You’re still with me?  Awesome.

Simple Money Guide - Lesson 1

Let's start with savings.  If you don’t have any savings, you are totally stuck.  

You are either A) totally dependent on your parents, B) dependent on your job, or C) dependent on the government.

What's more, beyond always being dependent, without savings you have nothing to invest. With nothing to invest, you will never purchase assets and make it to Financial Independence.

We don’t want that, do we?  No.

So we have to start saving money.  And it’s actually not that difficult.  Seriously.  There are some key mental shifts and specific steps you need to take to get the money to start pouring in to your bank account.

I’ll give you the first and most important shift you have to make now, and we’ll explore other areas a bit latter.

Here’s where I suggest you start. 

Stop Trying To Purchase Social Status

Got that?  Don’t try to buy your way to cool. 

But let me make one thing perfectly clear.

I’m not.  Repeat.  I’m not saying don’t care about social status or what people think about you?  I’m not saying don’t try to be cool. 

Why not?  Well, I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you aren’t the Buddha or other spiritual masters who have transcended the limitations of humanity and float along in a sea of bliss.  (If you are, reach out.  I have a few questions.)

Anyhoo, back here in the real world, we all care about having friends, building a successful love life, and succeeding in our working lives.  You know what?  For success in those areas, it kinds of help if you have a little social status and people like and admire you. 

In short, social status matters.  But here’s the trick.

You Don’t Have To Spend Money To Be Cool

In fact, you will probably be cooler if you can pull off being super likeable while not buying every little whizzbang doodad on the market.  And you’ll certainly end up a lot richer.

But how?  I’m glad you asked.

Simple Steps En Route To Cool - No Purchase Necessary

Here are some simple suggestions to project status without breaking your wallet:

  • Be confident. This is the first suggestion for a reason.  The truth is that most people will go right into sync with thinking about you as you think about yourself. If you project confidence and that you are cool, believe me—the world will follow.

  • Be a bit alternative in style. Yep.  You don’t have to be a super yuppie (which costs super dollars).  Instead, a ten-year-old Patagonia fleece on someone who is in shape conveys success and membership in a certain social class better than a fancy suit. Sneakers and well-fitting jeans are going to do the trick just fine--no need for $300 whatevers. (If you are looking for inspiration in this area, I suggest the book Bobos In Paradise as a hilarious look at the emerging style that doesn’t cost much.)    

  • Get in shape.  Good (doesn’t have to be meathead style) shape.  Nothing conveys success in the modern world like being healthy and in shape. In fact, social classes are increasingly breaking down along those who are taking the time to eat well, avoid cigarettes, and keep themselves in shape and those who don’t. It is actually quite inexpensive to eat well. I'm not talking about Whole Foods, I'm talking about brown rice, beans, squash, salads, etc.

  • Be well-informed. When you know more about current events, investing, your work responsibilities, or whatever it is you are into, you naturally take the pole position in situations and people respect you. Basically, be a true expert at what you are doing.

  • Lastly, have it together.  This relates to all of the above bullets.  Be so good at what you do and so confident (without necessarily being arrogant) that you just don't care much what others think because you just know you have your sh#$t together. At this Zen level, you end up in charge because you just know you should be.  Nice.

These five suggestions alone will take you a long way towards unplugging from the spending matrix that is busy making other people rich—not you. 

Pull Out Your Pad And Paper

So take a moment right now and think about where you are trying to buy social status.  How are you blowing money trying to "project" status?  Is this working?  Can you stop doing this--but instead pull a ninja move (one of those suggested above) that positions you as even cooler than before? 

I suggest you jot your thoughts and ideas down now.  Nothing fancy.  Just on a piece of paper or in a plain text document on your computer.  (I personally use the free version of Evernote for such exercises.

After you've written down your thoughts, I suggest you skim this page one more time.  Let these ideas about not purchasing "cool" sink in. 

You've already begun the process of peeling away from the mindless, spending masses who will never reach financial freedom. 

But this is just a first, tiny step in a long, long journey.  It won't hurt much.  I promise.