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Why do delusional people think their spending will be different than other people’s?

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10 17 0

It is an indisputable fact that anyone who drives a BMW 2-door coupe is an asshole. They talk on their phone loudly, drive recklessly, and wear extremely large sunglasses. In fact, an even better litmus test is observing how these drivers park: If they back into a parking spot instead of parking nose-first like normal people do, you can be 100% certain that you have an asshole on your hands.

 

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Photo by puyo

To find supporting evidence for my theory, I Googled “bmw asshole” and got 1,500+ responses, including this one. I rest my case.

There has only been one exception (he was a startup CTO…who by definition cannot be an asshole). Also, Asians don’t count because they don’t drive BMWs.

The point is this: There are patterns you can recognize. We like to believe we’re individual and different, but the entire field of social psychology illustrates how we mistakenly believe we’re in control of our own lives while systematically underestimating situational and social influence.

As we get older, the vast majority of us fall into predictable patterns: We become more conservative with our investments. We have kids. We spend on things we never imagined we would (like window treatments, homeowners’ insurance, and childcare).

Recently, I wrote a post about the 10 Year Savings Strategy, where I recommended that people who are already saving and investing and maxing out their retirement accounts do one simple thing: Find some people who are 10 years older and ask them what they wish they’d saved for. Then start saving for those things.

This isn’t as sexy as alternative investments or currency arbitrage, but it works. It also forces us to confront the fact that most of us will live very similar lives as everyone else. We’ll start really paying attention to our money around age 40. Our wedding cost will be far higher than we planned. We’ll buy a house.

Sure, there are exceptions. But chances are you’re not going to be one of them. None of us is.

The comments that people submitted to the post were some of the most interesting and infuriating I can remember, prompting me to write a 456-word comment in response. Here are a few selected comments from the original post:

Delusional Guy:

“First of all, I’m not getting married. No, this isn’t just the talk of someone who can’t see far enough into the future. We all know the only benefit of getting married is in avoiding divorce. If you get divorced, you’re screwed. For anyone who would ever put themselves into that situation, I have no sympathy because it is completely avoidable. Marriage is a contract and (especially for guys) if you enter into it, you will be on the losing end from the get go. You recommend getting advice from your elders. What do they tell me? Don’t get married. That’s some advice I’ll be taking because I care too much about my assets.

Actually I see kids as a complete waste of money, time, and freedom. There are many people out there who live child free (and loving it) and I will be one of them. Don’t believe it? Believe it when i get a vasectomy sometime in the near future.”

Smart Person Who Understands The Point of the Post, Not Just The Superficial Words

“Ramit, I really liked this. The take-away was still the same despite that I don’t intend to have children (and neither does my g/f). Plan for large expenses I will encounter on my path in life, whether or not it’s children or lots of travel or whatever hobby I choose. The action is not, “save for children.” The action is: ask and try to predict what your major expenses will be in 10 years and save for it. Don’t think you’re going to be above average and beat the system. Reality is sometimes harsh on us 20-somethings. Realize I am not an exception to every rule. Realize that reality will bite me sometimes and I will want to be prepared.”

Hilarious Person I Want To Marry

“Good lord….To pretend you know exactly what you want now (at say, 25) for when you are 50 is the equivalent of adamantly stating when you are 5 that you hate all boys/girls and will never like them. It’s utterly ridiculous. All you can do is acknowledge that your current self cannot predict everything that will happen in your life, or everything that you will want, but it’s probably going to cost more than you think. So instead of spending so much energy being defensive, why don’t you critically think about his point, and whether you want to apply it to your finances?”

And finally, here’s the response that I left in the comments:

“Exactly. Some phenomenal comments on this post and some very, very stupid ones.

The most absurd thing about many of the negative comments is the inability to take a strategy or tactic and apply it to the commenters’ own lives. If you’re not going to get married (which you probably are, despite what you think now), you’re still going to have many other expenses that you simply can’t predict yet. If you claim you’re determined to have a frugal wedding (which many people say, by the way), then the question to ask is this: “Under what conditions might I find significant future expenses that I didn’t predict?” Ever hear of the hedonic treadmill?

I’m willing to bet one of the commenters who complained this post is “obvious” hasn’t cut costs, automated, created a Conscious Spending Plan, earned more, optimized his spending, maxed out investments, and created sub-accounts for his future 10+ year spending. I’m not being sarcastic — if you have, please let me know and I’ll call you because I’d love to profile you for my readers.

“Obvious” doesn’t mean “easy.” But that’s the point of the post, isn’t it?

