Profiled in The Wall Street Journal the other day: A single mother, hit hard by the recession. She can barely keep a roof over her family’s head. Her salary was cut by 60 percent. And buying even the basics is a struggle. A story we’ve heard again and again.

“How sad,” I thought to myself, as I read the article. “How can somebody possibly be expected to live on … $150,000 a year? Wait! What?”

That’s right. This woman, a Hollywood realtor, is bitching about making more than 95 percent of Americans.

I don’t know her personally, of course. But I bet I can guess the problem. She spends too much. Expensive house. Designer clothes. Four-star dinners. Vacations galore. She may have felt rich. But she was just making herself poorer with every purchase.

As I say in Automatic Wealth:

“Having the things you desire — say, a big house and fancy cars — does not make you materially wealthy if you don’t have the wherewithal to keep those goods over a protracted period of time.”

The money this lady has gives her an amazing opportunity. If she would only follow the simple plan I outline in Automatic Wealth.

She can reduce her expenses. She can save. She can put that extra money to work to create multiple streams of income. She can start a side business. She can invest in rental real estate. She can make smart investments — the kind she could read about in Sound Profits.

If she does that, she’ll have more than enough to live on and retire very comfortably at an early age. And without bitching.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]

Mark Morgan Ford

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Wealth Builders Club. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.