When rapper 50 Cent – real name Curtis James Jackson III – appeared in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Connecticut earlier this year in April, the judge couldn’t believe he was broke.
It wasn’t because of his high performing albums, because let’s be honest, 50 Cent hasn’t been relevant in a decade. The judge was dubious of his claims because of his numerous Instagram posts glamorizing his wealth.
One post showed several red paint buckets, all filled with stacks and stacks of $100 dollar bills. Another post showed a fridge stock full of orange juice, sliced cheese, ham, and about 20 stacks of Benjamins.
It turned out, Mr. Jackson confessed in court, that he didn’t really have those money. They were “prop money,” used to keep up his glamorous appearance on social media. But in reality, he was living way beyond his means.
Should we all be living like 50 Cent? Spending money we don’t have and showing off a lifestyle that’s way beyond our means? There are actually some surprising benefits to living beyond your means.
Investing in clothes that give appearance of wealth gives you a clear advantage in interviews
If you work in a modern office, most likely people will make judgements about you based on your clothes. Yes, it’d be great to live in an utopian world where people didn’t care how you looked, and form opinions about you solely based on how you handled that last project. But suck it up, we’re human beings, and that means we can’t help but notice and judge people’s attire.
Darlene Price, author of “Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results”, sums it up well in an interview with Business Insider:
“Let’s be clear: In the big picture of ultimate reality, what you wear neither defines who you are as a person nor determines your value as a human being. However, in the temporal realm of mere mortals, fair or not, people judge us by the way we look and that includes the way we dress.”
Splurging money on expensive clothes can pay off in the workplace. A recent study published in the Journal of Business Research revealed that people who wore expensive, branded luxury clothing clearly benefited during interviews. They were not only more likely to get the job, but received higher salary offers.
When you live safely within your means, you strip life of its poetry
“You start dying slowly… / If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain. / If you do not go after a dream. / If you do not allow yourself, / At least once in your lifetime, / To run away from sensible advice.”
This is the ending of one of my favorite poems. It’s written by Chilean poet Ricardo Basoalto, who writes under the pen name Pablo Neruda.
The rational part of us like to follow the “sensible advice” that he refers to in the poem. Finishing college. Saving up for retirement. Filling up your 401ks. Setting aside an emergency fund for rainy days.
After you follow all the sensible advices, what’s next? After you’ve gone through life following the exact foot prints of people who came before you, after you’ve lived your life according to the trial and errors of other people, what’s left for you to do?
Of course, you don’t want to do this your entire life. But your 20s isn’t a time to play it safe. Enjoy the struggle while you still have the energy.