April 12th 2005
I don’t know if you followed the story in most of the papers last week about Rosie Millard – she’s a landlady who writes a regular column in the Times about her investing life. She owns, apparently, her own house and three buy-to-let properties, and a week or so ago she admitted to having debt on interest free credit cards.
Well, that simple admission has opened up a huge attack from other journalists and the concerned or outraged reader from every corner of the country. Rosie wrote her defence in the Sunday Times and some of the things she says are worth repeating:
- She has been attacked for being in debt (or perceived debt) at the same time as being wealthy – it seems that the two possibilities are both immoral and ‘not normal’ in some way. How bizarre – why is it that the majority of our populace insists on being stuck in that ‘middle lane’ of life? – and they don’t want to be, nor do they want others to be, anywhere else, or in either extreme of poverty or wealth (if they chose)
- Rosie has learned, as I say every time I speak, that the possibility of wealth, or even the discussion of it, is “a thing not done in polite society”. For as long as people believe that wealth is a horror to be avoided, we will NEVER be a wealthy nation
- There is such a thing as good debt and bad debt – and it is fundamental to understand the difference. All the major wealth players in our society, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson, and certainly Donald Trump, have had times in their lives where they have been up to their eyebrows in debt- and quite rightly so, because the understanding and management of debt is one of the top principles of wealth creation.
Rosie has been attacked, ridiculed, and vilified for daring to move out of the mediocrity of normal financial life in an attempt to provide for herself and her family, now and for the future. She has sadly been the recipient of all the nation’s negative and poor beliefs about money and wealth, which unfortunately are as silly, uninformed, restrictive, and financially inhibiting as ever they were. It reminds me that we still have such a long way to go.
I don’t know Rosie, have never met her and I don’t even normally read her column, but all I can say is “good luck to you, and keep at it”.