A person makes the average of what the 4 or 5 people (s)he spends time with the most make. (In other words, an easy way to increase your income is to spend more time and become friends with people who make more money than the people you hang out with now.)
I read that declaration in a post by online dimes recently and wasn’t sure whether to believe it at first, so a few nights ago, The Wife and I decided to put it to the test at the local Ale House.
I started by writing the names and approximate incomes of the five people closest to me. (They may have been my best friends or simply people who I spent the most time with and trusted.) I added all of the incomes, divided by 5 and the number I got was pretty close to my current income (including non-monetary compensation, such as health care). I then removed the one I spent time with the least from that list, added all the other incomes, and divided by 5. This time I got almost the exact amount I made per year, not including non-monetary compensation. (I’ll explain why I divided by five and not four later in this article.)
To verify, the Wife did the same thing. The results were right on the mark. Looks like the author was right.
Finally, just to make sure we weren’t fooling ourselves, we asked the waiter if he wouldn’t mind being a bit of a guinea pig for us. Again, we asked him for his five closest friends who he also spent the most time with and their incomes. This guyâ€™s friends made a rather large amount of money per year. I was surprised. I also became skeptical about whether the rule held true in this case. Nevertheless, we got all the names and incomes, we added them up, divided by 4 and 5 (we ran both sets of numbers) and — lo and behold — the formula was right! (I was surprised to find out that this Ale House waiter was pulling in around $60k/yr. I then found out he had another job, as a waiter in another restaurant, and was working around 12 – 16 hours a day between the two.)
So, if you want to try it out yourself (or want to find out about how much a person makes without their knowledge) here’s what you do:
1) Get the names of the five people they spend the most time with whom they also consider friends.
2) Get the incomes for each.
3) Divide by five. The total is around the top range of how much they’ll make.
4) Remove from the list the name and income of the person within that list with which they spend the least amount of time. (Do this especially if they spend time watching a lot of TV, or they spend a lot of time reading trashy publications. In these cases, I’ve discovered, the TV basically becomes a fifth friend who doesn’t make any money. My sin here is spending way too much time online in non-productive activites like Fark and StumbleUpon.)
5) Add up the incomes for all remaining friends and divide by four (or by 5 if they watch a lot of TV, spend too much time online, or read a lot of trashy publications). This number will be at the bottom range of how much they probably make. (For those who watch a lot of TV, I’ve found that this number is almost closer to the truth than the first.)
Go on and try it out for yourself. If this holds true for you (and it’s best to do this with someone you trust, especially if they know your finances, so as to keep yourself honest) drop a line and tell me so. If it doesn’t, drop me a line and tell me by how much it was off (don’t leave your name, though, since this is probably pretty personal info).
Lesson: A good way to make more money is to get friends who make more money, and to watch less TV (and spend less wasteful time online). This doesn’t mean you leave your old friends (unless it’s the television), but it does mean you make it an effort to spend more time with people who are in a better financial position than you.