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Rich friends, poor friends

Surrounding yourself with rich friends is a well-known strategy for making more money [1].

By spending time with rich friends, you will automatically:

In my 20s, I read through a taller stack of books about making money than the average young man’s pile of pornography. And nearly all those books urged readers to abandon friends who had a ‘poverty mindset’.

Instead, you should look for rich friends who are going places.

True, maverick self-made millionaires [3] such as Richard Branson, Duncan Bannatyne [4], and Theo Paphitis [5] don’t seem to need peers as role models.

But for you and me, moving in wealthier circles will raise our expectations – and boost our bank balance.

Big fish, small pond

There’s one snag with this strategy. I’ll illustrate it via a slightly stylized story about an ex-girlfriend.

My ex – let’s call her Catherine – is a talented violin player. From the age of seven, she showed great promise with the instrument, and by her early teens she was established as the best bow in town.

Catherine enjoyed being the lead violinist in her school orchestra. But she knew she could push her talent further than her school could take her. Most of her friends might as well as have been banging on saucepans for all they could inspire her.

Catherine’s teacher agreed she was being held back. He arranged for her to go to weekend classes in London at a fairly prestigious music school.

At last she’d be among musicians of her own caliber!

To cut a long story short, they were indeed better than her – and she didn’t like it one bit. No longer was Catherine the biggest fish in a small pond. In fact, by her own estimation she was the worst musician at the new school.

Catherine continued to attend the classes, because she was too ashamed to retreat to her old school colleagues. But she admits that her heart wasn’t in it. When she went to university, she didn’t even bother to join the music society.

Could Catherine have tried harder? Perhaps. Many people respond to competition, but some are too timid. A shy person, Catherine wilted in the comparison.

Yet the fact is she can play beautifully compared to 99% of people who ever pick up a violin.

Rich friends when you need them

If Catherine had never gone to the elite music classes, she’d probably have had a happier childhood. She might still be playing her violin today.

Similarly, you will make more money if you meet rich friends, but you’ll likely feel miserable.

The only solution is to decide who your real friends are – as distinct from who is in your wealth creation circle.

Spend quality time with your true friends for a pick-me-up, and hang out with your rich friends when you see your income sliding!

Contrived? Perhaps. It’s not easy being rich [6].