So apparently it’s socially acceptable to tell people you’re poor. Don’t get me wrong, I love when PF bloggers make debt announcements. Their announcements take courage. It’s awesome when they’re working your way out of debt. But for most people, being poor is just a permanent way of life and they are just fine venting their problems to the world. All of my life, it’s been almost cool to go around shouting about your money woes. So, of course, I wanted to fit in to some degree. Heck, even today, people still think a person’s weird if you actually save a a good portion of your income.
So how can a person fit in (be poor) without really being poor?
Eureka! I make myself poor by automatically investing a sh*t ton of money into equities! I’ve been investing since I was 10 but putting it on auto-pilot would assure I wouldn’t ‘hold some back’ to spend senselessly.
“Hey, man, you wanna go-in to buy an Xbox One?” You can reply, “Sorry, bro, all my money’s gone!” Ooooh, instant respect gained!
P.S. Don’t really say, ‘bro’.
I invest a huge portion of my money so I never really have a bunch of cash just lying around. I used to joke with a girlfriend that I didn’t have money because I spent it on my mutual fund expense ratios. “That’s not really spending it, Will.”
Right now, I save 85% of my income. Most of that gets invested in equities. I save 50% in my Roth 401(k), 10% into my Employee Stock Purchase Program, $5,500 annually in my Roth IRA, and the rest of what I don’t need to live off of in a taxable account.
So essentially, I’ve severely restricted my money wasted possibilities.
Our Big Secret
We can make ourselves essentially poor so we live like everyone else. Although in reality, you can have a pile of cash set on autopilot. The fact is, you don’t have easy access to the majority of your money. So this helps you stay on track with your spending and it helps you blend in with the crowd.
How to Be Poor for Real
You really want to be poor? My advice: rent a Ferrari while your credit is still okay and promptly park it in a lake. Follow that up with replacing your toilet paper with ‘hundies’ – yes, even the guest bathroom. Next, you can use nail polish to paint your bedroom walls. Would be sparkly, I bet. And finally, BASE jumping in a national park will get you a $2,000 fine so jump on that opportunity.
I don’t really suggest you pretend you’re poor just so you can fit in with everyone else. But reducing your liquid cash to a lower level is smart and it’ll help you match lifestyles with your less money-oriented peers. Engineering a life where you have less liquid cash can be a great thing. I recommend you automate as much of your income as possible while still maintaining a high quality of life. This will prompt Vanguard to send you a Christmas card and put you at the cool kids table at lunch. Automate on.