Why You Should Live Like No One Else

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live like no one else so you can live like no one elseI know I’ve been quoting finance guru Dave Ramsey a lot lately, but I can’t stop thinking about something he said:

“Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else.”

What does he mean?

Many people look at mega-successful CEO’s and celebrities and utter those confounded words, “They’re so lucky.”

Most successful people aren’t lucky. They’ve lived like no one else, so that they can live like no one else.

  • Multimillionaire Robert Kiyosaki was homeless, living out of his car, while he built his first company.
  • Singer Katy Perry dropped out of high school after her freshmen year to pursue music full-time.
  • Bestselling author John Grisham gave up his legal career to become a full-time writer. Twenty-eight publishers rejected him before an unknown company agreed to give his first book a small print run.
  • Actress Jennifer Aniston worked as a telemarketer and waitress while she auditioned for acting roles in New York and L.A.
  • Designer Vera Wang gave up a promising figure skating career to work in the fashion industry.
  • Former Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburg Steelers player Jeremy Bloom sacrificed his football career to become a World Champion skier.
  • Most tech entrepreneurs spent their teenage years glued to a computer, never knowing if their idea would pan out.

What do these stories have in common? These athletes, designers, actors, writers and entrepreneurs lived in a way that most people wouldn’t. They embraced huge levels of risk and sacrifice.

None of them were guaranteed success. Heck, half of them weren’t even guaranteed a paycheck or health insurance. But they went for it anyway.

Your story doesn’t need to be as dramatic as theirs. “Live like no one else” could be as simple as pledging to live a debt-free life.

I sometimes watch people carry Michael Kors handbags, drive Lexus cars, and live in $1,500-per-month one-bedroom luxury apartments, and I wonder: “What am I doing wrong? How do they have so much money?”

Then I realize: the majority of people -– 70 percent of Americans, according to U.S. News -– are in consumer debt.

Being part of the 30 percent that chooses not to pay for luxuries through consumer debt is -– by itself –- living like no one else.

If you live like no one else now, you’ll really be able to live like no one else in the future. You’ll have saved enough to quit your job and support yourself for a year while you try a new career. You’ll have enough to pay in cash for your dream car, or to travel the world.

And when that happens, people will probably say: “You’re so lucky.”

Thanks to Annie Green Springs for today’s photo.


  1. says

    The best ways I’ve found to “live like no one else” are: 1) not spending all of your money, 2) investing more than 10% of your paycheck, 3) pursue less popular (and more lucrative) investments like real estate and 4) not trading the symbols of success for actual success.

    So many people buy big houses and fancy cars to look successful when they could have invested that money wisely and eventually they would BE successful instead of just looking that way.

  2. says

    Yeah, every time someone laughs at my Palm Treo 650 (which is working just fine, thank you very much), I know I’m living like no one else. And when I’m living my gap year like no one else, and they tell me how “lucky” I am, I’ll just smile and nod.

    • says

      Kelly, I adored my Palm Treo. At every opportunity, I told people I was saving for 2 college educations, and the Treo helped me to do that. That turns the laughs into knowing nods…

  3. says

    That reminds me. Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I told my husband: No flowers, no cards, no candy, nada. Ditto to the kids. We found a thrift store wine stopper in the shape of a heart for $1 and my kids gave that to my husband. They have hugs, kisses and homework supervision (the kids) each day. Now that’s true love.

  4. says

    When I left my job last year to strike out for Thailand with the family everyone said how lucky I was and how envious they were. Well it wasn’t as if it just fell into my lap. Massive planning and 5 years of 70+ hour work weeks were what led to the eventual “luck”.

  5. says

    one of the big deathbed regrets is reported to be not having taken more chances with your life. We don’t regret what we did but what we didn’t do.

    We tend to be much to fearful of failure, when it is only a learning step in our journeys.

    avoid debt, live on less than you earn, invest the difference and you are free to accept the luck that flows past you.

