“What’s the point of making money when you drive a Honda?”
Kevin, a financial enthusiast, asked Ramit Sethi, one of the famous financial gurus right now, in one of his seminars that I attended why someone would want a substantial amount of money if they can’t even drive a good car.
Like Kevin, I (and probably thousands of others) always had the same question regarding intelligent financial decisions.
Financial gurus always preach how they drive their paid 2003 Corollas or 2005 Hondas like it was the proudest move they have made in their life, and they talk about how that makes them smarter than anyone else, like having a good car is the sin of the money rules.
However, this advice has never really made sense. Believing that saving all your money, not spending on any luxury or anything at all, not going out to eat at any restaurant, and not tipping so you can invest everything you can is “the key to wealth” is completely wrong.
In this article, I will explain why.
Getting rich slowly is actually the worst way to have Wealth
When I started reading books about finance, I realized that most of them offer basically the same advice:
- Work hard.
- Live frugally so you can save as much as you can.
- Save 20–50% of your salary.
- Invest in index funds.
- Wait years and years until the compound interest helps you retire.
The problem is that this path, even if it works practically in almost all cases if you follow it correctly, is very slow and miserable.
You can’t enjoy your money in your present because you have to wait until you are old to use it, and when you are old, you will not have the energy and desire to do all the things you didn’t do young because you “had” to save.
Tim Denning also explained in an article the big problem with slow wealth that no one talks about because people have accepted that simply saving all your money and being frugal is the “way to wealth”:
“Trading happiness and freedom today for some future tomorrow is what the American Dream is builton.It forces people to make bad decisions and ignore their short term happiness and desires. I prefer to live for now.
If you follow the slow way to building wealth, then you may become a millionaire on paper at 65 like Dave Ramsay preaches.The trouble is your best days and highest levels of energy will be behind you. You might be rich but it’s getting too late to enjoy.”
Of course, saving money is important. It helps you with emergencies; it helps you achieve financial goals, grow personally, and be able to buy a home one day.
But basing your life only on the fact that you have to save and not buy anything you like because you “need to be frugal” is simply unsustainable and meaningless.
Spending your money on things you truly love is not wasteful spending.
Spending your money on things you truly love is not wasteful spending, no matter how many times those guys with paid-off 2003 Corollas tell you it is.
If you love your car, it makes you happy, and you can afford it, then spend money on it.
And don’t feel guilty about it.
By focusing on purposefully spending your money on things you genuinely enjoy, you will be happier and have a healthier relationship with money.
The key is to make it with responsibility. Never get into a debt that you can’t pay because you want something, and look for the right time to do it.
If you have six months of saving hard for your future and you met all your financial goals in that period, then it’s okay to buy that fancy wine at your favorite restaurant or that spot in a game you truly love.
Something I do to feel I deserve something, no matter how luxurious or unnecessary that thing is, is to have a saving mark goal and treat that thing as a reward.
For example, if I met $10,000, then I could buy this wallet. When I achieve $20,000, I will book that trip to that island. When I reach $30,000, then I will book that spa day for myself.
At the end of the day, it is your money that you worked hard to obtain, so it is okay if you use it on things that make you happy now, even if that means that you will save $500 that month instead of $1000. Only make sure to save the other months and do not neglect a basic necessity for that thing.
There’s no point in driving an old Honda if you have the money and financial responsibility to have something else and you are a car lover.
You can use your money to enjoy the present while saving what you can for your future.
Frugality will never make sense to me because I don’t see the point of not using my money to buy ice cream that I could truly enjoy because I have to save that $7 to buy an index fund.
I learned it is better to focus on big-money goals than small expenses to be wealthy one day. For that reason, it doesn’t matter if I pay for Netflix; my mindset is on how to achieve $1000 instead of $10.
Many financial books will tell you that driving an expensive car is just to show other people you have the power to do it and is a ridiculous way to use your money. Then, they will spend all their life saying how much they have in their bank accounts or index funds while driving a Toyota. Isn’t that the same thing they try to correct others?
Saving all your money and not enjoying your life now is not the correct way to be wealthy. Saving is important, but not at the cost of trading your life for it.
Save. Invest. And make all the money you can so you can buy the car you want.