Get Rich With Punctuality And A 6am Wake Up Call

I’ve been hanging around with two unemployed friends more now given I’ve got a completely flexible schedule. Although they are unemployed, they don’t have to work because Mike co-habitates with his mother, brother, wife, and child in a rent controlled apartment which only costs about $1,500 a month. His wife’s family has money and they get some sort of government assistance beyond the child tax credit to raise their child.

My other friend Lorenzo graduated from college last year and comes from a very wealthy family in Brazil. He’s looking for a job in IT, but can’t get a company to sponsor his work visa so he’s going home end of the year. He drove a BMW, wears Gucci shoes, and flashes Prada shades. He’s a riot with a good heart!

The tie that binds us is our love for tennis. We’ve been going to the Tiburon Challenger pro tennis tournament event every day of the week to catch a glimpse of future great hopes such as Jack Sock, Steve Johnson, and Rhyne Williams. Given my rich friend sold his BMW, and my poor friend is poor, I volunteered to drive them over the Golden Gate Bridge to Tiburon each time to save them some money (gas, $6 toll, wear and tear) and do my part.

Every evening beforehand I text them to arrive at my house by a certain time to give us 30 minutes travel time to catch the first match. And every morning both of them are 30-60 minutes late! After the third time being late, I told them that if they don’t come by X, I’m leaving without them and they can take a 1.5 hour bus ride or $60 cab ride on their own! They promised me they’d be on time the next day, and they were both 30 minutes late yet again!

Punctuality breeds credibility. Let’s be honest. If you want to be on time, you would. You wouldn’t arrive late to a dream job interview that pays mega bucks would you? Of course not! The reason why people are late is because they believe their time is more important than the person they’re meeting. Slap, slap, slap in the face.

I then began wondering, maybe there is a reason neither of them can find jobs? Or maybe neither are motivated by money because they have assistance from others? Let’s explore further.


It turns out both Mike and Lorenzo want money because they’ve been trying to snag a iPhone 5 at the various Apple Stores around the city! But guess what? Neither have been very successful because they kept arriving 30-45 minutes past 8am, when tickets are handed out for a 10am purchase!

Mike texts me, “Well, I just freaking HATE Apple! F-ing Apple cut me off by one person again! I’ve spent 6 hours waiting for phones that never come. Sh!t what an effing system they have! Just to make people come again the next day to pray and hope! At least this one girl got a ticket right in front of me. They felt sorry for her, so they gave her a ticket. Crazy!!!”

Lorenzo texts me, “These people waiting in line are on Redbull! I got here at 8:30am, and already there are 50 people in line! When the hell do they get here?!?!”

So here I am, laughing my ass off because Mike and Lorenzo are cursing the world and wishing Samsung won the lawsuit. Yet they are still willing to stand in line for hours for a $650 unlocked 16GB iPhone 5 to then flip for $700-$750 on Craigslist or Ebay!

They don’t understand that if Apple says the ticket line opens at 8am, they need to get there BEFORE 8am if they want a chance!


I told them to stop being late if they want the iPhone 5. Then I told them to get their asses up at 6am and get to the store by 6:30am to get in line! If there is no line, then go to a nearby Starbucks and read a paper or think up some business idea or something. Here are their responses:

Mike: “Are you crazy?!”

Lorenzo: “F that sh!t!”

I already believe waiting hours in line to spend $650 on an iPhone 5 in hopes to make a $100 profit is crazy, especially since the music will stop one day and supply will be readily available to all. But, my friends are unemployed and want money! Hence, even if they got there at 7am and left at 10am, they will still make $33 an hour profit per phone if they sell right away.


I’ve been waking up around 6am for the past 10 years. In fact, everyday feels like Christmas, making me want to wake up early to discover what goodies await. Having an extra hour and a half of time lets me do focused work while my peers sleep. By the time they wake up, I’m already miles ahead. Not only did getting in before everyone else at work lead to recognition, getting up early also allowed me to pursue my online hobbies to a point where I no longer have to work!

In this example, I could have finished up a 1,500 word post by 7:00am, ate breakfast, and got in line by 7:15am. After getting my ticket by 8:30am, I’d write a little more, then pick up an iPhone 5 at 10am, list the phone on Craigslist for $750 and go to the Tiburon Challenger on time for a 10:30am start!

Waking up early provides a plethora of opportunity. The extra time adds up over the years. You can do a lot with an extra 300 hours a year! If you don’t want to wake up early, at least be on time to your meetings. And if you don’t want to be on time to your meetings, at least bring a basket of lemon meringue pie as an apology! And if you really want to make it up to the guy driving you 15 miles over the Golden Gate Bridge, then at least pay for the $6 toll and his tournament ticket!

Readers, why not wake up 1-2 hours earlier than average to get ahead? Why not be on time to your meetings? Do you think there is a correlation between tardiness and failure?





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Sam is the founder of Financial Samurai, America's fastest growing personal finance site. We believe in reaching financial independence sooner, rather than later. Slice through money's mysteries!


  1. says

    I’m always an early riser and I get more done in the mornings than I do as the day goes on. I know some people are the opposite, but for me, it blows my mind that if given a choice people would stay late versus coming in early.

    • Sydney says

      I think studies have shown that it’s true productivity is highest in the mornings. The type of work I do now makes it harder for me to work an earlier shift but it’s nice some firms give people flexible hours to take advantage of coming in early. Commuting is definitely a lot easier before the rush!

  2. says

    Another great post! Its funny that people complain but don’t do anything about it. If people are there when you get there then you my friend are late! I hate people who don’t value others time. Then they make excuses like I am never on time because things never start on time. I tell them they don’t start on time because there are too many people like them running the show.

