The Art of ‘Classy’

Finance Sarah's Thoughts

I have a friend with over $200,000 worth of debt.
He didn’t go to college, start up a business, or have any medical issues.
He just wanted to “do things right”.

He bought a beautiful, move in ready home for himself, his wife, and his children. It’s packed with the latest appliances, home trends, and luxury furniture.
He bought his wife a gorgeous $50,000 brand new SUV.
He bought himself adult loaded $30,000 brand new pickup truck.
He and his family wear the latest name brand clothes, replacing them frequently.
He always has the latest smartphone and accessories, his children go to private schools, and eat organic store bought foods.
He and his family take extravagant vacations annually. His vacations usually consist of expensive theme parks, luxury hotels, and catered experiences. The travel photos are usually centered around his family’s posed smiles.
He loves to flash his soon-to-be-spent money.

He struggles to pay the bills, and he feels like he’s drowning in his debt. He feels that the only way to have any sort of dignity, is to continue his spending habits, pretending that money is no object. He’s always on the lookout for the latest trends, keeping the most updated iPhone, wearing the latest clothing styles, and keeping up with new trends in hobbies. He looks to others to learn what is currently cool, and he always works to keep up. He feels that this is the only way to gain approval, and to feel powerful as a man, husband, father, and friend.

Despite his efforts, he is not the classiest person I know.

The classiest person I know, drives a well maintained, mostly rust free vehicle with over 300,000 miles on it.
His house is small, but simply beautiful. It is lightly decorated with family photos, secondhand furniture, and modest appliances. The home isn’t always spotless, but it’s clutter free.
He and his family’s clothes are plain and ‘logoless’, but clean. They aren’t replaced until they are worn out, or outgrown.
He has an older smartphone, his children attend public school, and his wife has a garden that she tends to.
His family also takes annual vacations, but in an old RV, visiting state parks. His family’s vacation photos tend to be of the scenery and their experiences.
He never breathes a word of his money to anyone.

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Attitude makes the difference in these Men

When the first man gets out of his truck, he looks at the crowd surrounding him, his truck, and then the crowd again. His first instinct is to always check others’ reactions to him and what he has. He loves to repeat the phrase “what do you think?”. For him, everything is a competition, and he needs to be the winner.

When the second man gets out of his vehicle, he looks immediately to the crowd and starts walking. He never second guesses his choice in style, and he never asks others for their opinions on what he has. He is content with himself, and his choices. He loves to repeat the phrase “how are you today?”. He is happy to see others do well, and he doesn’t mind if what they have is newer, shinier, or faster than what he has, because he steadfastly content.

You don’t need new, shiny, or trendy to be Classy

Your class, your respect, and your aura are determined by how you feel about yourself, and how you act around others. Class directly correlates with your personality- not what you have.

People will talk about you (and what you do or don’t have) regardless of what you do or buy. Instead of trying to impress the by-standing peanut gallery, just be who you want to be. If that means living in a high end home, go for it. If that means living in a van and traveling full time, go for it. Just be confident in your decisions, and find that right balance of proud, yet humble.

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Don’t get yourself into a heaping mess of debt, stress, and regrets to please others. There are better options, and I can promise you that.