I have some pet peeves about finances and life that I follow almost religiously. It drives me crazy to watch others to not understand these things or not do these things, and today I really just want to rant a rave about how pissed I get at others. But instead, I’m going to just calmly, in a zen like state, explain to rational and logical people of the online world why I prefer my way of finances and living. Because it is the BEST WAY!! The reasons are in no particular order except more of a zen like rant order. I had a rough day of trying to explain to people that I live my way because I want to do more in life, and I am better than you because of it. They clearly were selfish and will die broke and alone!! Now back to zen…oh hell!! Here is the list:
I only take financial advice from rich people: This is an idea I got after meeting a few big brained broke people who were dishing out bad advice to everyone when I was younger. One was my first principal at a school. He told me I didn’t need to save for retirement because teachers are taken care of by the retirement system. He was making twice what I made and had no savings of any kind. He tried to borrow money from a coach one day and that’s when I decided to only listen to rich people because they are what I want to be. I also had broke relatives that tried to dish out bad broke advise also, and I had to politely decline. I read books instead on finances, and I started to listen some local business men from a Lion’s Club meeting and another one who built a commercial rental empire at my church. It changed my perspective and I saw many paths to wealth that I have combined today into my path. Sometimes they are nice people or family, but if your broke I don’t care what you have to say because I don’t want what you are selling.
I only buy used cars (Now): I use to love a new car, and bought two in my life. One at 16 and one at 24. I loved the dependability of a new car, the warranty, and the status of buying it in cash both times. The problem was that in the end I drove them for at least 6 years or more and got about $3,000 for each after spending $16,000 and $18,000 for the cars. I invested in items that dropped in value at a ridiculous rate. That was money thrown out a window and I will never see again. It is one whole year of working wasted. So, now I buy dependable cars that are at least 3 to 5 years old, so I can miss out on the initial drop in value. I am still throwing money away on a car, but I feel better loosing less money over the long haul.
I only buy things when the numbers allow me to: I really want a NES Classic Mini. I loved my Nintendo and Super Nintendo growing up and would love to share those games with my kids. I have been searching for one since they came out on November 11th, 2016 for $60. They have been available in bundles or on secondary markets for over $100, but the numbers need to be $60 for me to pull the trigger. I wait patiently for the sales, the coupons, and the overall deals. I wanted a tent, so I waited for the REI annual sale to happen. Then I get my 20% off an item and bought my tent up with my money I got for my birthday 7 months earlier I was holding on to. The numbers have to be right for the purchase because little things add up fast over a long period of time. Wait for the numbers to be right. Delayed gratification is the key. Don’t eat the marshmallow and you can get two at a later time. Sometimes, you find you really didn’t want the item that bad anyways.
I never carry cash: I still pay for everything in cash, but in my world I use a debit card with the money I’m allowed to spend readily available at all times. This is great for traveling because I have no foreign transactions fees on the card, and if it is hacked or used wrong they just cancel it, replace the money, and ship me a new card quickly. I also have multiple debit cards such as one for gas, food, bills, and one for play money for the family. I am still paying cash just in a more compact way. If someone picks my pocket I just cancel my cards and I lose nothing. If it is actual cash, then good luck on that money. I feel it is safer and if I do have cash it is usually a gift and $20 or less. I do use cash to buy my donuts because I spend $1.95 and to use a card you have to spend more than $3.00 at the Donut Palace. I usually buy donuts in loose change I pick up in my classroom, the hallways or in change in my daily life. I get about $2.00 every week in loose change that high school kids drop because a dime is too much to take care of. I figure it’s a tip for a fine education. Thanks Kids!
I always stay on budget: It’s easy to stay on budget if you don’t have access to all your money. I automate all my bills, savings, retirement, grocery money, gas money, etc. and I have $200 a month to play with left, that I have full access too. I know what I have to spend and its on the debit card, so I can never go over budget because I don’t have access to the other money. It’s really easy to stay on budget if you can’t get your money without going online and make changes to your accounts to go over budget. You can’t spend what you don’t have. I also walk around 90% of the time with no wallet, debit cards, or money, so again you can’t spend on candy just because you feel the need for sugar. Larger purchases are thought about longer and I can make them, but it requires a conversation with my wife, and plan of action for the money and how to replace it if it lowers our other accounts. Sometimes it’s too much work to get off budget.
