Just because someone is evil doesn’t mean they can’t teach us something worthwhile, and the millionaires of the world are no different. Even though you may consider some of them evil, there’s no doubting that they know how to amass a fortune. With that in mind, here are just a few of the most applicable tips from evil millionaires (money laundering not covered or implied).
We’re not trying to pass judgement on anyone here, and the subjectivity of the word “evil” is certainly up for debate. Regardless, there’s no denying that the people below have an unseemingly large of money and most have done something to don the evil cap at some point in their filthy rich lives, so let’s give them our ears and take a bit of their advice.
It’s Just as Important to BE Something as It Is to DO Something
Like an evil dictator, becoming a millionaire isn’t just about the process of amassing a fortune. “Fake it till you make it” is necessary, and you’ll need to pretend to be successful even if you’ve only got a couple thousand in the bank. At least, that’s the advice we can take from real estate developer, mogul and US President (!) Donald Trump.
The basic idea here is that it’s as important (if not more) to “be something” as it is to do something. Financial success isn’t that complicated, but you have to believe you can do it. After all, personal finance is mostly about thinking toward the future, not pinching pennies. Once you’re well known, respected, and trusted, you can amass that fortune a lot easier. Author Steve Siebold lays it out over at Business Insider:
“That’s why people like Donald Trump go from millionaire to nine billion dollars in debt and come back richer than ever,” he writes.
“While the masses are fixated on the doing and the immediate results of their actions, the great ones are learning and growing from every experience, whether it’s a success or a failure, knowing their true reward is becoming a human success machine that eventually produces outstanding results.”
Trump himself has said this many times over, and often stresses that getting rich and being successful go hand-in-hand because it’s about mindset. Once you have one financial success, it’s easier to get more. For someone like Trump, that means real estate and passive income, but you can make it whatever you want it to be. Just make sure you don’t get too upset over your failures.
Sign A Prenuptial Agreement Before Marriage
Once-Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch has seen his fair share of controversy over the years and regardless of where your opinion lands about his politics, it’s hard to like the guy. The international phone hacking scandal is reason enough to distrust him, but he’s not exactly the most philanthropic or empathetic guy out there either. All that said, the man knows how to handle his money, and one thing he’s learned through three marriages is the importance of the prenuptial agreement,
Murdoch’s estate is a lot bigger than yours, and his prenuptial agreements are far more complicated than yours would ever need to be. However, just because Murdoch has more than you it doesn’t mean it’s not worth taking the same steps before your own marriage.
The main goal of a prenuptial agreement isn’t just to make sure people get what they’re owed, it’s to make the usually chaotic and all around awful experience of handling money in a divorce easier. Speaking with personal finance expert Mellody Hobson, ABC News explains why prenuptial agreements are growing in popularity:
Hobson said there were several reasons for the increase. For one, the divorce rate is 50 per cent. Many people enter marriage with some debt, and their partners may want to protect themselves from those financial problems if the marriage ends. Also, there are more women and in the workforce now and they may want to protect their assets, she added.
Prenups aren’t always about money, Hobson said. They can cover everything from a guaranteed “date night” during the marriage to custody of the pets if there’s a divorce. It can also contain provisions about how to handle your affairs upon your death, she noted.
Hobson said she believed having a prenup was a good idea for most people. She cited a recent Harris Interactive poll in which 44 per cent of singles and 49 per cent of divorced people said they thought having a prenup was a good idea. Fifteen per cent of divorced people said they regretted not having one.
Of course, something like a prenuptial agreement is up to you and really varies from person to person, but the point is that your don’t have to have a Murdoch amount of wealth to justify having one.
Take Your Time With Financial Decisions
Business magnate, investor, and CEO of the Blackstone Group Stephen Schwarzman is worth somewhere around $US6.5 billion. He was also described by the New Yorker as a villain, he once likened raising taxes on the rich to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, and he’s well known for spending absurd amounts of money on his own goofy antics. His finance advice? Chill out, and postpone decisions when you can:
Today, whenever I’m under pressure to make a decision on a transaction but I don’t know what the right one is, I try desperately to postpone it. I’ll insist on more information — on doing extra laps around the intellectual parking lot — before committing. I take the same approach with people, too. For example, when we were looking for a manager to start up our long-short hedge fund, we interviewed for a year and a half. The timing was ripe for that asset class, and if you weren’t doing something with it, you were losing out. It took a huge amount of time and effort for Blackstone, but we found a young money manager we were comfortable with, and he’s become an enormous asset.
Every year I speak to our new associates and give them this advice, although in my own words. This isn’t like school, I tell them, where you want to get your hand in the air and give an answer quickly. The only grade here is 100. Deadlines are important, but at Blackstone you can always get help in meeting them. As a firm, we can always figure out how to do another lap around the parking lot. Because what’s true when running track is true when doing deals: The person who’s the most ready for game day will be the one who wins.
We’ve talked about plenty of ways to improve your decision making skills because it’s often a lot harder than you’d think. In the case of Schwarzman’s advice, those decisions can have serious impacts on your wealth, so it’s worth spending the time to really consider them in every way. Likewise, it’s about giving yourself time to overcome the stupid biases that often lead to poor financial decisions.
You Have To Work For It
Silvio Berlusconi has not only owned a few sports teams, media outlets, and more — he’s also been the Prime Minister of Italy, the subject of countless scandals, and been convicted of tax fraud. None of that has kept him off of Forbes lists of the richest people in the world though, and the former Prime Minister has done countless interviews over the years offering financial advice.
All his advice typically boils down to one thing. Don’t be lazy:
“The answer of Berlusconi the businessman is: ‘Try to earn more by getting on with things.'”
We’ve talked before about how it’s often better to focus on earning more rather than spending less, how easy it is to earn passive income, and how getting started is everything. Berlusconi’s rather flippant, awkwardly worded advice is essentially the same thing. Increasing your wealth isn’t about just idling by and waiting for it to happen: it’s about working for it no matter what it takes (although we’d suggest staying away from tax fraud).
When all is said and done, evil millionaires tend to make their money the same way as the rest of us: Investments, hard work, ingenuity, and risks. Bring your own laser sharks.
This post is part of our Evil Week series at Lifehacker, where we look at the dark side of getting things done. Knowing evil means knowing how to beat it, so you can use your sinister powers for good. Want more? Check out our evil week tag page.