How Fancy Are Your Pants? 4


 

 

 

I was recently at a drug store picking up a few things. As I was leaving, another man was getting into his car parked right next to mine. He was a young guy, driving a 7 Series BMW. A six figure car. I thought to myself, I wonder what he does for a living?

 

He backed out of his parking spot and I did the same. I ended up behind him pulling into the street that leads to my neighborhood.  Mr. BMW turned into a house that everyone in the neighborhood has always regarded as the ugly duckling. A small,  2 bed / 1 bath house in distress. The lawn is overgrown, the exterior is long overdue for new paint and the fence is falling over.

 

The garage door pulls up, he whips in and the garage door goes down. That tells me he lives there.

 

Mr. BMW is car poor, or at least on the surface it looks as though he is. It’s a lesson that many of us (especially millennial’s) need to understand.

 

 

See, there’s an interesting association that people have between stuff and wealth. I often hear people say things like:

 

“Oh, she drives a BMW, so she must make a lot of money.”

 

“The Johnson’s have a huge boat, they must have big salaries.”

 

“Mary always has a new designer bag, she must make big bank rolls” (Can we stop saying that?).

 

 

Let me give you a quick revelation. In many current situations in the United States, people with nice stuff are usually cash poor. Many up to their eyeballs in debt.

 

It is a ridiculous phenomenon that is happening across the country. Our ‘look at me’ culture is getting us into deep, deep, trouble.

 

It has become so bad that when I see someone with a nice car, my judgment screams poor man walking. Even though they may be well off. Which is the polar opposite of the way we have been trained to think.

 

Don’t believe me?

 

Credit card balances are higher than they have ever been. Car sales are through the roof, while income levels have remained stagnant. The average cash value of bank account balance in comparison to the average sale price of a car in almost dumbfounding.

 

According to the Wall Street Journal, the average car sale this year was $34,000.

 

While a survey of American savings came to the conclusion that 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts.

 

This is literally insane.

 

Americans are spending all their money on ‘stuff’.

 

If you are falling behind with your money, feeling you can’t get ahead in life, take a hard look at yourself.

 

Stop going broke by acting rich. Click To Tweet

 

This doesn’t have to be outwardly noticeable things like designer clothes or fancy cars. It can also be things like eating out many times a week, racking up a grocery bill, or spending money on booze. Grow up and find out where you are consuming. Millennial’s live like royalty on a peasants salary. It’s pathetic. 

 

Listen, I want you to have fancy pants. I want you to have the fanciest pants you can afford. It just can’t get in the way of your families financial future.

 

When I was in college I had a job delivering sandwiches. I was paid an hourly wage in addition to cash tips. This would result in an extra $20-$120 cash in my pocket each day. A fortune for a college student. My parents would cover my necessities so this become money that I could use freely. Guess how much of that money I have left today? Not a single penny. I was making money, but eating out frequently, buying expensive clothes, and having a grand ole’ time. I was spending everything I made. If I saved any money it was so I could spend it on bigger things. I was way too fancy for my income level.

 

Don’t fall into this spending trap.

 

You can have nice things. You should aspire for nice things, but they must equal your income level. Here’s a few examples:

 

 

House 

Your mortgage should be a maximum of 25% of your monthly income. I talk extensively about how to buy a house here.

 

 

Cars 

Cars should generally be paid for in cash. They are depreciating asset, not an investment. Yet If you truly value cars, or have a job the requires your car to be presentable, then I have a life hack for you on how to get a car essentially free. I talk about the hack here. Oh, and ‘lease’ is a cuss word at DXD. Don’t ever lease!

 

 

Clothes

It’s not hard to find cheap quality clothes these days. My wife works in the fashion industry and we probably spend less on clothes than most. You have to plan and be ready to pounce when a true deal arrives. I can’t tell you how many people I have been to the mall with who just buy things because they are 50% off. You don’t buy things because they are on sale, you buy things you need when they on sale.

 

 

Vacations

If you love to vacation and are not familiar with travel hacking, it’s time to blow your mind (call me Gwen Stefani). You can travel the world for free with reward credit cards. Now let me preface this by saying if you don’t have the best credit card discipline, this is not an option for you. You need to do this in a responsible manner. I would start with The Points Guy, Travel Miles 101, or Abroaders. I will dig deeper into how my wife and I travel hack in the future.

 

 

Simply put, if your pants are fancier than your wallet, you need to make a change. As Paula Pant says “You can afford almost anything that brings value to your life, but you can’t afford everything.” If you want a boat. Save up and buy a boat, work hard to get there. Look to get raises, build a side business, or pick up an extra gig. Then enjoy the heck out of that boat. Just don’t go into debt or wreck your future for a boat (you’ll just have a floating prison). Luxuries are just that, a luxury. If you are not where you want to be in life, take a chill pill and work to get there. Nothing comes easy, but you can obtain anything with consistency, perseverance, and plain hard work.

 

 

I’ll leave you with something I wrote some time back:

It’s an interesting concept, us living beyond our means. Emotions that ride the coat tails of others perceptions, outweigh our financial well being. The desire to have a ‘thing’ can consume our entire mental state until that desire is granted.

 

One thing rings true, living beyond our means is because we are completely selfish by nature.

 

The selfless give. The selfish consume. Click To Tweet

 

Where do you fall?

 

 

Cheers,

 

Andrew


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4 thoughts on “How Fancy Are Your Pants?

  • The Green Swan

    Great post, DXD! I’m definitely not a fancy pants guy and I don’t care much what others think about it either. Outwardly you wouldn’t think much of me, I’m not overly luxurious guy, and yet I’m on my way too early retirement in my 30s!

    I follow your tips pretty closely above, however I did finance my last car. I was ready to pay in cash but I was able to get a loan for under 2% so choose to invest the cash instead. And clothes-wise…i still own and wear many of the original work clothes I bought 10 years ago… Still look good so why not!

    • andrew Post author

      Congrats on the road to retirement Green Swan! I love to see someone chasing after FI!

      I agree completely with your decision to finance the car under 2%. You can definitely invest that money at a higher rate! I would take that in a heartbeat.

      Quality clothes always seem to stand the test of time, no matter how many wears you get out of them. It’s amazing how far we have come in terms of cheap, quality, materials. Not only that, but we can have them shipped to our doorstep for free!

  • T@TirelessWorker.com

    Great article Andrew, really this is so common everywhere in the world. People spending money they don’t have, to buy things they don’t need. While they may have that item to show to the world, they can’t afford the payments and it’s going to haunt them in the future.

    I like what you said, “Save up and buy a boat, work hard to get there.” There’s nothing wrong with wanting a boat, what’s wrong is when you’re taking the short cut of taking a loan you can’t afford, to buy your boat.

    • andrew Post author

      Thanks for reading T!

      Exactly. Many people who overspend do it to “show off” when really all that does is get them into trouble. It’s great to know that we can buy anything we value if we work hard to get there. Something The Tireless Worker knows all about!