I travel to places that are on sale: I do travel cheap and only if the destination is on sale. I will use my $3,000 trip to for two to 4 European countries as an example a few years back. My wife wanted to go to Europe for our 10th anniversary, so I looked for cheap ways to get to Europe. It turns out that Southwest had a sale to New York and Berlin Air had free flight thanks to American Airlines points to Germany. We flew to Berlin for $79 each in taxes and fees, and then we used points and Airbnb for stays. We decided to travel by train and do this by night to save on rooms, and it is comfy to sleep on a gently rocking train I discovered. We traveled to Prague, Vienna, Munich because they were cheaper than Berlin, London, or Paris and we could stretch our stay longer if it was cheaper. Eastern countries were also cheaper, so we stayed alone the old “Iron Curtain.” Another time we traveled to New Orleans for 24 hours for an amazing food trip because the airfare dropped to $59 roundtrip. We went to Las Vegas in the summer because it was on sale. The prices decide when and where we travel. It saves us thousands of dollars over time. We love to see the world, but again we can’t sacrifice our future or make lame excuses why we should over spend. There is no such thing as once in a lifetime trips. Prices constantly change in travel and I only travel when they are in my favor.
I use things up: I have worn my shoes down so far that I was embarrassed to show my wife the soles. I also ruined some socks too. I have cut open my toothpaste to get another week out of it. I sanded down my childhood kitchen table and used it for another 12 years until it was completely too gross to use any longer. Most of this is because of my wife and her ways of growing up poor. She has changed me to understand that if it still works then use it. There is no need to go out and buy a whole couch, when you can buy a section of the couch for our small apartment, and use it until the frame breaks (We did this in our younger days). Then repair the frame with some left over 2×4’s and get another year out of it (Again, it was used up at this point). I’m a changed man to a flaw because of my wife convincing me use things up more. Maybe I am flawed here, because half my socks have holes in them, and I think they are working great still. I just try to get the most out of every object I have and there is a little formula to it. If the shirt cost $15 and I use it for 15 years, I have a few from high school still, then the shirt is $1 a year. So, stretching the use out lowers the price per year of the object and makes it have better value. Saving me lots of money over time. This does not work with growing children, so we do shop at Ross and discount clothing stores because it is replaced about every 8 months or passed down to the younger kids.
I hate government waste: Ok, I know we have a national problem of getting over taxed because of this, and it bothers me, but sometimes I see it in person and I lose my Poopy!! My example is in my school district we need many repairs, more books, better desks, hell a new gym floor that isn’t so slick. But if your team makes the playoffs in a sport the district will get your team a chartered bus to travel whatever distance to your playoff game. Sometimes the team travels about 10 miles and other times about 200 miles. Either way it costs the district about $900 to $2,000 for this when we have buses that we already own for the price of gas and a driver who gets $11 an hour. We recently refused a bus to take us 15 miles to our game and instead requested more money in our budget for something useful for students to use throughout the year. It was denied and they sent the charter bus anyways. They wanted us to represent the district better and last years taxes were raised, so we are flush with extra money to blow on stupid non educational items. I hate that we rob one another in the open and everyone is so blind to it. We should hold our government responsible for wastefulness. This doesn’t make me richer now, but it does make me happier if I see tax dollars fixing potholes and repairing things I use everyday. We could probably make higher education more affordable if we used our tax dollars better. We need more budget friendly politicians being elected who stand up to stupid people and their poor spending habits.
I truly believe people are all smart, but are just uneducated by choice: Stupid is a choice!! It’s hung on my classroom wall for all my students to see daily. It’s harsh, but completely true for everyone on them. Unless some special circumstances are the case, but the majority of ignorant people I have encountered are stupid by choice. I have a special super power being 6’10” that attracts a certain group of people in our society who like to come up to me on a daily basis and say dumb things such as, “Ur Tall” and “How tall is you?” I’m not making this up either (Ask my children and wife they are shocked sometimes by these ignorant and rude questions). These are grown adults walking around town in a community with an average family income of over $85,000 a year. It happened today at Luby’s Cafeteria with my child present, and again at Gamestop by a father of two who was flush with cash. I know these people are smart because they are high earning functioning adults with college degree most likely, based on the demographics of my area. They are clearly ignorant by choice of how to approach tall people in public. I kindly replied to both askers, that I was 2.0828 meters tall, and walked away proud that I educated them a bit. The confused look on their faces is classic, and they have chosen to be ignorant of the most used scientific measurement used on earth. People are poor for the same reasons. They choose to be ignorant on budgeting and bills, and therefore they are poor by choice. Everyday we have a choice and a lot of smart people choose to be stupid in their actions. There is no excuse except you choose to be stupid. Change! (By the way the proper way to approach a tall person is, “Excuse me, but how tall are you,” in a polite tone. Then when I kindly reply back, “6’10.” You say, “thank you,” and continue on your way.)
