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20 Foolproof Ways to Finish Poor (Part 2)

by Shawanda Greene

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This post is the second in the two-part series 20 Foolproof Ways to Finish Poor. Admittedly, I’ve been guilty of some of these items in the past. Okay, I still struggle with number 19. I’m a lazy bum.

  1. Pay your taxes late or not at all. Uncle Sam is powerless when it comes to seizing your assets or garnisheeing your wages. If you’re not forgiven your tax obligation just for being you, then Big Brother will let you take as long as you like to repay your obligations without charging interest.
  2. Don’t diversify your stock portfolio. The accounting scandals surrounding Enron, WorldCom, HealthSouth, Tyco International, Parmalat, AIG, Bear Stearns, and countless others were all anomalies – every last one of them. Like inventions, every scandal that will happen has already happened.
  3. Don’t plan for anything. Research shows that we humans make the wisest, most logical decisions when we’re angry, scared, hungry, panicked, or otherwise, under pressure. You’re likely to get the best deals if you wait until the last minute to plan for retirement, a college education, or a baby.
  4. Buy only the best. It’s an immaterial fact that you’ve never played the piano or any other musical instrument for that matter. The second you envision yourself as a modern day Chopin, go out and buy the most luxurious, ridiculously impractical grand piano you can find. And don’t try to skimp on bread makers, scrap booking material, or my personal favorite, sewing machines. You’re simply the best, and everything you own should be too.
  5. Treat every deal like it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. There’s no way those towels at Bed, Bath & Beyond will go on sale again, nor will you ever receive another 10″ x 40″ coupon from them in the mail.
  6. Take financial advice from people who chronically mismanage their money. Albert Einstein defines insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” These wise words don’t apply when a broke friend offers strategies on money management that didn’t work for him. Take heed to that ineffectual advice. It’s bound to work for you.
  7. Care what people think of you. When you’re sick, decrepit, and broke, call on the people who mocked you for planning a secure financial future. I’m sure their lifestyle of lavish and wasteful spending resulted in a massive amount of wealth.
  8. Never inconvenience yourself. Under no circumstances is this more important than when you’re scraping by. Owning a second car and living on the brink of a financial disaster is a small price to pay so that your deadbeat spouse won’t have to drive you to and from work.
  9. Make long-term financial decisions based on short-term information. Has your business received an influx of new orders during the last three weeks? Did you receive an increase in child support payments because your child’s mother’s commission sales increased? Buy a bigger house. Get a nicer car. Good times last forever.
  10. Quit when you make a mistake. Deprive yourself of everything that brings you pleasure, regardless of how little it costs. You’ll most certainly fail. Now, give up and complain that it’s impossible to get out of debt, save money, or invest. If you can’t do it to perfection, then don’t do it at all.
  11. Maintain an unrealistic level of optimism. You know the unemployment rate is 9.5% and that it generally takes you eight months to find a job even in a good economy. Just because you only have one month of liquid cash set aside doesn’t mean you have to give up traveling, eating out, private school for the kids, or the family’s third automobile. The bank won’t foreclose on your house, and your income will miraculously increase. Actually, it sounds like I’m confusing optimism with denial.
  12. Disregard solutions to any problem that don’t require spending money. The minute you encounter a problem, commence searching for a monetary solution. The phrase “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” should mean nothing to you.
  13. Always buy more than you need. If you come across a good deal, buy as much of that particular item your dwelling can reasonably accommodate. There’s no chance all the extras will get destroyed or decompose before you get around to using them.
  14. Never update your skills and education. Information is for nerds. You’re much too busy watching Seinfeld reruns, playing Guitar Hero, and frantically surfing the internet to learn anything. Information, like human behavior, is stagnant.
  15. Marry someone who’s financially irresponsible. Even though the number one cause of divorce in America is money problems between couples, your marriage will be different. Don’t worry yourself with addressing prenuptial spendthrift behavior. Love conquers all.
  16. Enable your children. Why fret about how these financial misfits will take care of themselves when you’re gone? The obesity epidemic will likely snuff them out before you pass on. Should you fall ill and have to entrust your money with these leeches, you can rest peacefully knowing they’ll manage your money as responsibly as they’ve managed their own.
  17. Treat your emergency fund as a community asset. That three to six months of living expenses you’ve got stashed away isn’t just for you. Apparently, it’s also for all your close relatives who live above their means. I understand the reason they’re about to get evicted is because they blew their rent money on a big screen, but if the threat of homelessness isn’t an emergency than I don’t know what is. Sometimes rent just sneaks up on you.
  18. Believe stuff brings you happiness. According to Annie Leonard from TheStoryofStuff.com, only 1% of your purchases are still in use six months later. When you’re feeling down, does the thought of all that stuff gathering dust and harboring rodents in your basement make you smile?
  19. Abuse your possessions. I don’t care how many hours you have to work to replace your vehicle. Don’ t you dare get an oil change, tune up, or any other service that’d assist in its general upkeep.
  20. Acquire so much junk you have to purchase an off-site unit to house it all. Hold on to this garbage until you get ready to relocate and decide to trash it. After all, it’s junk.
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

hustler July 7, 2009 at 1:05 AM

This is great! My favorite is “treat your emergency fund as a community asset.” I don’t even like some of my friends or family to know I have an emergency fund because like clockwork, here they come with some new sob story. Unfortunately “abuse your possessions” hit a little too close to home. I get regular oil changes, but now I need new tires due to the fact that I never rotated my tires. Lesson learned. They probably would have lasted 3 or 4 more years, maybe longer if they weren’t so badly worn on just one side!

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