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Financial Jiu Jitsu will teach you how to gain leverage in the real world, step by step, until you are confident you no longer need more.

The Deep Cut of the Scarcity Mentality

The Deep Cut of the Scarcity Mentality

There are two likely paths for people that win the lottery - The First: they allow the money to consume them - they lose their friends, family, general sense of well being, and it typically devolves into a deep depression not uncommonly resulting in suicide - despite the circumstances that got them there being something that most people in the world would agree is pretty kickass: Winning a boatload of money and never having to work again.  The Second path is those that are seen from the outside as "abusing" the winnings - in the sense that they don't live lavish lives, buy expensive things, or adopt expensive habits.  Some of them even continue working, and these people are the ones that us FJJers should model ourselves after.  The idea of "The Millionaire Next Door" never rings truer than that of the aforementioned lottery winner - if they aren't publicized by the state or national lottery (I believe you can elect to have your identity kept confidential when you win large sums of money) then they become the ultimate practicers of stealth wealth.

No more suit and tie for this guy!

No more suit and tie for this guy!

Practicing stealth wealth takes discipline only if you have become used to living frivolously and need to make a behavioral change and rewrite habits - which is one of the hardest things to do. Or if you don't have the intelligence or foresight to realize that all bank account eventually reach zero. But when you're lower or middle class, grinding your way to early retirement, all you have to do is continue living like you're poor until you're rich enough to stop working in order to achieve true financial independence.  Lottery winnings or not, this grinding is what it takes in your 20s and 30s if you don't want to work forever.

The other option is that you're cornered into it by legitimately taking a pay cut, or a job/ career change where you get a lot less money, and now you have to live in a way that is vastly simplified and reduced compared to what you were doing before.  I'm sure new parents experience this - whether they were planning the child or not.  Making sure a child is well cared for can take a significant chunk out of anyone's income, regardless of all but the super rich.

Is it a millionaire or a poverty stricken college student?  Hard to tell under all that rust.

Is it a millionaire or a poverty stricken college student?  Hard to tell under all that rust.

Now suppose you got a pay bump or job change after 6 months and you're finally back at "ground zero."  Do you go back to your old habits and continue on your merry way?  You just as well could - but the better idea is to treat your finances as though they stay the same and come up with a plan to save, invest, or otherwise find a productive use for the extra income that doesn't involve luxuries that are sure to be short lived and hardly worth working an extra 20 years for.  Having been in a situation like this recently, I can say that the mentality of not having much money cuts deep.  Once I was back on a regular income that I had become used to over the last 5 years, I continued with habits that I developed while I was not making so much money.

This has resulted in my bank account being largely kept at a standstill after each paycheck instead of whittling down to near breakeven levels after just a couple weeks.  Apart from the basic necessities, I don't spend much money anymore.  Rent, utilities and food are about all I spend my money on.  Going out to dinner is a rarity, and getting more than one drink with said dinner is rarer still.

If I am not conscious of this change, then the scarcity habits will slowly heal over with more frivolous spending.  But since I am conscious of it, I can continue to go further down the rabbit hole and treat it as though I received yet another pay cut.  Once you get to the point where you can easily pretend that you're making zero income from your job, then guess what?  You've found yourself financially independent under your circumstances.  That might mean a flip phone, living in a garage (or a cardboard box), biking everywhere, and eating things from the dumpster, but I'm starting to lean that way as preferable to the alarm blaring at 6AM for THE REST OF MY LIFE.

You can't take it with you.

You can't take it with you.

Calculate Your Bare Minimum Expenditures

Calculate Your Bare Minimum Expenditures

Why would I fix a 30$ Bluetooth Boombox?

Why would I fix a 30$ Bluetooth Boombox?