Living Rich: PS’s Story

On the subject of how much of your income you can realistically save, PS writes, “It’’s not very hard to make $100,000 and save $50,000 a year. I’’ve been saving half of my income above $50,000 and it’’s really easy. This year, I’’ll make around $75,000 and I’’ve saved over $30,000. It doesn’’t require any sacrifices on my part at all. I live in the best building in Miami. I wear nice clothes. I go out all the time and buy the best steaks at the grocery store when I don’’t go out.

And I’’m not like your friends who do everything themselves to save money. I don’’t do yard work. I don’’t fix my own car. “The difference is, I don’’t believe that having things makes me a better person. On the other hand, I’’ve found that having the security of cash in the bank allows me to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, and that’’s much more valuable to me than any amount of cars, furniture, vacations. “For me, I’’ve found that the people I’’m with determine my happiness much more than where I am.

In other words, being on a luxury cruise by myself isn’’t nearly as much fun as playing basketball on a public court with five of my friends. I know this to be true for me from experience. “I consider it to be one of the real advantages of making some money early in my life that I’’ve realized this truth: It’’s the simple pleasures that matter and you can’’t buy them. You can only lose the ability to enjoy them by stressing about money. That’’s why I won’’t send my kids to private school or buy an expensive house and new furniture.”

PS does acknowledge that it’s “easy” for him to say so now. He’’s young and he’’s single. I’’ve been both, with and without money, and I’’ve noticed that when I’’m married, I want a big house and nice cars and the rest of the stuff that makes you feel like a successful man in your community. But when I’’m single, all I need is a one-room apartment above a good bar with a table for writing, a comfortable bed and an incandescent bulb with a chain pull. It will be interesting to see what happens to PS in a few years when he gets married.

Meanwhile, he’’s doing all the right things. He’’s making a good income. He’’s saving a big share of it by sharing an apartment, eschewing status spending, buying fewer but better quality things, and recognizing that his happiest moments are not dependent on spending at all, but on sharing. Most importantly, he’’s figured out that…