As a middle and high schooler, I had to have name brand everything! Tommy Hillfiger, Nautica, Eddie Bauer, Guess, you name it, and I had to have it! It wasn’t just good enough forme to know the brand, but I had to have it plastered across my chest or pants for you to know too. I can remember being in 6th grade and feeling so tight because I begged my mom to buy me Reebok Pumps when they first came out and she actually bought them. I was the first one in the school to have them and as I walked through P.E. class, all of the kids would stop me and ask to pump up my shoe. Looking back now, my mom was a single mom of 3, working, but receiving food stamps and probably spent a significant amount of her monthly income on those stupid shoes.
When my mom wasn’t compliant I would wear my 6’2” uncle’s oversized designer shirts and jackets just to be in a name brand. Can you imagine the foolishness? And if I couldn’t get the “real” thing, I had no problem going to the Garment District in L. A. and copping a knock off and letting you think it was the real thing. It seems so silly now to go through such great extents to look like money, but at the time, the validation it provided made others envious and made me feel poppin’.
The flip side is that my mom, struggling to make ends meet, drove a 1976 Mercury Cougar that was not only big and ridiculous, but big bird yellow at that! So, no matter what I wore, I still felt a sense of embarrassment every time my mom would pull up. The funny thing is that she only paid $200 more than my Reeboks for that car.
Thank God for growth. As I’ve gotten older, although I still love luxuries and nice things, I’ve learned that it’s actually more important to have some money than to look like you do. I’ve noticed that a large majority of the people flexin’ (or free-styling as my mom calls it) for the ‘gram, own more in bags and shoes than they do any asset or actual cash. I’m often reminded of one of my mentors who cannot fathom the thought of buying his clothes from anywhere other than Walmart, yet he’s a mulit-millionaire several times over. I think of my clients who are high income earners but have iPhone 4s and use Metro PCS as their phone provider. And I wonder, does it really matter at the end of day?
To each his or her own of course. Financial balance is the key. I want you to have both: money growing and the luxuries you desire. I know there are smarter ways to get you there than using debt and cashing out with your entire paycheck. If you’re curious just how I can help, let’s talk about it!