Is there room for a chauffeur in a Mercedes G Wagon?
Tuesday’s email about the car, or truck, I have on my wish list sparked the ire of J. Augustine. He writes:
OK, I am frugal too. But damn it, why does one work so hard if not to able to splurge on a childhood dream once in a a lifetime? Warren Buffet is reported to be using a flip phone and live in the same house since 1957. For what? The guy could by an entire Caribbean country to himself without significantly reducing his wealth. In my opinion, he makes a mockery of actual frugal folks. Now Richard Branson, on the other hand, works hard and plays hard. I tend to be aspire to the latter. How about Jeff Bezos? Yea, got himself a hottie (I don't condone divorce) and went partying around the world in billion dollar yacht ( not his own necessarily, but you get the jist: living it up).
I too read the Millionaire Next door several a decade ago and I still have my copy. I admire its premise that regular joes can amass substantial wealth by leaving modestly and investing wisely. But there comes a point when the saver must enjoy the fruit of his labor, otherwise what's the point of it all. No can take their riches into the after life.
I read recently some University worker died alone of cancer or some other incurable disease. He was a loner and cheapskate, probably wouldn't even treat himself to a steak dinner (this is conjecture on my part). But he left a staggering of amount of money to the university he worked for. No one at the university ever imagined his wealth. Now I have no doubt his bequest is going to help some deserving students and programs, but rest assured it will also contribute in some form to the high-end lifestyle of the university provost, chancellor and the like (after all, student tuition are always rising).
Just my two cents. (Well maybe more, now that I realized I've rambled here for 3 paragraphs).
Business owner and aspiring millionaire
P.S. In case you're wondering, my dream ride is the Mercedes G wagon.
Wow! Yes J. I hereby give you permission to enjoy your money.
Now, why do I like books like The Millionaire Next Door so much? Because they pull back the curtain.
There are A LOT of people out there who believe that the trappings of wealth will make them happy.
I’m actually reading Dr. Stanley’s new book (which is a few years old) called Stop Acting Rich. I’ve added it to my bookstore here: https://www.amazon.com/shop/davidbarnett
This new book details the spending habits of the Aspirational Wealthy. These are people who are not wealthy at all but spend money on things they believe that rich people buy.
They think that buying Grey Goose Vodka and leasing a Mercedes will make them rich because they believe they are looking and feeling rich.
It’s often part of a compensation play for a meager upbringing.
Why does Warren Buffet use an old flip phone? My guess is because he’s got people who he pays to use Google for him.
Do you remember when you were in grade school and the teacher gave you a gold star for reading a sentence without error?
Every child had a ‘chart’ full of stars and some kids got really competitive and built a huge tower of stars to commemorate their progress and achievement.
That was me.
I liked the gold stars.
I use this weird psychological twist to manipulate myself into achieving my goals and desires.
Look at the picture below.
In each of those charts, I was working towards a goal of some kind.
Each time I take my pay from my business, I take care of household needs and then I ‘spend’ my remaining money by filling in little boxes.
In some cases, the boxes are worth $100.
Paying off debts, saving for vacations, making annual contributions to retirement plans, etc.
It’s all driven by filling in little squares.
Each time I colour a box, I get a little hit of dopamine in my brain.
It feels good.
I feel like I’m getting somewhere.
I’m sure some people feel this way each time they get into their leased sports car.
But in that case, the dopamine is working against their net worth.
So, where am I going with all this stuff about our brains, feelings and goals?
In Scott Adams book; How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, he tells us that our brains should be thought of as moist computers.
We can re-program them using things like daily affirmations.
We can make decisions about how we want to react to different stimuli in the world and we can design a series of reactions to get us where we want to go in life.
For me, my wall full of charts with filled-in boxes is like a prize fighter’s trophy case.
It reminds me everyday that I’m doing the things that will get me my goals.
No debts, a pickup truck, money in the bank and a business that leaves me free to travel and show my kids the world.