The 90/10 Rule of Money Making

Once upon a time there was a young farm boy. One day his father decided to teach him a valuable life lesson.

He took him besides the farm, a couple hundred yards away from a nearby water stream and gave him a huge empty bucket.

“I’ll give you a hundred bucks as soon as you fill this bucket with water,” he told his son.

“That’s easy,” the boy replied in a hurry.

“But there’s a catch…I’ll also use any means I have at my disposal to empty the bucket. And there’s only one rule. None of us can move the bucket one inch,” the father explained.

“Let’s do it old man!” The boy said.

The young man ran like crazy to the nearby water stream, and he filled his blouse with water. He hurried back to his father. As soon as he was back, he had spilled almost all of the water on the ground, but he made it back with a few ounces.

The first drops of water went into the bucket, and he went back again to fetch some more.

As soon as he was back, he saw the bucket all emptied. His father used an old mug to empty the bucket.

Back to square one, the young boy thought. I need to fill this thing up faster. He ran at home and equipped himself with 4 mugs and a bronze casserole. He ran again to the small river, and he filled everything up. 

Back to his dad again. He poured all the water into the bucket, but it was only good to fill half of the huge bucket. Right. Once more and this $100 is mine!

But once again, as soon as he was back, the bucket was all empty again, and his father was smiling mischievously.

But the boy was not to give up. I’m not a quitter he said, I’m going to win this. 

He ran back to the barn, and he took two big buckets. But as soon as he filled them with water there was no chance he could move them around. What he first thought was to take one with him, but that wouldn’t be enough, and he’d lose again.

So he decided to go all in. With a little help from his loyal mule, he took the two full buckets back to his dad.

And the boy poured in so much water that his dad’s bucket overflowed, making the young man $100 bucks richer.

On accumulating wealth

You see, accumulating wealth is a simple concept, yet so many people seem not to get it at all.

It’s only about two numbers.

How much money you make (water in the bucket) minus how much money you spend (water out of the bucket).

Input minus output. That simple.

Yet most of us (the author of this article included), have or had tremendous difficulty to understand this fundamental concept.

Most people believe that to accumulate vast amounts of wealth, clipping coupons, or saving in cheap toilet paper is going to make a difference.


Maybe if you’re not going out for a $2 coffee for the rest of your life, you’ll be able to save something like $20k in 30 years. Holy shit, this is huge money we’re talking about here.

Gimme a break.

Trying to cut on every corner in your life isn’t going to make you a millionaire. At least not fast enough to be young and full of energy to enjoy this money.

The 90/10 rule of money making

Imagine your money life game, like the one with the bucket and the water before. Paying attention to your defense is always desirable, especially when you start as a young entrepreneur.

But defense (being frugal), should never be your main focus. The most important reason is that cutting on costs has a certain limit. We all need at least a few hundred dollars per month to live, right?

On the other hand, attack (money generating) is virtually limitless. The more people you have a positive impact on, the more money you’re gonna make.

Try to train your mind into functioning based on the 90/10 rule of money making.

For every thought you make on how you can save some extra dollars, try to come up with nine more on how you’re going to generate more of it.

Wire your brain into thinking like this:

“Is this money I’m spending right now going to make me money back, directly or indirectly?”

If yes, then this can be considered an investment (or asset), and you may proceed.

In his excellent book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki explains in every detail what’s an asset and what’s a liability. Hell, you could even base your whole decision making on this fundamental concept alone.

Your goals, affirmations, vision, mindset, everything, should speak abundance and growth.

Think in terms of more, not less. Saving a few hundred bucks might be useful, but don’t get used to it. Don’t think in terms of contracting. Think in terms of expanding.

Align your goals

What are my goals for 2017?

My primary aim is generating more than $100k in revenue and a few more financial sub-goals. None of them is to cut back my expenses. Both personal or business.

I try to live a life below my means as much as I can, and I keep thinking everyday what else I can do, to generate more income for my digital publishing business.

I always try to evaluate if this expenditure is going to make me money back, if yes how much? Always think in terms of ROI (return on investment).

Have you ever heard of the phrase that money isn’t the most important thing in the world? Well, I agree. When you got tons of it, it’s not important anymore. When you’re financially free, money isn’t the most important thing in the world. But until then it is.

I’ve challenged some people in the past with the same question. But they failed to give me a satisfying answer. So I’m going to ask you again.

Just name one problem money can’t solve. Not two. Only one will do.

The most common answer I get at this point, is that health is more important than money. Well you know what? I agree. But given a few health issues are beyond our reach, I’d rather be sick and rich, than sick and poor.

For all the other health issues that are treatable (from the most expensive ones to the cheapest ones), well…money can fix them.

The tricky part

I kept a little secret for the end.

What I didn’t tell you about the water and the bucket story is this:

To fill this bucket with more water than your dad can pour out, or in other words to fill your bank account with more money than you can ever spend, you should really really really, want to do so.

Amassing, vast sums of money isn’t kid’s stuff. The general principle is easy. The doing part though, is a royal pain in the a$$.

It might take years or decades of hard work and determination to “fill your bucket.” But that’s the beautiful thing about capitalism and entrepreneurship. It’s based on math. It’s almost predictable.

The harder and smarter you work to provide value, the more value (money) you’ll receive back.

Remember. It’s all in your hand. Not mine. Not your father’s, not your mother’s. Not your government’s.

Only yours.

Wire your brain into thinking in terms of expansion. In terms of attacking. In terms of greatness. In terms of abundance.

And abundance you’ll have.

P.S. Don’t ask me why the little boy’s father was a farmer since he was so wise after all. I’m still trying to figure this out myself.