Getting Haters Out of Your Wallet
|August 24, 2012||Posted by Roshawn Watson under Uncategorized|
If you have been in the “way” – the frugal way – for any length of time, you build wealth. Wealth is the product of good stewardship of resources, but building wealth and having the tangible products of wealth are not the same things. You can fare well without having obvious displays of material wealth. For instance, you may be increasing your net worth, investing for retirement, maintaining a fully funded emergency fund, and developing multiple streams of income but lack the resources to support taking a year or 2 off or purchasing a luxury car outright (if that’s your thing) for years to come. It’s all the Law of Process. Unfortunately, the fact that time is required before you get to the “good stuff” is often lost on haters who love to play armchair quarterback of your life. In short, there is a disconnect. Of course, you are not going to abandon all of your hard work for shallow, conspicuous consumption simply to appease an idiot who wouldn’t know a good financial plan from a menu at Ruby Tuesday’s. That said, it can still occasionally hurt to have your efforts and progress minimized, ignored, or even dissed, particularly if the perpetrator is family or a “friend.” Building wealth is typically a long-term marathon rather than a sprint, regardless of how it is portrayed in the media. Here are some key points to remember when people comment on the apparent disconnect between your financial plan and your consumption.
Grasping Hold of the Invisible
Lately, I have been so disillusioned with some of the most common measures of wealth. For example, a coworker was completely stunned by my response to his admiration of another coworker’s BMW. Not only was I unimpressed, I offered my sympathy. It’s been years since I even considered BMW or Mercedes true luxury brands (gasp). Sure, they can be pricey, and millionaires sometimes drive them (not as many as you would think), but so does nearly everyone else (at least it seems that way). 1 They are downright common, and a hallmark of luxury is exclusivity. I mean NO disrespect if you dream of driving one of these cars, but I typically think about the payments that the nonwealthy use to acquire these brands rather than the “joy” or the supposed “status” of owning them. The only time I celebrate someone owning any luxury car is when they purchase them for cash (and typically used so their “asset” (ie, car) doesn’t instantly depreciate by 40%) and have a considerable net worth. For example, when my friend purchased a Maserati after wanting it for 20+ years or when my other friend bought her Rolls Royce, I was ecstatic for them, as they have truly paid the price financially to own those vehicles.
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Obviously, I’m in the minority, or the “luxury” dealership would probably be out of business. Most people do look at external measures to assess financial success. Perhaps, that is one of the reasons most of us are not wealthy. On the other hand, most millionaires perform cost-benefit analyses before making such purchases and similarly scorn conspicuous consumption, at least until it no longer significantly impacts their net worth. For example, wealth researcher, Thomas J. Stanley, found that millionaires typically live in neighborhoods where their wealth exceeds that of their neighbors by over 6-fold. Clearly, these millionaires esteem their financial security above the adulation of their “peers.” Consequently, they have way more money and freedom. The problem isn’t having stuff; the problem is being addicted to the approval of others regarding their finances. Essentially, by choosing neighborhoods where they are not barraged with constant pressure to live at or above their means, they have freed themselves of the emptying impact that living near the Joneses would have on their wallets.
The problem isn’t having stuff; the problem is being addicted to the approval of others regarding your finances.
Chicken or the Egg
Thus, they instead focus on their finances from a long-term perspective. Now, I realize that being able to focus on long-term wealth is a luxury of having surplus, but one of the main reasons millionaires have surplus to begin with is due to their long-term orientation. For instance, consider some popular careers that have high proportions of millionaires, such as physicians, lawyers, dentists, college professors, and scientists. All of these professions take several years in order to build the knowledge base, credibility, and skill sets necessary to perform these jobs satisfactorily. Similarly, many business owners and entrepreneurs persist in business after business until they find a winning formula for them, even though it often means forsaking immediate payoffs; note 9 of 10 businesses are said to fail. Of course, there are usually (hopefully) nonfinancial reasons for pursuing aforementioned career paths as well, but in order to persevere through the rigor and years of sacrifice, a long-term orientation is critical. By focusing on where you want to be in the next 5 to 20 years rather than tomorrow, the quality of your decisions will instantly improve.
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The Longest Night Ever
If all of this happened overnight, it was the longest night ever! Unknown
Success takes time. Recently, we saw remarkable displays of what it took to be world champions by the Olympians. It is simply staggering to consider that so many of them worked 6 days a week for the last 4 years for a few minutes (or even seconds) of glory. They sacrificed physically, financially, relationally, and professionally to make this dream happen. It is laudable and the perfect illustration as to what “overnight” success really means.
In reality, most (successful people) are hailed as leaders in their field(s) long after they commit to their calling(s) or to… particular way(s) of living in the world that hold special meaning to them. The mainstream media stories about successful people – along with wishful thinking about instant gratification or a magic pill for success – make it seem as if they were overnight success, but it rarely happens that way. Builders mostly toil with every ounce of their energy and persistence, with heart and soul, for their whole lives. Jerry Porras
Opinions That Count… Only the Qualified Need Apply
You need quality advice, so none of this discussion is to diminish the value of getting input. It is not prudent that you rob yourself of the valuable insights you can glean from seasoned professionals and experienced mentors. That said, don’t get dismayed when others express dissent about your life choices. After all, the only thing that qualifies one to have an opinion is breathing air. No matter what you do or how well you do it, it will never be enough to please everyone. Fortunately, obtaining everyone’s approval is totally unnecessary. If you have vetted your plan and explored the best options, then sometimes you may have to turn a deaf ear to others’ “preferences” regarding YOUR decisions. Just because they would have tackled something differently doesn’t mean that you’re wrong. That’s the beauty of diversity. More importantly, if you continually live your life for others rather than exploring your own passions, callings, goals, you risk carrying regret to your grave. Studies show that people experience more sadness towards the end of their lives about the things that they DIDN’T do rather than what they did. If your primary financial objective is independence, comfort, abundance, and/or to leave a legacy, then ignore noise to the contrary. Gird yourself with the truth that your goal IS possible. Know that normal people become financial heroes, so you qualify.
The only thing that qualifies one to have an opinion is breathing air.
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To those who are working towards avoiding or paying off debt, purchasing cars and homes for cash, investing for retirement or education, building businesses, and/or leaving a legacy for your heirs and communities, your sacrifices are meaningful, EVEN if they draw the scorn rather than adoration from your peers. It is alright if your life choices don’t always compute to those who observe you. Remember, if you did everything “the right” their way, their approval is fleeting anyway. Make decisions based on your priorities not popular opinion or to appease others. Perhaps the first step to financial independence is to get the opinions of haters out of your wallet.
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1 Yes, I realize that a Mercedes C-Class is different from a S-Class.
Image Credit: spatulated