An Observation on Conspicuous Consumption
I have already discussed the topic of what college major to take. Assuming you have your shiny new engineering degree in hand, and a good job lined up for yourself school, there is a big question that is presently on my mind: what to do with all the bloody money?
This might seem like such a silly question to ask one’s self; most people I know seem to have no problem figuring out what to spend their windfalls on:
- Sports cars
- Designer clothes
- WOMEN (yikes…! More on them below!)
- HOUSES (ugh…)
- Electronic guitars/musical equipment
- Electronic toys
- Big-ass TV’s
- Paying down debt
- Booze and/or weed
To boil their spending habits down – it’s conspicuous consumption.
The Young Professional Male and Dealings with Women
Women are probably the biggest killers of potential fortunes from among that list, as they can give birth to extraordinarily expensive things called babies. According to that link, it costs nearly $250,000 to raise a child these days. That kind of money could be the start of an impressive financial portfolio, or be used to buy rental properties that generate passive income.
Women for me are a complicated issue. On the one hand, I’m a red-blooded male. On the other hand, women are just monstrously expensive, and divorce is an unacceptable financial risk from my standpoint. I have become disillusioned with the idea of marriage, family, and children, which most women eventually want. I also have something of a chip on my shoulder against women, as they paid virtually no attention to me while I was working hard in engineering school. Now that I have money, now I’m supposed to pay up to the people that weren’t putting out for me then? Seems like a raw deal to me. Whoever Mrs. Unpropaganda is, she’ll be passed through a very tight sieve, and it will be a long time before she gets any serious money out of me. If a girl immediately wants me to start paying serious money up front, she can go kick rocks.
Cheap is Freedom
While it is unlikely I can go through life without eventually finding a female partner I want, I am lucky to not need much of the other crap on the list, freeing up my money to spent in other ways. Concerning sports cars, I wouldn’t be caught dead in one. The insurance payments are enormous, and maintenance is a bear since the replacement parts are so expensive (Captain Capitalism goes into more detail here on the topic of expensive cars). I am afraid of motorcycles, and am not much for new electronic toys. I don’t do drugs or alcohol, or play the guitar. I have absolutely no interest in the upkeep of a home, and so I intend to rent.
My Plan: Investing
I already touched upon my investment strategy post-school in my post concerning the blog 25000dividends.com. An old saying is that “Any fool can make a fortune; it takes a smart man to keep it.” We’ll see just how much water that maxim holds when I finally start collecting paychecks and investing. I am actually pretty confident in my investment strategy of maxing out my company retirement account every year, while aggressively investing in dividend stocks in a taxed account. I have grown accustomed to a relatively comfortable lifestyle on my old grad school salary of $26,000 a year, so all the extra money is just extra ammunition for investing. I haven’t calculated out the exact age at which I would be able to retire, since there are so many unknown variables that can drastically alter the results. But in any case, I intend to just keep on investing until I get bored with working, or want to pursue a second career.