Reading non fiction is the key to being successful: I didn’t enjoy reading until I was 18 years old in my senior english class. Finally, a teacher who let me read anything that interested me. No more Shakespeare or Homer or Twain. I started to read books on money and how to make it. I read business books on marketing and did book reports, and wrote my senior thesis on the pursuit of the “American Dream” in our modern world. I was hook on non fiction because it was real life stuff that I could see, hold, and apply to my life. It allowed me to see and learn how the world around me worked in books on globalization. I then heard Michael Dell speak while in college and stated that he only read non fiction and that he read about one book a week. I thought that is a man of success, and began to read more, and at my height I was reading a book a week for about a year and half. I now read about 2- 3 books a month or about 30 books a year. I have a list of over 50 books I want to read that people in blogs or who I talk to about books have suggested I read. I don’t finish books either if I don’t enjoy them. Sometime I get 220 pages into it and decide I’m done or I get the message, so I move on. Reading is something to be enjoyed anyways, not some bragging event about finishing bad books. I have learned so much about the world, success, and how successful people read non fiction. Some successful people have book lists such as Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah. The more you read the more successful you can become. Read more!!
Greed will get you into the poor house (I know, a little dated term, but it’s true): My Dad said this quote to me my whole life. Not sure who he heard if from, but I have lived by it most of my life. I did get greedy in Las Vegas once and lost $200 in 10 minutes at age 17, and haven’t gambled since. I also bought gold at about $500 an ounce and told myself no matter what, when it doubles, I am selling. It got to $1,000 an ounce and I decided not to be greedy and sold. It did go up to over $1,600 an ounce a few months later, but I was good because I doubled my money in less than a year. I wasn’t greedy and felt great about my big win. I did this with my house sale, and actually turned down some money to sell it to someone who I felt would appreciate my home, and keep it a family structure. I have given away old cars to others who needed them, handed out thousands of dollars to those who need it more than me. I could have probably kept the money, gambled on my home selling for more, and sold the car for some profit. All that greed wouldn’t have felt right. I got social connections to others, and the price has paid off in happiness and monetarily in new opportunities for me and my family. Overall, my lack of greed has help me stay level-headed and kept me making great decisions financially. My Dad also followed his own advice and was a great example to me.
Think of the good of the group first and you will be successful: I think team sports has helped me with this because in soccer, basketball, football, volleyball, and other sports we are taught team work. We must all work together and do our part to make sure we play to the best of our abilities. In basketball we all have a role on the court. Some people are scorers, some are defensive players, some are great cheerleaders from the bench. We all matter for the group to be successful. Denmark has this same team culture that the group is as important as the individuals in their society. Sometime you have to pay high taxes for the good of the society as a whole. They also rank as the happiness country in the world. I would gladly pay more in taxes if I knew the potholes would be fixed, and that the homeless population would be provided with better mental health opportunities. I already sacrifice for the good of my family, by delaying my gratification for the my wife and children’s needs. I haven’t seen an adult movie at a movie theatre in over a year and every Christmas I just want to eat some cookies. I will drive an awesome CJ Jeep another day, because right now it isn’t good for the group. We must help people around us out on a daily basis. Sometimes, I buy strangers a meal at Subway, or buy my co workers lunch before a game. I know that making them happy and looking out for them will help our society and team as a whole. We must look out for others before ourselves and over come our selfish desires. The Buddha was right that most suffering comes from our selfish desires, so look out for others and ultimately you will be more successful, because of the opportunities that come your way will surprise you.
You don’t understand yourself or how little you need until you backpack alone for a week: I love backpacking too much. Most people think it is boring, but there is nothing better for me then to unplug from life, put everything I need for a week into a single backpack, and just start walking. I pack light weight with my less than 2 lb. backpack and my down sleeping bag. I sleep under a tarp or in a hammock and just wear some bug spray. I need so little to be comfortable and enjoy life. I can walk 20 miles easy in 7 hours and then sit next to a babbling brook for the next 7 hours keeping warm by a fire. I see moose, deer, elk, black bear, squirrels, skunks, and every bird on earth it seems. I move quietly only hearing wildlife, my feet in the dirt, and my pack shifting a bit. I know I need next to nothing to be happy. I know that a new car, or a bedroom set won’t make me happier. I need very little to survive as I eat raw fruits, cured meats, some pasta, and fish (self caught brown trout), as I filter water from the stream. I know that many people have never lived with so little before in our fast paced society. I know because I tell people I’m going to Denver to hike to Breckenridge and they freak out. I explain it should only take 4 days and they freak out again. They don’t know what I know about happiness, and when I tell them it only takes around 35-40 lbs. on my back. They recall their boy scout days of 80 lb. packs crushing them, unhappily. Because I know I need very little to live happily I don’t stress about the worst case scenarios in my life. If I get fired, lose my house, and have to start over with no cash. I could always pack up some backpacks, and the family, and I could go for a hike to be happy, sort things out again, and get a good game plan together to get going. The CEO of Whole Foods is a backpacker and he came up with his corporate healthcare while clearing his mind on a hike. I’m also not afraid to be alone for days with no signs of people for miles. In that primitive state I find peace and sense of belonging. You may start to talk to yourself on day 3, but I’m fine with it and being alone. It’s nice to learn about myself and push my limits mentally and physically once in a while to find out who I am. I know myself and love myself. Do you know yourself?
