I was chatting to a friend last night and was amazed at his reaction to what I had to say.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: Did you see that article about the guy who can’t live on $350k a year?
Him: What guy?
Me: Oh, some guy written up in the Wall Street Journal the other day.
Him: I didn’t see the article. What about him?
Me: He’s a lawyer or law professor or something who earns $350k a year and can’t make ends meet.
Him: Yeah, I know people like that. Remember Elton John nearly went broke?
Me: Yeah [laughs]. But, that’s not what I’m talking about. He says he can’t even afford to own a house because he lives in New York … in Queens or Brooklyn or somewhere like that … and between his taxes … I think he pays nearly half in taxes … and his rent, he is really struggling.
Him: Poor him [laughs]
Me: [laughs]. Yeah I guess it seems funny. But, I actually know where he’s coming from. I own my house and my cars outright. OK, I have two kids in private school, so that’s expensive. But, we struggle to stick to our $250k a year spending budget.
Now, here’s the weird part: my friend didn’t seem surprised at all …
… like NOT being able to live on $250k a year (before taxes) when you have NO mortgage, NO car payments – in fact, NO debt at all – is nothing unusual.
I made $7 million in 7 years so, for me, spending ‘only’ $250k a year is probably being frugal.
What’s his excuse?
And, how much annual expenditure are you banking on your Number being able to produce?
I’ve discovered that (at least as high as my earnings had ever gone) it’s always easy to spend all you have available.
And difficult not to spend all you have available.
So, if you want to be investing money, make sure you put it away AS SOON AS YOU GET IT. Don’t wait to see what will be left over.
The rather blunt reality is that in many places in the world, USD250K will buy you a reasonable middle class lifestyle and no more than that – especially if you have children and want to send them to private schools/universities, like to travel business class etc. It adds up pretty quickly.
It’s the only reason I’m still working.
@ Ashton Fourie – Great advice
@ traineeinvestor – Sad, but true: “USD250K will buy you a reasonable middle class lifestyle and no more than that”
Message: review your Number … probably, waaaay upwards 🙂
I’ve been taught that those who are broke at the end of every month/pay check (regardless of how much they make per month) are those who save around their living (which means whatever they spent and if any left over, they’ll save)and not live around their savings (meaning save first and spend whatever is left).
“[don’t] save around your living … [instead] live around your savings”
@ Kong – Great advice!
There are a lot of celebrities who burn through hundreds of millions of dollars, so burning through $250K/year isn’t that unbelievable. Although I suspect if you were “only” spending $150K/year it would not radically decrease your overall happiness either.
I make far less but all of my needs are covered and enough of my wants that there are relatively few things I really want. I already have so much of many things that there just isn’t time to enjoy more. For example I already have more books that I would like to read but not enough time to read them. I could get newer/better versions of things I already have- but I don’t think it would make that big of a difference in my life. The one thing I do want is a big one- enough wealth that I can stop working. That will still take a while.
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