Entrepreneurs Who Died Because of Money

Something that is dear to my heart, but I oftentimes feel misunderstood about, is the importance of money, or rather the importance of a lack of money.

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Preparing for the Future

The other day I had an interesting conversation with my father, who came to visit me in Amsterdam. He is a brilliant guy; he has written four books and is working on his fifth book, which sparked conversation of what I am going to share with you.

My father is really brilliant in the topic of Alzheimer’s. He worked a long time in many nursery homes and has really unique ideas on how to improve the lives of people who are entering the last part of their lives.

The topic of his new book is how to deal with people who are older and suddenly have life issues. Not just health issues like older people usually encounter, but many of the other challenges the elderly might face.

For example, you are 76 years old and suddenly you have a gambling addiction, or you are 82 years old and you are in trouble with your neighbours. It is about how to deal with these things when you are older. It is interesting to see the synchronicity between my father and me because it is something I have been thinking about a lot lately as well.

The goal is that you simply own money, that is it. There is no emotional feeling towards money. You own money and money does not own you.

The last six months, I have been working on the topic of what to do, or how to prepare for becoming older. I see a lot of older entrepreneurs struggling big time. I can name four even five entrepreneurs who have actually died, indirectly of course, because of their lack of money.

It is an interesting topic, something you do not hear a lot of people talk about — entrepreneurs who are suffering at an older age. With older age, I mean 50, 60, 70. Up until the ages of 40, 45, it is all good; but from that point on, going into your 60’s, money becomes a different type of issue because you are entering the last part of your life.

Be Golden in the Golden Years

What do you do as an entrepreneur if you have not built a net worth or have not created wealth? It is going to be hard when you are 62 years old and you have been working on your business for 30 or 40 years and you have not saved a penny. Suddenly, your business does not work anymore because things change. That is something that is really tough.

I know one example of an entrepreneur who died when he was 52 and left his wife and kids with a lot of debt because he was the optimistic entrepreneur who was okay and who was willing to take risks. His wife and kids were not aware of their financial situation and found themselves in big trouble. He died knowing this. In my opinion that is one of the worst things that can happen to you, dying in that situation.

This is my thought: A lack of money generates a lot of stress and when we feel stressed, we often times do crazy things, Over a long period of time, this can be very harmful to your health and even lead to death.

We talk about people who lose everything because of the banks. We talk about people who lose everything because they are drug addicts. We talk about a lot of things, but we do not often talk about entrepreneurs who struggle at 50, 60, 70 years old because they have not built their wealth.

A lack of money generates a lot of stress and when we feel stressed, we often times do crazy things, Over a long period of time, this can be very harmful to your health and even lead to death.

As an employee, especially here in Holland, you have some security. When you quit your job when you are 62, 63, 65, 67, you have income security. In English, they call it the 401(k) and in Dutch, we call it pension. Basically, it means you are paid for the remainder of your life. As an entrepreneur, you do not have this security of being paid the rest of your life after you have reached the pension-age.

It is something we have to prepare for. It does not matter what your age is. That is why I said in the beginning, that it is a topic where most often I am misunderstood.

People think, because I teach people marketing, I teach people how to make more money. I teach people sales. I teach entrepreneurs to make their company more successful — business-wise and financial-wise — how to make more profit. I do this, not because I am addicted to money or because I like money, but because I do not want those entrepreneurs to suffer. I do not want myself to suffer. Money is destructive when you are lacking it, and it gives you a feeling of security and well-being when you have enough of it.

My wish is for every entrepreneur to have enough money. That is why this topic is so dear to my heart. I know that it can change your life for the better, but I also know that it can ruin your life. Imagine your life being ruined by the stupid thing called money. That is the dumbest thing in the world — the fact that you can literally die because of money.

In a conversation with an entrepreneur, we talked about this topic of money. I asked him, “How present are you with your family right now?” He has three children. He said, “Last week, I went to a park and I was there physically, but wasn’t really there. I feel guilty and I don’t feel like I’m a good father.” Money can make you feel like a not so great father, mother, son, friend and so on.

So again, having worries about money is the dumbest thing out there. That is why I wish for every entrepreneur to really create wealth, but also make his or her company profitable. It is a big and important part of running businesses.

Invest in Yourself

I often times cringe when I hear entrepreneurs proudly say that they invest all their money back into their business. Many entrepreneurs can because they are great at what they do and have consistent success, but not a lot of entrepreneurs can do this, because they are not that great at what they do.

If you look at Elon Musk, he puts every penny in his company. Why? Because he is a great entrepreneur. He built PayPal and then he put every penny in Tesla. He is such a high-level entrepreneur and can afford to re-invest in other ventures.

If Richard Branson puts all his money in another venture, he will be okay, but most entrepreneurs cannot afford to risk losing all of their money when they are 58 years old. So there is a big difference. If you are a high-level entrepreneur and you know that out of the blue you can make another million, invest all the money in your business.

If you have a little bit of doubt about that, do not invest all your money back into the business; instead make your company profitable. Make a lot of money, cash out all the time, and pay yourself first.

Build your wealth so you have more peace of mind, more creativity, you stay nimble and can move quicker.

As Kanye West says in Good Life, “Having money is not everything, but not having it is.”

So if you do not have money, then it will be something that owns you.

The goal is that you simply own money, that is it. There is no emotional feeling towards money. You own money and money does not own you. That’s my thinking, and it’s one big part of my mission to really make entrepreneurs more successful, more profitable, and have their business work for them instead of them work for their business.

 If you enjoyed this article, please let me know by leaving a comment below or send me a Tweet @EelcoDeBoer. 

 

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  • 2 May 2015
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