As commenter Sara said:

“To pretend you know exactly what you want now (at say, 25) for when you are 50 is the equivalent of adamantly stating when you are 5 that you hate all boys/girls and will never like them. It’s utterly ridiculous. All you can do is acknowledge that your current self cannot predict everything that will happen in your life, or everything that you will want, but it’s probably going to cost more than you think. So instead of spending so much energy being defensive, why don’t you critically think about his point, and whether you want to apply it to your finances?”

Now that I’m writing, let me go on a little bit: One key insight of writing a blog for a large audience has been how entitled people feel in getting a tip that’s exactly written for their specific situation. “I’m 60 and widowed!” people say. Or, “But I’m gonna have a vasectomy!”

A post addressing your specific situation is not going to happen here — you need to use your imagination and think about how to apply them to your life. And I’m not going to water down this blog with equivocations and qualifications (as ec213 points out).

The sad thing about this is the smart people already know this. I have to write this comment for whiners who (1) constantly complain about this site, (2) will never buy anything, and (3) repeatedly threaten to leave.

With that said, I LOVED writing this post and I love reading these comments even more. Look for MORE posts like this.”

 

* * *

By planning to live an ordinary life, you give yourself the means to be extraordinary.

The original post on the 10 Year Savings Strategy is here.

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10 17 0

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70 Comments

10 17 0
 
  1. This just got my vote for Greatest Post Ever!!!

    I really have no comment besides I couldn’t have said it better. Keep writing Ramit – these posts are what we need to hear: the truth.

  2. Woah now, hold on a second. Reversing into parking spaces is a sign that the person is a competent and responsible driver, concerned about safety and considerate of other drivers and pedestrians.

    In other words, if you ever see a BMW reversed into a parking space, it must be on loan.

  3. I’m 25, married, with a kid already. At this point, I’m 100% certain the my ability to predict my future is in ten years is utterly useless. I’m also convinced that they advice of anyone who is 35 (and was in my shoes at 25) would be absolutely priceless.

    I’d rather come to terms with the fact I have no idea what I’m doing than be “delusional.” Great topic.

  4. I’d love to say that when I was 16 years old, I said I’d be an 8 year military vet considering the option of reenlisting for another 4. But of course, I’d be lying. My biggest concern was finishing the next level of whatever video game I was on. At least that hasn’t changed in 10 years. XD But I definately have gotten more saving conscious. And I certainly don’t believe I know what I’ll need 10 years from now.

  5. Sorry, but I beg to differ on the characterisation of people who drive 2 door coupe BMW’s – I can give some specific examples. If you want a class of inconsiderate car owners, look no further than people who own SUVs and park them in spaces designed for smaller cars or who complain about their petrol costs.

    As to the more substantive part of the post (which I think is great), no one can predict the future with sufficient certainty to be able to accurately predict where they will be financially 10 or more years into the future – I would have failed miserably at such an undertaking and failed repeatedly. To assume that we can is just silly. But not to at least make an effort to guess at the future (i.e. to plan) is financially irresponsible (and stupid). So should people guess knowing that they will probably get it wrong or just be a dead fish and go with the flow by assuming they will be like their parents, peer group or other “typical” person ? The latter may provide a degree of guidance (and is a useful exercise) but it is not a crystal ball either.

    Take retirement spending as an example – there are plenty of opinions on whether people more or less after they retire – and plenty of people who have experienced both ends of the spectrum. Even with retirement less than a few years away and plenty of examples to look at and speak with, I’ve still only got a pretty vague idea – but I do have a plan to deal with that uncertainty and that is good enough for me.

  6. in some areas, you are required by law to back into reverse angle parking spaces…. seattle has them, DC has them… http://www.mininggazette.com/page/content.detail/id/506269.html?nav=5006

    The point about spending patterns is a good one – we all look back and say “boy do I wish things had been different” meaning, I wish I would have done something else… so, if you’re in one of those younger age groups, listen to what this is telling you – realize that later on you’ll most likely have some of the similar remorse. Plan accordingly!

  7. Parking backwards is much safer, it prevents accidents when leaving the space, and if you’re lock-to-lock manouvring whilst the cv boots are warm, instead of cold after you’ve returned to your car, they’ll last longer. Preventing accidents and prolonging the life of your car can save you money.

    Occupying two spaces, on the other hand, can get you a fine.

    My uncle once offered me this money saving tip: Instead of buying a BMW, just write “asshole” accross your forehead, it will have the same effect.

  8. People are funny like that. They want help but they don’t want to spend 5 minutes thinking of how a strategy could apply to them if their situation isn’t EXACTLY described in said strategy.

    Show a little creativity and thoughtfulness, people! Don’t expect someone else to do all the work for you.

    Jeez….

