Are You Broke from Placing Value on the Worthless?
by Dr. Robert Ing
Compared to most, I have had a charmed life. I grew up in an upper middle class family. Attended private boarding school in England and technically am a forth generation veteran although I was fortunate not to serve in a World War as those before me did. Yes, my upbringing could be summed up as one for Crown and Country. I learned to the point of habit, certain social graces that would ensure I could comfortably dine with Royalty. All the things that, at my young impressionable age, prepared me for a world that, well today, does not exist.
This does not mean I was given the keys nor inheritance to the castle, despite having my name on the deeds to three historic estates in the U.K., which is more of a ceremonial formality than anything else. My family had me earn my way through life, partly due in part to family dysfunctionality and their post war work ethic. Everything I accomplished both financially and experientially was the result of my own efforts and ingenuity or lack of it. I failed many times but I learned very quickly from these failures. I never gave up and never surrendered. My internal wiring had and has a value system where a person’s worth is within themselves and only from this can the true value of the external be manifest or assayed. I move in directions and ways that many cannot comprehend or understand. I have committed my life to never be like the many.
I am convinced and have seen that in this great modern society, how value is placed on the worthless.
You know what success really is? Success is being so confident, so secure in who you are and what you are capable of, that you can walk into any store and have the option of buying anything in that store you want regardless of price, but choosing not to exercise that option. However, if you are indeed truly successful, you do not have a life of want in the first place. Now, some of you are reading this saying, yes if only I could do that.
Picture in your mind a successful person. What do you see that tells you they are successful? Let me tell you what I think you are picturing. You are picturing a person with the best designer clothes, standing next to a very expensive automobile. Behind them is a large impressive home. Is this the image you see?
I will tell you what I see in your picture. I see a person who more than likely, on average has a total annual gross income that represents only 30% of their annual debt. I see a person who has been socially programmed to believe that a designer label on a garment increases its value beyond the actual value of the item. I see a person who has been socially programmed to drive something impressive in order to make a faux statement to the world and tell people they have arrived, if not only for them to be at peace with themselves. And unless they have a large family, which I doubt based on their debt, there is no good reason to have such a large house. I see a person caught up in a race, competing for acceptance of the herd in order to move up in the herd to gain accolades but never out of it.
Now here’s the kicker. People like this buy their clothing and accessories on credit cards and finance or lease their vehicle, and of course the house has a hefty first, if not second mortgage on it. You see when a person goes out to earn a living they are paid a specific amount. Society in placing value on the worthless drives a consumer mentality. Society will dictate that in order to be a success in this world you must look the part and have the latest and greatest. So a person will work hard for their money and acquire these worthless trinkets, only to find that the following year they must replace, renew or continue paying on these items as the interest keeps accumulating and their monetary value keeps depreciating. Of course, what has been earned by one’s hard labour is already spent or tied up in future payments and any head way made just doesn’t exist. It’s a cycle of where the person is a slave to earning to keep up a faux lifestyle while never being able to amass real savings or personal wealth.
All this is due to the lack of confidence and insecurity people have been programmed with. A consumer mentality where if you aren’t in search of, or in want of something, you feel bored, idle or have not achieved anything. If you cannot walk down the street with your head high, secure in the knowledge of having a purpose to your life and a plan on how to achieve it, nothing you can buy will ever enable you to achieve success. Success is within you.
Many people who know me, know I have a penchant for cars and aircraft. I actually used to have a collection of fine automobiles. I didn’t have this collection to impress anyone but had it after I made my financial mark and had them because I enjoyed the detail to engineering and because I could afford them. Yes, they were all paid for. If I couldn’t afford them, I would not want nor buy them. This is the difference between mass consumers and those who are independently content with their lives. You do not acquire what you cannot afford but rather work towards its acquisition, or it becomes a low or no priority in your life.
Forget about celebrities and sports figures as success role models because at the end of the day, they are performers. Entertainers who get paid million dollar endorsements and free luxury stuff to use and wear so you, the programmed consumer will associate it with success and quality, and go out and be a work slave by going into debt to buy it. The reality is, the real people that are independently content with their lives, yes I am referring to real self-made millionaires not lottery winners or those who inherit a windfall, hardly ever wear all this over priced designer stuff and drive a grand deluxe car. That is of course unless they want to, but few really have this want or see the need. You see, they invest their money to realise a return; whether that be a financial return or one where the return is experiential. When you purchase an item, it depreciates, it needs maintenance, it could be lost or stolen and it will have to be replaced eventually. If on the other hand you purchase experiences such as education, go on an adventure and travel; you have invested and enriched your life with a purchase that will stay with you a lifetime. You won’t have to fix it, maintain it or worry if someone is going to steal it from you. This is where the smart money goes.
If you are wondering what a financially wealthy person, a true millionaire considers to be symbols of status, you may be quite surprised at the answer. Understand that when you are in a position to acquire any material object you desire, it is only the masses that attribute such material things to status simply because they cannot acquire them or aspire to acquire them. Status items to the financially wealthy are individuals who demonstrate a practical knowledge of etiquette, people who surround themselves with others who are goal and achievement oriented, and those who strive towards a personally healthy and positive lifestyle. When it comes to individuals and companies, status symbols are people and firms that have strong convictions, a code and unwavering commitment to who they are and their objectives; and the ability to do one or two things exceptionally well. These are true status symbols.
Needless to say, I know a great many self-made people and you will hardly ever see them dressed in the latest designer items or drive up in a current year luxury vehicle. Well, with the exception of the ladies who may wear a very fashionable outfit to a function. These are the people that can buy, not finance if they choose. Yet they drive a late model car because to their mind, the first year depreciation off of a personal automobile is not very attractive and driving a common car will get them from A to B just like the luxury model with a lower profile for better security. They don’t buy designer but still may pay a little more than average for clothing and accessories because they buy quality and items that are made to last which includes bespoke items. That’s not being cheap but simply looking at getting a good return-on-investment (ROI). If you want to be a millionaire, don’t be a consumer, hold on to more of your money by buying items that are of quality, built to last, and never buy a brand new current year vehicle – the depreciation isn’t worth it. Buy experiences not stuff that collects dust or will end up in a drawer after a month. The key here is to look toward maximizing your return-on-investment (ROI) with what you spend your money on and of course, keeping as much of it as you can. You can still dress for success without the designer labels and no one will care if you drive a Buick instead of a Bentley as long as you can demonstrate you are competent and capable.
Don’t be fooled by value placed on the worthless.
You now have the power to know better than that.
Copyright © 2017 Dr Robert Ing, www.drroberting.com
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