My name is Jesse Johnson. I am a happily married father of 1 beautiful little girl. I am originally from New York/Pennsylvania but currently reside in the great state of Florida. The reason I created this blog is because for a long time I noticed that I think pretty different about money and what it means to be successful. I can point to a few books and mentors along the way that helped me with some of the foundations that I have used to base my judgements on.
So why should you listen to me about money? Well, I have been able to do a few things that others have deemed to be impossible or wishful thinking. I don’t have super powers, my wife will tell you that I am not extremely smart in some regards. I am just an average person. I do average stuff, but I don’t live paycheck to paycheck. I was able to buy my first home for cash when I was 29 years old. Now, in 2017, I am 33 and I feel like that maybe I could help some people see things differently or give others hope that they could do the same. Like I said, I am just a normal guy who works a 9-5 sales job.
The only distinct difference between me and a lot of people is the way I view money and what it is meant for. I think that money is a tool that is meant to be invested and stored in various forms of assets. Some people see money as a means to an end. To them money is what they need to solve a recurring problem they have (i.e. past due bills). But I believe if a person were to first change the way they think about money, they would be better off than simply making more money. A simple example would be to ask more questions about your behavior like, “Why do I have so many bills?”.
As others have said before, giving a person more money only magnifies the person’s behavior. Money doesn’t care about who you are or if you deserve it. Money is just pieces of paper with dead people’s faces printed on it. Money doesn’t care if you donate it, burn it, invest it, or eat it. But somehow we spiritualize the mere possession of it. I know what this looks and feels like. I was “raised” by my dad and grew up moving in and out of trailer parks and rented homes. I can remember moving 8 times between kindergarten and 12th grade. Those are not habits of someone who is too stable with the money!
If a person cannot figure out how to situate their life with a small income, they will never be able to handle the responsibility that comes with a big income. Let’s say you make $30k a year and you are a single 20 something. If your rent is $10k a year, phone is $800, food $5k, utilities $1.5k, insurance $3k, clothes $800. That pretty much covers most expenses in a younger person’s life, and it adds up to $21,100. That would leave wiggle room of nearly $9k a year for saving and investing. If you did this when you were 20, and stuck to it, you would have over $100k (with interest) by the time you were 30. This is assuming you never get a raise or promoted for an entire decade.
But, I can feel all the cynics out out there chiming in right about now. “What about a car payment?”, or ,”You’ll starve to death!”. This makes my point entirely. You must first change your mind before you can change anything else in your life. If you think it can’t be done, you are correct, if you think it can be done, you are correct. What a person does inside their head, the self talk, manifests itself outwardly in their everyday life. And it does not have to be 24/7 positive thinking. I am a fairly negative person, and I still managed to believe that it was possible to succeed and I made it happen.
I changed my belief that money is this thing that is meant to be spent as soon as you get it. I think this is the belief that most people have about money. The numbers don’t lie, “69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts” 1. Thats a lot of people giving up and spending everything they make. Unfortunately I think that most people are addicted to consuming for the sake of outward appearances. People are more concerned about the “social capital” that having a new car will provide them, instead of being concerned about the “actual capital” in their bank accounts. Fact: “The average American saves less than 5% of his or her disposable income”2.
I do understand the peer pressures associated with not wanting to look as if you are failing in life. But by who’s standard are you living by? I could provided statistic after statistic proving that most people driving in a new car and living in a oversized house are flat broke when you sit down and do a balance sheet. Most people have a net worth of a negative number. That’s less than zero, financially they are worth less than zero. What’s the deal with that? Why would someone be more focused on making sure certain possessions are see by strangers, than making sure they are providing financial security for their families?
It seems a little selfish if you ask me. Someone at work once asked me, “what are you saving all that money for? You can’t take it to the grave”. I didn’t respond for a few seconds and I just stared them in the eyes and said, “I know”. Apparently my 2 word answer made them think and then he said, “Are you planning on leaving it for your family?”. And I said, “yes”. In retrospect it seemed like a extremely foreign thought to this person that someone would not spend everything they made. To him money was the means to an end. A way to derive immediate satisfaction and pleasure. My body language and brief two and one word responses were so different to his beliefs that he had to ask follow up questions. And by doing that I think he may have seen the light, and hopefully will start to think different about money and what it is for. This is what the blog is meant for and hope you enjoy it.