Flying first class

This is not really about flights. I don’t fly first class. I do enough flying that I can be considered living in airports, but I always fly in economy class unless I get upgraded or they have a good deal. Why? I see it as a waste of money. This is about (pretentious) wealth and spending money.

One of the best qualities I have after being brought up in the eastern Europe, and this is something I connect to that, is understanding that money doesn’t grow on trees. Something a lot of western world youth I think believes in. This gives me motivation. A lot of it. Having gone through years of hard work to get from nothing to somewhere, I can’t see myself wasting any amount of money on something which has no benefit for me. First class flights is a great example of something I would never spend money on.

Too tall

Flying is about getting from A to B. First class ticket doesn’t get me there quicker. It has nicer food, less crowds, more comfortable seats and bragging rights on Facebook. Maybe these things are valuable to some, but they just aren’t to me. However I don’t fly Ryanair, the European budget airline, either. They are just too cheap for me to fly and do not offer the sort of qualities I would be looking for. Also I’m tall enough that flying in their overcrowded planes is painful. But that’s not relevant. The key here is the ability to figure out what sort of features a product should have for one to see value in it.

I don’t like hotels. Not because there is something wrong with them. There isn’t. I don’t like hotels because they make me feel miserable. They are so clean, tidy and empty. It’s like a hospital with less blood. Most hotels have suites, premium rooms and other types of better rooms. They are like the first class for hotels. I don’t book them too, given that I’m staying at a hotel in a first place. Because if I am, I would spend 8 hours or less there. 7 hours being spent sleeping and 1 more preparing to leave (yes, it does take me an hour or more).

So the only thing I need from a hotel is a bed. I don’t care if it’s in a big or small room. I actually like Airbnb more than hotels. It feels more like home. I get to stay in actually nice looking places, as opposed to hotel rooms, meet new people and have a better flexibility for choosing the location. Like Ryanair, Couchsurfing would be the cheapest, but it’s just not my sort of thing. I have a few standards which are easer to demand for when you pay people. As weird as this sounds.

Why do I care about all this? Because I think people who book these sort of services are mainly wasting money they should be using to build their wealth instead. I’m not here to teach, so don’t try to argue with me on this. They have a need to stay in fancy hotels, fly in first class, etc. to feel that they have reached some sort of level. So much money wasted, something I, going back to my eastern European upbringing, just can’t do. I was reading a book “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley and a lot of points it makes are something I truly believe in. I recommend reading it - it’s a book which agrees with me, ace.

No one buys a single Ferrari. Yes. Someone buys a Ferrari when he can afford at least a couple of them, usually more. Obviously I have to allow for idiots, so maybe there are a few of you who bought one from savings. This is important. It’s about spending less than one earns, it’s about financial independence. This is the main topic of the book above. Majority of USA millionaires do not fly first class or drive a sports car. They are quietly building their wealth, while society seems to assume that the flamboyant ones, driving about in screaming green Lamborghini’s, are the rich ones.

There is a very good twitter account @GSElevator which supposedly quotes interactions from a lift at Goldman Sachs. Fake! However it tends to have some pretty cool ideas. This is one of them:

If you want to die rich, abide by The 3 F’s. If it Flys, Floats or Fucks, rent it, don’t buy it.

The point here is that owning things is expensive. Owning a car for example constantly sucks in money. Road taxes, MOT services, maintenance work, unplanned work, etc. That’s why clubs like Classic Car Club in Manhattan, which I’m planning to join as soon as I settle in New York, are cheap. Obviously that’s not the point they are trying to make, but that’s how I see it - driving the sort of cars I want to be driving, as much as I want to be driving (which is a few weekends per month realistically) for way, way less than owning one myself.

Some people even made a hobby out of flying in first class. Fine if that works for them. The planes Lufthansa has offer a very good intercontinental economy class. Good enough for me. I’m more concerned about using the money I make to invest into something which would provide a longterm value. A lot of startups people start living the fancy lifestyle so early that it’s like not sustainable. There is a need to be considered as successful, but it’s a very expensive hobby too.

Another eastern European quality I know of is showing off ones wealth. There are no businessman who take public transport. They just don’t exist, however it’s improving now (not the public transport, the amount of people taking it). I know quite a lot of people who focus on this. These are the sort of people who would stay at some fancy hotel and post photos from there every day. I don’t. I like meeting people and them having no idea what I do. It avoids a lot of prejudice and is more honest.

Eventually it all boils down to this:

Got health, got enough wealth to buy my next beverage, got love, don’t need too much more than that. via @EamonLeonard

There are things which are important, and then there are a lot of things which aren’t. To some. Flying first class is the last thing I care about. I actually think people who care about this are miserable - there has to be more important things to care about. For example. For $50 you can send someone flowers. It will make them happy, barely anyone does this anymore. Drop the whole trying to live fancy lifestyle, it’s a waste of money.

*all illustrations done by Frits from hikingartist.com