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Ask Dave

Second Job vs. Government Assistance

Bruce and his wife qualify for government assistance. Is it okay to use it while they're getting back on their feet and paying off their debts?

QUESTION: Bruce in Ohio and his wife qualify for government assistance. Is it okay to use it while they’re getting back on their feet and paying off their debts? Dave suggests the better answer is for them to find a way to increase their income.

ANSWER: Obviously, a great income would be a better thing to have. I think as much as anything what you’ve got is a pattern—a culture—that you came out of with your family regarding income. The biggest thing you’re struggling with financially is your income. We’ve got to do something over the short term and long term to get your income up and really to get your brain to wrap around the fact that you can do things to earn three or four times what you’re earning that are legal and moral and good things to do.

What we’ve got to start asking ourselves is what are your natural gifts? What are some of the things you’re good at? Do you like math? No. Do you like details? No. Do you like people? Yes. Whatever the answers are, and you start thinking about what positions you could move into that would make you $50,000 or $75,000 or $100,000 a year over the next five or 10 years. Where do you want to be when you’re 41 years old? You sure don’t want to be making $25,000.

Then you start to identify what it is. Regardless of your age, I always say the same thing. You’ve got to figure out what you want to be when you grow up. You’ve got to say, “When I’m 41, what am I going to be doing? I don’t have the education to do that.” Okay, we’ve got 10 years. We’ve got to get on an education plan. “I don’t have the training or you’ve got to be an apprentice to do that.” Then let’s get in the apprentice program. “That might take a few months.” Yeah, it will. It will probably take a little while. This is probably a process. It’s probably not something that’s going to be fixed immediately, but you’re going to have to start on a journey to triple your income. That’s a long journey, and it’s not something that’s going to happen in 10 months, but in 10 years, it’s very doable.

A second job is preferable to government assistance. Government assistance is preferable to being hungry or, God forbid, your kids being hungry. We’re not going to do that. That’s not the point. I want you to retrain your mind to create income.

I’m going to send you a copy of a book by Robert Kiyosaki. The book is called Rich Dad, Poor Dad. He talks about in the book the mentality of rich people and how they think about income and how they see themselves—these are people who are rich and stay rich—and the mentality of poor people and the ones who stay poor and how they look at income. It’s a really good book for resetting your mindset on the type of stuff you and I are talking about here.

You’re on your way with plugging into this restaurant thing and moving to management, and you’re not afraid of hard work and late hours. You’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves and make things happen. You’ve got the right stuff. As a matter of fact, I’m going to have Lara put together a little success library for you. Every millionaire I know reads a nonfiction book a month at least. Most leaders are readers. The way you can reset your mentality on stuff like this and change the trajectory of your family tree is reading. Certainly, we’ll put the Bible in that mix for sure.