Cheat To Win: How To Really Think Like A Billionaire

Avoid work, avoid taxes, and cover it all up

Watercolor illustration by J.R.R. Tolkien for The Hobbit, 1937

Real billionaires don’t work harder or wake up early. That’s what their maids do. This myth is created to obscure their wealth and then used by hustlers to sell you webinars. If you want to really think like a billionaire, look at what they do, not what they say.

Avoid work at all costs. Avoid taxes. Buy politicians. Launder your reputation. Rinse and repeat.

1 | Avoid Work

Work is for suckers. If you work you’re a laborer, and billionaires are capitalists. Billionaires don’t earn money. Their money earns money.

Let’s take someone trying to earn $500 a month.

Your normal plebe gets a job and every month they put $500 in the bank. They wait every year for an increment that rarely comes and struggles with bills by the 15th. If they don’t work they don’t eat. They are dumb.

Your normal plute, however, just puts $50,000 in the bank and lives off the interest. At 12% (common where I live), the bank puts $500 in itself every month. If they re-invest the money it will compound, giving ever-increasing returns.

But this is still amateur pluting. A real plute will walk into a bank and say, ‘hey, I’m already rich, give me more money’. And then banks will be like ‘yes fam’. They’ll borrow millions at 6%, invest it at 12% and pocket the difference. The richer you are, the lower your interest rates are. If you’re at the top you can just move money down and get rewarded.

Better yet, they’ll become a bank themselves. They’ll collect money from their rich friends, invest it in companies and A) take a yearly percentage of the total and B) collect a share of any profits. This has the added benefit of looking like work (look I have to get in and out of helicopters).

However, true plutes do not do any productive labor at all. Plutes just move money around. Money makes money, not work. Work is for suckers.

2 | Avoid Taxes

The first step is paying the priest. If you pay the modern priesthood (accountants and lawyers) they will cast spells over your finances, move words around and suddenly it becomes untaxable.

You can pay yourself some cash, but get your house, your car, your second house, your second car in the company name. Make your hobbies and interests into ‘philanthropies’. Make the lobbying for your interests a think-tank. Pay for your travel, your meals, and your entertainment as ‘expenses’, and obscure the rest.

Out of sight, out of mind.

The best way to shield your money is to simply move it. Whereas labor gets beaten and caged for crossing borders, capital can go wherever it wants. The profit priests have temples in the Caribbean which no taxman may enter. Move your money to the Cayman Islands and just park it there. Better yet, route it through multiple shell companies so no one knows where exactly it is.

Once you’ve bent the rules to their limit, change them. If you want to move money back, lobby for tax exemptions or tax cuts. And, honestly, that’s amateur hour. If your priests are good enough, the government should be paying you. You should be getting tax refunds, like IBM, Delta, and countless other companies.

Why be a taxpayer, when you can be paid by them? Like sports? Buy a sports team and get taxpayers to build the stadium. Want a new office? Get different cities to bid and give you tax holidays.

A true plute does not just avoid taxes. They get other people's taxes paid back to them.

3 | Change The Rules

Why bribe a clerk when you can buy a politician? If that fails, just bomb the airwaves and become one. The increasing media requirements of elections have made political campaigns very expensive and politicians up for sale. It’s not called bribery anymore, it’s donations, and fundraisers, political action committees and free speech.

When you can’t bend the rules anymore, change them. Support politicians that will support you. Get them to pass legislation reducing taxes, environmental regulations, labor rights — whatever you need.

Create a revolving door between your companies and the public sector. Create think tanks and philanthropic organizations to provide and employ their staffers. Offer board seats and jobs when the politicians supply. And of course supply cash. It’s not much, a few million dollars in donations can net billions.

4 | Rinse And Repeat

At this point, you are an objectively bad person. You don’t work hard, you avoid paying your fair share, and you’re corrupt. Your business itself may also be odious, selling drugs, causing climate change, exploiting workers. This all needs to be laundered. Luckily it comes out in a few rinses.

The first rinse is packaging wealth as work. Pick a few truly innovative billionaires (like Elon Musk, or Jeff Bezos) and make them your flag-bearers. Nevermind that most billionaires come from bog-standard exploitation of workers and the environment, keep quiet and point them to Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Thus you get the idolatry of innovation, at the desecration of all reason.

The next rinse is philanthropy. After taking and taking give some pittance back. Like Chevron causing and denying climate change and then donating $1 million to the Australian bushfires. This is .00667% of its yearly earnings and only a bit more than an Instagram model raised by selling nudes. It doesn’t matter. It’s the optics that counts.

If you’re drug pushers like the Sacklers, fund the arts. If you’re running a pedophile sex ring like Jeffrey Epstein, fund the sciences. As Anand Giridharadas writes in Winner Takes All, philanthropy is reputation laundry. Harvard, the Royal Ballet, they will all take your dirty money and wash it clean.

The best part is that you can choose what’s important to you. The most important thing is avoiding taxes, and you get deductions yay. Then there’s prestige, which you can buy, you can hobnob with interesting people who will pretend that you’re interesting too. And, of course, you can keep your money away from democratic processes that might allocate it to something you don’t like.

Thinking Like A Billionaire

And that’s how you think like a billionaire. Nobody’s going to pay you a billion-dollar salary, so avoid work. Instead, get money to work for you. Next, avoid the depletion of that money at all costs. Avoid taxes. Then corrupt democracies to protect your wealth. Finally, launder your reputation so that the public honors you for picking their pockets.

Then you can sit back, while your money multiplies, with the protection of corruption and the praise of the ignorant. Your kids can walk into elite universities and launder your name even more. You can give them the capital to start businesses and appear self-made. Then they can become influencers, to teach people journaling and self-help, perpetuating the lie that guards your wealth. Or they can just do drugs and buy cars, someone has to.

The world is yours. You broke it and you bought it. While the gardener is working hard, while your secretary is paying taxes, while dumbasses are voting for people they see on TV— you can manipulate all that and just be rich. That’s how you think like a billionaire.

Written by

A writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He/him. indi@indi.ca. Videos: tiny.cc/indication and podcast: anchor.fm/indication. patreon.com/indication

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store