mastermind that the single most important financial decision in your life is how much you save and invest every year.
If you do it right, you can ensure that even if something were to happen to your current source of income, you'd still have assets that produce enough income for you to maintain your current quality of life.
Because that’s ultimately what financial freedom is all about: owning assets that generate enough income so that if you ever wanted to stop working – you could.
That’s why ownership is so important – and the cornerstone of long-term wealth.
Think about it next time you see high-earners blowing their income on mindless things.
What you earn doesn’t determine your wealth.
What you put aside and invest in productive assets, does.