Every now and again, I stumble across something that makes me wonder, “Are you a dumb ass?” Someone forwarded me a post from a year ago where a PF blogger spent $60,000 on a luxury car right after revealing his net worth was only $55,000! I mean seriously, is that not a little messed up or what? It’s almost as dumb as a minimalist owning multiple Apple products, a health nut who smokes and drinks soda, a vegan who wears leather shoes, and an evangelist who embezzles millions from you.
When I innocently asked why he spent more on his car than his entire family’s net worth, another commenter responded that it was because the blogger wanted to save money by spending money so he wouldn’t have money left over every month to spend. Huh? What? Hmmmmm. That’s just dumb.
THE WORLD IS WONDERFUL
The barriers to entry for being a personal finance blogger are really low. Just look at all the dumb things on this sight for example! The hurdle is so low that you can write about amazingly stupid financial moves, and still have a nice readership following. You can literally write about anything and proclaim you have the keys to wealth, without being wealthy yourself. You can write about the detriments of home ownership, while never having owned a home. You can rag about how idiotic politicians waste our hard-earned money without ever having stepped in their shoes. Whatever the case may be, all of you should consider starting your own blogs and get rich!
We have blogs about how to blog. We have blogs making a lot of money teaching others how to make a lot of money blogging. There are blogs out there that talk about blogs that talk about blogs! There are even self-proclaimed social media and self-help gurus. They better have the bomb ass life or else I ain’t listening to them! There are blogs that talk about relationships and marriage by single people who’ve never been married. There are bloggers who making $30,000+ a month who still pretend to write like they are poor as to not alienate their readers.
The point is, we are free to do whatever we please. So long as we have an opinion, there will be those who will want to listen to what you have to say.
MY OWN DUMB ASS THOUGHTS AND MORE
Frankly, I love dumb ass posts. It makes me laugh and want to comment profusely. I’ve got a lot of dumb posts that have engendered a lot of conversation. One of my favorites is, “How To Increase Your Job Security For Life”. What an idiotic idea, making babies to save yourself from a layoff! Or is it? Kids are not only a great unemployment insurance, they must also be very cheap, otherwise you would never see poor families with multiple kids.
I’ve talked about how we should implement a flat tax system so that everybody has skin in the game to help our nation thrive. Seriously, what kind of dumb ass system is a flat tax where everybody pays an equal percentage of their income to taxes above a certain poverty threshold? It doesn’t make sense that those who make less, pay less and those who make more pay more with a flat tax. It’s such a dumb ass proposal that the post garnered well over a hundred comments saying how stupid it is! Let’s only make the top 50% of income earners pay for everything, since only the top 50% of income earners use all our governments resources.
Why would anybody bother saving any money for retirement when we have the government to provide us a safety net? We’ve got 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, fantastic pensions, social security and medicare. If it was up to me, we’d employ the 5-year unemployment program called the “Shock & Awe Yeah” (SAY)! We’ve got a government who can’t stop spending the top 50% income earner’s money on everybody, so let it rain baby! Who are the cheapos who don’t live it up and don’t spend everything they earn? Life is short and we can die tomorrow. There’s no point working if you don’t spend. If the government safety system doesn’t work, you can always find yourself a working spouse!
So many people decided to convert to a ROTH IRA in 2010. Can you believe that people voluntarily decided to pay taxes to a government whose spending is out of control? The more money you give the government, the more they will spend on things that won’t benefit you! Converters and contributors of a ROTH IRA believe that when it comes to paying taxes during retirement, they will be making more money during retirement than when working (???) largely because they will have accumulated 20-40X their average lifetime income! When people are struggling to save just 10X their annual income in retirement, these patriots think they can accumulate double to quadruple. Hmmmm.
And then there’s Alexandra Wallace. She is a dumb ass for making a public rant that could potentially offend 2 billion people! Doesn’t she know that her name will be forever linked to someone who hates Asians? The majority of all employers will Google your name just to make sure nothing crazy comes up. She must be a trust fund baby, because she’s going to have a tough time finding a full-time job unless she wipes her identity clean and changes her name.
