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I just did a quick computation. Let's say that you are born in extreme poverty, and your net worth (yearly revenue and assets) is just $1 by the time you reach 20 years old. Let's say you think and work (on average) 1% faster than the average guy - in short producing just 1% more valuable output than the average guy, each day. Let's say that you leverage half of this advantage for your own growth (to produce compound return), and the other half for your quality of life (nice restaurants and vacations, marry a girl with expensive tastes).
Wealth multiplier over time if you do just 1% better (daily) than average
You would think that you'll experience big ups and downs in terms of wealth, but on average, you should do well. Assuming you are smart - you work far less than your colleagues but still produce more value (allowing you to keep your high paying job for longer than expected), use your significant spare time to launch your company, and avoid truly bad investments.
Here's what should happen to you: after 5 years (x = 1,826 days on the X-axis), your net worth would have increased by a factor 10,000 (see Y-axis, see the red dot indeed), so your net worth should now be $10,000 if you started with $1 five years ago. This sounds very reasonable and even conservative. After 10 years (the rightmost dot on the X-axis), your net worth should be 100 million dollars. This seems quite possible too.
But if you started with 1 million dollars rather than 1 dollar (as tons of people did in US), the few that used my 0.5% rule should now be at 100 million times one million dollars, that is 100 trillion dollars. How is there not a single trillionaire on Earth? Is there a cap (dollar ceiling) to how much one can make, and the wealth must be measured using other metrics (not attached to a currency)?
Why did Bill Gates fail to become a trillionaire? Adverse or competitive forces? Not enough resources on Earth that are trully worth trillion of dollars - the wealth ceiling. Or maybe the dollar is not a linear metric, and possessing 1 billion dollars makes you 10,000 times more "wealthy" than someone possessing a mere 100 million dollars.
Just food for thoughts. Would love to read your opinion.