Ben Stein has a book called How to Ruin Your Finances. To be honest, I'm not sure an entire book is needed on the subject-there are some fairly quick and easy ways to accomplish the task. (Before continuing, let me be clear that I do not actually recommend such activities-This is a reductio absurdum argument, meant to spur an opposing realization.)
#1: Buy everything, yes, everything
You never know when a neighbor may come over to use your dish towels, so make sure they are Ralph Lauren, less than six months old, and all the same color. While you're at it, buy things that you don't need now, but may need in the future, such as eleven new sweaters, a top-of-the-line treadmill, and some bestselling novels (just in case you ever read the 38 already on your bookshelf).
#2: Charge all purchases
That way you can itemize all your spending, which is sort of like budgeting. When the bill comes each month, be consistent-pay only the minimum. If there's anything left at the end of the month, see #1.
#3: Don't be concerned about retirement
That's what Social Security is for! Our country is run by intelligent economists, and they'll make certain there's enough for you in 25 years.
#4: Buy a $4 million home, with 1% down, and a 30-year mortgage
Then, spend your entire working life paying it off. Don't worry if you haven't invested in anything else-you can sell the home when you reach 65, rapidly adjust your lifestyle to match your new one-bedroom condo, and live off the difference.
#5: Start being frugal 'tomorrow'
Please, finish your $7 mocha latte and go about your day. After all, this article was obviously written for the other guy!
? 2005 Matthew S. Clement, All rights reserved
Matthew S. Clement is a financial planner and investment advisor representative with Financial Network Investment Corporation, member SIPC. He provides holistic wealth management and retirement planning to individuals and businesses. He can be reached in New York at (845) 942-8578, or by email: ClementM@FinancialNetwork.com