You often hear not to keep up with the Joneses in the personal finance community. While it's best not to try to keep up with the people who are broke and flaunting it, what should you do instead? I suggest keeping up with the Gateses — Bill Gates.
Who is Bill Gates?
Bill and Melinda Gates are widely known, but the Gateses could also be anyone who has built wealth in smart ways, saves for a rainy day, and doesn't flaunt their debt.
So, how can you become a Gates? Well, there are quite a few things you can do.
Invest in Education
Everyone who knows of Bill Gates' story knows that he dropped out of Harvard University. However, he has recommended on several occasions that investing in your education is important.
This isn't to say that you have to get into massive student loan debt. But it does mean to take some classes to learn new skills, get a degree if you can do so debt free, or even just practicing something new.
Why is investing in education so important? Think about it. If you have more marketable skills, chances are that you are more likely to get hired for a job or be able to have a few side hustles to earn extra cash.
Your skills don't have to be over the top, but knowing things like coding, project management, or even social media can really give you a leg up on the competition.
It's OK To Splurge (If You Can Afford It)
If you Google Bill Gates, you will see a man who has a rather boring wardrobe, and who doesn't seem to eat out much. However, you may be surprised to know that Bill Gates drives a Porsche (several in fact) and owns a home that cost him approximately $60 million to build.
While I certainly wouldn't recommend building a $60 million home, Bill Gates shows that it's OK to splurge on items and adventures that you enjoy, as long as you can afford them. Bill Gates is worth $85.5 billion, and yet he only splurges where he feels his money can go the farthest.
As stated above, Bill Gates only splurges on things that he deems important. If it's not important, he either won't buy it, or he will give it up.
For example, while Bill Gates does have a private jet, he has one for a very good reason. Because of his foundation, and the immense amount of travel he and his team do on a regular basis, he is actually saving money by having his own jet.
Not only is he able to save time and energy by flying his own plane, but he doesn't have to worry about paying for multiple tickets multiple times throughout the year.
Because of his foundation, and the immense amount of travel he and his team do on a regular basis, he is actually saving money by having his own jet. Not only is he able to save time and energy by flying his own plane, but he doesn't have to worry about paying for multiple tickets multiple times throughout the year.
Also, Bill Gates keeps his home tidy and in order, and everything has its place. You won't find clutter in the home, which means he knows exactly where everything is at all times. Try taking it from him, and keep your home minimalistic, simple, and clean. No more wasting money on something you didn't need because you couldn't remember where it was!
Know How to Invest
Bill Gates is very smart with his money. He not only invests in stocks, but he invests his money into businesses that he knows will give him a return on his money. Although he has taken a few gambles (like investing in "clean" meat), he keeps his portfolio fairly conservative.
You don't have to be a billionaire to start investing like Bill Gates. In fact, you can invest with just a few pennies, or with a few dollars from each paycheck. Just stay smart with the companies you invest in, and trust your gut.
While keeping up with the Joneses may make you broke, keeping up with the Gateses can help you save more money, enjoy your life, and still build wealth. Which would you rather have?