Seven sources of income

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by Scott Perron

In a lifetime we each meet people who we consider unique, influential or inspiring.

While living in Kansas City, I met a man I would describe as having all three of these traits. Let’s call him Dr. T. and, yes, he is a medical doctor.

In addition to being a successful leader, Dr. T. was also very human, humble and appreciative of from where he came. We were introduced by a mutual friend, another great doctor, who knew Dr. T. for many years, serving in the military with him where they both attained their education.

One day, I learned Dr. T. had purchased a nice piece of land with the intention of knocking down the existing house to build a new one. During our conversation I discovered he was currently living in the house they intended to demolish, which was in great need of repair, to say the least.

The obvious question was, “Why didn’t you build and then move in?”

He said, “I am still working on my seven sources of income and want to wait until I can build the house with cash.”

What? Cash? Being intrigued, I said, “Why do you need seven sources? You’re a doctor—and the head of your department!” He proceeded to tell me about he and his siblings being raised by a single mother with very little to offer except the basic necessities.

One of his most vivid memories was a time a new movie had come out. The kids begged their mom to take them to the theater. She finally agreed and sent the kids outside to play only to call them in an hour later where they found mom had decorated the living area like a theater with a sheet serving as a curtain, chairs arranged in rows in front of the TV and bowls of fresh popcorn.

The movie they would watch was on a broadcast station, as they could not afford the premium channels. She did the best she could to deliver the wants of her children without spending money they did not have.

As he told his story, tears began streaming down his face. I was in awe of this person who was so successful, yet so human and driven by his past. Dr. T. said he decided long ago to diversify his income streams so if his steady hands ever failed him in his chosen occupation, he would not subject his family to the challenges he was exposed to as a child.

So he carefully augmented his income by investing in more conservative funds; founded a clinic that employed people in a different medical service, and purchased rental homes and a few other small businesses, thereby developing his plan to have seven different sources of income.

Dr. T.’s words had a profound affect on me. It is clear each of us may also need to develop a strategy to create income by diversifying our sources. This is difficult to accomplish overnight, but remember that there is time.

In our little world, diversification may come in the form of a new profit center like carpet cleaning or floor restoration; purchasing our real estate to benefit from the rental income from yourself or others; adding an installation workroom; becoming a certified inspector; opening a line extension that serves a different consumer niche, or simply opening more locations.

Dr. T. is not only a professional, he is a leader teaching his children the value of money; a great son for honoring his mother’s hard work and dedication, and an inspiration to people like you and me. Thanks, Doc.

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