Sat 23 Dec 2006
I received some comments and emails on this topic and evidently it stirs up emotions in a lot of people so I’m going to frame this arguement in a context I hope everyone can understand but this will be the end of it. I’ve spent too much time on this topic already and I need to focus on investment opportunities.
If you are a die hard frugalist and you won $10,000 in a lottery would your lifestyle change?
I’m sure almost all of you will say, of course not I’d live exactly the same way.
If, however, you won $1,000,000 in a lottery would your lifestyle change?
For some of you, if you’re honest, would acknowledge a slight change in your lifestyle and pinching the last penny wouldn’t be as big a deal.
If, however, you won $100,000,000 in a lottery would your lifestyle change?
For anyone who says they wouldn’t change a thing in their life, I think you’re being disingenuous. Upon winning 100 million dollars I bet you wouldn’t give a damn about saving 10% off using a coupon or spend two hours on Fatwallet.com or Slickdeals.net looking for a discount item. I doubt you’d waste your time buying refurbished items or shopping at a second hand store.
I’m sure someone will post a comment saying, “oh that wouldn’t be me, I’d still be a frugal guy/gal” but we all know that it’ll be pure bull.
I’ll say that Moom posted an interesting comment on my blog here writing, “…But many of these PF bloggers seem trapped in the penny-pinching mode. They regard debt or spending as sinful. There is a huge divide between investing blogs and PF blogs.”
Trapped in penny-pinching mode is exactly the issue I concerned myself when this whole debate began and the issue still exists and seems like it will continue to exist with pinchers creating all sorts of rationalizations for pursuing their methods.
The fundamental problem with American’s debt isn’t that they overspend it’s that they under earn. If people constantly want or need things they can’t afford then they need to make more income to fill the gap but EVERY PF BLOGGER out there is telling people to cut back and spend less than you earn -this is the EASIEST, LAZIEST cop out advice for someone. “Spend less than you earn” -Gee whiz, did it take you all night to think up that great advice?
When someone asks me what I think they should do if they’re not making ends meet, my response always varies based on their situation:
1. Go get a college degree
2. Go get some certifications CPA, CFA, CCIE, RN, etc
3. Change your career path
4. Start a business
5. Learn a new skill or trade
6. Learn to trade stocks / options / commodities / whatever
If they refuse to do any of the above things then the advice turns into “live within your means” and “spend less than you earn” but only after I’ve exhausted trying to give them resources, ideas, and advice to help them achieve their goals and lifestyle comfort levels.
WHY IS LIVING FRUGALLY CONSIDERED SUPERIOR TO LIVING WHATEVER LIFESTYLE SOMEONE WANTS?
I’m not advocating materialism or unlimited consumption so please don’t go there I’m just arguing that we are living in the greatest free market capital market in the world to achieve unlimited wealth and PF Bloggers are advocating discount coupons as a way to financial success.