Why You WILL Buy Lots of Silly Toys
I define your Freedom Figure as the amount of money you need ‘in the bank’ before you can stop working. The amount is equal to a living gross salary (for you) multiplied by 20. So if you can live on 50k, you’d need one million in the bank in order never to have to work again. You would, in fact, be a millionaire – just! You are now a free woman or man. But, of course, you are a long, long way from being rich.
And you thought being a millionaire was rich? Far from it! In 1900, maybe! But in 2012, a million allows you can live in a modest house, run a modest car, eat out in a cheap restaurant once a fortnight, but some cheap new clothes now and then and perhaps have a cheap package holiday once a year. That doesn’t sound rich to me! So having earned your ‘Freedom Figure’ do you need more money? If so, what do you need it for?
In the many consultations I’ve done with people, I have come to a firm opinion that it’s impossible for most people to see beyond the ‘silly toy’ phase and so I don’t try to fight it. Because most people have never had more than twenty quid spare, as soon as they get a sniff of real money they go crazy for toys.
What do I mean by toys? All the consumer trash people associate with ‘being rich’ – silly ‘designer’ jewellery and clothes; expensive baubles and trinkets; flashy cars; ridiculously extravagant exotic holidays and so on. They’ve been force-fed this image since they were born and so you can’t really blame them. All lottery winners go through this phase – I’ve honestly never heard of one who didn’t. They buy a mansion, six cars, a boat, a helicopter, Gucci watches and swill champagne instead of lager.
After a year or two of this, they stare balefully across the thirty foot dining table at each other – and wonder what the heck they’re doing. It is most unlikely that you will be able to avoid this ‘silly toy’ phase – consider yourself a very wise person if you can. For the record, I went through it too – the Porsche, 7 BMWs, 3 Mercs, the helicopter flights, the mansion etc. So since we can’t beat it, you need to calculate the next slug of money you’ll need in order to buy some toys. I reckon that’s about a million as well, unless you’re being really silly. A million will get you a fantastic house and a wonderful car or two, a full wardrobe even a modest boat. Okay, for you it might be 1.5 million or even 2 million. But please do this exercise and write down all the silly toys you want on a sheet of paper and tot them up.
Done that? So – you’ve got your Freedom Figure (it’s usually about one million for most people); and you’ve got your silly toy money (again that’s usually about a million) so you need about two million, right? Maybe three? Don’t you think it’s very useful to have these figures written down, and not just as abstract concepts like ‘loads of money’?