Kevin O’Leary made the biggest deal of his life when he sold The Learning Company to Mattel at the height of the dot-com bubble in 1999 for $US4.2 billion.
Since then, he’s become a venture capitalist, mutual fund manager, and television personality, currently best known as one of the investors on “Shark Tank.”
He’s a self-made millionaire whose career has taken him through many different industries. He’s seen enough to pin down five different “languages of money” that he details in his book “Cold Hard Truth on Family, Kids and Money.”
You’ll find that these languages, these ways of seeing money, manifest themselves in ways that significantly define someone’s personality and therefore the type of relationships they maintain.
See how you and the people you know measure up, and make any necessary adjustments before it’s too late!
1. The Mooch
This is the person who conveniently forgets their wallet when you go out, or suddenly gets upset with the waiter when the bill arrives and they don’t feel like tipping much, if at all.
“Some mooches come from backgrounds where there was never enough,” O’Leary writes. “Never enough money, never enough resources, never enough time.”
They have a tendency to borrow money from their friends and family until they get cut off and ostracized, O’Leary says.
2. The Spendaholic
“We all know who these people are: They’re the ones offering to pay for everybody, trying desperately to appear popular and successful,” O’Leary writes. “Don’t be fooled.”
Just because someone seems to always be footing the bill for their friends doesn’t mean they can actually afford to, and there’s a good chance they’re racking up credit card debt.
And sure, there can be plenty of excuses for why someone is racking up debt, O’Leary says, but a poor credit score almost always comes down to a spendaholic’s inability to manage money rather than a life filled with tragedy.
“Debt is where money becomes your enemy. Money is your most trusted friend, but it always has a sinister element to it, waiting to turn on you,” he writes.
3. The Loafer
Loafers don’t have to be racked with anxiety over money; in fact, they could be perfectly happy. They can either be trust fund babies whose family fortune takes care of all the bills, or slackers who don’t mind living in a crummy apartment while working a dead-end job.
The main trait among all loafers is a lack of ambition.
Because they have never had to worry about money, they don’t have any savings, and they just expect that their financial needs will somehow always be met.
4. The Thief
“The best thieves are wolves in Armani suits. On the outside, they look like wealthy businessmen; on the inside, they’re swindlers,” O’Leary writes.
He says that in his career he’s come across people who just can’t help themselves. Robbing people of their money becomes a habit, a disease. And while things can work out for them for a while, once the game is over, their reputation gets destroyed and they (and often their families, whether fairly or not) become ostracized.
“I know a music promoter, a very powerful man, who has ripped people off so many times, he’s burned every bridge he ever crossed,” O’Leary says. “He’s very wealthy now, but it no longer matters; he’s lost all social and business connections, which will stunt his future.”
5. The Meanie
This one’s a bit of a misnomer, since it’s actually the only desirable type of person to be.
“The meanie is a balanced spender who lives within her means,” O’Leary writes. “She has a healthy approach to saving and investing money, and she knows how to set a budget and stick to it. The meanie says, ‘Look, there are plenty of things I want and can’t afford. But until I can afford them, I’m just going to have to live without them.'”
O’Leary says his mum had three basic rules that define what it means to speak the language of the meanie: “Don’t spend too much. Mostly save. Always invest.”
The best relationships, O’Leary says, are between meanies, and “if you’re serious about building a financial dynasty, there is only one language that’s going to get you where you want to go.”