68. The Big Spender and the Rich Man

One of the greatest mistakes that we make all the time is we mistake the big spender for the rich guy. How many times do you hear people say whoa, he’s wealthy. Look at the car he drives, look at the house he lives in, look at the wedding he made for his kids. What a wealthy individual. When you look at a man who acts that way, you’re looking at a man who spends a lot of money. He’s a big spender. But a big spender doesn’t mean he’s a rich man. As a matter of fact, the quickest way to not be rich is to spend. The only way to be rich is not to spend. When we look at a man like that who is spending and spending and spending, and the reality is you find out not long thereafter that he’s in dire straits, that his house is now in foreclosure, that his business is bankrupt, what you quickly understand is spending is a Western Civilization phenomenon.

Being a big spender doesn’t mean you’re a rich man. Being a big spender means you’re putting out a façade for the world to see. You want to show people that you can spend a lot of money. Spending money doesn’t make you rich. Quite the opposite, spending money makes you poor. When you’re looking at the big spender, you’re not necessarily looking at a rich man; you’re looking at a man who step by step is making himself poorer and poorer and poorer.

Understanding that there’s wealth and there’s spending, and understanding that when Hashem grants a person wealth they don’t have to act in a way that’s inappropriate or improper, they don’t have to show the world how much money they have, there’s an understanding of how Hashem wants us to act when Hashem does grant us great wealth and success.