How To Find The Courage To Live Your Life

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[The following is a partial transcript of this episode of The Scott Alan Turner Show. Listen to the full episode to hear this story, listener questions, money hacks, and inspiring stories of people that are changing their financial lives. Subscribe to the free podcast on iTunes or Google Play]

I was boarding an airplane for my return trip home from Cancun, Mexico. International airports have lots of ‘duty free’ stores where you can buy stuff and not pay taxes. I noticed this couple in their early 20’s in front of me getting on the plane. He was earning Louis Vuitton sneakers ($900), was wearing one Louis Vuitton backpack ($2,000), and had another Louis Vuitton backpack in his hand ($2,800).

He was a human billboard. I wonder if he knew that stuff was worth about $100,000 over his lifetime. Did he make $100,000 a year? Did he have any savings at all? There was no way to know. All I know was he was flying coach and just bought $6,000 worth of stuff.

But that’s the norm. It might not be Louis Vuitton,

  • It might be the new model car
  • Maybe it’s the person taking the nice vacation for a week, but wouldn’t last a week if they lost their income
  • Or buying nice gifts for every extended family member at Christmas, all 18 nieces and nephews

Everyone has those things that they want people to notice. What do you think your’s are? Heck it can be a watch or a purse.

I’ve done this over and over again, as early as age 20, on credit cards. In college I drove up to Atlanta one time from Macon, GA, and found this place I had never been before. A nice mall. We had two malls where I grew up, but this was a big-city, nice mall. And I was introduced to the Tommy Hilfiger brand. They make some very nice shirts and I bought 3-4 during college. And I felt all cool because it has that little logo over the pocket.

There are people that buy stuff that has visible brand names or symbols. I was one of them, and at the time I wanted to be seen in my good looking shirt. It may have been the last time I owned something other than a black t-shirt with a Metallica logo on it.

In The Millionaire Next Door, one of the most popular personal finance books of all time with 3 million copies sold, Dr. Tom Stanley interviews real millionaires and details their lives. Here are a few things he finds that will shock you:

  • Millionaires believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status
  • Millionaires don’t wear fancy clothes
  • Millionaires drive regular cars (not exotic or luxury) and they keep them for years

Think about that. Those are three things that make millionaires, millionaires.

What’s the difference between a plain white t-shirt on Amazon for $15.00, and a designer plain white t-shirt at Neiman Marcus for $495?

The person wearing a $15.00 t-shirt is 100x more likely to be a millionaire than the person wearing a $495 t-shirt pretending to be a millionaire.

I should have never purchased any nice clothes in college, I had a bunch of student loans to pay! Today if I want to buy a nice pair of jeans from the mall (yes, even I shop at the mall but it’s about once ever two years) I can pay cash for them and not sweat it.

There is a problem though. Someone living beyond there means is going to run into resistance when they try to change their lives for the better.

  • When we start eating in and stop eating out
  • When we wear last year’s fashion and not this year’s fashion
  • When we choose to downsize, downgrade, trade-in to trade-down

People notice. And that peer pressure is real. It can come from family. It can come from friends. It can come from co-workers.

That peer pressure will cause some people to stay stuck in broke land because they are afraid to stand up for these new life changing beliefs.

But it’s kinda like this: If someone has an allergic reaction to peanuts, and they got invited to a birthday party being held at the peanut factory, for the peanut butter making tour, you’re not going right? Your eyes would water, you wouldn’t be able to breath. You might very well die.

And we get injured or die these financial deaths, sometimes slowly over time, sometimes quickly all at once. You would have no problem saying no to the peanut butter tour if you were allergic to peanuts.

  • You need to learn to become allergic to being broke.
  • Feel your chest getting tighter, and its getting harder to breath, that peanut dust, that financial weight, it’s crushing your ability to get air.

I know this is going to change your life though, hear this: It’s your life. Not anyone else’s.

I know you can do this, and I believe you have the courage to change your life.

The worst case scenario is for people, is they live a life with a lot of great stuff and in constant debt and constant stress, they carry that to the grave.

  • Because they will be working to pay that stuff off forever
  • or they’ll end up as a burden to their family
  • or they will be flipping burgers until they are physically unable to do so

Because they didn’t have the courage to have a two minute conversation that had the potential to set them on a path to freedom. What is that stuff holding their financial freedom back?

I went from a Porsche, to a beat-up $6,500 mini pickup truck. Nobody thought less of me. I still got dates. Despite being a lousy dresser. Nobody turned me down for a second date because of what I was driving. We didn’t lose our friends or family when we holed up in Tyler, TX for a year with my in-laws figuring out our next move.

They have their life. You have your life. You have to live your life for you, not for them.

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