How To Be the Ultimate American Consumer

Feel like a lemming lately? Ready to follow the crowd into the great plunge of Ultimate American Consumerism? Just in case you need a little help, here is a tongue-in-cheek look at how to continue the process of becoming the Ultimate American Consumer!

1. Always spend right at the level of your after-tax earnings. Having surplus dollars is troublesome. It's difficult to know exactly what to do with them.

2. Forget having 3, 6, or even 12 months of basic living expenses tucked into a liquid account such as a money market or CD. Why bother?

3. Purchase repeatedly, often, and preferably on credit, items that rapidly depreciate such as cars and consumer goods. Why pay all cash for something when you can use OPM (Other People's Money)?

4. Maintain at least $7,000 to $12,000 of revolving credit card debt ? preferably on store credit cards ? and avoid reading the monthly statements.

5. Eventually revolving debt becomes a bit of a burden. Once that happens, take out a Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC) to alleviate monthly payments.

6. Seek out, and take advantage of get-rich-quick opportunities. They offer simple, easy wealth accumulation plans ? with little effort, of course. Leave honest hard work to others. They don't know any better.

7. Spend at least half of your allowable IRA contribution each year on Christmas and holidays, preferably on credit.

8. If you have an investment or asset plan, don't review it too often. This can be tedious, boring and rather dull. Once every 6-10 years should be fine.

9. Where possible, avoid the toilsome task of creating asset accumulation strategies. Instead, have more dinners out with friends, or fun vacations. After all, you only go around once!

10. Invest in insurance. Wrap yourself in insurance protection from disability, death, dismemberment, accident and ill health ? you just never know when you'll need it. Insure your pets as well!

11. Only buy new automobiles for their quality and reliability. Used vehicles can cost as much as $150/ month in long term average maintenance.

12. Regular financial plan setting? Don't do it!

13. If you have a home mortgage, refinance every couple of years to capitalize on low rates. Just think, you too can own your house for 20 years ? and still have 20 to 25 years remaining on whatever debt is there at the time.

14. Don't bother with financial coaches and truly objective advisors. They may assist you with your money plans, but those busybodies should find something better to do.

These 14 steps are a sure way to reach the rank of "Ultimate American Consumer". Along with the title, you will reap all the privileges and benefits that this provides. All the best in your quest!

Eric Johnson is a regular contributor to the Investor's Value View newsletter. To learn how to reach Mr. Johnson for comments or to subscribe to the Investor's Value View newsletter, visit

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