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Man in convertible, living the rich wealthy high life. (Photos.com)
Man in convertible, living the rich wealthy high life. (Photos.com)

Household finances

10 ways to stay broke forever Add to ...

Reprinted by permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd, from 10 Ways to Stay Broke…Forever. Copyright©2013 by Laura J. McDonald and Susan L. Milner.

So. You have no savings or investments–and you haven’t even thought about retirement! But hey, you have a new car, a beautiful new house and enough power suits to last you until you’re 100 years old. Plus, you still have plenty of available credit. Who cares about the bottom line when life is this good?

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It’s a good question, and one that many people aren’t forced to consider–until it’s too late. Check out the top ways you can keep the charade going and stay broke! Yes, broke! If you’re lucky, you’ll die before anyone notices . . .

1. Finance Everything
Live for the now. If you can get a loan or buy something on credit, do it. This should be easy; after all, your salary isn’t nearly big enough to cover all your “needs.”

2. Pay the Minimum–on Everything
Take a look at your credit card statement. It should tell you how long it will take you to pay off the balance if you make the minimum payment. Shoot for a time frame that’s longer than you can ever imagine living. That should do it. Now go have fun!

3. Spend It All
Financial advisers tend to recommend that you save up for things you want. That’s impractical if you want things right now –now isn’t it?

4. Buy a Huge House
Why have a smaller house when you can afford the mortgage payments on a bigger one by choosing the longest amortization possible? If you’re lucky, the market will rise, giving you some extra equity to spend!

5. Buy a New Car
Car models don’t change much year to year, but you can’t put a price on that new-car smell. Ideally, you should be sporting a new ride every two or three years and financing it (of course!) for the longest term possible. If you do this for long enough, you may end up owing more than your car is even worth. That’s okay–you’ll look great doing it!

6. Take a Vacation
Pull out your credit card and go somewhere nice. There’s nothing better than getting away from it all, and you totally deserve it! After all, you want to be able to brag about this for years to come. (Plus, you look great with a tan . . .)

7. Buy More Toys
A great car is important, but what you really want to shoot for is a motorhome pulling a truck, pulling a trailer with two ATVs inside (and possibly a boat, too). Then you’ll know you’ve arrived–and you can arrive on any terrain you want!

8. Pay More When You Can
Rather than worrying about saving a dollar here and there, just do what is most convenient. Coupons, shopping around and waiting for things to go on sale is such a pain–and why bother for only a few dollars? After all, time is money!

9. Shop Every Day
Treat yourself whenever you get the chance. After all, nothing feels better than coming home with something new at the end of a hard day. If you can’t find a use for what you’ve bought, you can always add it to your gift closet. You do have a gift closet, right?

10. Eat Out
Treat yourself to dinner out at least a few times a week. It’s convenient, it’s relaxing and your time is worth something–even if you wouldn’t have spent it working.

You Earned It?

That feeling of being on top is something only money can buy. Don’t miss out. Money is made to be spent. After all, you earned it . . . right?

Reality check.

Okay, wrong! This is where common sense (finally!) kicks in. If there’s anything that feels amazing, it’s knowing you have money in the bank. The ultimate luxury is not a new car, designer wardrobe or scarlet-soled shoes; it’s savings pure and simple. Don’t you know that excessive spending went out of style with shoulder pads, teased bangs and “Dynasty”?

Here’s Looking at You, Kid

What you just read? That was the venerated article we spoke about . . . the namesake of this book and the one that ignited a flame in the broke(n) hearts and bank accounts of our readers.

Now, we are not here to judge (well, maybe the teased bangs). We know you work hard. You spend a huge portion of your life caring for other people. You rarely do anything for yourself. So when it comes to splurging on the latest iPad or splashing out on a five-star hotel for the holidays, of course you deserve it! There is no question. Buying new things makes you feel great . . . for awhile anyway. And then two things happen: the novelty wears off and you need another fix. And, if you bought the item on credit, you don’t feel great when you have to pay off the balance–especially if you lack the cash to pay it off in full and must pay interest. If you go into debt over a purchase, you will never feel quite as amazing as you would if you could afford the item outright.

Buying something you don’t have the cash for means you can’t afford it. You know this intellectually, but sometimes we like to rationalize things in our head and fool ourselves into thinking we can afford them. We confuse having room on the credit card with affordability. But deep inside, you know the difference. It starts out as a niggling twinge of guilt. It grows to the kind of back-of-your-head stress that you might be able to control by day. By the middle of the night, however, it wakes you up and refuses to let you sleep. The bigger the debt, the bigger the stress. How will you pay for it? What will you not be able to pay for as a result?

The guilt. The remorse. The regret.

Every time you put down that piece of plastic, you might want to think about whether or not purchasing the item and adding to your debt will cause you regret later. Then think of Humphrey Bogart at the end of Casablanca: “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.”

Reprinted by permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd, from 10 Ways to Stay Broke…Forever. Copyright©2013 by Laura J. McDonald and Susan L. Milner.

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