Johnny Says: Read This Post and Get Riyyyyyyyyyyatch

by Jabulani Leffall on 8 February 2009 7 comments

 

A wise poet once quipped: “That buck that bought the bottle coulda’ struck the Lotto.”
 
You will find fewer stanzas that better convey the essence of opportunity cost. To that end, at times like these when many are in financial jams, we tend to look for intoxicants, diversions, fiscal analgesics to sooth our pain, elixicirs to turn our fortunes around expeditiously. This is often a more palatable alternative to the slow methodical dig out of debt.
 
And this snap choice, this groping for immediacy and “right now” gratification, is what makes us susceptible to…..gasp….. the financial guru.
 
Consider these real world italicized promotional blurbs compiled from your favorite experts. Let’s fold them together as one entity called the “Johnny Upinya” plan, brought to you by slithery finance guru and gadfly, Johnny Upinya.
 
 Under my plan, your debt disappears in anywhere from right ^%$*&^ now, to two days to  five to seven years  from when you buy my package. And your house and bills are completely paid off. Stop being a prisoner of debt today! Discover how you can own your car, house and everything that you have without owing a single penny, maybe a few dollars but not a single penny.
 
Of course the real irony of the success of the financial self-help genre is that most of the stuff in these books, workshops and classes, is stuff that even the least studious of us already know: don’t spend more than you earn.
 
Thus the best thing to do is find someone or something that works for you, something or someone that’s a little more tailored to your needs (more on that later). There’s nothing wrong with emulating someone who is rich or debt free or seemingly on “Easy Street” but what you must know is in that nine times out of ten, they got debt free because of your trip to Borders.
 
My method transforms your debt into wealth – growing to $100 million - using nothing more than the money you’re currently earning. Thanks to the best-kept secret in personal finance, you’re in control of your own life, free, with financial freedom having your finances free and having your money with liberty and uhhhh justice for all, yeah, justice. Get justice and peace as well as piece of mind, know that you and your family are set for life, yesterday, today, tomorrow and next week. Get debt free by Nevuary 31st.
 
The best personal finance guru is actually closer to you than you think. Stand up, make a right, down the hall, yeah keep going. Turn on the light, that’s it. You see that glass? Look into it? Who’s that?
 
 Over a million people have used my method now it’s your turn to get a million people to use your method so I can eat off of all of you good people.
 
The first question you have to ask yourself before you turn on CNBC or spring for the CDs, DVDs, tear-out worksheets and seminar schedules is this: Have I even followed my own advice?
 
1)      Do my wants exceed my needs?
2)      Am I ready to change how I determine my own self worth in relation to my financial net worth?
3)      Should I maybe put this hundred bucks, I was going to spend on Rich Dad Poor Dad and Richest Man in Babylon, in an online savings account and let it sit there and have the online savings accounts subtract a negligible amount from my paycheck or checking account every month or pay period so that I pay less attention to what I’m saving and more to what I’m spending?
4)      Do I want to be real with myself and surmise that unless I have I have an idea for the next wisebread.com tech start-up, a wicked jump shot, sing like an angel and dance like the rain on the surface of a pond -- or have a rich uncle to whom I can submit a business plan -- solvency and peace and piece of mind take time and soul searching?
 
We interrupt this logical programming for some testimonials:
 
Johnny Upinya changed my *&^%$ life!  Just four months ago, I was selling blood.  I didn’t know what to do, and had to sell my priceless heirlooms at a pawn shop. Now I have a boat, a mink, a Rabbit's foot and arm and a McMansion in the suburbs. Thanks Johnny.
 
My family was over $300,000 in debt, now just three months later, I’m retiring with no balance on my mortgage and I’m ridin’ sweet on chrome, Johnny you da man.
 
Get with the Johnny Upinya plan now! What are you waiting on? Get Riyattttttttch Today!
 
In summary, the personal finance advice industry (this site and yours truly included) is a multi-billion dollar sector for a reason. We all need help and I’m not knocking anybody’s hustle. Certainly Suze Orman, Liz Weston, Chuck Jaffe and even Jim Cramer have their place. But much like that treadmill that holds your sweaters or that exercise DVD you use to break up sunflower seeds on and pick up the shells when your done, personal finance advisory content can be just another unneeded expense.
 
Don’t let Johnny Upinya, upend you.
 
Do you want to feel better or get better?
 
That’s opportunity cost for you, monetary poetry in motion if you will.
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Guest's picture

Great post!

Nothing is easy. There is no silver bullet.

Your finances and your weight have a lot in common-- you didn't put the weight on overnight, it won't come off overnight. Likewise there is no miricle get rich quick formula . . .

The real recipe to getting rich is planning, hard work, and to stick-to-it long enough for it to work.

Sorry folks . . .

Philip Brewer's picture

I'm actually okay with lots of advisors whose advice pretty much comes down to the same old things, because some people who can't heard the advice spoken one way can hear it when it's spoken another.  Also, the listener has to be ready:  The exact same advice can sound really stupid to someone age 22--and sound pretty darn clever to the same person age 26.

I'm even okay with overselling the advice--promising cars and diamonds and furs--because it's actually true that frugal living is a path to filling your wants as well as your needs.  (Just your most important wants, but still--there's luxury down that path, something that too many people don't understand.)

So, I think it's important to distinguish between those people and the bad ones--the people who sell ordinary advice at extraordinary prices, and (especially) the ones who claim to sell advice but actually con people into complex schemes that a really just ways to grab their money.

Guest's picture

This self-help industry continues to be ironic in itself. People are spending money on something that should help them save them from financial slump. On top of that, what they get from these self-help books/videos/whatever are advices that your grandmomma already told you years ago. And now they pay just to remember that? LOL

Tom

Guest's picture
Guest

This was hilarious (and so true!). I love your writing.

Guest's picture

Lose all your friends! Waste hours of time before you realize the only way to make money is selling motivational tapes!

Guest's picture
Eric

The problem with the self-help / get rich industry, is that they sell people on "secrets." Knowledge that has been supposedly suppressed by the mainstream to keep them from being rich. The secrets are irresistible to people, and often times not so secret once told.

Guest's picture

This hits the head right on the head. Yes there is a proliferation of financial self-help gurus and books out there, but we gotta remember, as Jabulani says, that they are products. They are selling something to people who want to buy those "secrets." And I guess that's their real secret. Sell a product that others want.