Brutal Honesty: A Millionaire Trait

Family massage in Bed Bath and Beyond.  We are Trashy that way!

As a small child we have no filter, and we don’t know how to lie very well.  We can be covered in chocolate, and when asked, “Who ate all the chocolate.”  We reply, “I don’t know,” or “It was my sister.”  I have also had to explain countless times to my children over the years, why you can’t point at a very large person in public and say, “Daddy, Look a fat person!”  Even though people point at me in public and say, “Damn, you big!  How tall you be,” in front of my children (This happens monthly for me, I’m not kidding).  We also must always tell our wives they look good or beautiful, even when they are looking very homely and at times scary.  White lies just keep the peace and honesty is not the best policy if it starts a war at home.

However, being brutally honest with your finances is a great trait to have to become a millionaire.  I have tried to help people with their over spending in the past, and they explain how shopping for an over priced watch or leasing a foreign car is absolutely necessary for their job.  They have present wealth and success to their clients.  I explained, “Why don’t you become wealthy and successful instead of present it to your clients.”  They see this as me being rude, but it is a truth they need to hear.  They will stay poor because they are lying to themselves and their clients about their wealth and status.  These people even believe their lie and portrayal of wealth over time, and think because they lease a nice car and have a huge mortgage, that they are in fact wealthy.  But, we all know their net worth is near zero, or maybe in the negatives, because of student loans or credit card bills.  They own nothing, and the lies they tell themselves keep them poor, stressed, and struggling.

Wealthy people are brutally honest with their money.  They look at their bills and think, “Is this necessary? or Why is this bill so high!”  Then, they make the hard, uncomfortable decisions to save their money, and adjust their spending habits.  They step outside of their pride and ego and say, “Damn, I’m a broke loser with no money.  How am I ever going to reach my goals in life living like a giant child.  I have to change today, and I don’t care about what others think.”  Brutal honesty with yourself can allow you to wake up and make grown up financial decisions.

Also, being brutally honest can force you to action faster. The brutality of it will shock your system into doing something.  I was recently looking at my accounts, and I set aside $400 a month for me to use for hobbies, personal growth, books, or to invest and learn with.  Recently, I noticed that the money was not being spent right (eating out, buying stupid little toys, weekend travel) so, I stopped giving myself $400 a month, and now I get $100 a month.  $300 goes into my 403b automatically deducted from my paycheck each month, so I can’t touch it without a lot of paperwork and hassle.  I had to say to myself, “You idiot, you’re wasting $400 a month on stupid crap.  Grow up and be a man with your money!”  I made the changes that same day without hesitation.  My brutal honesty with myself will save me thousands of dollars a year now.  My wife recently, had a moment, and is deciding to max out her Roth IRA (up from $50 a month before), so we are saving an extra $700 a month from sitting down and looking at our number and spending habits together, and being brutally honest caused us to act quickly that very day on making the changes.

We also, got into a bad habit of traveling too much.  So, we sat down and examined our overall financial goals and our life experience goals.  We decided that we need to lower our traveling in half, even though we both feel strongly that we still need to travel.  So, in 2018 we are going to the Bahamas for our 15 anniversary, and our family will go to Hermosa Beach, California this summer for a beach volleyball tournament, that my daughter qualified to play in.  That is it for 2018 travel.  We use to go on 4-5 bigger trips a year, and our spending was out of control on little weekend trips.  We may have been going on close to 10 trips total a year ($10,000 a year).  We had to tell ourselves, “Moron, cut that in half and save $5,000 a year instead, to reach your financial goals.”  The irony was that once we decided to cut trips, I got an email about $299 round trip airfare to Iceland!!  I had to be a big boy and say, “Maybe in 2019, if I find a good deal.”

Brutal honesty is a rude thing to those who don’t understand it, but it is a wealthy trait, we should all strive to have more of.  If you have it, then the evil forces of the “Jones'” won’t creep in and delude your financial independence dreams.  You shouldn’t care about your appearance of wealth to others, and if you do then you have to be brutally honest with yourself to find out what is wrong with you.  That is not normal behavior to try to impress people with expensive stuff.  I’m more impressed with a mini van still going strong at 300,000 miles, than your new SUV with wifi.  Maybe you just need new friends?  So, be brutally honest with yourself today.  Make changes today, to save you from a hard life tomorrow.  Become a Millionaire through brutal honesty.



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  1. This post reminded me of the shock I felt examining my cable and internet bill back in 2009. It was $131 a month for zillions of channels I never watched plus spotty internet service. I also got an infinite supply of TV ads to waste my time. I remember thinking “I’m paying $1,572 a year for this?” That caused me to drop cable and severely downgrade my internet speed. I”m so much happier these days when I pay cable-internet-phone bill because we’ve whittled it down to almost nothing.

    Since 2009 we have gotten brutally honest about all of our ongoing payments. We’ve right-sized our home and learned to live on less. The funny thing is that it doesn’t fell like a sacrifice anymore. I’m so glad we improved our finances by minimizing our bills. Great post Josh…Happy Easter! Ed


  2. I have one friend I used to run with, endurance running. He is a real legitimate billionaire. As in 10 figure net worth. He always saw through my shenanigans and called me on my behavior if I was not being real. I know that isn’t what your post was about but I do think wealthy friends are more honest than regular people. They don’t need your approval.


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