Are You Living Like a Prostitute? | Money | Success tips and life stories from Adam Khoo, Asia's top success coach.

Are You Living Like a Prostitute?

Some of you may already know that I travel around the region pretty frequently, having to visit and conduct seminars at my offices in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Su Zhou (China). I am in the airport almost every other week so I get to bump into many people who have attended my seminars or have read my books.

Recently, someone came up to me on a plane to KL and looked rather shocked. He asked, ‘How come a millionaire like you is travelling economy?’ My reply was, ‘That’s why I am a millionaire.’ He still looked pretty confused. This again confirms that greatest lie ever told about wealth (which I wrote about in my latest book ‘Secrets of Self Made Millionaires’). Many people have been brainwashed to think that millionaires have to wear Gucci, Hugo Boss, Rolex etc… (I shop at G2000 by the way) and sit on first class in air travel. This is why so many people never become rich because the moment that earn more money, they think that it is only natural that they spend more, putting them back to square one.

The truth is that most self-made millionaires (not those lucky bast**ds who inherited money) are frugal and only spend on what is necessary and of value. That is why they are able to accumulate and multiply their wealth so much faster. Over the last 7 years, I have saved about 80% of my income while today I save only about 60% (because I have my wife, mother in law, 2 maids, 2 kids, etc… to support). Still, it is way above most people who save 10% of their income (if they are lucky). I refuse to buy a first class ticket or to buy a $300 shirt because I think that it is a complete waste of money. However, I happily pay $1,300 to send my 2-year old daughter to Julia Gabriel Speech and Drama without thinking twice.

When I joined the YEO (Young Entrepreneur’s Organization) a few years back (YEO is an exclusive club open to those who are under 40 and make over $1m a year in their own business) I discovered that those who were self-made thought like me. Many of them with net worths well over $5m, travelled ecomony class and some even drove Toyota’s and Nissans. I noticed that it was only those who never had to work hard to build their own wealth (there were also a few ministers’ and tycoons’ sons in the club) who spent like there was no tomorrow. Somehow, when you did not have to build everything from scratch, you do not really value money. This is precisely the reason why a family’s wealth (no matter how much) rarely lasts past the third generation. Thank god my rich dad (oh no…I sound like Kiyosaki) foresaw this terrible possibility and refused to give me a cent to start my business.

Then some people ask me, ‘What is the point in making so much money if you don’t enjoy it?’ The thing is that I don’t really find happiness in buying branded clothes, jewelry or sitting first class. Even if buying something makes me happy it is only for a while…it does not last. material happiness never lasts, it just give you a quick fix. After a while you feel lousy again and have to buy the next thing which you think will make you happy. I always think that if you need material things to make you happy, then you live a pretty sad and unfulfilled life.

Instead, what make ME happy is when I see my children laughing and playing and learning so fast. What makes me happy is when I see by companies and trainers reaching more and more people every year in so many more countries. What makes me really happy is when I read all the emails about how my books and seminars have touched and inspired someone’s life. What makes me really happy is reading all your wonderful posts about how this BLOG is inspiring you.This happiness makes me feel really good for a long time, much much more than what a Rolex would do for me.

I think the point I want to put across is that happiness must come from doing your life’s work (be in teaching, building homes, designing, trading, winning tournaments etc…) and the money that comes is only a by-product. If you hate what you are doing and rely on the money you earn to make you happy by buying stuff, then I think that you are living a life no better than a prostitute.


35 Comments so far

  1. alex on August 9th, 2006

    I bought your book recently, sssm, and discovered this excellent blog site of yours. I found it strange that such a well known entrepreneur in singapore, your blog comments is rather low. While those useless blog site like, Xia**e, is getting 100+ comments everyday. What a shame.

    Will continue reading your blog! Yup.

  2. shirley on August 9th, 2006

    Hi, one day i clicked a link on your blog and find a website named Do you know this website well? They ask for my credit card no, fine, i gave it. But they then ask my card 3 digit code. I thought we should give our 3 digit code to any one at all?

    Thanks for your time.

