If you know where to look-heck, even if you don't know where to look-there's plenty of advice to be had on how to get rich. Judging by the sheer number of books, Web sites and blogs on the topic, the number of authorities on the subject is growing in leaps and bounds. This isn't so surprising, given the distressing economic environment. What's more surprising is that interest in this topic (by both instructors and initiates) is fairly constant and fairly high. Suffice it to say that becoming wealthy, nay being wealthy, is always in vogue.
Thinking Big, Bigger, Biggest
Most advice of this sort is developed for the "average" person. Someone who wants to be a millionaire, live in a palatial mansion, drive a high-powered sports car, wear designer clothes and so forth. If you've been reading this column, you know that our advice was derived from and was developed for the financial elite, or people who have already reached multi-millionaire status and have set bigger goals for themselves. Through feedback on and inquiries about Money Rules, we've learned that there are a variety of professionals across the globe that also consult with the financial elite and support their efforts to build ever-larger fortunes. In the May/June 2010 issue of Private Wealth, we discussed the experimental psychologist who works exclusively with the ultra-affluent, using operant conditioning to help them conceptualize all the people they deal with as "lab rats." If that wasn't outré enough for you, below we describe a few additions to the expanding group of "get rich" experts.
Doing God's Work
Prosperity theology is a religious belief, held by millions, that God provides material prosperity to those he favors. The proponents of this position cite scripture such as: "But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day" (Deuteronomy 8:18). This movement's historic roots go back to people like Kenneth Copeland and K. C. Price, but the more renowned and contemporary proponents include T. D. Jakes, Joel Osteen and Benny Hinn. Employing the latest communication technologies in venues like mega-churches and football stadiums, these preachers convey prosperity theology to enormous audiences of devotees.
Recently, we encountered such a professional who is known simply as the Minister.
Yes, the Minister is an ordained member of the clergy and holds an advanced degree in clinical social work. He began his "calling" by starting a small church several decades ago. In the early 1980s, he began to hone his message of financial success through God's blessing and traveled to other churches to preach the gospel of prosperity. He was repeatedly asked for individualized advice on how to garner God's blessings, giving him the opportunity to merge his background in social work with his unique approach to prosperity theology.
Today he offers "prosperity counseling" on a one-on-one basis to help congregants act faithfully and gain financially. He works almost exclusively with wealthy individuals, receiving referrals to new disciples from current ones. The Minister also hosts seminars for "aspiring ministers" who'd like to work with their affluent followers in similar ways.
After struggling to identify the appropriate pricing model, the Minister opted for voluntary contributions instead of mandatory fees. All contributions go to a non-profit organization that distributes roughly 60% to various religious and charitable causes and retains the other 40% to cover the extremely high overhead required to do God's work.
Walking With Angels
She smiles at us and says, "I see angels." The Angelologist explains that angels possess great acumen and understanding. As noted in James 2:19, angels study the Bible more deeply than the most devout humans, which, in turn, provides them with greater knowledge and insight.
According to the Angelologist, everyone has between one and five guardian angels, with a few truly blessed individuals having more. She claims that her extensive theological studies have enabled her to act as an intermediary between people and their personal guardian angels. Fortunately, she doesn't just see angels; she can also communicate with them and access their divine wisdom on behalf of her very wealthy clients. Understandably, the Angelologist accepts very few clients as not everyone is of the "right frame of mind" to benefit from communicating with their guardian angels. She makes it clear that the wisdom imparted by angels is so profound and so honest that only a few people are able to see the righteousness of it.
For a fee of $75,000, the Angelologist will meet with a new client to determine if he or she is able to benefit from talking to his or her guardian angels. More importantly, it gives her the opportunity to see if the client's guardian angels will talk to and through her. There are times, she admits, when she cannot win the confidence of a person's guardian angels. If that's the case, she will gladly refund half of the initial fee. If she decides to move forward, the Angelologist charges her clients a monthly retainer between $20,000 and $50,000 with a minimum engagement of six months-a figure set by one of her seven guardian angels.