An intriguing subject to muse upon today is wealth. Students, I drive a 1995 Rav4. I have ten bucks in my wallet on a good day. My phone is simple. I cut my own hair. Why even read on? Why should you take advice from a self proclaimed “tight wad?” More importantly, do you really want financial advice from a teacher? No way! On second thought, would you take advice from someone who has no car note, fantastic insurance for his family, a rental property that pays for his mortgage, and a job that allows for a summer and Christmas holiday vacation?
Anyone can work towards financial freedom, even a teacher! Further, even a student can work towards becoming financially free. The earlier you start, the easier and more successful the journey becomes. I will never forget the day that I walked into the bank and asked for my own account. It was the most incredible feeling to have my name on that financial statement every month. I was 17, and the statement was humble to say the least.
Many claim to be wealthy or poor, but why doesn’t anyone brag about being “financially free?” David Bach’s hit, “The Automatic Millionaire” is one of my favorite books. It stresses the importance of financial independence through automating one’s savings plan. After automating the savings plan, the only difficult part is deciding where to put the money.
The photograph below, courtesy of the National Digital Library, features acorns carefully stored in the trunk of a tree. The woodpecker diligently places its wealth in storage, until it needs to make a withdrawal. Compared to the woodpecker, we have the digital-age advantage of sending our paycheck directly to the bank when we set up automatic draft. From the bank, we can then digitally transfer funds to whatever we choose!
Everything sounds so simple…until you put yourself in a high school setting. Then, you have to look like you are a millionaire. A logical confusion arises out of the tendency to appear rich with funds that are only borrowed from credit cards charging 20% interest on late payments.
When you buy your first car, is it going to be the one that saves you money on gas, has low mileage, and has good a/c for summers in Louisiana? I see the following all the time: Student earns money. Student blows half of earnings. Student then puts a down payment on a classic car that “isn’t ready to be driven yet.” Why? In the meantime, the same student is bumming rides with everyone and making excuses why they can’t get a job! The logic is flawed, and …I’m guilty for wanting the same thing in high school.
Monday, a male student walked into my reading class wearing an expensive looking long pea coat and white leather gloves. He was actually laughed out of the room. Students try so hard to look like they have it all together. The result is both hilarious and sad at different times.
The “display” phenomenon appears in nature, time and time again. This photograph of a peafowl, (courtesy of NDL), displays a proud animal that is rich in physical appearance. When the peacock makes a colorful display of his tail feathers, he also appears larger and more formidable.
Since it is uncommonly cold this winter, I have occasionally sported Ralph Lauren, Polo, sweaters to class. When I choose to wear Polo gear, my students make positive comments, almost to a flaw. I always rebut, “You can find this at your local Dirt Cheap franchise for two dollars.” They laugh, but I’m being honest. Clothing is not now nor will it ever be a true investment. True investments actually create a return. Clothes are more like a necessity. For example, if you do not wear a suit to that job interview, then you NEED to begin looking for another job. Therefore, I spend as little as possible on clothes, and you should too.
My favorite tie features a repeating pattern of basset hound profiles. Admittedly, it is quite “kitchy.” Rightly so, I was fielding multiple insults about this tie every time I wore it, until one day a student discovered it was Polo. The news went around school, until all of my students learned to respect “The Tie.” Ralph Lauren, you have my students by the heartstrings. Are you any good at English II?
The views expressed by BLUEGREENBROWN do not necessarily reflect those of EBRPSS or EBRAA.