  3. says

    I admit that I an not a natural early riser. My body has an easier time staying up until 2-3 am when I get a second wind than getting up early. If my job depended on getting up early I’d find a way to do it though. A lot of it is about getting into a rhythm too. My body is used to its current schedule and old habits are hard to break!

    Wonder if the demand for ipad mini will be as crazy as the iphone5. Goes on sale today I believe.

    • says

      I NEVER believed I was a “natural early riser” in college either. I avoided 8am classes like the plague.

      But after having to get up to go to work by 5:30am my first two years, I BECAME a natural early riser. If you believe it, it makes things easier. If you don’t believe it, then you’re right.

      Let’s do 6am wake up calls with each other for 1 month! I promise you will get a crap load done!

      • Sydney says

        I can’t even imagine working those type of hours. I’m can envision how what you’re saying about believing it making things easier. I definitely have convinced myself that I have trouble waking up early because that’s how I feel and thus have believed. I was able to get to work earlier than normal today though and I think sleeping an hour earlier last night helped.

        You’re probably right about getting a ton done first thing in the morning. I’d have to start going to bed earlier on a regular basis to get there. But it’s probably easier to do now than at the start of summer since day light savings is coming on Sunday. It’s going to be pitch black at 6pm!

  4. says

    I like the concept of extra time during the day and I really tried to do the early morning thing, but it wasn’t working. I feel the same as you Sydney where I find it easier to stay up until 2 AM, and then wake up at 8:30 AM. The hours of 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM are my most productive.

  5. says

    I am always early for everything! I wake up early and get more done before 9 AM than most do in a whole day. I think people who come late do not have respect for the job, class or event. They may think it does not apply to them, but I think it shows they do not care. I see a lot of teachers come late to meetings. I wonder if it bothers them that their students come late to class.

    • Sydney says

      I’ve never understood people who come late to meetings either. It shows a lack of respect and bad time management skills. The worst is when a colleague is late for a client meeting. How embarrassing and irresponsible!

  6. says

    I’m with you, Sam, up early every morning, excited to see what awaits. Sometimes I stay in bed until 7, which feels REALLY luxurious, since I am up at 6, with or without an alarm. I like the idea of your two lazy friends showing up with not one, not two, but a basket of pies.

    • says

      Sweet! I see great fortune in your future Kathleen! And if anybody ever complains to you why they can’t get ahead, ask them to send you coherent emails for one year by 6:15am everyday and see what they say!

  7. Lance @ Money Life and More says

    I get up at 545 but I have to be at work by 7 so it isn’t early to get stuff done, just early to get to work. I don’t see myself getting up any earlier than that though.

  8. Edward Antrobus says

    I started doing this recently. I can wake up at 5 and be ready when my ride arrives at 5:30. But I’ve been getting up at 4 instead to get writing done. I seem to be more productive in the morning than I am later in the day.

    What I’m kicking myself for is ever stopping doing it in the first place. In college, I was the only one up in my building at 6am and I would get all of my non-writing homework done before anyone else was even awake grumbling about their “early” 9am class!

    • Sydney says

      Wow impressive hours! What time do you sleep in order to get up at 4?

      I can understand being super productive when no one else is around. Distractions are definitely one of my weaknesses when it comes to work and productivity. I can only write well when I’m alone and there aren’t any sounds.

      • Edward Antrobus says

        Not as early as I should! Generally speaking, I go to bed sometime between 9 and 11. I try not to do 11 too much, because a 12 hour shift on 5 hours of sleep isn’t very fun!

    • Sydney says

      Insomnia must be so frustrating. My mother suffers from it a lot, in her case she won’t fall sleep until 4am and then gets up a few hours later totally fried, and I think a lot of her sleep issues stem from stress.

      I’m sure if I became a regular coffee drinker I could pack more punch into my mornings, but I’ve tried scaling way back on caffeine. I can’t drink caffeine at all in the evenings because I get totally wired and then don’t sleep until 1-2am, and when I have tea or coffee during the day I tend to get super fidgety and can’t concentrate!

  9. says

    If I wake up an hour earlier I’ll be getting up at 4:00am :) Ugh, I hate people who are late. Even 5 minutes late is a big deal to me. I’m curious, when they showed up late the 2nd time, did you leave?

  10. Terry says

    I’m a fellow early bird.

    Like you, I do my best thinking and writing early in the morning. I’m usually up by 4 am or 5 am.

    It’s hard to comprehend how some people have no compunctions about arriving late.

  11. says

    Great post Sam. I have always believed in the phrase, the early bird catches the worm. I try wake up at around 530 – 600 AM everyday. By doing this, I get more time to write a new blog post or to go over my emails. Being punctual on your meetings show your dedication for the job. It also shows your interest in the work and your capability on handling its responsibilities.

  12. says

    There are also other reasons one would want to get in to work early. To be with family earlier in the day, to get their work done on or ahead of schedule, etc.
    I woke up around 4am this morning, and was in at work around 5am (with a shorter than normal 35 minute commute since nobody was on the road). That’ll let me get things finished up at the office earlier and home with my loved ones that much faster today.
    Oh, and while I set my alarm for 4am, I turned it off about 15 minutes before it rang, simply because I just woke up.
    I sometimes find myself late to meetings, simply due to the schedules that are provided to me due to the nature of my business. Could I be on time always? Absolutely. But there are many times that discussions immediately after meetings have an impact on getting things finished on time or earlier than expected because the topic is on 1 or 2 people’s minds and something they can be very focused on for long enough to resolve the issue.
    So, I prefer to be a little fluid with meetings although I’m not later than 5 mins late for any of them even if I may be early by 10 mins to some of them.

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