  3. Celine on August 9th, 2006

    Yes, Adam…I agree with what you’ve shared. I think many people do not really understand what it truly means to be happy Most think that being happy is acquiring something outside of self for self’s own gratification and branded goods and other material things and so on. Nothing external or outside of oneself can make one happy, it’s just momentary replacement of the deep emptiness and fears, insecurity, etc that dwells within. Even if one has loads of money, status, wealth or recognition in life, it does not mean one is going to be really happy.

    I would say that true happiness is the external expression of joy within oneself when one comes to truly and honestly know self and what one can give as service to all others. It is what Mother Teresa has said – the “joy of giving”!

    However, having said this, it does not mean that one cannot be wealthy or rich. Money or wealth itself is neutral, there is no good or bad about it, neither is it right or wrong to be rich or wealthy. It is just how we perceive money and how we use it. When it comes from distorted perceptions and negative ego thinking, the question is, is one aware of it? Most times the issue is actually not about our relationship to people or money, it is about our relationships with our thoughts about people and money. So, isnt it so important to be vigilant about our thoughts every moment? – because our thoughts create our reality! – and one can always ask self – what reality do I want to create?

  4. yap pern fei on August 9th, 2006

    how about robert kiyosaki he likes to buy branded cars and big houses !! is it a different perspective or is it a personal discipline /believe

  5. Iwan 'e1' Rahabok on August 9th, 2006

    “I refuse to buy a first class ticket or to buy a $300 shirt because I think that it is a complete waste of money. However, I happily pay $1,300 to send my 2-year old daughter to Julia Gabriel Speech and Drama without thinking twice.”
    Good to know someone at your calibre share the same thought. Kinda funny since my 2 girls (Marie and Marielle) go to Julia Gabriel.

  6. Lorna Blake on August 9th, 2006

    Dear Adam,

    I’m a 41 y.o. woman who is seeking financial freedom! I’m looking for a mentor.
    I just came across some information on you via a blog(Adam Wong’s). I then checked out your blog and sense your passion and inspiration! I share your value of helping people. I don’t get a kick out of material things…
    I’m currently teaching English in S. Korea. Would you be willing to mentor me? If you’re unable to do so can you provide me some assistance in finding a mentor? Thanks in advance.

    Lorna Blake

  7. Meng on August 9th, 2006

    Dear Adam,

    That’s a really nice advice, I save $200 every month this year its a little more than 10% of my pay, I just put the money in a nice box at home course I do not wanna put in my bank cos this 10% is purely for saving. Just wanna ask is there any better way to save my money other than putting them in the box? Is fix deposit cool or invest some where? Pls advice.

    From: Mr Meng

  8. Patrick Wong on August 9th, 2006

    yup, i do agree with adam. Material won’t bring you happiness, do not focus your happiness on objects. It’s actually very shallow to only think that expensive stuff will bring you happiness. I just bought Adam’s pattern of excellence and i am following it whole heartedly.


  9. Adam on August 10th, 2006

    This is in response to the comments from Shirley:
    Do note that the ads you see on the BLOG are placed randomly by Google. So, I have no control as to the kind of ads that appear. Always exercise caution when surfing, especially when you are asked for personal information

    This is in response to the comments from Pern Fei:
    I am not saying that one cannot buy nice cars and big houses. The important thing is that it should be a small percentage of your total income. For example, is buying a Mercedes at $350,000 extravagant? Well, it depends. If you are earning $6,000 a month and have to take a super huge loan just to feel the prestige to own such a car when you can actually save the money for growth, then I think you must be an idiot. BUT, if you are earning $5 million a year, then it would be a relatively average expense.

    For example, I bought a $200K+ BMW myself and also bought myself a $2m house. Since these expenses are considered relatively low to me, based on my income, then it is OK to me. But if I were to buy a $2m Lamborghini and a $10m house (which I could afford by taking on a huge loan and stretching my finances), then I would be stupid. The other important thing is to make purchases because you have a particular passion or need for it and not becasue you just want others to see you look good. for example, I bought my house primarily because I need lots of rooms for my whole family, while I have a personal passion for convertiables and sports cars. So, one indulgent or two is fine, as long as you don’t overdo it.

