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10 Ways to Stay Poor… Forever

Building wealth is for idiots.  Who wants to be rich nowadays?  Rich people are evil.  Besides, you can have everything you ever wanted right now if you know what you’re doing.

Here’s the top 10 ways to stay poor… forever.

1. Impress the Neighbors:  First and foremost, everything you do should impress the neighbors.  Their opinion of you means everything and they probably spend their evenings talking about how cool you are.  They often peek out their windows just to get a glimpse of you so make sure that everything you do, and everything you own, is awesome.

2. Get an Expensive Hobby:  An expensive hobby is a great way to stay poor.  Not only can you spend a lot of money doing it, you also get to impress others with your stories.  Golf, skiing, and boating are both fun and expensive.  Collections are another great way to spend money, but make sure you don’t collect anything of actual value.  Make it really personal.

3. Start a Business: You have to be careful with this one.  Starting a business might actually make you rich.  So pick something you don’t have any experience in and do not, under any circumstance, do any research before jumping in with both feet.  Buying old cars to fix up is a good one.  But pay too much for fixer and don’t ever actually finish fixing it.  You could also try to flip a house. Make sure you get in over your head.  No matter what the business, start it with money from a home equity line of credit.  Don’t worry about looking bad here.  You can always spin your business stories to make you look good.  No one needs to know you lost your shirt.

4. Finance Everything: Why put all your cash into an item?  If you finance something you have more money right now to be cool.  Keep all your cash in your pocket so you can spend it on impressing people.  Plus you need that cash to make the monthly payments on everything else you own. You can have a lot more cool stuff faster if you just finance it.   Credit cards count!

5. Make Minimum Payments: One of the best tools for staying poor is paying interest.  So make sure that you are paying as much interest as possible.  Get a high interest rate, which should be easy if you are already financing everything you own.  But if you find your interest rates are too low you can always skip a few payments.  That usually brings them up pretty quick!  Interest is your new best friend.

6. Buy More House Than You Need: A very easy way to be poor forever is to become house poor.   Put down as little as possible and get the longest term they offer so you can maximize the interest you will pay.  The further it is from your work the better.  Once you’re inside make sure to start renovating it as soon as possible.  You are way too cool for laminate counters and standard fixtures.  And don’t forget to throw lavish parties.  What’s the point of having this huge house if you can’t show it off?

7. Don’t Save: Obviously if you want to be poor forever you should never save anything. This should be easy since you will be spending all your money on all the minimum payments you’re making.  Don’t forget, your 401 (k) plan counts as savings, so stay away from that.

8. Pamper your kids:  If you have kids (great wealth destroyers by the way!) then make sure you give in to their every desire.  Dress them to the nines in new clothes and sign them up for every activity in which they show the slightest interest.  Activities that require a lot of equipment are the best.  Private school is also good.

9. Go on Vacation:  Get that credit card out and finance a vacation.  Make it fancy!  You will be able to brag about this trip for years to come so don’t skimp.  Plus, you deserve it.  You work hard to provide your family with the good life.  You need a break!  You might also want to consider a time share.

10.  Buy a New Car:  When buying a car always buy new.  It also helps if you get a new car every two or three years.  Finance it (obviously), and get the longest term and highest interest rate possible.  If you do this you should actually owe more than it’s worth after just a few years. This is great because when you trade it in, they will roll over your negative equity into your new car.  If you play your cards right you might never have any equity in your vehicle.  It’s a great way to stay poor forever, and look good doing it!

Bonus!  Get Divorced:  If you didn’t follow my simple plan above and accidentally accumulated some wealth then you need to get divorced.  Almost nothing can wipe out wealth like splitting everything you own in half.  Plus, anything you are left with will have to be paid to the expensive lawyers and you will be poor again!  If you happen to be in loving, healthy relationship then you might want to get started on the above steps, not only will they ruin your financial life they will probably ruin your marriage too!

