For the past six weeks, Glenbard West senior, Dean Harnboonzong has been coming to my office twice a week as part of his Career Internship Class. He has an interest in learning about financial planning and I challenged him to write an article for our blog based on what he has learned so far. His article is below. Please share your feedback with him as I am sure he is very interested in your feedback.
Glen Ellyn is known to many people as a small beautiful town located in the suburbs of Chicago. Take a trip to downtown Glen Ellyn and you will notice gorgeous houses, well dressed people, and high end restaurants. This the stereotype of Glen Ellyn. People from other towns neighboring Glen Ellyn tend to think they are high consumption oriented. This might be true for part of the people residing in Glen Ellyn, but some are more conservative than others.
Living within your means is key to having financial independence. Most people who reside in Glen Ellyn earn above the average American and because of this can enjoy a higher standard of living. They must also know how to budget their income wisely in order to continue to live in this middle to upper class neighborhood. As stated by the book “The Millionaire Next Door” there are two types of people-PAWs (prodigious accumulators of wealth) and UAW’s (under accumulators of wealth). PAW’s live within their means, have a higher net worth compared to their incomes and have fewer financial worries. UAW’s on the other hand have a lower net worth compared to their incomes, are bigger consumers of luxury items and tend to have more financial fears. In Glen Ellyn, you can see a wide range of people from those who wear expensive clothes and drive luxury imported automobiles(we’ll call this person Chris) to people who wear casual clothing and drives a Ford(we’ll call this person John). At this point you might think since Chris shows much more affluence, he must be wealthier then John, but that’s not always the case. In many cases a person like John will have a greater net worth than Chris. This is because John who is residing in Glen Ellyn is most likely a PAW and people that appear “materially” wealthy are more probable to be like Chris and are a UAW. People like John live within their means and in return have more money to save and invest for their future. Chris on the other hand spends more of his money on expensive clothing, dining out and luxury automobiles. In return, Chris would have less to save and invest.For those who are wondering what millionaires drive here is a top ten list from the book “The Millionaire Next Door.”
- 3 way tie – Jeep, Lexus, Mercedes
- 2 way tie – Nissan, Volvo
Surprisingly, most people who do drive imported luxury automobiles aren’t millionaires!
4 Ways to become a wealthier person:
If you are like the majority of Americans, chances are you drink at least one cup of coffee on a daily basis. It is a habit for many people to get a specialty coffee from their favorite café. A person may spend on average $5 per day on a specialty cup of coffee on their way to work. That’s $25 a week, about $100 a month and approximately $1200 a year just for coffee! A very simple and effective way to reduce this amount is to brew your own coffee. If your café offers your favorite coffee blends in beans for you to brew on your own, you could buy a 14oz bag for about $15 and it will last you for about 2-3 weeks. Theoretically this would cost you about $240-$360 annually. That’s a savings of up to about $900 a year by just brewing your own coffee every morning!
For those of you who use a dispensable water bottle on a daily basis, you could save anywhere from $200-$300 a year by simply using filtered water right from your home. Water is a necessity in our lives, some people just choose to buy it instead of getting it for a fraction of the price from home. You could buy yourself a water bottle and a filter for your tap water and enjoy the savings.
The debate between Generic vs. Brand name on grocery items has been going on for years. Yes, generic is usually cheaper but that does not mean there is no set of quality standards. You’ll be surprised to find out that most generic items comes from the same company that produces products for the branded name companies. Try a little experiment. Purchase some generic and brand name items such as chips, pop and cookies, and have a taste test between them. Chances are you won’t even notice the difference and in some cases you might even prefer the generic over the brand name. By switching to generic items, you will start to save bit by bit which will lead to huge savings in the long run.
One of the things I can’t stress enough about is to start saving for your retirement as early as you can, like after receiving your first paycheck. The first thing you should do after receiving your paycheck is to put part of that amount toward savings and live your life around with whatever is left. This is what I call living below your means. This is how you will become a millionaire. Every little detail such as age, amount contributed and interest rates will play a huge role in the outcome of how much you will have for retirement.
To try this out for yourself click on the link below. Move the cursor under “research” click on”calculators” and then “401k Calculator”
As of now you might be wondering why you would sacrifice the time to brew your own coffee, quit buying water bottles and to buy generic versus a brand name. My answer to this is for you to ask yourself what are your top priorities. If your top priority is to have more money for retirement or to go on more family vacations then the little things you do to save will lead to greater things in the future. If you were to save $900 a year by brewing your own coffee, this would add up to $18,000 over 20 years (not to mention interest). Imagine the things you would be able to do with that amount of money by just brewing your own coffee. People like me will choose to do this because we know that it’s worth it in the long run and will help us achieve our main priorities.
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