  10. shirley on August 10th, 2006

    Thanks, adam. Why I came to this website is because i am reading the book written by you “secrets of self-made millionaires”. I chose this book randomly while i was wandering in POPULAR. And after i read the first few pages of the book, i got excited to read on. By now, i have three books written by you” i am gifted, so are you, master your mind, designing your destiny and plus the one i mentioned earlier. just regret for not buying your books earlier. I really become inspired by your books. The language used is easy to understand and follow and inspiring. i will continue to support you. I am from NUS too.

    (By the way, i have found a few typo errors in the books written by you. Haha…)

  11. Ivan on August 10th, 2006

    Wow, the title is provoking, but I completely agree with you.
    Can’t wait to learn from you in POE course.

  12. andrew wee on August 10th, 2006

    Hey Adam,
    I feel that your title is misleading.
    Prostitutes are actually some of the hardest working people around and a large portion of them do so because it’s the only way to support their family. they’re quite frugal and believe me, every dollar they earn is more than made up by the diseases and health risks they are constantly exposed to.

    It’s actually good that many people are spendthrifts. the circulation of currency in the economy helps keep the country’s finances active. in fact, the more often money changes hands, from the government to the employers, employees, supermarkets (for food), and luxury expenses, the more cashflow is created.
    in countries like taiwan and japan, the economies are stagnant due in part to citizen’s high savings rate.

    it also depends what the money is being saved and used for. money is a concept of exchange, where we can exchange pieces of printed paper for objects and services. as you rightly pointed out, investing in personal development will give back a multiple in personal returns.

  13. Arvind on August 11th, 2006

    Adam, this is a powerful post me thinking about what you said in your books about passion and doing what we love most in life..daring to be different and not following the crowd..incredible..hey I got a question for you it may be a little out of topic but I gotta ask often do you buy books and do you read the business n personal development manuals in your collection over n over again? big is your collection of books?

  14. Darren on August 12th, 2006

    Hello Adam,

    I’ve attended one of your camps four years ago during my sec sch times and bought one of your book’s I’M GIFTED SO. ARE YOU. You do really inspire alot of people including me although the passion slowly fades away day by day. When i recently got to know of your blog. Your entries again inspired me alot. Im sure im gona be successful one day with my hardwork. Carry on the good work!! 😀

  15. Winston on August 14th, 2006

    Well said, Adam! I agree with you fully regarding senseless materialism!

    The last time we met at Borders during the launch of your latest book, your schedule was fully packed and you didn’t even have time for lunch. With age, I realise money, health and quality time with family and friends are all important!


  16. Ken on August 17th, 2006

    Great post. Got the book Secrets of self made millionaires recently. For those who haven’t got one, get it soon. It’s of a healthy mix of philosophies and money making ideas.

    Yeah, if you plan to jump into the internet way of making money and you face some TECHNICAL PROBLEMS, visit my blog or mail me at


  17. Mei Ling on August 25th, 2006

    Hi Adam,

    My husband is so intrigued with your above blog that he sent me a note to read it – telling me that I think along the same lines like you – spending on whatever is necessary & not finding comfort in material things.

    I read your article, and read it the second time and read it the third time. I agree with you – that people who never build their own wealth would never be able to value money.

    I don’t know if I’m going to be wealthy one day, but one thing for sure – I will be very happy whatever the outcome is!

  18. Ken Chee on September 22nd, 2006

    Hi Adam,

    We met few years ago during a seminar and glad to read your blog. Put it another way, many out there are prostituting their time for money. They drag their feet doing what they have no passion about so that they could pay bills.

    I speak in seminar too and very often the mood will change when I ask, “How many of you love what you are loving right now? Some will raise their hands and I ask again, “Will you continue to do what you are doing even if you are not paid to do it?”. Usually, there will be no hands.

    I know that if we are Passionate in something that will add alot of value on planet earth, money will come in abundance. It is a concept of BE-DO-HAVE rather than DO-HAVE-BE.

