What’s Your Financial Lifestyle? (Part 1)

September 21, 2017

A Sad Story

“Forget about tomorrow, let’s live for today.”

That quote above is the creed of Bob and Bianca Borrow. The Borrows think that today is a day worth celebrating! Their infamous “Why worry about investing or retirement? We’ll figure that out later!” – is a personal favorite of theirs.

Despite earning a fat six-figure income, their entire lifestyle is built on a house of cards – credit cards. To the Borrows, paying cash during a purchase is an absurd, hippie concept. “Why pay cash when I have credit?” asks the ever-confused Bob Borrow.

The four person Borrow family owns three new cars – one 7-seat, 7-MPG SUV, one 0-60 in a flash sports car, and a 4×4 truck to pull their new boat. All were financed from the dealership at interest – but hey, they make the payments on time!

The whole family has a closet full of brand new, name brand, high-fashion clothing complete with real gold and diamond jewelry. Because seriously, who wants that fake Cubic Zirconium crap in their necklace?! Not the Borrows!

I’ve got to mention that they live in a beautiful new 5,000 square foot house. Unfortunately, the luxurious hotel home was built with very little money down and the enormous mortgage is stretching them thin – 28 years left thin.

Anything that can be charged to credit cards IS charged to credit cards. To the Borrows, credit cards are basically free money. Just pay 2% of the balance due each month—forever. It’s one of the first (and only) personal finance lessons they learned in college!

Bob and Bianca are dying to take that Hawaii vacation that their friends, the Braggards took and rave about. Unfortunately, the price is just beyond their credit card limits.

Don’t fear! Bianca Borrow has sniffed out a viable new source of financing. As fate would have it, The Borrowed Borrow’s home has appreciated substantially in recent years (thank Ben B. at the Fed for that, Bianca!). So they simply take out a home equity loan and fly to Hawaii.

The dream gets better still! Since the interest on the home equity loan is tax deductible, part of the money spent to take the vacation is courtesy of Uncle Sam. America truly is the land of the free!

Bob is now 41, and has saved only $7,000 in his 401(k). He’s not worried – that big raise is coming soon!

Intermission.

This is the first part of a small series that playfully examines several common financial lifestyles that the Cash Cow Couple has observed. Feel free to provide ideas or thoughts in the comments section.

*Spoiler Alert* The Borrows are headed off a financial cliff. The only wealth they’ve built belongs to the credit card companies and car dealerships. A job loss here, an accident or illness there, and the the high life is finished.

The Ending

Through a sad turn of events, Bianca develops a chronic illness and requires several expensive medications each month. Without the necessary savings or positive cash flow, Bob is forced to declare bankruptcy and the magic money disappears. Cars are repossessed, the home is foreclosed, and all that fine jewelry is auctioned on Ebay. Friends and neighbors are totally shocked, and remark, “How could this happen? They appeared to be doing so well!”

Doing so well? They stole from tomorrow to pay for today.

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16 Comments on "What’s Your Financial Lifestyle? (Part 1)"

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Lauren @ Cheapstudents.ca
Lauren @ Cheapstudents.ca

Ah I was just cringing through most of it and then the ending was extremely sad and unfortunate. Definitely further proof that an emergency fund is essential. This is definitely a great way to showcase a wide variety of financial mistakes and things to avoid. Love the idea!

Mark
Mark

A poignant reminder of the importance of being mindful of your finances.

I have lived the life of the Borrows, but thankfully not too badly, and I am catching up to the Investors and Positive Cash Flows.

Thanks for a great, quirky piece

Shannon @ The Heavy Purse
Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

A sad story that is all too common. It makes me sad that so many people have lost the ability to live joyfully WITHIN in their means. Instead, they chase after things that they’re not even sure why they want, but think they need to be happy. A day of reckoning is coming for a lot of people and I can only hope that something makes them WAKE-UP and turn their financial lives around before they fall off that cliff.

Tammy R
Tammy R

I love the names and the story – the sad, sad story of so many. While it seems outlandish to think that the Borrows would care where the Braggards were going, it is simply around us too much to ignore. We saw it this past spring break when everyone in our city seemed to be going one of a few places. Instead of creating a reasonable, inexpensive vacation, let’s just go out and take great pictures so we can post them on FB and look GRRRRRREAT!

Standing ovation, Jacob.

cj
cj
Bob and Blanca (oh sorry, Bianca, but Blanca is nice too) Borrow – great stuff. Very effective. I can actually feel my blood pressure rising as I read on and matters escalate out of control. They were indeed headed for their very own fiscal cliff. If we live it right, we do not have to steal from our own futures. We really can have what we want now and then, but reasonable living and prioritizing must take the fore. It disturbs me to know so many people like the Borrows. Even worse is that it seems there are plenty of… Read more »
Justin
Justin

That’s a point that so many people forget. A lot of people say to retire late and end up not saving until it’s too late. But what happens if you get sick. With retirement if you want to work late fine, but plan for the worst hope for the best. In this case save as much as you can incase you can’t work forever.

CashRebel
CashRebel

I think most folks aren’t afraid enough of chronic illness. It’s crazy how expensive the medical bills can be, and how quickly it can turn your life around.

My favorite observed person is my coworker who drives a BMW to her $40,000/yr job that she wants to quit more than anything…

Pretired Nick
Pretired Nick

It’s so true. I look at financial health as a spectrum. On one end you’ve got payday loan addicts. On the other, true financial independence. Somewhere toward the bottom are the fake-rich credit addicts. A lot of that is geared around trying to “look” wealthy since it’s so highly valued in this culture. I’m writing a post right now on how people are developing the ability to see through the fake veneer and see how wealthy people are regardless of the trappings of wealth.