  9. Like I tell my younger siblings all the time, we are all trying to follow the easy path and do the things they want. Sometimes the easier long-term path means making slightly more difficult short term decisions. You might want that big screen TV right now, but can you make the payments if something unplanned happens? You might want to go home with that hot guy across the bar, but do you really want to put your relationship with your fiancé in that kind of tension? You might really want to get a few extra hours of sleep, but do you really want to risk your job because you didn’t call in sick?
    Life is like driving a car, if you want to get somewhere, you can’t always look directly in front of the car. You run the risk of swerving because going forward is not the same as going in a straight line. You also run the risk of missing those road signs that were clear to see in the distance, but you just didn’t look up and pay attention. People change lanes, get on/off the freeway, drive too slow, drive too fast, and if your are only concerned with what is immediately in front you , you can get blind sided by something that was easily avoidable. But most people that focus only on what is in front of them play the super victim when something bad happens. It’s not their fault they can’t see reality when it hits them in the face. (Super sarcasm alert!) You are supposed to understand how bad their situation has become and do everything that you can with the resources you have saved for your new car to help them pay their medical bills and even repair their car!
    Society has reached a level of intelligence that allows it to displace its blame and guilt outside of itself. “It’s not my fault I didn’t see that car coming, it should have known better” “Well, I wasn’t the one swerving” this time… Only when it is undeniably our fault do most of us accept responsibility. But even then, we justify the circumstances leading to that car crash. “Well, I had just gotten dumped, so I understandably got wasted, you can’t blame me for that” “I was tired, so I slept through work and didn’t feel like calling”
    It is so easy to give up on the future and live for today, everyday. They understood that there was a time to party with Dionysus, but you had to account for it properly and then get your ass back to work with Apollo.

  10. Funny, that is one of the few posts where I actually read the comments knowing people would have all sorts of “This doesn’t apply to me because…” retorts and I wanted to see Ramit give them he\\. Today’s post cracks me up even more (whether it was intended to or not). Thanks for the uplifting post!

  11. I take offense at your disparaging remarks about fancy parking. Honestly! Comparing me to a BMW driver? Ridiculous!

  12. All these years, I have waited for someone to tell me who was right in the Seinfeld episode “The Parking Space”, and here goes Ramit :-)

  13. So true about the BMW assholes. I have an arrogant vegetarian co-worker who drives a BMW with leather seats. Go figure…

  14. As an owner of a 2006 330 sedan, who’s friends with an Asian guy who drives an E36 M3, I can attest to the fact that yes, we are assholes. We prefer refined German engineering, stiff-yet-dampened handling and the sheer power of a BMW over some bullshit Prius… or other lesser car that is sensible, practical, costs less to own and saves American jobs.

    But that’s besides the point. Your car says a lot about you. And I’m not talking about status, but what you value. What do you expect from a driving experience? Or what the quality of manufacturing itself? While there are plenty of douche bags who by the blue and white roundel to make a statement, there are plenty of others who simply love our cars… and we like to drive them too fast and park them in reverse.

    Which leads me to my real point. What about the asshole who drives 55 in the left lane while everyone else is going 72? Who about he asshole who slams his door into mine, leaving an unsightly dent, but then drives off with out a note or an appology? (Which is WHY we park them backwards in a spot as far away from other cars as possible.) Or what about the assholes who think BMW drivers are assholes simply because they don’t understand us.

    We’re people too. We have feelings. And we just you to get the hell out of our way so we can take the corner at the exit ramp at 90 mph. Is that too much to ask???

  15. [...] Read it. It is an indisputable fact that anyone who drives a BMW 2-door coupe is an asshole. They talk on their phone loudly, drive recklessly, and wear extremely large sunglasses. In fact, an even better litmus test is observing how these drivers park: If they back into a parking spot instead of parking nose-first like normal people do, you can be 100% certain that you have an asshole on your hands. [...]

  16. I am absolutely loving all the defensive comments about parking and BMWs. You are not helping yourself by responding. Just close the browser and walk away.

    Great post!

  17. I think it is foolish to generalize like this.

    . All BMW drivers are assholes.
    . All Indian people smell like curry.
    . All middle-eastern men are ter@*ists !

    If you get fixated on a thought, of course you will find posts on the internet about it. Example, go to google and type “bmw drivers are awesome”. Then click “I am Feeling Lucky” button. What do you see ?

    Like Chris Rock said, “Don’t hate the Player, hate the Game.”

    Stop hating BMW drivers because they are rich enough to drive one. Hate their game, or better still get into their game so you can drive a BMW yourself !

    ‘Nuff Said.

  18. BMW drivers need to get over themselves. I said it in the military, and I say it now: “BMWs are LT-mobiles, and I don’t want a starter luxury car.”

