If You’re Denying Yourself ‘Nice Things’ in the Name of Frugality, You’re Doing It Wrong

If You’re Denying Yourself ‘Nice Things’ in the Name of Frugality, You’re Doing It Wrong

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Ben Leybovich Read More

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This is the third article in a series discussing my version of luxury house hacking, which I believe is the premier opportunity for the vast majority of folks today. You can find the other two articles here and here.

If you look, there are so many comments between the two previous editions. I guess you might say I struck a nerve. However, a few comments expressed a perspective that I ask too many questions and provide too few answers. Let me address this very briefly.

My job is not to put a fish in your mouth, Mr. Millennial. That’s your mother’s job. My job is to teach you to think! If you want answers, there are plenty of articles to choose from on BiggerPockets. If you want to believe that wholesaling is the answer to everything, there are plenty of articles to affirm your belief. If you want to believe that rentals are better than shares, there are plenty of articles on that, too.

I happen to have wholesaled. I own rentals. I do Airbnb. I own stocks. I make money online. I’ve had a real estate license. Why? Because markets work in cycles, and to make money, we fill voids. Unequivocally believing that this strategy or the other is forever the one and only answer to everything is just stupid.

Related: A Case Against Frugality: Why Pinching Pennies is NOT the Best Path to Wealth

I’ve set a very high bar for myself—I want to teach you creative thought. I want you to know who you are so as to be able to analyze all available opportunities and not take anyone’s answer for granted.

Today, I want to share with you a perspective on life that directly applies to house hacking in general—and specifically to my brand of luxury house hacking. To start, I need you to accept that everything we do in life is to facilitate some desired end. This desired end, in turn, is very much a function of your perspective on life. To understand what I preach relative to luxury house hacking, I need you to internalize where I am coming from and where I am going in my approach to life, at least to some extent. This is what determines my desired end, which, of course, tees up my methods.


Is It Wrong to Want Nice Things?

Well, it depends on who you ask. We won’t name any names, but according to some, you should just tighten your belt and shut up. I have a different perspective.

Listen, I am a 42-year-old male with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. I’ve experienced my arm just stop working—just like that. If my tomorrow doesn’t happen today, who the hell knows if it’ll ever happen?!

You think you’re so different? You think you have all of the answers? You think you are invincible? You think you’ve got time?

You Can Have It NOW, But…

That quintessential scene from The Christmas Story in which Ralphie walks by that storefront, sees that BB gun, and fantasizes himself in possession of it (which, by the way, is a lesson on the law of attraction in and of itself)—this scene explains a truth about the human condition. To deny it would be futile. All of us want more. You can run and try to hide behind that tightened belt, but who are you really fooling?

Related: Most Americans Overspend & Fail at Frugality… But It’s Not Why You Think

Let’s say you agree with me. You want stuff. What’s the next step?

Well, most of you will ask, “How do I pay for it?”

How Do I Pay for It?

How do you pay for it?

You can’t, can you?

Oh, well. You stop there.

It’s like that infamous story about digging for gold and stopping one foot short.

Do you know that you are only a slight shift in your thinking away from hitting the truth? Just one intellectual click.

Paradigm Shift: You Are Asking the Wrong Question

Be honest—when you think about making money, it is totally separate from the things you want to buy with that money, right? In other words, here’s the thing you want, and there’s the money that’ll pay for it. Right hand, left hand—a world apart.

But what would happen if you synergized the two? Instead of asking, how do I pay for this thing I want, ask, how can this thing that I want pay for itself? Understand, you can have anything you want as long as it makes enough money!

In other words, make the thing that you want become its own revenue stream, and then you can have it.


You Can Have Anything You Want, as Long as It Makes Money

I wanted to teach kids to play music. I built a music school so that I could afford to do it.

I wanted to talk about real estate all day. I built a website. I sell a course. Now I don’t have to feel bad spending time talking about real estate investing.

I wanted to buy a nice house. I wasn’t OK with a duplex, so I found another way. A better way. But, at the end—I am house hacking.

Each one of these line items today represents a revenue stream, but they didn’t begin that way. Each started out as something I wanted, but I didn’t feel I had a right to pursue it unless I was able to make money with it. If I were independently wealthy, I’d do these things for free because I wanted to. Such as it is, I get paid.

The Luxury House Hacking Perspective

This very nice house is in my life because it has capacity to make money, while not requiring any compromises or compression of lifestyle. The “luxury piece” is less about the technique and more about not giving up on the vision of how I want my family to live. It’s about not giving in to tradition.

Speaking of tradition, I had a college professor. He was an old Jewish man who’d survived the concentration camps. He was a composer. One of his most memorable quotes was, “Tradition is laziness.”

Don’t give up on your vision of how you want things,. Let everyone else zig—they are good at it. You’ll become good at zagging.

And now, if you can believe it, I am going to leave you hanging again—for the third time!

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