Wouldn’t you like to be a HENRY too?

/ posted in: Current Events

I read an article in FORTUNE last month – isn’t that a great way to start a post? It makes me sound smart and with it and rich. It really means that I live with an MBA and that I read anything laying around the house but anyway, back to the story….

This article was about people who were concerned about what would happen to them if Obama won and raised taxes on their tax bracket. OK, I can understand that concern. No one likes paying higher taxes. But the people in the article make between $250,000 and $500,000 a year and claim that they can barely pay their bills. The articles referred to them as HENRYs – High Earners Not Rich Yet. When I got to the family that can barely afford their house on a half a million dollars a year I was all out of sympathy. I was glad to see that the readers of FORTUNE agreed with me. The next issue reported that the letters received were 15 to 1 in favor of “quit your whining!”

I was discussing this with the SO and my self-proclaimed anti-snob snobbery. I can’t stand people need the finest possessions that money can buy in order to feel superior. If you almost go bankrupt doing it and then whine about how poor you are, well, sorry about your luck stupidity. He started to point out that we have all kinds of nice stuff that we manage to accumulate on way less money than that. Here’s his list and how we did it in case any stray HENRYs need help.

1. We live in a house in an historic district. It is one block away from the big showcase houses. It was a fixer upper. He had some savings when he bought it so the mortgage is lower. It is not in a town thought to be super cool so houses are a steal.

2. We both have fancy watches. He’s a collector and he bought me one for my birthday since my WalMart watch made him cry. But he does it by having a friendship with a jeweler who gives him discounts and lets him put things on layaway.

3. I have a horse who lives in a pretty pony palace. I contend that people with horses are poor more often than rich (probably due to the horses) but he says that horses are an image thing. I bought her as a yearling at an auction.

4. We have a houseful of custom wood furniture. He got it the same way as the watches. He made friends with the Amish guy who makes it and cuts out the middle men.

5. He is subsidizing a kid’s private school education (against his will) and has huge child support payments to pay for his ex’s HENRY lifestyle (she makes a lot more money than him) and we can still manage to save for retirement. How? No credit cards, no cable bills, no expensive entertainment except eating out sometimes, going to the library, matinees at movies, the list goes on and on.

We tend to be more of THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR types. Live below your means, pay for everything up front, and make saving a priority. Crazy talk I know. Maybe with all the economic problems going on more people will consider being cheap a viable lifestyle choice.