September 09, 2020 8 min read
It’s your life. So how do you want to live it? Typically, your lifestyle is determined by how much money you have, and what you choose to do with it. Money, meet lifestyle; the gatekeeper to financial freedom.
Working with all types of people from all walks of life, (from the ultra-rich to the struggling student), I’ve learned a lot about money and lifestyle. I hear it all the time, “if I had more money, I wouldn't have these problems.” In some cases this holds, in most cases, it’s something entirely different; Discipline and a plan with the money you have.
If you continue to earn more money and simultaneously continue increasing your spending, you will be in an angry cycle that will never improve your financial picture. The lifestyles you choose with the money you have is where you start when developing your plan. As you earn more, it does not always mean you should spend more.
I have seen it all. I’ve seen people with a small income outpace and save more than people with huge amounts of income. It is all about how you set up your lifestyle and choose to live your financial life.Lifestyle is choosing how to live with the money that you have.
We’ve created three Financial Footwork Money Teams. Our Money Teams are how we help you determine how your lifestyle is impacting your financial health. After all, how much money we have access to helps us determine what we can do in life. So let’s jump in.
Penny pincher, cheap, tightwad, sales hunter, bargain shopper, coupon clipper, thrifty...These are the savers of the world. The people put at least 40% or more of their income into savings every month. Team Money Guru consists of a few types of people.
First, there are the folks that find ways to be frugal and make their dollar stretch for them. These are coupon clips, bargain shoppers, sales hunters, etc. We all know someone like this! They are always looking for a sale and a way to save their hard-earned money. If they can find a way to save their money, they do.
Our second type of Money Guru is the person who invests in things that they believe in & find value in. Their goal is to make money, and make more money. Instead of spending money on material items, they put their money to work in businesses, real estate, investments, and ideas to increase their pot and make their money work as hard for them as they do to earn it.
As Warren Buffett said:
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
A Money Guru looks at the value of something and determines if it is the right fit for their life. Then work out the price, not the other way around. Instant gratification from a purchase is not something a Money Guru seeks out or feels rewarded by.
The third group in our Team Money Guru is the minimalists. These are people that don’t like “stuff.” They purchase things they need and in some cases want, but they don't overspend and they don't buy extravagant things. They buy what they can use. If they don't need it or find value in it, they won't spend money on it. In most cases, minimalists are a great example of Money Gurus.
Last and, (and yes in this case least), the “tightwad.” This person doesn’t know he is a money guru, they’re just cheap and HATE to spend money.
One of my favorite stories about someone like this came from one of my visits to an NFL facility. There was one guy in the room who always got hounded about the fact that he was cheap. He always managed to get someone else to pick up the bill, buy snacks, etc. He found a way not to pay. He was good! This particular individual was notorious for finding a way out of the bill.
After a long history of freebies, one night the other guys on the team got him good. Toward the end of the season, they took him to dinner. As the meal concluded, one by one the guys started leaving. When our frugal friend got up to leave, the server stopped him and said, “All your friends said you were taking care of the bill,” and handed him the paid tab using his card.
Boy did they get him--his roommate snagged his credit card and dropped it with the server. He was shocked!
Now, I don't encourage these types of shenanigans, however, I did get a good laugh with all the guys because it was all in good fun. The bill wasn't outrageous, and to this day our thrifty friend still hasn’t lived it down. Also he now always pays his share. #Winning.
Team Money Guru is all about saving, saving, saving. This is a great mentality, however, it can hinder a Guru from enjoying life and living it. Money Guru can be fearful of spending money on doing things in life. Because of this, they sometimes miss out on experiences big or small.
As Kanye would say, “Welcome to the Good Life.”
Team Good Life is all about balance in life and with money. This is the person who finds the balance between spending and saving and makes that balance work for them, harnessing their wants and needs to live a good life.
Team Good Life finds a way to enjoy life and the things they want, while simultaneously saving their money. How do they do this you ask? Moderation, a plan, and discipline. Let’s take a deeper dive into this idea.
Within Team Good Life there is a range of saving vs spending and that range determines where you fall within the Team Good Life category.
More of a Saver
At one end of the spectrum is the Good Life Savers, they are the ones that border on becoming part of Team Money Guru, that said, they still spend a little money on the things they enjoy.
