People often use the phrase “If I could just make enough money life would be better”. It’s a myth for most of us other than those who spend every penny on food and rent to survive. Why? Because this is a money attitude, not a money fact. And money attitudes stay with us until we experience a life-changing event that changes our perspective, or we deliberately work on changing that belief. Andrew Caspersen, Wall Street millionaire demonstrates the point.
The Millionaire Who Doesn’t Have Enough
Most of us are capable of saving within whatever income we make. But it’s natural to subconsciously slip into a deeper spending pattern when we feel wealthier, unless we give ourselves a disciplined structure. Let’s look at Andrew Caspersen, a 39-year old Wall Street Executive. His father paid for his Harvard Law School degree and was worth millions. Andrew, successful in his own right, was recently charged, according to the WSJ article Wall Street Scion Charged… March 28 2016 with “…securities and wire fraud in what they called a “brazen” scheme to defraud investors …— of up to $95 million.”
Money Behavior – Like Father Like Son
Andrew’s father Finn Caspersen was being investigated for hiding millions in a tax shelter before he took his own life in 2009. This was a man who donated $30 million to Harvard. Did he really need to shelter money so he could put a meal on the table and have a warm bed? Not likely. And yet, it seems he just didn’t have…enough money.
Fast forward to his son Andrew. Andrew is being charged with stealing from investors. As mentioned above, he seems to be wealthy in his own right, just like his father. And yet whatever wealth he has is clearly not enough. Whether he is accumulating money, or spending it all, the money belief has not changed with his wealth. He just needed…more money.
Rule of Thumb Formula
Most of us aren’t worth $30 million or more. But the point is the same. Do we really need more money to change our money behaviors, or do we just choose not to change at all? When does “enough” occur? Will we have enough next year or will we increase our spending to match the increase in wealth?
I developed a rule of thumb formula for myself early in life. I used the same formula for 30 years beginning with my first job out of college:
- Save 50% of my raise for the future, spend 50% today.
- Save 90% of any bonus and spend 10% on traveling – my passion
- Maximize my 401(k) every year
- Pay down my credit cards every month
- Pay all of my bills on time
- Pay down debt on schedule or earlier
I never waited to have “enough”. And it works.
Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. Behavioral Cents, LLC and any third parties listed, linked to or otherwise appearing in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies.
Carrie Rattle is Founder of BehavioralCents.com and a veteran executive of financial services. She works with women to build money confidence and change their money behaviors for the better – without deprivation. Instead of simply telling women what to do, she helps them fight the tide of daily temptation to reach their dreams. Women gain control and feel comfortable making their own wise money decisions. Thoughts always welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org.