    The only reason BMWs exist is so wanna-be luxury car owners can be assholes. You’ll notice that REAL luxury car owners aren’t worried about running people off the road and passing everyone within sight, and are, instead, contemplating the awesome ambiance within their REAL luxury car and supporting the American worker.

    -Mercedes Owner

  19. What a shame that some adults don’t have the ability to take advice and objectively apply it to their situation! The solid advice in here is looking ahead and anticipating changes. Then maybe again, maybe these are the same people double parking into spaces.

    Hilarious bit about the BMW drivers, but I have indeed seen some Asian drivers in NYC.

  20. That isn’t a 2-door coupe in that picture. It’s the E90 four-door sedan. *ducks* Also, if the parking lot is mostly empty, and will probably stay that way (Sundays at work?), and if the guy is parked in a corner, he’s probably just trying to avoid door dings. They happen and they suck :(

    I bought an E46 sedan (the previous body style) in 2004 straight out of college, for several reasons. One, my 1990 Mazda MX6 was a POS and was falling apart. Two, I didn’t want to be bothered all the time by maintenance of my car — this car has barely required anything more than once or twice a year regular maintenance, which is perfect for me. Three, it was gorgeous (subjective, but important). (And four, I could afford it.)

    Financially, I definitely should’ve bought a 2003 used one instead — one year would’ve saved me at least $10k. At least I’ve lost my “upgrade bug” and don’t feel the need to upgrade to a newer/hotter car, now that I’ve just finally paid off the 5-year loan. I will still lust after and drool over the mafia-black M5 though. That much is free.

  21. Interesting that the Mercedes differentiates himself from the asshole BMW driver by making ellitist, self-righteous statements.

    More interesting is that all these comments just prove the point made in the post. We are who we are. We like what we like and often reinforce those preferences by bashes those who think/act/feel differently than us.

    People want to feel like they’ve “arrived” in some way. That they did something meaningful with their life. For some, that means a family, kids, a dog and shed full of shit they’ll never use. For others, that means status, power, position or accomplishments. And a few actually want to make a difference in the world. But no matter who you are, you have a vision of who you THINK you are and will spend your life trying to prove it (even if you don’t realize it).

    I’ve fully accepted that I’ll never be as awesome, rich, powerful and perfect as the Mercedes owner. But that’s not my goal. Mostly because it’s a delusion. There is no “arriving.” There is no safe, perfect or even practical investment/purchase. Cars fail. Ecomonies collapse. Marriages unravel. Life has it’s own plans.

    The most we can ever do is “Know Thyself,” and then “Share Thyself” with a world that’s desperately broken and imperfect. The man or woman who can balance the pursuit of their own happiness with doing good in the world is closer to perfection than the rest of us could ever hope to achieve.

  22. Oh, ruthlessmind, you see right through me.

    Except the part about the gender, but I’m used to that. God forbid a woman consider herself successful without kids.

    Anyhoo–I absolutely agree with you. Status cars can be fun (yeah, I DO actually get treated differently based on my car), but knowing yourself and allowing that material things are usually fairly immaterial to your happiness really helps clear your vision to get down to what will make you happy and how to get there.

    The best advice my parents gave me: start saving now. It really does take a lifetime to earn enough to support yourself from retirement to death (unless your a lucky lottery winner…although I’ve heard that can backfire on you, too…). Ramit’s earlier post really made me, personally, think about the situations of the people around me in a different light. It’s eye-opening to realize that your parents just CAN’T stop working, even with their retirement incomes, because they’ve over-extended themselves, and at the same time are not willing to give up the fleet of vehicles and dirtbikes they own.

    Really makes you rethink your own spending, that’s for sure.

  23. too bad that isn’t a coupe, rather it’s a BMW E90 Sedan…

  24. First of all, that’s not a 2-door BMW. It’s a 4-door E90 3-Series. Second of all, I’m an owner of a 2-door BMW, an M3, and don’t appreciate the stereotype because it’s not true. Granted, that person is a tool for parking like that, but assholes are spread out across many brands.

    • It’s hilarious how many people are fixated on the BMW reference and continue to miss the point of an article that illustrates other people missing the point of another article. Are we in The Twilight Zone?

  25. Your book and website have gotten me excited about getting my finances straight. A good 80% of what I’ve gleaned from the book and blog has needed a lot of tweaking to make sense in my life (expat in Japan, freelancer, already generally frugal), but its still been worth a lot to me. This post hits at the heart of that matter.
    I’ve read other personal finance books before, but never given them serious consideration because they generally presume that I’m up to my elbows in credit card debt and dream of nothing more than owning a house in the Phoenix suburbs. Thanks for leaving room for us “free to be you and me”-ers.

  26. just wanted to mention the car next to it was also backed in.

