Before I moved to Little Rock to join Conger Wealth Management, I worked in Indiana as a Financial Planner. One of the most interesting things about my job was that I got to peek inside the finances of everyday, middle class and lower middle class people and take a look around. Here is one of the things I discovered from my snooping: how to be poor forever, in 7 easy steps.
- Avoid increasing your income at all costs. If you want to be poor forever, you’re going to have to keep your income at rock bottom. That means you’ll have to jump from one low-paying job to another, avoid all training for higher-paying positions, and be as undependable as possible. Be careful – you may get a stroke of bad luck and find a person who wants to mentor you. Alienate this person if you want to be poor forever! They’re a danger to your poverty.
- Charge to the limit on your credit cards, and only pay the minimum. Even a household pet can get a credit card, so don’t let one or two rejections stop you from getting every piece of plastic someone is dumb enough to issue to you. Once you have said plastic, spend up to the limit as soon as possible. Make sure the things you buy have no resale value. If they do, then you may be tempted to sell the stuff you bought to get money to pay off the credit card. Don’t do it! You’ve got to let those balances ride and accrue interest. That way you can spend the next twenty to thirty years paying off last Friday’s dinner at Olive Garden. Mmm, the garlicky flavor of a dinner mortgaged.
- Lease the most car the dealership will let you drive away with. Leases are best for staying poor. I’m not saying you can’t make and keep yourself poor by buying a car, it’s just easier with a lease. Here’s what you do: Go to a car dealership and lease the most car they’ll let you have. Repeat every two years, forever. Bonus points for exceeding allowed mileage!
- Buy new cars as frequently as possible. Oh, you don’t like the lease plan? Well, you can still keep yourself poor forever by buying new cars as soon as your monthly payment for the previous car is complete. That way you’ll be the one who takes the big hit on the car’s depreciation, and you’ll never have the free cash flow from not having payments.
- If you have any leftover money, spend it immediately. If by some accident you follow the above steps and have some money left over at the end of the month, spend it. Again, make sure you’re not buying things that may be worth more later. Good examples would be trendy new clothes that you’ll only wear once or twice, dinners out, and vacations.
- Hop from marriage to marriage while having as many children as you can. I can almost hear folks bristling at this one. It’s a pretty common strategy, though. by getting in and out of marriages you can have lawyer expenses that are far-and-away higher than the average person’s. Also, moving households, splitting and merging personal goods, and having lots of babies will keep those irregular expenses coming fast and furiously. Don’t forget, these are primo opportunities for credit cards to come in to play.
- Avoid the banking system. There are lots of high-priced alternatives to the inexpensive banking system used by most middle class people. Make sure you patronize the payday loan place, the pawn shop, the check cashing establishment, the money order counter, and other finance establishments you rarely find in the nice part of town.
This isn’t an exclusive list. However, I think that if you follow these steps you’ll have as good a chance as any of being poor forever.