You are probably stupid! Overall you may be a smart person, but a lot of us are actually pretty stupid in certain areas, especially with money. It blows my mind that bright people (doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc) will make such boneheaded financial mistakes. Often times these people don’t even realize the error of their ways because they are making good money and are still able to maintain a good enough lifestyle, but don’t realize it could be so much better. With some basic financial tweaks their lifestyle could be even better and they could enhance their long run positioning (rather than risking a fall off a cliff). Does this sound like it could be you? If yes, then keep reading…
Most financial advice online falls in to one of two categories that doesn’t work for most people. I call these two categories advice for financial dumpster fires and advice for financial bodybuilders. Let me explain…
- Category 1 – Advice for the Financial Dumpster Fire (overly basic and obvious)
- A financial dumpster fire is a person who has made poor financial decision after poor financial decision and there isn’t really an easy way out. These people are often buried in debt, missing payments, have creditors chasing them down, and are extremely distressed. These people are perfect candidates for bankruptcy protection, credit counseling, and basic courses on interest rates.
- The needed advice for them is usually extremely basic…things like quit spending money you don’t have, your dog doesn’t need a pair of new jeans, cut up your credit cards, or set up a debt repayment plan.
- If this is you, I recommend starting with Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover”.
- A financial dumpster fire is not always to blame for their circumstances. Life can definitely happen where other priorities take precedence over prudence. When my wife got infected with a weird South American parasite and spent two years in and out of the hospital, you bet we made some terrible financial decisions. Her health just took priority over the smart financial decision. If some $60 herbal tea had a shot of making her feel better, we tried it. So be kind, not everyone is as lucky as you.
- Category 2 – Financial Bodybuilders (over the top frugality, uncomfortable to look at/do)
- The second most common type of financial advice I find are what I call financial bodybuilders. These people are religiously frugal (i.e. won’t buy a new pair of socks for 15 years because it isn’t in the budget), save every single penny they make, and are now often multi-millionaires as a result of their efforts.
- This plan is great for the people who can pull it off, but I call them financial bodybuilders because a bodybuilder is obviously super fit, but to me they are over the top and uncomfortable to look at. The financial bodybuilders are the same way.
- The guidance of a financial bodybuilder is often scolding on any form of consumption, or advice on what brokerage house and long term investments one should go with. Lots of times this advice is great, but isn’t applicable to the masses. I enjoy reading a couple of these blogs, but just don’t think feasible for me on a daily basis. If you want to read more of these, just google FIRE (financial independence, retire early).
- Category 3 – THE NEW CATEGORY – Smart Consumption and Planning
- The advice on this blog focuses on someone who is frugal, yet understands that with a reasonable person there are still going to be elements of consumption. The point isn’t to go without nice things, but to be cerebral about decisions, and only buy things that really offer value.
- The goal is to be a starting point to selective spending, where consumption happens on purpose.
- This is meant to be an open forum, so feel free to disagree with me, point out where I’m wrong, or show me how you can get an even better deal.
One more type of financial “advice” to be aware of – the GURU. Watch out for wannabe financial gurus, you know the guy who cheated off you in high school, dropped out of college, and is now selling some sort of insurance that you really don’t need, or selling some sort of investments that he doesn’t even understand. I hate this guy (and yes, I understand the irony of me making fun of financial gurus, but I’m not trying to get you to give me your savings).
I have to have this because there are a number of people out there who are stupid, not generally smart people making stupid decisions, but genuinely stupid people making stupid decisions. DO NOT RELY on anything I say; if you do and you end up getting screwed over, it’s not my fault. If you think something you read on here is worthwhile then get yourself more corroborating information before acting. I don’t want to get sued because you are a moron.
Also, I’m making no claim to be Warren Buffet, and I’m even willing to admit that in some crazy far away universe I may even be wrong about something, and one of the things I am counting on is that the internet will have no qualms about letting me know, so bring on the discussion/hate.