How Often Should A 1 Year Old Dog Go Out The Latte’ Factor – Never Too Late to Learn to Save (Even With Pocket Change)

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The Latte’ Factor – Never Too Late to Learn to Save (Even With Pocket Change)

In my early adulthood, when I could finally afford at least a few things I wanted and/or needed, I became a big fan of frivolous spending. I needed the new issue of Esquire, that personal trainer at the gym (not just the gym), an office in a better location, a fancier breed of dog or cat, a nicer neighborhood to live in, and of course “My morning Starbuck’s” later. “I have arrived”. The “American Dream”…or so it seemed for a while.

I’m not proud of being the male version of Madonna’s “Material Girl,” but I was young, in my early thirties and early forties, and naive enough to believe that at least peer pressure ended after high school and that everything probably after college. Not so. It became worse. If my friends bought a better house, I better call my realtor right away. They got a Lexus, it’s time for a Mercedes. It all seemed like fun and games, and it really was. A proverbial “showcase” game.

Then came the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Within twenty minutes, everything I had acquired as a material consumer was gone. And the insurance didn’t even come close to covering my collections, antique furniture, family albums/videos, preschool memorabilia, etc. I was left with my car, a few boxes of clothes and a one-year-old gold. A retriever puppy named Otis who saved my life (he was barking wildly before the earthquake) I thought I’d go out to do his business but I wake up at 5am to avoid danger.

Fifteen years have passed and I have learned something I never thought I could learn before. This is called “humility”. Please don’t confuse humility with holiness, far from it. Building a life from scratch, mid-life after you “have it all” teaches you some lessons, and I’m sure you don’t.

unique in this situation. When I say “have it all,” I don’t mean the Forbes 400. I mean what I wanted I could usually afford.

At least I had my health. For a while. But then that also went on for a few years. This was a motivating factor in my return to college as an adult, and I read avidly when I was not in college and frequented the library.

One of the most interesting books I’ve ever read was not in the genre of books I normally consume. The title of the book is “Start Late, Finish Rich” by David Bach. In it, he talks at length about something called “The Latte’ Factor.” Weird name, I know, but it describes how the American consumer is taught from birth to consume everything they can in this material world, that life is short, get it while you can, carpe diem, etc.

Then he calmly makes suggestions to counter it. We really need to subscribe to the magazine, have a latte and a bagel at Starbuck’s every morning. Should we also buy your own book if it is available at the library? Do we need a car that is made to “show off” when a used Honda, Saturn, etc. I now have a wonderful eight year old Saturn 4 door and it runs better than my old fancy German car ever did. Better gas and reliability too.

If you add it all up, it’s just the small, unnecessary things that we don’t need, or in the case of Starbuck’s, we could make coffee at home with flavored cream for pennies and a bagel for a quarter, the magazines, etc. We’re talking savings of $800-$2,000 or more per month. Putting this into an IRA, even if you’re in your fifties now, will leave you rich by retirement.

Gifts don’t have to be expensive. Offer memorable, personalized gifts that people see and enjoy every day and think of you when they see or use them.

He recommends ditching your credit cards and paying immediately with cash, check and/or debit card. I started doing this and noticed a huge difference in my extra money at the end of the month. I never make a budget. I do the same now.

There is much more in the book, but the bottom line is that the Latte’ factor no longer needs to be a part of our lives. Yes, it seems strange and a bit boring at first, but it’s a behavior change where once it’s done, there’s no going back. And we are happier and happier in the long run because of it.

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