    You take care of your health and hope to see you again.


  19. San on October 11th, 2006

    Hi Adam,

    I am really inspired by you. Guessed Merry R too! 🙂 Only 25 and she is following your footsteps and she is really fast in action (Her book is already out?!!)

    Have been doing biz for 6 years but getting no where, still struggling. I definitely need alot of guidance from people like you. Just got your book a few months ago and it is like my business bible now. Its like back to school. So much to read and learn. Need to do lots of homework too. Well, no pain no gain but at least it has saved me alot of time digging for information. So far, its the best book I have ever read. Its worth every cent.

    Please keep me updated of your seminar.

    Thank you for sharing your secrets of building up an empire which alot of rich people don’t.

    Looking forward to see you someday!


  20. Anonymous on November 24th, 2006
  21. Anonymous on November 26th, 2006
  22. viona on April 21st, 2007

    Hi Adam,

    It’s the first time I visit your blog. Your point of view is quite interesting, and I fully agree with you that we should be able to save more. Unfortunately, it reminds me how sad and unfulfilled my life is (just like you said), as I sometimes go out and buy things to make myself happy or forget the burden in my heart.

    However, I disagree with your closing statement, about living a life like a prostitute. Generally, this term “prostitute” gives negative effect, such as immoral, wrong, low, bad, etc. So, if I am a graduate, but can’t find the job I desire, and stuck with a boring job that I hate, but have no choice but to do it coz I have to feed myself and my family; it makes me living my life like a “prostitute”?

  23. BT on October 22nd, 2007

    Hi Adam,

    This is indeed a very sobering thought.

    When ever I saw your ad on the newspaper.. I always thought who is this big air head young punk claiming that you can help people to make alot of money and achieve so much more with life and blah blah.. until one day my close friend introduced me to your book “Secrets to self made millionaires” (cus the both of us LOVE money.. who dun?) .

    Even at that point of time, I was going like .. Iam not going to waste money on that ..that crap is probably some kind of “make you feel good for a short time kind of book”..but after a while.. things all go back to square one. But she continue to urge me to read it.. I call that nagging actually.

    One day.. I pass by the book store out of boredom and I saw the book. I was thinking ot myself.. what the hell.. not expansive anyways..maybe I can find some loop holes and then I can go back and prove my close friend that my comments about you are right!

    I am just half way thru the bookk now.. it is full of down to earth tips that one can use and apply it. So far I have not found something which I disagree with.

    Of course.. I am still trying to find proof of you know..proving my initial impression of you until today I google-ed you and came to your blog (even when your book quoted your website a couple of times. I still refused to visit it.. !!) .

    I realised that you are a very down to earth person who use the same swear words like me. LOL. Sweet.

    I am hooked. I just called my close friend and we want to attend your wealth academy but I just cannot find the price of the course ANYWHERE! Why is it that you do not put the prices anywhere on the website? or am I not searching hard enough? I do not want to call the number man only to find out that it is full man. Is there any way to find out the availablity real time on the web? or book for up coming classes online?

    Can I work for you? You do not have to pay me salary.

    The only thing I ask for is to attend your classes for free and work for you and learn!.

    What can I offer you? I do not know. But I know I like to help and motivate people but I am just not there yet or confident enough and I believe you can help me to unleash what is in me and help me to live a more fulfilling life.

    Regards, hubba bt.

  24. Twain on October 11th, 2008

    This seems to be a really inspiring article, however the last line sounds really disappointing. The comparison with a prostitute is demeaning and degrading. I mean to say that even a prostitute does have some dignity and nobody has the right to make a mockery of it. It is very inhuman of to refer to it in this manner. Moreover one has not considered the fact that certain people work in jobs that they don’t like not because they want to but because they have to. It could also be because of the very same reasons that make many feel happy. I would certainly not mind working in a job that I don’t like just to make sure that my wife and kids and those who love me need to be happy, if there is no other way out. I feel this article appears to be more in terms of an oxymoron.

