Over a half century, we have all become a credit driven society. For example, we create mortgages in order to leverage our way to wealth.
I have nothing against debt financing. I do it. I have benefitted from it.
But, an almost lost art is the honest build up of cash one dollar at a time. Cash in your pocket – greenbacks – is the real wealth. We have forgotten the power of cash on hand.
When I was an advisor to the American Red Cross in Washington D.C., I was surprised to find out during the San Francisco Earthquake of 1989 that victims of the quake did not want the food provided by the Red Cross. Instead, they wanted money so they could go out and buy the food they liked. What lesson did the ARC learn? Have more cash on hand.
Likewise, in 1992, I asked one of the top officials of the Mormon Church what was their contingency plan in case of dire emergency. His answer was simple. Have enough cash.
In the end, cash is king.
With that as my main assumption, the following are ways to build up a little more cash.
1. Save a penny, save a dime, save a little something every time.
Kind of simplistic, but true. it’s not the amount of cash saved that’s critical, it’s the habit of saving that determines the ultimate wealth of an individual. I have an eleven year old grandson, who has been saving a portion of money given to him over the years. He took me to the place in his closet where he keeps it. It’s a great big fat wad of cash. That’s not all he has. He told me one third of his money is in the bank. “I spend”, he says, “ but never the full amount. And the other part is in the bank, I don’t touch it”.
This kid loves cash.
For those who are into cash, save a little something every time you receive cash. You’ll always have cash. And over time, you’ll have more and more cash. Cash begets cash.
2. Make sure, really sure, you’re living beneath your peers.
When we first got married, my wife and I went apartment shopping. We came across one little apartment that cost $50 a month. It was VERY modest. I wanted something more upscale, like what some of the young marrieds we knew had. My wife’s response: “I couldn’t care less what the other couples have.”
Then about twenty five years into our marriage, we had the chance to be missionaries for our church in South America. But, at the time, we needed approximately four years worth of cash to live on. No problem, my wife had stored away enough cash to live during that time and beyond.
Live below your peers, save cash instead, and do things you never dreamt you could do without a salary coming in.
3. Owning cash vs owning a home.
If there’s no cheap home, buy a cheap condo, ifs there’s no cheap condo, keep your money and put it in the bank. There’s no better feeling than money in the bank. If a home is overpriced, don’t be tempted to buy it. Fact: almost all homes are overpriced.
What’s better? Owning an overpriced home or owning cash? Cash is king even when it comes to buying a home. Owning a home makes you beholden to a monthly mortgage. Owning cash gives you peace of mind.
4. When a spouse becomes a liability:
If your spouse is getting frustrated with you because you’re a miser, spend a little on them, but not too much. If they continue to complain, conclude your spouse is more oa liability than an asset.
5. Debt is no substitute for cash.
I have a lawyer friend who always carries a wad of rolled up cash in his pocket. It looks like he’s a gangsta. He even pays for his meals with cash. Why carry so much cash I asked? “I’m never in debt,? he said, “even Steven.”
That’s like my wife. She likes to have cash on her at all times. Her reasoning, “You’re independent with cash.”
Cash in hand is the ultimate existential joy. Property, stocks, bonds, businesses are all values out there some place. Cash, on the the other hand, is right there on your person. At each moment of your life, you’re only as rich as the cash you have on your person.