My $350 dumb ass chair massage.
Just recently, I went to park at a local drugstore parking lot in the middle of the day. The lot has a 1 hour time limit so I figured I’d go to the bank to deposit some cash money and then hop on over to the Chair Massage Store and get a free back rub before buying my sundries. I sunk my way in one of those ridiculously priced $6,000 leather machines and kicked back enjoying a massage I would have paid $80 for otherwise. The clerk literally let me keep on going for 45 minutes! All was wonderful until I got back to the parking lot 1 hour 20 minutes later to find Moose GONE! WTF! The parking Nazi called the tow company on the 55th minute mark and it ended up costing me $350 to go rescue Moose! What a burn! I’m such a dumb ass!
$30,000 for hope, which is not a strategy.
I remember losing some $30,000 (roughly 25%) in a gas trading company because I overly concentrated my risk on one stock and foolishly thought gas prices, and therefore its stock price would rebound. Well, they didn’t and I had to pull the rip chord in late 2006 only after three months of holding. If had bought a more regular size position and had a stop loss, I would have lost only about $10,000. At least I wasn’t the only casualty as Amaranth Capital lost US$6 billion betting the same way. Damn, that was an ugly dumb ass trade!
A $200,000+ vacation property mistake.
I once had the idea of buying vacation properties all over the world, to relax all over the world, while making an income as well during retirement. It’s a decent idea if everything stays stable, but of course the real estate market blew up. I realized I was in the midst of things blowing up, and the trader in me couldn’t resist buying a place $115,000 cheaper than what the owner had bought the place for just a year ago. Well guess what? The place went down another $100,000 + a year later because the mortgage market for vacation properties dried up and nobody could get a loan! The mortgage market has since thawed out a little, and the rents do cover most of the costs, but damn I should have waited just one year longer, or at least bought after seeing an uptick. Although I never plan to sell, I’m still a dumb ass idiot for buying too soon. At least I’ll have some fond memories while I’m up there! Note: I classify vacation property differently than rental property. One is a luxury + rental income, the other is purely for income.
GETTING AHEAD IS PRETTY STRAIGHTFORWARD
No matter how perfect one seems, know that they have a lot of dumb ass in them. This is the reason why you should never give up. There will be openings at work, in relationships, and in life where you just have to pounce when mishaps happen. Eventually, it will be your turn to be a dumb ass and the reverse will happen so don’t feel guilty.
It really doesn’t take much to get ahead. You just have to be a little bit smarter, and a little bit savvier than the dumb ass person next to you. At the same time, you need to always appear dumber and more aloof than you really are. Personal finance is really straight forward. Yet, you see a lot of stupid activity anyway. My advice to you is to secretly do all the right things. Can someone tell me whether I should go buy a $2.6 million Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 now? A company expense perhaps? Thanks!
Recommended Actions For Increasing Your Wealth
Manage Your Finances In One Place: Get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 28 different accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to track my finances. Now I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing, how my net worth is progressing, and whether my spending is within budget. If you are interested, they can even provide tailored financial advice for a small fee much cheaper than traditional wealth managers.
Have Student Loans? Check out SoFi to refinance them. SoFi is one of the leading new financial technology companies based in Silicon Valley that not only reviews your credit score and income/debt ratios, but also looks at the quality of your education and quality of your work institution. If you’re right out of school, you’ve got a lot of upside, but perhaps your finances don’t look so great at the moment. That’s where SoFi can really offer lower rates because banks and government lenders can’t look at individuals holistically. Check SoFi out for a lower interest rate.
Start a business online: It’s been around six years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good passive income stream online. The top 1% of all posts on Financial Samurai generates 31% of all traffic. The average age of the top 1% posts is 2.3 years old. In other words, after putting in the hours to write some very meaty content over two years ago, 10 posts consistently generate a monthly recurring income stream that’s completely passive.
I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, see how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes with Bluehost. It’s cheap and easy to start!
Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”
Updated for 2016 and beyond