20 Foolproof Ways to Finish Poor (Part 1)

by Shawanda Greene

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Ever wonder how some people make insolvency look so easy? If you’re envious of their ability to make dumb financial decisions look so smart, then envy no more. This post is the first in a two-part series. I’ve compiled a total of 40 foolproof ways that you too can end up broke, busted, yea, even bankrupt. Use these techniques sparingly. Two or three should do the trick.


  1. Cosign loans. Of course you know better than the lender that’s denying your loved one credit. They have years and years of experience predicting the likelihood of a potential borrower defaulting, but they must be mistaken. Go ahead and guarantee the debt of someone who has no history of honoring their obligations or a consistent history of shirking their responsibilities. Certainly they’ll take better care to protect your credit than their own.


  3. Go back to school whenever you’re between jobs. Better yet – borrow money to do so. This strategy is especially powerful when you have absolutely no clue what you want to do with the rest of your life.


  5. Loan friends and family money. They’re just a victim of their circumstances – totally blameless. Such an arrangement will only serve to strengthen your relationship when they fail to pay you back.


  7. Buy whatever you want even if you can’t afford it. Credit cards were invented specifically with you in mind. Telling you to wait until you save up the cash to buy something you want would be blasphemous.


  9. Depend on someone else to take care of you. They care about you more than you care about yourself. Besides, I hear there’s a drug being sold on Craigslist that’ll make your marriage last forever, your parents live forever, and your kids stay forever.


  11. Decline health insurance under COBRA after you leave your job. In case you’re wondering, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families the right to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for a limited time period in the event of voluntary or involuntary job loss. Uncle Sam will make sure any preexisting medical conditions you have are covered under our newly minted nationalized health care system.


  13. Live paycheck to paycheck. How many people do you know lost their job in the last year and are struggling to find a new one? Yeah. Me neither.


  15. Don’t take responsibility for your finances. Any time I blame someone else for my problems, regardless of whether I’m at fault, everything magically works itself out. Making excuses really seem to speed up the resolution process.


  17. Only engage in recreational activities that cost money. If it ain’t good enough to spend money on, it ain’t worth doing. Don’t have any money to spend? Just stay home and wait until your next paycheck. There couldn’t possibly be any entertainment that’s available for free.


  19. Save money by buying things you don’t need because they’re on sale. Whether or not you knew the item existed is irrelevant. You see it. You want it. You buy it. No guilt.


  21. Keep your finances in such disarray you overdraw your account, exceed your credit limit, etc. Financial institutions are littered with individuals who want nothing more than to waive the $35 non-sufficient funds fee that resulted after you bought an $0.89 glazed doughnut.


  23. Don’t do-anything-yourself. Live by the motto, “can’t somebody else do it?” Don’t think this rule applies only to the big stuff. I’m referring to little things too: cutting up your own produce, cooking, washing your dog.


  25. Trade single stocks. Eighty percent of the brightest mutual fund managers on Wall Street underperform the market every year. It doesn’t matter that they work sixteen hour days and dream about picking stock at night. You and CNBC are privy to better information.


  27. Lease your automobile. You know what might make even more sense than leasing a vehicle for personal use? Buying it, then trading it in every couple years for a new one. Tack the negative equity onto your new vehicle from the old one. Repeat.


  29. Don’t research anything. Big ticket items, e.g. real estate, vehicles, formal education, in particular. Blindly trust the objective opinion of the person or company selling you the product. Commissioned salespeople are notorious for offering selfless advice.


  31. Ignore the return on investment when deciding what to get your degree in and which college to attend. I think it’s awesome when people waste invest four years…let me back up. According to Diplomas and Dropouts, “fewer than 60 percent of new students graduated from four-year colleges within six years.” Six years?! No matter how much it costs, no matter how long it takes, no matter how much you’ll reasonably make when you graduate, follow your dreams. This applies to advance degrees as well.


  33. Don’t inconvenience yourself with repairing anything. Repairs are too much of a hassle. If it’s broken, ignore the impact on your wallet and the environment, and replace it.


  35. Buy everything at full price. Time spent comparison shopping on websites like PriceGrabber, Buy.com, and Kayak can be spent making a PB&J sandwich or possibly eating an apple.


  37. Only buy brand name medication. WebMD defines a generic drug as, “a copy that is the same as a brand-name drug in dosage, safety, and strength, how it is taken, quality, performance, and intended use.” In this case “copy” does not mean “exactly the same.” The premium you pay for packaging, shelf positioning, and marketing by the brand-name drug manufacturer directly translates to a more effective product.


  39. Buy everything brand new. Freecycle and other websites for giving and getting free used stuff is for hippies, hillbillies, and crazy environmentalists.

I’ve got 20 more pauper producing techniques ready to go, but I’m extremely curious to know what you’re thinking.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Shamelle- TheEnhanceLife June 29, 2009 at 10:40 PM

I read your posts title … and re-read it again ! he he .. As I went through the post content it began to come together :-0)

I think that some people
1. Unconsciously do these
2. Some don’t have a choice
3. Don’t bother about things like this

Good post.. for everyone of the 3 types to read


Shawanda Greene July 1, 2009 at 12:05 AM

Thanks for dropping in. I love comments.

Of the three types of people you mention, I used to fall into the categories of numbers 1 and 3. I’m still a work in progress. At some point, I’ll probably totally lose it and grow my own fruits and vegetables. Now, that’s crazy! Just kidding.

For most of my life, I’ve been able to choose my destiny. To the extent I didn’t have a choice, it was due to my lack of knowledge. I’m thinking of reworking this post to make it sound less snarky and more palatable for those who actually don’t have a choice, but YouHaveMoreThanYouThink.com probably isn’t the place for people with anything more than a mildly damp sense of humor.


Doug Z July 1, 2009 at 9:33 PM

Well, that made me smile :) Although I did have to look up the word ‘insolvency.’ hehe


Leandra July 24, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Wow…this is a pretty good list. Thanks.


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