Re: Living Below Your Means

From: Brian D Williams (
Date: Tue Jun 06 2000 - 09:11:37 MDT

From: Rob Sweeney <>
>This seems to be a common theme amongst recent messages (re:
>altamira's introduction message for example). I wonder if it's a
>common lifestyle throughout this community?
I mentioned it after Bonnie made a post about her lifestyle and
suggested that others here might not feel the same. I love the
changes I've made, and would encourage everyone to try it.

>Recently I've been watching the behavior of a relative of mine
>who's been going through a marital separation which is putting a
>bit of financial pressure on her. She's a typical suburban
>American with stereotypical motivations far as I can see; she
>comes home from work and plops down in front of the TV for the
>evening, has the usual credit card debt, car loan, etc. She's
>never not been in debt, yet she's not in real trouble, she can
>manage what she has.
>From one conversation to the next her position on financial
>matters changes. She'll be worried about money one day, and the
>next she'll be mentally shopping for new cars - this despite the
>aforementioned financial pressure.
This is the same kind of general dissatisfaction I was feeling. 10
months ago yesterday I eliminated the biggest drain on my wallet
and my health, I quit drinking alcohol. I was a typical binge
drinker, I rarely drank during the week, but lookout Friday night!

With this change in lifestyle (it was a BIG change) I started
looking around. I had previously read David Chaitan's "The Wealthy
Barber", now I stumbled onto "The Millionare Next Door" and some
other books and began the metamorphosis.

I have what I thought was quite a bit in my portfolio,
(considerably more than most of my peers) but found I was at half
of what I should be to be "balance sheet affluent".( age/10 X
yearly income= net worth) In addition I was still maintaining some
$7000 in consumer debt.

I am now socking it away to the tune of $1000+ a month. In less
than 7 months I will be completely debt free. I could do it faster,
but am building up my reserves (money market account) at the same
time. Next stop, additional investments, possibly a house. I credit
the good folks at The Motley Fool for many of these ideas. Max has
already mentioned the "Living Below Your Means" discussion board
there. I post as Brian239.

As Max pointed out when Extropy institute started the Investing
node, if we're (Extropians) so smart, why aren't we rich? I intend
to be both.

>For myself, I've almost always lived below my means - not
>necessarily simply (I live in Manhattan and have the usual toys in
>my apartment, though the stereo is 11 yrs old - my vice is
>expensive bicycles..) and not necessarily by a conscious choice to
>do so - I just don't feel motivated to acquire the costly baggage
>most people have, so my expenses are low relative to many people
>around me. (you know, those Wall Street yuppies!). I don't value
>big houses or fancy cars - at least, not at the levels that the
>general population appears to. In fact, I find that posessions
>almost make me nervous - it's _stuff_ that I have to take care of
>- if I want to travel, or take a job in another city, or whatever,
>I have to move this _stuff_ around or make it go away somehow.
>The more I think about it, the more I value freedom - physical,
>get-up-and-go freedom, and positive numbers in my accounts. And
><I can always buy stuff with those positive numbers, if I want.

It sounds like your doing great! There's nothing wrong with owning
nice things, but you should not buy them on credit. If I remember
correctly the rule on houses is not to assume a mortgage more than
twice your income. The trick being to buy a starter home first, and
build equity.

>I wonder if extropians have resistance to consumerist memes, if
>only because we pay attention to information sources other than
>consumerist media?

I didn't have much resistance previously, but I'm up for increasing
our immunity. ;)


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Current reading: "Gift From The Sea" Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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