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Money Tours & Honest Acounts: A voyeur’s video view on how people live and spend their money – PART THREE

If you didn’t know, I had been watching Money Tours and Honest Accounts, and here are my summarized thoughts after bingeing on all of the episodes:

MILLIONAIRE STATUS = SEEMS UNATTAINABLE

I can understand why people feel like being a millionaire is out of rich. I can see based on their assets and debts, if they have $10,000 or just under, it makes them feel financially secure, like “$10K? That’s not bad, I got this!” … but if you were to ask them to save $100K, they’d look at you like you’re crazy. How could they even save $100K? It took them YEARS to save $10K.

YOU CAN’T SIMPLY SAVE TO WEALTH

The open secret is that it is really damn difficult to SAVE $100K, but if you invested that $10K at 8% interest, and put in NOT A SINGLE PENNY AFTER that initial investment, you’d have $100K in 30 years.

Now imagine if you saved an extra $500 a month or $6000 a year after that initial $10K investment, you’d have $854,537 in 30 years. That is a significant difference, to put in $10K at the start, then $500 a month thereafter, to reach in 30 years, within waving distance of a cool $1M. The key is compounding interest + investing that money. Not saving it in an account.

CASH IS A KILLER

In relation to reaching millionaire status for instance, I can see where the money goes. When anything is withdrawn in cash, they couldn’t tell you why. They say things like: Oh, I took out $120, then $200, then $100… in cash. But I have no idea where it went. Maybe to a beauty store around the corner?

They couldn’t remember why they took the money out at all, and … honestly, if it wasn’t a significant reason to warrant them taking out cash to spend or give, then it was likely going to a want not a need.

NOT TRACKING SPENDING IS A KILLER

Another major issue is not necessarily that they regretted spending on anything they bought (for the non-cash transactions that is), but that they didn’t track their spending at all before (it’s pretty obvious, some of them made remarks like: Wow, I did not know I ate out so much. I need to stop eating!), and not tracking it, makes it really eye opening when you go through your credit card statement and realize you are spending $50 here, $20 there, and at the end of the month $1200 was gone in a flash, but you only put $25 in savings.

FINANCIAL LITERACY MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE

Without financial literacy, I can see a significant difference between those who learned it and those who didn’t. Just looking at their starting assets and debts, you can tell who is on track so to speak, and who will say during or at the end of the show that they have a shaky relationship with money and would like to save more, invest more, and so on.

These are less interesting to me, but they also did: “We asked women what they would do with $50K” at different salaries and the ones who made significantly less (under $100K), wanted to clear debt (student loans, credit card debt), then go spend the rest living it up. The others making $100K or more, said they’d used it to invest or save, maybe spend a tiny bit ($5000). The best was the one making $550K who said getting $50K happened to her recently, and it didn’t change a thing (<—- this is how I would feel).

CREDIT SCORES ARE NOT A SIGN OF WEALTH

A common misconception I saw in the videos are that people seem to think a high credit score is a sign of wealth. No. A credit score is simply a score that tells you how credit-worthy you are, if you pay your bills on time, how much debt you have on your cards versus outstanding amounts available to still borrow (hint: if the ratio is high of debt versus open credit, you are not a favourable person to lend to).

It has nothing to do with being rich or wealth. That is simply the sum of what is in your bank accounts and investing portfolio.

Read:

UNCERTAINTY IS REAL

I can tell that they are unsure, or unable to take the next step forward for a few reasons:

  • They don’t know how to start
  • They don’t want to start
  • They are putting it off for ‘later’ (magical ‘later’)
  • They think it’s too difficult or out of their reach so they just ignore it
  • They aren’t motivated because they don’t have goals

None of these things are valid as true reasons, because none of this financial literacy stuff is harder than what their lives require them to do at work or even for pleasure. Comparing between buying this beauty product or these shoes, is the same level of analytics and brain power needed to choose which index fund and why. Or to set up a basic budget and track your money numbers.

If you can compare between all the different benefits of one skin cream to another, you can invest money. Period. You’re just shopping for different investing strategies and funds.

“INVESTING” IS A MISUSED WORD

I twitched each time they said: “I am investing in these designer heels“… or “I am investing in my apartment home décor“. None of these things, are investments. Unless your home perfectly decorated, brings in MORE business because it’s your workplace (e.g. you’re a chef who does dinner events in your home, or a masseuse), this is just plain shopping, disguised as necessities so that they feel better about having spend $2000 on a pair of shoes.

And I get it. I totally 100% get it because I am ALSO that person who says: I absolutely need 4 dresses of the same cut and style in different colours because what if one gets dirty and I happen to want to wear it THAT DAY?

I guess the only difference is I set money goals, so I always told myself: Dress or Money Goal? and until I reached that goal, I didn’t allow myself (many) indulgences, if I felt like I was going off track.

CONVENIENCE IS A BIG THING

A lot of Ubers and cabs because they “don’t want to deal with all the people sometimes“, or eating out because they’re tired and can’t cook (12 hour days), or simply pretend they don’t have the time (part-time barista who doesn’t make a lot but doesn’t want to cook either). Most of this, can be resolved by meal planning and doing simple meals that can be repeated or mixed/matched.

When you pay for convenience of the work of others instead of taking the metro, or making your own meals, bringing your own lunch, you are going to see those expenses add up after taxes, tips…. hence why tracking your money is such a big deal.

YOUR SPENDING REFLECTS YOUR PRIORITIES

I heard a few say that they wanted to feel “safe” with their money, and to buy a home in the future, and so on and so forth. The problem is their priorities or what they say are their priorities, do not line up with their goals (if they even set any to begin with).

This is a hard, and valuable lesson to learn – if you are SAYING you want to be financially secure, your spending should reflect that, as in, you are buying groceries to cook at home and not eating out as often. You can still eat out, but not every day. It becomes a treat, not a crutch.

A LOT OF MONEY GOALS WERE MISSING

Your money goals should also reflect this – if you take away $300 a month from eating out and put it in investing, then you are most certainly lining your spending up with what you want to achieve as a goal, even if you take that other $200 and use it to eat out. You are setting priorities on what you say you want, and concrete goals to reach those. All of this is part and parcel of financial literacy.

I have to say I did not see a lot of that in many of the videos. A few were really quite good at setting goals and naming that they wanted financial freedom or F-U money, and those are my goals as well. The rest? Not so much. It felt like they wanted to be more in tune with their money but just… weren’t.

Thoughts?

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