  25. Saadia on November 11th, 2008

    Thank you for trying to knock sense into people who start thinking with their pockets, the moment they build up a fat bank balance. I’ve quoted your post on my blog, at

  26. James on December 4th, 2008

    Hi Adam,

    One of my ex-bosses who is a year younger than me belittled me by saying that although younger, he’s earning way much more than me. At one point, he drove past me in his BMW 5 series and looked at me with contempt. What do you think of people like this and how do I respond to them. You advice is most appreciated. Thank you.

  27. Crazy person on December 21st, 2008

    Hi. I just received a forward – which is essentially this blog post.

    I think it’s good.

    Upon reading Alex’s comment…
    I think that the reason you’re not getting much comments/followers is your writing style. Content’s there. Style’s not.

    It all sounds too instructional. Some readers don’t feel that you understand other people’s situation. And that if you’d been in theirs, you might not do that well too.

    But your blog shows your voice. Just that it doesn’t achieve rapport. Hence not very popular.

    Just giving my opinion.

  28. anson on February 16th, 2009

    I totally disagree with this guy. That’s so pretentious and may even be a complete lie. I think it’s so happen that his interests are not on cars or luxury watches or clothes or flying first class. Did he mention where he lives right now? I bet he’s living in one of the best condos in Singapore. Did he mention in which hotel he stays on his travels abroad? I’m sure it’s in one of those luxury hotels in major cities. If one person is that rich, would he allow himself and his family live in some low/middle-class apartments elsewhere? Did he mention where he plays golf or indulge in other recreational activities? He might even be flying to the best golf courses worldwide just for a tee; that’s why he mentioned he is in an airport every other week. What i’m trying to say is every individual has his own way of finding happiness, esp if he has the means to do so. But he cannot tell anyone not to fly first class just because he refuses to do so, and setting himself an example that “hey, look at me, i’m worth more than $5 million, but i always take economy.” That’s a whole lot of crap. Not all medicines work on everyone, just because one got cured by it.

  29. mike on February 16th, 2009

    i love what you wrote.. me and my friend… Anson (who is your big fan) realized we should share this to our company as well! cheers!

  30. on August 22nd, 2009

    Keep up the great work!

  31. Harry on December 17th, 2009

    Hi Adam,
    I am reading u r blog for the first time. So cute to read.So healthy thoughts also.But people can have different resons for all,its human.But u r thots are really touching and applicable to all.Expecially in this world of Financial uncertainty and proverty.There are more than one third sleeping with lessthan half or empty stomach.We cann’t forget this real facts.

    Thanks n cheers

  32. ABC on December 17th, 2009

    Hi.. If what you wrote is true then why people earn money? Money is also a type of material happiness..

  33. TA on December 17th, 2009

    Hi Adam,

    Though I agree with your thoughts that happiness lies in many other things than just spending money lavishly.

    However, does it not help in keeping money rotating in market among people of different classes. for e.g. If Adam buys a Rolex watch, some Mr. X selling it in his shop earns a high profit on it.

    Mr. X can now think of sending her daughter to Julia Gabriel Speech and Drama, which would not have been possible if millionaires like Adam didn’t wear Rolex watches !!!


  34. wm on December 19th, 2009

    My observation, high income wage earner will splurge (CEO’s, VP…etc) on branded stuff.

    Self made entreprenuers, very stingy with their money.

  35. Tilaka on August 10th, 2011

    I personally agrees with you adam and every single penny made with hard work must be spend wisely and this type of people will be humble even they communicate with others and dont show their egos’ Im seeing it everyday. I work in a bank, there are people with millions of deposits talks in a very polite manners and there are few with few hundred thousands deposits some times talk very rude, smtg like tis ‘Do u knw how much money I have with ur bank?’ cant u do this simple this fr me, as their request will be beyonds our banking guidelines…smtg cannot be approved they will seek for approval…sigh!

    self made entreprenuers like u values every single penny earned that the reason goddess of wealth will bless u more and more success to come..

    My best wishes to u ADAM! heads up to u! my friend!

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