  27. I come here for useful tips on managing my finances, and instead I get slammed in the face with some of the rudest langauge I have ever heard in my life. In all my years on the internet, I’ve never once heard such appalling remarks as the ones in this article. Shame on you, Mr. Sethi, shame on you for making such a broad generalization. In a way it’s typical though – all bloggers are such dicks.

  28. What’s hilarious is that you consistently fill posts with comments that intend to inflame, then act like you don’t expect people to focus on them. I understand it’s your style, but on post # whatever the shtick gets old.

  29. RE: Twilight Zone:

    Oh. As I’m not a BMW driver, I thought this article didn’t apply to me!

    Seriously, paragraphs 1-3 seem unrelated to the rest, perhaps a relevant analogy is required. It’s intriguing how a writer blames his readers for missing his incoherent point.

  30. [...] Ramit Seth discusses why delusional people refuse to believe they’ll have the same spending patterns as everyone else. [...]

  31. “I’m 25, married, with a kid already. At this point, I’m 100% certain the my ability to predict my future is in ten years is utterly useless.”

    - BAKER

    My point exactly. The principles are simple. Save at LEAST 10% of your income… don’t spend more than 1/3 on housing… and buy a BMW because you get free maintenance on EVERYthing for 5 years (which saves significant expenses).

    Beyond that, if you’re using credit cards to pay for trips, dinners and electronics, then you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Live within your means. Pay for everything you can with cash. And don’t plan for a fairy-tale future… set goals that are obtainable no matter what happens in Life. What else can a guy or gal do???

    I actually wrote a post about this very thing myself: http://ruthlessmind.com/2009/08/the-failure-of-success/

    Of course, take what I say with a grain of salt because I’m an “asshole” who’s been through divorce, bankruptcy and a few deaths.

    MERCEDES OWNER…

    Thanks for the reply :) See, even arch rivals can have stuff in common!

    WRITER OF BLOG POST…

    How rich are you, exactly? And how did you do it? Just curious.

  32. Ramit, this post is incredibly brilliant. But it seems as if the most clairvoyant of the subject posters are on the young side, when people typically are the most certain of what makes the world go round, and how they’ll respond to it. Aging will cure most of them of that. We have to forgive young people for being so certain; they’re fresh out of school and a lot of them still think the answer is “X”, just like it says in their textbooks. I’m going through that with my teenage kids right now.

    Maybe there’s too much of the feel good, phoney-baloney motivational stuff out there making people think they have absolute control over their destinies. Until you’ve been beat up a couple of times by life, you’ll have a tendancy to believe that stuff. Real optimism should come from a workable plan that has plenty of flexibility in for the ups and downs that are inevitable.

    BTW, I think you’re on to something with the BMW personality.

  33. haha I must say I drive a 335 coupe , I do park reversed and I show finger if someone hunks at me … so i guess you can consider me an asshole. and as for the post content , i agree with 100%.

    here is a picture of my car haha

    http://img200.imageshack.us/i/bmwtd.jpg/

  34. I thought your BMW reference was hilarious! Oh, and the post was good too. OK, the post was actually one of the best ones you’ve written, IMO.

    Kinda reminds me of how when we’re kids, we’re SURE we’ll never be like our parents. Then we get older…lo and behold…we say and do some of the same exact things…

  35. [...] also observes that many people believe that they are the exception to the rule. This can lead some to not prepare properly. You may plan on paying your mortgage in 15 [...]

  36. I had to look at the original link to see if I qualified. I do. I know why, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the thinking of destiny. Once you drive one through a corner at high speed you will understand why these cars are driven like that. My wife’s Infiniti is nothing like it. The Inifiniti is more luxurious and even has more power. It also drives like a barge, hardly the kind of thing my 3 series is. I didn’t buy mine for the status (although the ignorant think as much), or the comfort, so much as it was incredibly fun to drive.

    So by definition of that forum post I would qualify. I drive through traffic, and tailgate in the fast lane. Here’s a tip, if you’re doing the speed limit or under in the fast lane, you’re in the wrong lane. I think people who do that are a$$holes. If you aren’t paying attention, you need to be out of the fast lane.

    I qualify only while driving, and I suspect that may be the case for other BMW drivers. I don’t wear big sunglasses and rarely back in, although I do if I suspect the SUV and minivan next to me will be full of kids kicking the doors open and putting huge dents in my car. Ask me how I know?

    Course none of this seems to be the intent of the article. The idea is that everyone thinks they are smart enough or good enough that certain things won’t happen to them so they don’t plan on it. Take the emergency fund. Hardly anyone does it. When that real expensive breakdown occurs or something like that, they put it on credit and subject themselves to debt and their lives are dramatically altered, and not for the better.