  6. says

    I’m actually working on a similar post this week about how I got told the other day (quite condecendingly) that I’m lucky to be going on another vacation. My luck is, of course, due to saving 55% of my income and not buying new clothes all the time but hey, I guess some people are just really unlucky 😉

  7. says

    Love! Though I have to say…I still don’t understand the whole Katy Perry phenomenon. She’s average looking with a ton of make up and can’t sing live, especially without autotuning…I guess it’s because she sings about making out with girls and being slutty? I know 75% of America disagrees with me. But she has been successful. I like that you don’t recommend dropping out of high school, though. :)

  8. says

    We’ve been working so long to get rid of consumer and student loan debt and now that the end is near, I can’t wait to see how it feels to finally control my paycheck.

    As long as living like no one else doesn’t mean I can’t spend money on travel, then count me in.

  9. says

    Great Post –

    Too many people make the mistake of either living outside their means, or living too close to their means. i.e. Just because they can afford a better car, they buy one – because it is what society does right? They feel that their paycheck should reflect the lifestyle they live. I think the most important thing to do is to establish what your lifestyle costs and stick to it. Bonuses, commissions, pay rises – shouldn’t affect this too much. Most people do the complete opposite and take out huge loans etc. to keep up with the neighbors…

  10. says

    Dave Ramsey spoke at our church a couple of weeks ago, and they are sponsoring his Financial Peace University starting tomorrow evening. 13 weeks! We are signed up and ready.
    We, my wife and I, are hoping for WAY more than getting out of debt (other courses we’ve taken spend most of the time on that, and we’ve never been deep in debt, just a mortgage).
    Looking forward to it.

    • says

      @Ken — That’s fantastic. Getting out of debt, as you realize, is only the first step … there’s lots more saving for the future and wealth-creation that lies ahead. Enjoy FPU! Let me know how you and your wife enjoy it!

  11. says

    I think a dollar saved can be five dollars earned, and you don’t have to wait until retirement to start enjoying that money.

    It still amazes me that my investments pay more in annual interest and dividends than I earned as a starting schoolteacher.

    I made sacrifices, but they were fun sacrifices!

  12. says

    Loved this post!! Sometimes we get so discouraged and want to say “forget this, i’m getting my credit card”. But this article reminds us that it will take a lot of sacrifice and self-control to get tot hat level. Awesome read

    • says

      @Young – Thanks! I feel that way sometimes (“forget this, I’m buying that item.”) But then I remind myself of the big-picture thing that I’d rather have … travel, another house, passive income, etc.

  13. says

    My husband and I live like no one else so we can save for retirement, I work two part time jobs and my huband one full time job, we save the maximum in our 401ks, we have saved $200,000.00 from 15 years of full time working and my part time working. We do not do as our friends do,
    eating out every night, buying the lastest phones, clothes, cars and purses. I am looked at condescendingly by my friends for not wearing the lastest styles, but I compare my savings with theirs (mentally) and just laugh (silently). Having the safety net for retirement WAY makes up for any verbal abuse I receive from well meaning friends.

  14. says

    Good advice… sometimes I have to remind myself of this. Sometimes I’m good at it, and sometimes I’m not. The next three months I’m going to spend in a tiny studio in Paris, and sharing it half the time with a friend. Not ideal, not comfy, but I think at least I’m not spending all my money on rent, for a little while. I’ve managed to get myself into a little debt, but I’m usually good at getting out of it, and I’ve managed to live without an expensive cell phone bill (T-Mobile in the US and Orange in France, and my monthly bill is under $40, either way) and yet have an iPhone. lol. No cable and no TV, yet I get to watch the shows I want to watch on my MacBook. I’m pursuing acting and now music as well, instead of taking the “stable” route of a normal job…. I do freelance work and have that freelance lifestyle. People think there’s more security in a job, but really, you can get fired, that job can go away. Yes, there’s unemployment benefits, perhaps, but I just save up and take care of myself. Anyway. People think I’m lucky that I can travel and live in France… it’s not luck, it’s just taking advantage of the opportunities you have, and prioritizing what you spend your money on. Where there’s a will, there’s a way….

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