Money Isn’t the Root Cause: per se

Yes, I agree that delaying making these decisions is because of money. But money isn’t the root cause. Most often, its about poor decisions. As much as we like to vilify rich people, the primary reason why they are rich is because of good strategic decisions on their part. The "silver spoon" situation is a rarity. I saw a recent article about the very modest vehicles that 8 billionaires drive. I mean, some of these cars were downright basic. But what is the first thing someone [who usually didn't have money in the first place] who wins the lottery buys? A new car; and not just a new car, but a super flashy car that they can show off to others. This isn’t good decision making.

I just saw another article about a professional boxer who had a $10 million Mansion. But now they live in a 3-bedroom condo, a paltry downgrade from the mansion.

Most often, people without money don’t know how to deal with money. They make very poor decisions. Then overlay this with social media and factors of present times. More so than ever there are social media influencers who portray themselves as well off. They show cars and big homes that aren’t even theirs. These people have been busted multiple times when they really live in the shadows with nothing to speak of with regard to wealth. We see this in impoverished communities. People without jobs walking about in $100+ shoes or gaudy jewelry. They want to show they have money, when they really don’t. Many people do that in their own way.

I see this where I live. People could easily walk down to the convenience store close by and buy something wholly adequate for their needs. But no, they have to buy what’s hot on the scene. It has to be a designer brand or something unique that nobody else has. They eat out at restaurants every day and buy very expensive Starbucks coffee. Instead of going to a local community college to get their basic electives met, they have to go to the big school with all the sororities/fraternities and good parties. Instead of getting massage or yoga training close by, they have to go to far off places. Its all about being validated by others instead of doing what’s sensible.

The biggest thing I see is travel. I love to see places just as much as the next person. We finally splurged this year and went to Thailand. But that’s not something we do often. Or really, ever. Throughout my adult life, we’ve done everything on the cheap. All of our summer vacations were camping somewhere and usually in a tent. But as we age, the RV life has worked better for us. But still, that doesn’t compare to the travel that I envy of others. These are often people with modest incomes, with no emergency savings, no retirement savings, and they often go deep into debt to travel. That’s not the way to do it.

Here are some key financial tips that works for many people:

-NEVER, EVER, EVER—carry DEBT! Get rid of all debt. Your priorities should be #1. emergency fund of 2-3 months of income and #2. get rid of debt.
-Don’t worry about the Joneses. Stay in your own lane and forget street cred.
-Give your first 10% to charity (good for taxes); your 2nd 10% goes to savings (preferably retirement savings).
-Along with savings is an emergency fund. It should cover 2-3 months of your regular income.

-Cars are NOT an investment. Did you hear that? You don’t need a flashy car. It depreciates as soon as it leaves the new car lot. If you live in a city where you can do without a car, do that! You can rent a car to travel out of town.
-You DON’T have to go to college. I went to 12 years of college. During those years, my friends were making money. If gaining a pension, they had a 12 year jump on me. They could retire and then go back to college. Or do something else. Maybe be a Park Ranger. I’d love that!
-Never RENT!! You are throwing money down the drain. Why not have all that money go into your own pocket instead. Buy a house. Condo’s are very tricky and hard to sell. We earned an extra $10,000 after our first starter home sold in 24 hours after just a few year’s ownership.
-Aim for the bottom range of the mortgage amount of house that they SAY you can afford. Don’t live beyond your means. Utilities and property taxes will kill you!
-buy quality things with the intent to keep it for 10+ years to a lifetime. Buy bulk. It saves you in the long run. Buying at Aldi’s, CostCo, Sam’s Club, can save you lots of money in the long run. Then store it safely. Having even a small deep freezer goes a long way.
-Save for vacations. Have a vacation fund and choose your vacation based on what you have in savings. Never go into debt for a vacation.
-GET MARRIED! If not for the sake of your parents and grandparents (and your God if you are religious), do it for the taxes. Married filing jointly saves you a lot!
-Have multiple sources of revenue. Think like an entrepreneur. Back in the day, people would buy vending machines (think soda pop and candy). Now, you can buy electric vehicle charging stations. You arrange the site and the company will install it for you. Then you draw in the money. Monetize a YouTube channel. Invest in properties. Start a hobby that pays you money. Then sock all of that extra dough into savings. I’m pretty sure I’ll be an auto mechanic when I retire. Haha, its true!
-Never depend on your own wits. There is always someone out there smarter. And there is so much information on the InterWebs. Go to YouTube and watch financial help people. Read books. Keep up with Forbes and other Business Insiders. And find good (mature) mentors and legal advice.

All that I’ve written here is from the top of my head; and I’m definitely not a financial guy. I’ve just lived a few years. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life. Its just so difficult for me to see people struggle these days. People live from paycheck-to-paycheck. They don’t have to. But its not only about money coming in. Its about making good decisions about the money you have. That’s where I see people fail.

Make good decisions!

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