Ya’ll, let me tell you something. I used to be BAD with money.

In my teens, as soon as I got a little pocket change, I would spend it right then and there.

Now that I think about it, I was bad around 16. When I was 14-15, I was actually pretty good with it. I wanted a Playstation 1 and Game Boy Advance so I mowed a LOT of yards just to get them. After weeks of work, I finally got them.

From 16 until around 22, I often spent money on things I wanted and begged for it when I needed it. During college, I was somewhat responsible but my mindset still wasn’t the best.

During that time, video games and Japanamation were my main things. I would buy games and hit up conventions often after a hard month’s work.

Nowadays, I spend my money on books and ways to build myself and my brand.

How did I get from being irresponsible to responsible?

I learned the hard way.

I wasn’t some kid that was in the ghetto. I was a kid that had great breaks. I took those breaks for granted and it took me six years to get through college because of it.

Being broke after losing my job was a wake up call. Another wake up call came from west Texas. Eight months of living off of three jobs and barely having enough to pay rent, car note, student loans and other necessities is something i’ll never go through again. This is what I mean.

My mistakes, my mom, and what i’ve learned through more responsible adults is why I am better with my money.

But you want to learn how to save money, right?

Before you buy something you really want, ask yourself this question: Do you need it?

Is what you’re about to buy so crucial to your life that you have to have it?

If the answer is no, don’t buy it.

If it’s yes, buy it.

I never had the fortune to ask myself these questions in my early 20s. If I had the mindset to be a builder instead of a consumer, i’d be rich right now.

People say money can’t buy you happiness. I disagree. Having a lot of it increased my mood. Having it has kept me alive. Having it allows me to take care of my needs. If you say “money can’t buy happiness”, I dare you to say that to the homeless. I dare you to say that to a starving child on the street. I’m not the only one to think this way.

Being in Korea the first time was also a major help. My first job underpaid and overworked me so I said “screw this” and left. I was literally hungry for two weeks before I made the decision to never take things for granted and learned how to save in case a school tried to cheat me again.

On that note, Koreans and Americans are probably some of the biggest status slaves i’ve seen.

Most young Koreans believe if someone has a high status if they have a certain brand on them.

Case in point: During the winter, I wore my Kangol hat once and my students started showing me a little more respect. Not because I was a good teacher, no. It was because I had a brand that holds high status. I stopped wearing that hat afterwards (it doesn’t do a good job of protecting the ears anyway).

One more example here: In Gangnam, Seoul, status is KING. People in that neighborhood act as though they have a lot of money when in truth, they really don’t. The purpose of the song Gangnam Style was to call out people like that but like everything else, it went over their heads.

Anyway, in Gangnam, there’s a night club for the wealthy. If a man wants to spend time with a woman, he has to have “the look”. Koreans and foreigners go to this place and depending on their “status”, they might take a lady or five home with them. Foreigners get the luck of the draw because they’re just that: foreign. If they place high class car keys on the table (BMW, Mercedes, etc.), more women will be drawn to that person.

Being liked is cool and having money is great. Having those things don’t make you any better than anyone else. Sadly, people seem to think otherwise.

I thought I could gain status by leeching off of others. That backfired in a number of ways.

The Koreans I do know that have gone against the grain of status seeking are probably some of the most successful people I know. One lady I know works for a start up that’s gaining ground. While working for someone, she’s also building capital and status amongst herself.

Go out and start your week by seeking status amongst yourself. You can do pretty much anything if you put your mind to it.

Peace and love!
Shaun