You Don’t Own Anything

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You’ve probably figured out by now the main way to Get Rich is to Stop Buying Shit. Many of us, myself included, purchase stuff because we want the convenience of services on demand. Think about it: If you OWN something, it’s able to perform a service for you at any time. You’re not really buying the Thing, you’re buying Convenience. You don’t really want “a blender”, you want blended drinks at the touch of a button. You could easily go over to a friend’s place and use their blender, but you don’t. You buy the blender because you don’t want to go next door and bug your buddy. You now OWN the blender. Go, you. Have a kale shake.

BUT WAIT! What if I told you you don’t own the blender at all? Remember, you’re buying Convenience, not the Thing. What if I told you the only time your investment is paying off is when you’re actively using it? Deep down, you know it’s true. The rest of the time, the Thing just takes up space and gets in the way. Let’s crunch some numbers.

I’m a massive PlayStation dork. I’ve already mentioned my $5,000 video game habit, and here’s my half-assed attempt to justify it. My roommate and I play together on two screens in our living room. With games like Minecraft and Diablo III, we’ve logged about 200 hours playing together, so 400 man-hours. I’ve also played roughly 400 hours on my own, so we’re looking at 800 man-hours of entertainment. If you look at that from a rental perspective, I’ve “rented” access to PlayStation media at $6.25/man-hour so far. Not great, and probably worse after we account for electricity usage. I’m gonna use good ol’ Ballpark Math and put the total at $7.50/man-hour. This is, so far, a Bad Investment, and if I hadn’t paid $5,000 up front, I certainly wouldn’t rent entertainment today for $7.50/hour. Every man-hour cost me as much as a movie ticket, which could’ve been entertainment for TWO hours. Yikes. This is especially bad because I have access to free entertainment. I could go to the library and read a book instead of chasing PlayStation trophies. Based on this example alone, I’m a huge dumbass!

But what about you? Let’s say you buy a book for $20. Already not the greatest investment because you can just borrow one from a library, but you like the way new books smell so you do it anyway. You finish it in four hours, so $5/hour. You put that book on your shelf like a reading trophy and never pick it up again. In this example, you’re basically renting the book for four hours at $5/hour, and then the book takes up residence in your life until you decide to get rid of it. So is it worth it? Some of you will say, “Yeah, at least I’m not as stupid as Ben and his bajillion PlayStations,” but what I’m HOPING you might say is, “Maybe this is a good argument to not buy things at all and look for low-cost, non-ownership options to meet my temporary needs.” Maybe a bit of inconvenience – in this case, hunting down a copy to borrow from a friend – is good! Maybe this is why you should take public transit instead of buying a car and save yourself shitloads of money! Maybe now, instead of thinking you “own” something, you’ll understand you’re really just renting shit, then storing it at your expense when you’re not using it!

The next time you buy something, I want you to repeat this: “I do not and will never ‘own’ this Thing. This is strictly a temporary Service I am purchasing. I can use it lots to maximize my Investment, but do I need it? Can something else provide this Service for free?”

The Wealthy are willing to overcome a bit of inconvenience on their road to riches. The question is: Are you?

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Shiny Things Are Stupid

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I own many shiny things. There’s a long list, but the main items up for debate are my Canon 1D X and my admittedly ridiculous collection of PlayStations (3 PS4s, 2 PS3s and 1 PS2). While the 1D can be written off as a business expense, the gaming expenses are pretty nuts. With all the screens, controllers and games added in, we’re looking at roughly $5,000+ I’ve spent on video games. Crazy, right? Or is it? Let us know in the comments, but let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of today’s post: Why are shiny things dumb, and how can omitting them from your life improve it?

I don’t drive a nice car. I’m actually driving my mom’s shitbox Corolla and don’t tell her this, but putting a few dents in it from time to time isn’t something that worries me. I get basic insurance, and MPG is something that matters to me. I crave efficiency and practicality. On the other side of the spectrum, I see all sorts of ridiculous cars in Richmond, BC where I live: Maseratis, BMWs and miscellaneous other expensive vehicles being driven by 20-year-olds. I admit flaunting wealth can be kinda fun, but when you’re 20 with an N on the back, you just look like an idiot trying to fit in. It’s obvious you didn’t earn the money to buy said vehicle, and it’s obvious you care more about appearance than substance. Don’t be a dipshit.

But wait! What if you’re NOT a dipshit and you still buy a car you can’t afford? I sat down with my friend Mike in the UK and prices are just a wee bit crazier over there. This is the story of his Toyota GT86. In his words:

“Toyota Gt86 list price in U.K is £28000. I pay £460 a month for the car, then i have to pay car tax and insurance plus budget for fuel which has been high in proce over here. around £1.20 per liter. ($2.45)”

UH, WHAT?!? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t £28,000 about $52,723.06 in Canadian dollars? His £460/month payments are like $866.16! That’s like Vancouver rent, just for a tiny room with wheels! He also pays twice what we do for gas: £1.20 is about $2.26. WHAT. My immediate question is whom he’s trying to impress. If it’s women, I’d like to point out financial stability is far sexier in the long run than an overpriced sports car. But hey, I get it; I have toys too. IT’S JUST THAT MINE ARE 10X LESS COSTLY. But wait, it gets worse.

“as part of my contract, i have to have my car serviced by the dealer every year and there are different grades of service. my first was around £180 for oil and filter change basically which should be classed as fucking thef because i could do it myself for 1/4 the price.”

Don’t even get me started.

“year 2 was supposed to cost around £450 at toyota for the more detailed service. i found out i could get it done at any vat registered dealer. my friend has his own garage, he basically charged me for parts and a little labour. It cost me £190”

In short: Fuck you, Toyota.

I may be $22,535.05 in debt, but that was a series of hundreds and hundreds of minor mistakes. Mike made One Big Mistake and fucked his financial future in colossal ways. Luckily, he’s getting rid of it soon, and for good reason. The last time I saw him, a massive hailstorm had just hit Newcastle. His shiny GT86 was suddenly peppered with tiny dents. He lost his shit. Why put so much money into something that only causes you stress? That seems like a shitty investment! But wait, you wanna see numbers, right? Let’s run ‘em: $52,723.06, if I invested it now at 27 averaging 7% interest, IS $689,579.21 BY RETIREMENT AT 65!

Mike, sell the goddamn car. I know you’re reading this. Sell the goddamn car. Your future depends on it.

That’s just one example, but if you’re ever gonna succeed in life, you need to stop being so precious about the shit you like to keep pristine. Your shiny car is bullshit. The $1.2M mansion you’re pulling 70 hours a week for is bullshit. My PlayStation collection is bullshit. None of it matters. If it’ll cause you stress when it’s inevitably compromised in a way that WILL COST YOU EVEN MORE MONEY, it’s a poor investment. However, if it SAVES you money, or GENERATES money, you’re in the clear. That’s why my Canon 1D X isn’t stupid. That camera can make me thousands in a day. That can stay.

Here’s a Compound Interest Calculator. The next time you’re considering a Large Purchase, figure out the Real Cost and how much Money you’d have if you invest it instead. I calculate for 7% because I invest in US index funds. Literally NEVER skip this step. If you follow this advice, you’ll be richer than you ever dreamed.

See you when you’re Retired. Fancy some PlayStation?