Does Frugality Make Sense?

I have always struggled to marry the concepts that "Rich Dad" Robert Kiyosaki and "Money Lady" Suze Orman teach. I listen to both financial gurus, and both teach conflicting lessons about money.

Robert Kiyosaki does not like living below your means while Suze Orman does. If you have read my other articles on personal finance, you'll know that I am big on living below your means and frugality.

So let's look at why Robert Kiyosaki doesn't like frugality. Wealth is abundant and is limitless; therefore frugality doesn't make sense. This school of thought can be found in Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich. If you think about it, wealth is infinite and, in fact, can be created by anyone who wishes to do so. Robert Kiyosaki tells us to EXPAND our means instead of to live below our means.

Another reason Robert Kiyosaki does not like frugality is because it can drive you to stagnation. If you live below your means, you might find yourself too content with what you have that you simply stop dreaming for a better life. The reason man has an insatiable appetite is for him to continue to evolve and not stagnate.

But does being frugal mean giving up on wanting more out of life? Let's take a look at some personalities that will prove to you that being frugal does not necessarily mean giving up personal development.

According to Business Insider: (Warren) Buffett still lives in the Omaha, Nebraska, home he bought for $31,500 more than 50 years ago. He doesn't own a yacht because, as he puts it, "Most toys are just a pain in the neck." When he married his second wife, rather than a lavish affair, it was a brief afternoon wedding at his daughter's house in Omaha. 

Meanwhile, Business Insider has this to say about Mark Zuckerberg: He recently upgraded to a $7 million house in Palo Alto, but The Los Angeles Times called the home "still well below his means." Zuckerberg reportedly drives an Acura "because it's safe and not ostentatious," and famously wears the same gray t-shirt and hoodie to work every day. His wedding to longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan took place in his backyard, and the pair was seen digging in at a McDonald's on their Italian honeymoon.

Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg clearly live below their means; Anne Curtis saves 90% of her income, and most Filipino tycoons like Henry Sy and John Gokongwei will swear by frugality.

But if we accept the idea that wealth is abundant and limitless, does frugality still make sense? For me, the answer is yes. Prudence is due to everything that we do. Just because wealth is there for you to create and take doesn't mean that the universe will always conspire with you to do so. Just as prudence should be exercised in eating, merriment, and sex, one should also exercise prudence in the creation and management of wealth.

Frugality is especially important among people whose wealth is dependent on a job. I myself have yet to harness the powers of the age-old wisdom that wealth can be created and is, therefore, limitless, and for people like me, frugality or the efficient spending of money is imperative because our control on wealth creation is very limited. If you, however, find yourself in the elite one percent who have mastered wealth creation, then just a dash of frugality will be enough.

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