The 3 Prisms Of Money (Prism 3 and Conclusion)

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Prism 3: Trying to Impress Other People

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We’ve all been affected by this disease, right from High school. We wanted so badly to wear the latest and greatest that we went all out to buy the best clothes popularized by the mainstream pop artists at that time. Unfortunately as we grow older we get worse, way way worse. You see we are all human and like humans we want to impress people, and one of the best ways to do this is to buy the most expensive gadgets and items. I’ve seen a lot of people shopping for their first car and through the way they shop, you know they are doing it primarily to impress people, after all its borrowed money (see prism 1) so they believe falsely they can afford to buy a Lexus, Acura or BMW. So when they go shopping they are roped into long term unbelievable monthly payments for their dream cars, dream cars they hope will impress the people around them. I talk about this because automobiles are the most portable and potent measures of ones status symbol, one that is totally misused repeatedly by broke people.

In the book the Millionaire Next Door, The authors, Stanley and Danko, did extensive profiling of people whose net worth defined them as millionaires, using this data, created a detailed profile of who exactly a typical millionaire is. One interesting thing that was noted from this research was that “Millionaires tend to buy late-model used and under-dramatic automobiles…” they also strongly believe “that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status.” Now am not encouraging people to buy beat down ugly cars that are older than themselves, what am saying is that ones mentality when shopping for automobiles should not be to impress people we barely know, but one that would provide money for us to support and thus impress people we would grow to know such as our future family when we have money to cater for them. If you go shopping for a car and you do not have a fixed value of what you could afford per month then turnaround or else you would end up with a luxury car payment equal to 75% of what I pay monthly on my home mortgage, and you would soon come to find out that a Luxury car is not such a Luxury after all.

Regarding new cars, hear me loud and clear BUYING A NEW ONE IS DUMB! DUMB! There is no explanation anyone can give you that would justify the purchase of a new vehicle. Believe me I am currently driving a vehicle I bought brand new, I purchased my Nissan Altima in 2005, yeah I got a great deal 1% financing and a monthly payment of about $365, but after I bought the car I got what you could term as buyers remorse. I immediately proceeded to sell the car back, I went online the very next day to see what I could get for my car, I kid you not the best deal I could get was at least $3000 less than what I purchased it for 24 hours ago, $3000!. Whoever said your new car lost 15% of its value driven of the car lot was frighteningly correct.

So my question is why oh why do we buy new cars or luxurious cars knowing the baggage it carries. The answer is “we crave attention” like children in high school we want to be the most popular kids on the block, not the richest but the most popular. To us we believe that a man driving a Lexus with $50,000 debt is richer than a person driving a Toyota Corolla with no debts, we externally look down at the Corolla driver and internally embed those views subconsciously in our head. I remember a real estate class I attended in 2005, I sat next to a quiet young man, wearing the plainest t-shirt and flip-flops I had ever seen, it seemed like he had been shopping at the salvation army, We sat next to each other for more than 2 hours and I never offered to introduce myself or start up a conversation, cause I felt I could get nothing from Mr. Salvation Army. After the class we got into an elevator, where Mr. Salvation Army started talking about how he was planning on selling his multi-million dollar properties in other to build enough capital for his next multimillion dollar project! I had been sitting next to a millionaire for 2 hours and because I was obstructed by my perceived image of what a millionaire should look like, I made no attempt to connect with him. I tell you this story not to expose my inherent misjudged arrogance in myself but to allow people understand how we subconsciously stereotype people based on our perception of their social status.


Dave Ramsey likes to say this when talking about financial independence “It’s not complicated, but it’s difficult.” Learning the first prism is not complicated, but it’s very difficult to let go of the addiction to credit cards. The second prism is not complicated, buts its super hard to develop the habit of budgeting your needs and filtering away the wants. The last prism is not complicated, but it takes a lot of soul searching and self worth to be immune to the expensive disease of impressing people. However, if we can understand the 3 prisms and apply the lessons that they teach as habits in our daily lives we would be in Financial Heaven. A habit according to Steve Covey is an imaginary intersection between Knowledge, Skill and Desire. You have the knowledge on what to do, if you can read this note to this point you definitely have the skill, all that is left is the desire and only you can get that so that you end up “Spending money you HAVE on things you NEED to impress people you truly LIKE.”

OFILI is an award winning motivational speaker and life coach, who blogs about life, success and excellence. He is the author of the inspiring memoir HOW STUPIDITY SAVED MY LIFE and has been featured in magazines and radio stations across the globe including CBS radio. Ofili is currently working on his second book LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET THE HECK OUT OF THE WAY a kick-ass approach to getting the most out of your organization. To get a copy of Ofili’s latest book on success visit


Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
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