Personal Finance FAQ

Be the Hero of Your Financial Story

Have you ever listened to or read a story that riveted you, where you couldn’t wait for the next scene or the next word to come out? What made that story so captivating? Chances are that there was a hero in the story, and the hero was one to whom you could relate. Good heroes tend to have an Everyman quality to them. You want the ordinary person to succeed because usually, you see a lot of yourself in those stories.

Yet, what happens when we look to someone else to become a hero for us.

Warren Buffett paid less in taxes than most of his employees at Berkshire Hathaway and many people complained that he wasn’t paying his fair share. Food stamp usage recently reached an all-time high. Occupy Wall Street protesters claimed that it was a system keeping them down and out.

What do these have in common? Behind them all is a mix of envy and a desire for someone else to do something to make their situations improve. People in this situation are looking somewhere else for a hero, but the place where they need to look most for a hero is in the mirror.

You don’t have to be this guy, I promise!

Surprisingly enough, the term bootstrapping applies to most millionaires in the United States. For this post, I refer to the definition of bootstrapping that means that no external capital is used to start a business or to begin wealth. In other words, most millionaires are not millionaires because they’re trust fund babies or got a handout to get there. They bootstrapped. Approximately 66% of millionaires are self-employed, meaning that they started their own businesses and became millionaires, and 80% of millionaires are first generation rich.

When you look back at your life, what’s the story that you’re going to be able to tell? Will it be one where you sat back and waited for the ship which never came in, or are you going to become the hero, take charge, and achieve victory and create the life that you want for yourself? Get your own steed to ride off into the sunset on; it’ll get you there a lot more quickly than that ship you’re waiting for.


Jason Hull, CFP®, was the co-founder of Broadtree Partners, a firm that acquires $1-5MM EBITDA companies. He also was the co-founder of open source search consultancy OpenSource Connections, a premier Solr and ElasticSearch firm. He and his wife FIREd (financial independence retire early) at 46 and 45, respectively. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a MBA from the University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business.

You can read more about him in the About Page.

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