    I remember going through that even though I had significant savings. A year of unemployment depleted my savings. I didn’t plan on it, and thought because I was getting numerous awards at work that it wouldn’t happen. It did.

    I think the idea is to hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  37. I figured this would be the easiest way to post this. About a year ago, with the save $1000 in a month challenge, Ramit posted a coupon code for Restaurant.com

    There is another special going on, with the code NINETY you can get 90% of the price of the gift certificates (IE a $25 gift cert. now costs $1 instead of $10). They list right on there what the catches are (usually you have to spend $35 or more).

    Discount code is good until September 13th.

  38. Naw, I see the point, I’m just thinking the BMW reference is hilarious. :D I know lots of people who are ate up about their BMW, and lots of people who have them and are secure in that. I’m friends with the secure crowd, because they have the good ones. (The M3′s and Z3′s and Z4′s and such.) The ate up people are the ones driving around in 325i’s trying to act like they made it big in a fairly cheap car. Or BMW SUV’s. I HATE those — they have a good engine, that’s it. Horrible body, horrible handling, a car is not meant to be the size nor have the same luxury as a house. (Unless you have a Rolls Royce or a Bentley.)

    Anyhow, you may need to have the BMW reference changed to Audi. Top Gear said that Audi is the new car of choice for cocks, so us regular people can now own the BMW of our dreams without fear. :)

  39. Oh, and about the snarky Mercedes owner…. Sorry, was a huge Mercedes fan for years. Then I went to the car lots of both dealers. I found an M3 on the BMW lot in a manual. I didn’t find a single Mercedes on the lot in a manual. My conclusion? Sure, Mercedes are more luxury… But BMW is more sporty. I like sporty, therefore I’d buy a new BMW before I bought a new Mercedes. (Save for most AMG models, and especially the AMG black series.)

    Many Mercedes owners are assholes too. Because they think that the car they drive is so unattainable… (News flash, it isn’t. My husband sold his Mercedes to buy a Honda. A real, proper sports car….)

    Just had to add that in. >_> You are doing the females into cars no justice with stupid comments like that.

  40. The fact that you just called a Honda a “real, proper sports car” lessens the blow of your comment, so: no harm, no foul.

    If I want sporty I will drive my other car…the Mustang 5.0LX with the rebuilt engine and wide racing tires. But to go to the grocery store and about town…my Benz is all the sport I need.

    I would say more…but I’m still blown away by the Honda comment.

  41. [...] also observes that many people believe that they are the exception to the rule. This can lead some to not prepare properly. You may plan on paying your mortgage in 15 [...]

  42. The truly evolved Teutonic driving experience can only be had in a 1987 Vanagon one pothole away from complete and utter suspension failure. That being said, in my twenties I thought I’d have life mostly figured out by my late-thirties. In my mid-forties, I find myself navigating with less certainty than I ever did.

  43. It is funny how we fall into categories that you said. People who are successful want to show that they made it, so they buy a BMW. It is just a crazy pattern that no matter how hard you try, you are trying to hard if that makes any sense. I know what I am trying to say but I am not sure if it is coming out right. But anyways, live for yourself and if you happen to fall into a stereotype by accident, run with it!

  44. At your age Ramit, you hardly know it all about everyone’s life trajectory. Some of us do indeed live outside of the stereotypes. It is not at all impossible.

    You and your readers seem to be especially fond of what you think you know about women. (I was pretty disappointed with the sexist attitude that came out in your book every so often, too.) Some commenter above implied that every woman, for instance, is going to have kids. Nope! I never wanted ‘em and don’t have them. You really are overgeneralizing here, which you didn’t have to do to make your point.

  45. This is my first comment.

    I can’t believe everyone has focused so much on that BMW line. The first sentence in a article is supposed to grab the reader’s attention (great success).

    I enjoy your articles, your writing style, and your great financial advice. I think trying to plan ahead 10 years is wise financially. Rich people do this and are much more prepared for whatever financial obstacle life throws at them. I’m amazed that so many people have no sense of humor and take everything so personally, but I think the majority of people who actually take away advice from your articles don’t comment (myself included up until this point). I hope you continue writing great financial advice and don’t change your writing style, I enjoy it (I can’t be the only one).

  46. Good advice!! I wish I did take the time to plan better for my financial future… I think it’s never too late, but planning ahead ten years is something that can and should be done no matter where you are in life. Great post!!

  47. Wow, someones taking Ramit’s advice a bit too personally (pun totally intended). The more serious part of this post just addresses disillusioning yourself from thinking that the laws of finances do not apply to you. Statistically, you will never win the lottery. Statistically, women have the biological clock. Statistically, people are influenced by their surroundings. Being the exception to a rule in one category does not automatically exempt you in every category. Chill out. You don’t have to attack every generalization that doesn’t apply to you.

