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The hidden costs millionaires understand but the middle class do not

January 11, 2012

Imagine a new couch is purchased for $1,000 (not an amazing couch, just an ok one).

This is how a person normally looks at it:
$1,000 Couch

How else is there to look at it?

There’s the money that had to be earned in taxes just to have the $1,000 to spend (assuming a 25% tax bracket is $1,000/.75=$334 more)
Cost of $1,000 Couch
$1,000 Couch
$ 334 Extra money earned for fed taxes

Then there’s sale tax that goes with the $1,000 purchase (10% in WA).
Cost of $1,000 Couch
$1,000 Couch
$ 334 Extra money earned for fed taxes
$ 100 Sales tax

In total, the $1,000 couch actually cost $1434. That’s 43% more than the price tag you see! Everytime! Everything personally purchased comes with a tax makimg it 43% more expensive.

That’s not the half of it. How much is that couch worth? If you were forced to sell it used, 6 months to a year later, in great condition, it would be worth about less than half, usually 1/3 of what was paid for it. Meaning the $1,000 couch is worth $334. A loss of $665. (By the way, if you doubt it, try buying something used in the Nickel or Craigslist.)

The poor and middle class come from a perspective that they own a $1,000 couch. Instead, they have a $334 couch for which they spent $1434 (4x more money!).

That’s the same as a financial planner guarenteeing a 75% loss on all money invested with him — and the average person just keeps on spending/investing this same way each year.

I don’t advocate foresaking everything material and subsisting on rice and more rice (which one friend took as the point). The point is to ask yourself, how can I do better for myself so I have more money left over: to invest in a Roth, play, not have to work so I can spend extra time with my fam — anything other than lose it as such.

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  1. Is debt good or bad? | Jared Fielding

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