(So you don't have to)
Pay attention to these lessons, take notes as a reminder.
...otherwise you may make these same mistakes yourself.
1. Buying Stupid Sh*t
This may seem obvious, but the most obvious mistakes end up costing us the most.
Growing up, I was a big car guy.
I attended as many car shows as possible.
The Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bugattis – I could tell you about them all.
In fact, I visited the Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Pagani museum in Italy many years ago;
Where I saw Horacio Pagani, the Founder, ride his bike along the factory road!
Why was I so fascinated with these elaborate objects?
They were an inspiration; a symbol of greatness, a display of man's achievement at the time.
Saturn V, Blackbird, Bugatti,
These were the vehicles of greatness.
And although these did bring inspiration, they also brought desire.
A kind of desire that was not what it seemed,
But at the time, I did not know better.
I did not understand the reason people buy expensive cars is not for speed, for comfort, for utility,
But rather for status,
To feed one's ego,
To cover insecurities.
So when I was fortunate enough to drive my dream car, a Tesla Model Y Performance, off the lot.
It was incredible.
0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds,
Every customization you could imagine,
Cruising down Miami on the i-95 at night.
A true spectacle.
But after several months of usage, that desire wore off.
And the bills stacked up.
You know the saying, "a car loses 30% of it's value off the lot"?
I paid upwards of $1,000 per month to lease,
Plus, $800 per month for insurance,
And ended up returning it to ride Uber or Lyft instead.
Which was not only less headache and maintenance, but practical too.
It saved me more time working, than I did driving.
And I learned, time is greater than status.
2. Ignoring the BS Tax
What some call the ignorance tax, I call the bullsh*t tax.
Because what is disregarded as minor, in time, ends up costing us a ton.
- Lifestyle inflation
Failure to keep track of BS, leads to great loss.
3. Not Knowing Your Numbers
What gets tracked gets measured.
How can you spend X without having it?
Often, not knowing how much I had on hand lead to inflated numbers that did not exist.
To avoid this, measure everything.
...to account for what you have and spend with confidence.
Know your numbers.
4. Buying Large Objects
You know the saying, "bigger is better"?
It's a lie.
Online influencers show you pictures of expensive cars, jets, yachts.
But what may seem 'cool' or 'hip' as a flex,
Is often a facade.
What you do not see behind the scenes is the...
- Fuel costs
- Mental bandwidth
...and more risk.
Most assets we own end up becoming liabilities.
One example is the monster, custom-made 8 foot 36 inch desk I bought for an office setup.
The same one popular tech creator, Marques Brownlee, owns.
Only to realize, transporting it took an entire moving company up and down 20+ stories,
Through an underground parking garage,
While ensuring no glass was cracked.
I later learned, when it comes to physical possessions, less is more.
...and ended up donating it to charity.
5. Overspending on Rent
For most, rent or a mortgage, is the single greatest expensive in our lives.
With rising interest rates, an economic recession, and America turning into a renter nation,
Minimizing rent is more essential than ever.
Instead of living in a luxury Miami apartment for a year, I could have cut costs,
Shared with a roommate,
Explored alternative options.
I learned minimizing rent is the greatest leverage of personal finance.
6. Leasing a Car
Statistically, owning or leasing a car can be a waste of money until you're 25.
Don't believe me?
Ask the insurance companies who only lower your insurance rate at 25 years old.
They have more data on what choices you’re likely to make than you ever will.
That’s why insurance is such a great business, you pay for nothing.
They sell fear, backed by the government.
If you lived in a city as I did, ride-sharing or public transportation may be a more practical option.
...and save you more valuable time than driving.
7. Taking on Debt
Personal finance professional, Dave Ramsey, once said,
"Debt steals from your future and keeps you stuck in your past"
This could not be more true.
I've taken three loans in my life.
The first, an $11,500 SBA loan during the pandemic to pivot to my clothing business.
The second, a $52,000 Shopify loan at 17% interest to hire more people.
The third, a $20,000 IRS payment plan to pay off taxes.
All three were paid off, but only the first was worth the risk.
The majority costed more money, headache, and time I did not have.
When it comes to any debt, the risk is always greater than the reward.
Thank you for reading, I hope these seven lessons served you value.