  48. This is not an attack at the post, just a little good-humored insight.

    I completely disagree with the generalization that Asians don’t drive BMWs. The greater Seattle area has a large Asian population and I can tell you that the young Asians love, love, love their BMWs. They also drive like assholes and reverse their cars into parking spots. Otherwise, you hit the nail on the head and I liked this post.

  49. I agree that people who take up two parking spaces and drive arrogantly are a**holes. And, many BMW and Mercedes owners do this, but so do the clowns who have some mundane piece of junk who THINK they have something special. I am an Asian and drive neither one of those two cars. I couldn’t care less for BMW’s and Mercedes. I have a Bentley paid for in cash, not owned by the bank like many Merc and BMW owners.

    Oh, I reverse into spots at times, only because I have an “Elvis 1″ plate on the front. However, I never, never take up more than my rightful spot.

  50. Mommy Reporter (47)–It’s never too late–I agree completely.

    Even if you’re 60 years old, and you think it’s “too late”, with proper planning and the right effort applied, the next 10 years could be the most significant and important of your life.

    Maybe if you’re older you won’t have the time value of money working in your favor, but you can still develop a rewarding career, eliminate debt, and get some money put aside so that life will be easier, if not luxurious.

    Life will never be perfect, but it can always be better and that’s something worth aspiring and working toward.

  51. Graham Stewart Link to this comment

    YEAH, baby! RIGHT ON, R. Stewie.! Looks like Ramit has hit a raw nerve in some people – the truth hurts. So, get over it!

    ***MANY*** (not all) show-off BMW owners who own this wanna-be-luxury-car brand act more arrogantly than Rolls Royce owners! Why? Because they are legends in their own minds! They act and drive like they and their vehicle are special (NOT!). In our city, there are more BMW owners than Toyotas, it seems. Too ordinary!

    Anyway, all these facts are besides the point. The whole point of this blog is regarding one’s financial condition – not the unassailable fact that many BMW owners think they are special!

    I have always spent and saved as if I was in the middle of a recession. As a result, my house and vehicles are all paid for. The only loan I have is my mortgage. I paid cash for the vehicles. I use my credit cards even for items less than a dollar so that the card companies can send me a printout telling me where I spent my money. On the due date, I pay in full. I NEVER leave a balance. So, when the recession hit, I was cruising through it. So, when others are crying the blues, I look at my bank balance and let the world go by. I live like Warren Buffett he drives an average Lincoln.

  52. If you drive a luxury vehicle and you didn’t pay for it in cash, you have successfully placed yourself firmly and directly in the middle of the middle class. Congratulations. You’ve proven that the ability to defer gratification really is the one key to being wealthy. I’ll make sure to give you (and..probably your 4 kids) the standard “boaters wave” from my yacht when I see you gawking at the “rich people” a few years down the road.

  53. I too back into parking spots. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this practice. I consider backing into a known empty parking space to be much easier than backing into an active traffic corridor. I picked it up from my father. We drove a 92 Toyota truck, which is a totally sweet truck. Dad even built this custom bumper deal out of some sort of matte black metal piping some 2 1/2″ in diameter. It was frickin sweet.

    I guess maybe he wanted to show off the bumper. It was pretty cool. Anyway good post.

  54. If you told me twenty years ago that my life would turn out as it has, I would have told you that you were crazy. But your observation is spot on. I’m turning into my parents more every day. I’m going to take your advice, and ask a person who’s 10 years older what they wished they’d saved for. And I’ll funnel this advice to my kids. A great, amusing post.

  55. To much time spent on talking about a BMW which was only to make a point. More time and energy should be spent thinking about putting yourself in a better spot rather than blah blah. It’s quite simple! what you put in is what you get out. The only way to get ahead is to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow. Saving money is a start and working hard and smart. I do not believe that you will know exactly what you will be doing in 10 nor have a exact plan however I know that if I do the right things now at 23 day by day, that is save, pay down house mortgage, grow, learn, educate, keep an open mind, look at always trying to expand my business and continue to look for opportunities, I will definitely be in a better position and pushing forward – that’s what it’s all about – the 5% every day that you put in and save. This will make a better tomorrow – simple as that! In 10 years the vision I have in my head today of where I will be may not be it but I know I will be in a much better spot.

    Get Started today….there are always opportunities and ways of reaching goals for people who want it bad enough. You need to want it.

