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March 15, 2012

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This is true and most people have fallen to credit cards at one point in their lives. People tend to live frivolously without any concern. It's sad to see how many people can live so much in the moment and not care for the future.

I recently had a discussion with a friend (age 25) who likes fast cars. All his dreams involve driving fast cars. he makes pretty good money, but between an expensive condo and the fast cars hobby, he's barely getting by.

I asked him how much it would cost on a monthly basis to do what he wants with cars, and he came up with $1,000 a month. I then suggested that if he were able to save up $100,000 and invest it in rental homes, he could earn that $1,000 a month from his investments (Note to readers - these numbers work from my personal experience, but the actual numbers are irrelevant to the point so don't get caught up on them!).

He estimated that if he tried he could probably save that up in 4 years. At this point I pointed out to him that if he could save $2k a month for 4 years and invest it to earn $1,000 a month, he'd then have $1,000 a month for his cars AND he'd still have that $2,000 a month that he's learned how to save, which he could continue to invest or save for retirement, and could potentially start to earn enough non-W-2 income that he could live off of it entirely.

He said not a chance, he wants to live it up. He also made an interesting comment - "The way I see it, I have an agreement with employment - I work, I get paid. I work so that I can do all the other stuff I want to do, and I'll keep working forever so I can always do that stuff."

I felt he was very shortsighted on this, but didn't push the issue...We'll see how his attitude may change over the next decade.

I should point out that at my suggestion that he could even live off his investments, he didn't believe that could be done without living like a pauper both before and after that "crossover" point. He seemed to think all of my suggestions revolved around living like a monk now and in the future. I suppose until he figures out that doesn't have to be the case, his attitude will not change.

LOL ... I first read the headline for this article as "(Spend Like You Want) to Grow Rich" which didn't sound like very good advice at all. What if you want to spend like a madman?

I could certainly spend a whole lot more money than I do but I know it wouldn't make me a bit happier. I am old enough now to understand what it takes to be truly happy and you don't have to be filthy rich to achieve it.

My needs are:
1) To be in a permanent and loving relationship - absolutely #1.
2) To live in a nice home, in a nice neighborhood, and have enough amenities and comforts to sustain a happy, safe, and contented life.
3) To not be worried about one's ability to pay off any debts that you might have.
4) To have access to good healthcare.
5) To have a good relationship with my family.
6) In younger days, I also needed a stimulating job that I enjoyed and that also paid enough to sustain a lifestyle that I was content with.

Even now, my wife and I lead a far better life than either of our parents, yet they always seemed to be very happy with a whole lot less, even during the bombing and severe rationing during WWII in England.

@Jonathan,

If you try this enough times you will soon learn that you are talking to the wind. He will never learn this lesson as long as he can continue doing what he is doing. Only a crisis will cause him to even consider that his current thinking could be ill advised. Even a crisis may not work if he can find a way out of it that doesn't involve a change in thinking and life style.

Here is the problem with your advice for almost all people. It required a SACRIFICE NOW. It required a POSTPONEMENT of gratification until LATER. In return it offered a PROMISE of FUTURE benefit.

Of course all financial prudence requires that. You will find out that if people have been able to arrange their lives to avoid doing this and get what they want that they have a force field around them which makes all such advice that they should do something different entirely incapable of reaching any reasoning centers in their brain. This is FACT!

And frankly, if you think about it, why should they listen to you. They have been getting what they want NOW. They have every reason to believe that continuing to do what they are now doing will always get them what they want NOW. Why should they stop getting what they want NOW under the promise that doing so will get them what they want LATER. This is a bad trade off. They already get everything they want NOW. And your PROMISE that they could get it and MORE with less financial burden later is not appealing to them because first they aren't easily convinced that is true (they never see anyone who evidences this other than people they believe were born rich or make huge amounts of money), and secondly even if it was, they don't care, they get what they want now and its good enough.

Even if people are in a tight spot and can't quite make ends meet, that does not qualify as a crisis and the force field is still in full effect. You have to take out their force field power generators before they will listen to a word you say. And that requires a real crisis under which NOW has already ceased to give them anything they want. Then they realize their thinking is broken. Until such time, their thinking is working and yours sound thinking is just a bunch of babbling after being intercepted by their force field.

Apex,

Thanks very much for the response - you articulated the problem very well.

What I got out of that (the last paragraph particularly) is that I need to cause some sort of crisis in this person's life. Any suggestions? :)

@Jonathan,

LOL. Yes ... children. :)

Haha, I wouldn't wish him as a father on any child at this stage in his life! Nor his wife as a mother!

The stuff about how the new table leads to new cutlery, leads to a new couch, etc., is pretty much the Diderot effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diderot_Effect. One of the advantages to living with my parents for a while, after college, is that I didn't have to worry or care about that stuff. When I did move out and moved in with a roommate, I made sure to move in with one who had plenty of stuff she didn't mind sharing, since I didn't want to have to move things like dishware or furniture or buy it. It's worked great for the past 3 years, but every now and then, I feel like I should be a "grown-up" and own some nice dishware or glasses, and then I remind myself of the Diderot Effect..

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