A Good Life Saver finds balance in their life by saving more than they spend while still enjoying their life. They are not sacrificing their lifestyle completely to save a dime. They are finding balance with their spending habits and enjoying some of the things they like to do while focusing on their savings.
A Good Life Saver may sacrifice a bit more life experiences to save. Travel, dinners out, new clothes, etc, are not a priority, keeping money in the bank is.
50/50 Saver & Spender
These are the members of Team Good Life that find the perfect balance between spending and saving. They know what they want out of their life and they’ve hit their balance goals. They have enough money to do most of the things they want while saving as much as they spend.
This is moderation and discipline all in one. A 50/50 Team Good Life Member budgets for the things they want and saves enough to get them. They may not experience everything life has to offer, however, they live life on a solid budget and if something fun presents itself they have enough savings to indulge.
50/50 Good Life finds value in habits, spending, and saving their money, which leads to discipline and moderation in how they use their money.
More of a Spender
More of a Spender is the other end of the Team Good Life spectrum. These are the people that spend more than they save and live it up a little more than their Good Life counterparts. They have a fun lifestyle, one that is comfortable and full of experiences, while still saving a little money on a monthly basis.
They may not have a huge savings account balance, however, they can handle emergencies or large bills as they come up. More of a Spender focuses on enjoying life and using their money to experience it. They also focus on maintaining a small safety net in case life happens.
Team Good Life is all about finding the balance needed to match the individual's lifestyle of choice.
Team Bougie: “What is a savings account?” This group of people live life to the fullest and spend every single dime. Having a savings account is a foreign concept. Yikes!
When I think of extravagant, over-the-top, Bougie, I think of Vegas! I actually happen to love Vegas, it is a world in and of itself. You go to Vegas and you can be anyone you want to be. No rules! But this just can’t fly every single day in the life.
Vegas shows us all kinds of opportunities when it comes to spending our money, it entices us to spend, spend, spend. It is okay to be extravagant in all aspects of our life in Vegas, hell it is expected. Everywhere you go on the strip you see luxury cars, expensive clothes, posh people, gorgeous hotels, packed Clubs and pool parties, fantastic restaurants, and the list goes on and on.
You could easily blow through a huge chunk of change in Vegas in a couple of days… trust me, I did that once. Lesson learned!
Team Bougie lives in the moment, they don't think much about having a savings account and they focus on what they want at that moment. This is a fun lifestyle, but not sustainable. Just like our other money teams, there is a spectrum of spending associated with being on Team Bougie.
Spend every dimer:
Get your paycheck and spend it, pay your minimum living costs, and spend the rest on things you want. Spending every dime is all about getting the things they want, NOW. They want the purse, the car, the fancy dinner out, or the new outfit. They buy it, using every dime they’ve earned to do it.
Credit Card Swipers:
These are the members of Team Bougie that live off their credit cards, pay their minimum payments every month, and keep racking up credit debt. Swipe and go, keep it moving, and don’t worry about it until the bill comes. Even then, just hope your next paycheck has enough to pay the minimum and keep buying. Spend, spend, spend.
Bad and Bougie
These are the people who leverage everything, they have so much debt that they would still owe money if they had to sell everything they own. I.E. you sell everything and you still owe the banks money…Ouch. Car loans, personal loans, home loans, and credit card debt. Bad and Bougie always have the latest and greatest in cars, tech, houses, etc.
They appear to have so much money and such a good life. In reality, they are dead ass broke and just barely able to get by by making their minimum payments every month. They are one life event away from total financial failure.
Team Bougie is great at living in the moment but they have no plan if life happens, no savings, and more debt than they can handle. You may end up on team Bougie for a number of reasons, not always your own fault. That said, it is a long process to dig out of this money pit mentality once you are in it.
Now we have our teams, how do you know where you fall, and more importantly, are we always on the same Money Team? The answer is no, some days you might be Team Money Guru, and other days you might be Team Bougie. As life changes, so do our spending and savings habits.
What is important to know is what team you fall into the majority of the time and how that is impacting your overall quality of life. What do you need to do to move around the spectrum and become a member of another money team? Your budget is your starting point to make a plan, then use your budget to reach your goals.
Each Money Team has its good and bad traits. It’s about finding your lifestyle choice. This is different for everyone! Once you find what works for you, leverage your budget to improve your position.
The Lifestyle and money collision = you finding YOUR money team.
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