  56. Mr. Fight Greed Link to this comment

    Two ways I will resolve the issues at hand.
    1. I will be following all the financial rules (I already am ahead of the game) as prescribed by the experts. It is not at all difficult to become rich enough to pay for a REAL luxury car. Not a pretender.
    2. Some of those (BMW drivers included) who will act pompous and think they own the road or the parking space will find their vehicles keyed or tooth picks broken in the door locks – I have made sure of that numerous times. Sure, they have power door lock nowadays, but the point will have been proven. You will pay for being an a**hole. Make no mistake about it!

  57. One thing that has yet to be mentioned is that even if something doesn’t happen, you have saved money. Meaning, I am 25, I do not like kids and I don’t want any. I could argue to death that Rammit is wrong, but instead, I am saving up money for kids. Why? Because, I may not want kids now, but in 10 years I may change my mind. If in 10 years I still don’t want children, then I will have X dollars saved. I can now use that money for what ever I want.

    Same for a wedding. If one saves up $28,000 for a wedding and only spends $7,000, then they still win.

  58. @gimena: Good point. But kids cost a lot more than you could save for, you’ll need an income. You can’t say for sure that you’re not going to get more kids than you planned (e.g. twins).

    Saving ahead for kids is a not a bad idea unless you’re relying on your savings to afford them. I’d also rather teach them to save for themselves rather than use my savings! Not talking about nappies of course, but their first car, or degree…

  59. There’s a lot of good stuff in Ramit’s post, but the BMW corner is getting most of the attention in the comments.

    Is it that we’re more passionate (and more likely to express an opinion) about things we don’t like than about things we do like???

  60. My favorite delusional commenters are definitely on the wedding post. I especially love the people who claim to do super awesome-but-frugal weddings (aka 200 people for 3K) by getting all their friends and family to “donate” stuff to your cause. That’s not frugal; that’s being an asshole taking advantage of the people who are your friends. Trust me — your grandma doesn’t want to spend your wedding day preparing food for your 200 friends when all of her family is gathered in one place.

    Speaking of assholes, um, #57, a person who keys other people’s cars and sticks toothpicks in locks because he thinks the driver of said car is an asshole… is also an asshole.

    Speaking of weddings, I am totally available for marriage to snarky Indian finance bloggers.

  61. Sara (61)–According to people I know over the age of 70, that frugal wedding you’re describing, complete with donated stuff from family and friends was pretty normal not too long ago! They were called house weddings or backyard weddings.

    We’ve gotten a bit over-indulgent with the Roman feasts that pass for weddings today. If that’s a preference, fine, but there are less extravagent ways to do it. And it might not even ruin the marriage ;-)

  62. [...] Will Teach You to Be Rich – Ramit had a provocative post asking why delusional people think their spending will be different from other folks.   My short answer: because they’re, well, delusional!  Am I right?  But [...]

  63. Kevin (62) — True, but I’m not talking really about the small, backyard weddings of yesteryear. Not many people have those these days, even those people who get all their friends and family to “help out.”

  64. I almost laughed out loud with your last sentence. This post really hits home. And I tend to agree that people become more conservative in their investments as they grow older.. they have responsibilities after all.

  65. I read a handful comments saying that young people are full of misguided optimism about how their financial future will be different from their parents’. It’s true, that many will follow that path, but I’m 20, in college, and seeing that all that I’ve learned about money and finance I learned from my parents, who are still living paycheck to paycheck in their mid-50s. Fortunately for me, I’ve REALIZED that I will follow in their footsteps unless I start taking my financial future into my own hands. My dad recommended that I open an IRA as soon as I am able to. I hope to do this (after I pay off my credit card debt) by the end of next year. I also bought Ramit’s book as a starting point to learn about my options and will probably buy many more in the next few years. My point is, it’s very possible for young people to consciously make different financial decisions than their parents did. So yes, I am optimistic. Yes, I am young. Yes, I will screw up a lot over the next 20, 30, 50 years. The major difference is that I’m learning early, and like Ramit says, I can start to save for the unexpected (or expected) now, rather than later.

  66. @ Liz

    “it’s very possible for young people to consciously make different financial decisions than their parents did.”

    Couldn’t agree with your more on that point. One of the things that irks me the most about most financial discussions is the probability that someone will play the “it’s not my fault – it’s my ‘s fault. I love your point though that no matter who you are and what your background or upbringing is – one can always take responsibility for their own actions and work to affect the change that they want (wow, that really sounded like it might digress into a really corny motivational speech for a second there so I will just stop typing … immediately) :)

  67. Ok, it looks like I am not allowed to put brackets into comments so what is missing from the above comment is:

    “it’s not my fault – it’s my (parents/dog/whatever) ’s fault.”

  68. [...] Will Teach You to Be Rich – Ramit had a provocative post asking why delusional people think their spending will be different from other folks.  Isn’t that kind of obvious?  They’re [...]

  69. [...] Why do delusional people think their spending will be different than other people’s? [...]