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22 thoughts on “10 Ways to Stay Poor… Forever”

  1. Hilarious! But so true. These are great ways to make sure you’ll NEVER have any wealth. I’ve learned some of these tips the hard way, but have mended my ways and am doing a complete 180 on many things – like not keeping credit card debt and saving a small portion of my income (next year my goal is to boost this aspect of my finances.)

  2. Hunter @ Financially Consumed

    Scary funny, true MC. Impress the neighbors…maybe that’s what Jana’s neighbors at Daily Money Shot are trying to do. It sounds like they score 9/10.

  3. I know a couple of people who are in constant debt, but they do not seem to mind. They give the appearance of living better too. What they do not realize is they pay so much more for everything.

  4. Travis @DebtChronicles

    Oh, crap, I used to do almost ALL of these things. Not a surprise I am were I am. At least I realized it before it was completely too late.

  5. HA, hilarious post! Unfinished projects in business are totally a great way to stay poor! Start your own basket gift service and don’t market your wares or stock up on inventory for a direct sales company you don’t see through!

    People dump a lot of money into new businesses but not a lot of time!

  6. Jana @ Daily Money Shot

    Hunter’s right–my neighbors are kicking some serious butt on your entire list! They score 10/10 and I won’t be surprised if they hit the bonus round, too.

    That said, I love this post so much. But I have to say that sometimes divorce is for the best. You sometimes have to take the emotional over the financial.

  7. Maggie@SquarePennies

    So true, so true. Those who run up the cc debt forever trying to keep up with their indebted friends and neighbors can’t make that game last forever. I friend of mine used to work in a bank. She saw the most affluent-looking people come in, but she knew that they were up to their eyeballs in debt. Gives a different perspective!

  8. Maggie@SquarePennies

    Ashley, working in a bank doesn’t usually pay very well (unless you are at the top), but it does give you an eyeful. My friend worked in a bank in a very small town, so she knew all the customers outside of work! The things she knew! lol

  9. Maggie, I bet! When I lived a small town I always wondered what the people at the bank knew about me, and everyone else. I should have been a bank teller when I was younger.

  10. Barbara Saunders

    I agree with most of these. Some of them, though, are decisions subject to factors that may outweigh money. Is a person really supposed to stay in a lousy marriage because divorce has financial impact? Also, most people fail to save because they are not making enough money. (I’m not talking there about putting the $50 you spend on cable into the retirement fund. I’m talking about having only the $50 from cable to play with because your rent, food, and other basics consume your entire paycheck.

  11. Mr Frugal Frank

    Love your 10 ways to stay broke/poor..So true….Like you We are debt free except the mortgage..Have money in a 401 plus able to save a nice amount I hate the house I live in going to pay cash for something we like in a couple of years….Then sell this one…Though my issue after getting out of debt I lost direction sort of…One other funny one would think you might “kick back” I did two things 1 is I’m cutting back life expenses drasticly and two in the last three years i’ve been finding more ways to make a few extra bucks…Guess I do have goals just strange to not see tons of stuff coming in the doors….

  12. I love this, too. It really is amazing how people will get themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to impress friends, family, coworkers, and people who they do not even know when nobody even cares. When I see someone driving a Lexus, I never think, “Rich.” I think, “In debt.” So, I’m not impressed.

  13. This is great. I love the approach you took, but am sure it hits home for far too many people. I hate paying interest. Even though it is slightly unrelated to this post, my wife and I are paying off our student loans as quickly as possible because we hate the fact that we are paying interest on the loans.

  14. No 11. Keep up with your neighbors. The neighbor across the street gets a new car, you must too. The neighbor beside you gets a new swimming pool. You must too. The neighbor on the other side remodels their kitchen, again, you must too. Finally, the neighbor behind you gets a new boat. Well again you can’t be outdone. Get yourself a bigger boat. And of course, finance it all.

    1. Excellent points! We have some friends who just built a house in a really nice neighborhood who are falling for that trap. Hoping they’re not getting in over their heads.

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