Welcome back readers! The Cash Cow Couple hopes that you’re ready for another fun look at financial lifestyles!
You’ll be pleased to know that the Borrow family is now paying cash for necessities. Sadly, it took bankruptcy to get them there.
AND… The Consumers have recently upsized to a new home and are now comfortably swinging that mortgage payment til age 70! Let’s give it up for the Consumers!
But now it’s time to introduce this week’s star family – The Savers!
“Frugal is sexy!”
– Sherman Saver
While the Borrows max out their credit cards and the Consumers look for a bigger paycheck, a third, very wise family has a different financial mindset. As Sally and Sherman Saver like to say, “Debt is deadly, and earning to spend gets you nowhere. The people who reach financial freedom focus on accumulating wealth over time. While others pay attention to their net income, we’re lookin’ at our net worth.”
The Savers have no higher income than the Borrows or Consumers. In fact, they might earn a little less. But over the course of a lifetime, they will likely have far more money to spend and more work-free years to enjoy it than the other two couples.
What’s the difference? It begins with what the Savers do with money as soon as they earn it. The first thing they do with every paycheck is to make a payment toward their future financial freedom. A minimum of 20 percent of their take-home pay is taken off the top to be saved and invested. They eagerly participate in any employee saving and/or matching programs at work. They contribute the maximum legal amount to their Roth IRA accounts every year.
Do they have debts and credit cards like the Borrows and Consumers? Yes, they do. However, their debts are likely to be in the form of a home mortgage with a payment they can well afford, or possibly a student loan to pay for an education that boosted their earning potential significantly. Car loans? Forget about it! They know that depreciation in the first few years of a car’s life is the greatest cost of owning one. They look for a car that’s been driven a few years, in good condition, and let the original owner take the HUGE depreciation hit. As for credit cards, they use them for cash back and pay off the full balance each month without fail.
Do Sally and Sherman lead lives of high deprivation in the hope of being rich one day? No, but some people may accuse them of doing so. When that happens, the Savers get a good chuckle because they know how well a family in America can live without spending much money!
After setting aside a large portion of the money they earn, they enjoy life. They wear nice clothes for next to nothing courtesy of the Borrows and Consumers. “Other families love to wear clothes once or twice then give it away” says Sally Saver. “We frequently check thrift stores, garage sales, discount closeout stores, and off season sales at megastores.”
The Savers live in a nice home that accommodates their small family, they occasionally dine out with half off coupons (when Sally can’t fix healthy meals at home for a fraction of the cost), and they might even properly plan a few house sitting vacations on for free courtesy of travel hacking.
They refuse to pay a small fortune for cable TV. “Why” says Sherman “Why would we pay an arm and a leg for mindless entertainment when we have an infinite amount of wisdom available at the turn of a page or the click of a mouse? And if reading gets boring, we favor spending time in nature.”
Ultimately, they realize something that the Borrowers and Consumers either don’t know or choose to ignore – by making a long-term commitment and having a financial plan to build wealth over time, the odds are they will always have more money than they need, and someday may have more than they want.