Insurance creates zen in your life: Can you believe that some people think insurance is an optional part of their budgets! I know, collective GASP! If you are supporting anyone, at all, with your job, you should defiantly, without a doubt, be insured. It is just irresponsible to not have life insurance that is 10 times your annual salary. You should keep your life insurance until you, yourself, have that much in cash saved up, and then you can be self insured dropping your plan if you want. This keeps your mind at peace, and your loved one’s minds at peace if anything should happen to you in your prime supporting other people phase of life. Also, all big investments should have insurance such as your home, car, or other large purchases. A simple hail storm can bankrupt your whole family or destroy your home beyond repair. Health insurance is robbery right now, but recently we had to go to the emergency room for some stitches and $100 looked pretty good for what the bill said it could have cost for some stitches. We also got the antibiotics for free, which was nice. We are a very healthy family and have a large deductible, but in case something huge happens this insurance will pay off and give us peace of mind to know we can’t be bankrupt. I can’t believe how many uneducated grown men have almost no insurance that the law doesn’t make them have. They are worried, gambling with their families future. We also have to mention disability insurance here too. Many people don’t think about being so injured in a car wreck they can’t work and support themselves or others. Yes, we have some social safety nets, but not enough to continue your lifestyle currently. So the bottom line is, get insurance and have peace of mind for you, and your loved ones being taken care of for a better brighter future.
KISS!- Keep It Simple Stupid: I love to keep it simple, and lots of people love their drama by complicating their lives. Sometimes the answer in so simple you can’t see it. I use to work at Lowe’s Home improvement in my younger college years, and this poor guy was broke beyond belief making $12 an hour and his wife worked fast food for $8 and hour. They had 2 kids and had nothing but credit card debt to show for their hours worked. I was saving money every month and building a small savings empire, and he asked me how I saved so much. I explained if I see a nickel or dime on the ground I pick it up. Small things matter and I keep my bills simple (only the basics and no cable TV). He told me if he had an extra $200 a month he could start saving money and get out of debt. I asked him to write down his bills during his next break and we could talk about some problem areas. This was 15 years ago or more, and I was a young guy just keeping things simple. This guy was in his mid thirties asking financial advice from a kid. They first problem I saw was he smoked and so did his wife. They smoked $300 a month in cigarettes and refused to try to stop. I also noticed that he spent way too much eating out. His wife worked fast food, just eat there for free. That would save you $200 a month right there. He refused saying he was sick of that food. I then saw that he could bike to work and get rid of one of his cars saving on gas, car maintenance, and insurance for the month making an extra $200 a month available. He refused saying he had to have a car and bikes are dumb (my wife and I had one car at the time and it was great). I just showed him how to free up $700 a month and he refused to change even in the simplest of ways. He complicated his life with bad choices and made it worse with pride. If he had just KISSed the problems away he could have saved his wife’s whole salary. He was doing really well in rent, staying with her parents for $400 a month, and some other small bills. He just didn’t want to keep the rest simple. I love going bare bones on bills (I Hate Bills!) and if I have a problem I try to see the simple solutions first before I go extreme. I started investing with $50 and month and now it’s over $1,000 a month in the same account 12 years later. I keep it simple with mutual funds that are well-rounded, and I automated the entire system, so it happens without me even knowing it happened sometimes. KISS is the best, so don’t over think it. KISS your problems away, and KISS yourself to wealth.
Finally, some good old-fashioned ranting that turned into over 4,500 words typed! Hopefully, people can read this, reflect on their lives a little, and change some aspect of their life. There are so many angry troll people on earth today and most are like that by choice. They refuse to see things in a different light and realize that maybe I am better than you in many ways, and you can learn from me instead of just insulting me. We must all continue to learn from one another, and eventually through collective ideas on wealth building we can all become better if we teach each other. In the comments feel free to rant a little on how you are better then others financially. And Zen…