Driving with John Chow – Episode 23 It’s Not What You Make, It’s What You keep

Welcome to the 23rd episode of Driving with John Chow. You will noticed that I made some big changes with this new episode. The biggest being a new lens for my Olympus digital camera. I’m now using the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens. This is a wide-angle lens that allows me to get a lot more image into the frame. Instead of just seeing my face like the previous videos, you’ll now be able to see my entire body and more of the car.

At $750, the new lens is not cheap. So, it’s kinda appropriate for me to use this episode to talk about money management. During the drive, I share with you the best piece of financial advice I ever got.

It’s Not What You Make, It’s What You Keep

It really doesn’t matter how much money you make. What matter is how much you get to keep at the end of the day. There are tons of people who make a lot of money and spend every cent they make and more. They drive all the fancy cars, go to the fancy clubs and live a “millionaire’s lifestyle”, only they’re not millionaires. In Miami, they’re known as $30,000 millionaires. They make $30K a year but live like they make a million.

Thanks to low-cost leasing and zero down financing, anyone with even a modest income can project the image of a millionaire. The only problem is, the debt will eventually catch up to them and that’s when it’ll all come crashing down. This was what caused the US financial meltdown. Too many people were spending more than they make and leveraging their debts to the hilt.

The funny thing is, that millionaire’s lifestyle they’re trying to project is false. Most millionaires don’t drive fancy cars or live in upper class gated communities. They’re more likely to live in a middle class neighborhood and drive a domestic sedan. Since the average millionaire’s lifestyle is modest, they get to keep a lot more of what they make and that’s the key to real wealth.

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13 thoughts on “Driving with John Chow – Episode 23 It’s Not What You Make, It’s What You keep”

  1. Eileen Chen says:

    When we are in Cabo, you can do a Buggy Driving with John Chow 😀

  2. Frank says:

    So true.

    I read an article a couple months back about a guy (who shall remain nameless) who made $10 million online, but spent $9 million in advertising fees.

    1. John Gibb says:


      We hear about big pay day launches and super affiliate checks, but these so called “gurus” are hiding the money they invest in PPC or Facebook advertising to get the sale, yet, they’re selling a product which claims to help the buyer make money with free traffic and no investment… yeah right!

      All they do is show off screenshot of earnings from their PPC campaigns and attach that to a “free traffic system” product. That’s B.S.

  3. I 100% agree with this. Everyday I see so many putting things on credit. You’re not a true millionaire unless you can pay for everything in cash and you have $1m cash in the bank.

    I learned early on how to save. I’m not close to being a millionaire, but I do live comfortably. Maybe one day i’ll get there 🙂

  4. Right on, John! Warren Buffett, I’m confident most people have heard of him, one of the richest men in the world, still lives in a home he paid less than $40,000.00 for in Omaha, Nebraska. And, Sam Walton, founder of WalMart, loved to drive a Chevy pickup truck. And, Tom “Big Al” Schreiter, one of the most successful network marketers in the world, drives a van. One of the keys to wealth is to eliminate debt and be content living as though you are not wealthy. Many of my law clients have shared with me that 2 of the reasons they hired me were that I did not have a lavish law office and I did not drive an expensive sports car. I have also learned that many of the finer things in life either do not cost much money or may not be acquired with money: a comfortable home, a dependable vehicle, good nutritious food, comfortable clothing, peace and joy, and spending quality time with family and friends!

  5. Hey John,

    I totally agree with this, spending habits do not necessarily say anything about a person’s actual wealth. It can be a dangerous route to live a lavish lifestyle if you can’t really afford it! I avoid getting into debt at all costs.

    Thanks for sharing!


  6. This is a true story. I’ve been checking out Internet marketing millionaires (with their respective courses/products) and I found those who are humble to be the ones over delivering value to their followers. A millionaire doesn’t have to be flashy. With the right attitude, he can unknowingly show off not just his achievements but his good intentions as well. This is because people will start respecting the person. There’s a tendency for envy to outweigh respect. There are few millionaires respected by me and my peers… and John, you are one of them. (especially after we watched most of your videos). You and your influence will definitely be a part of our reviews.

  7. Susan Velez says:

    This is so true, just because you make a lot of money does not mean that you have to spend it.

    I don’t see any reason to spend tons on expensive sports cars or houses that take up all the money that you worked so hard to get.

    After all these things don’t mean much if you have to continue to slave away just to make the payments. I would much rather keep the money and be able to enjoy living comfortably knowing that my hard work has paid off.

  8. faisal says:

    So who are the wealthy who driver Ferraris and Lamborghinis?

    1. John Chow says:

      They are generally the ones who paid cash for them. 🙂

      1. faisal says:

        It’s time you get a Ferrari!

  9. Keenan Handy says:

    I think we all have seen the people that appear to live lavish, but you can be in dept no matter how wealthy you are. Live below your means and saving is the way to wealth. But people only go by what they see. So if you look wealthy then that’s how people perceive you. We rarely look below the surface.

    But we also cant judge the people that make money and buy all the fancy things. If that’s what they want to do, they have every right to. They have worked hard for what they want. If I had money to do that you bet your sweet bottom I would do it.

    I guess it all boils down to whatever makes you happy. You don’t get to take it with you when you leave this dimension. So live in the present!

  10. Rory Kermack says:

    Hey John,

    I’m really enjoying your series, ‘driving with john’.

    I actually passed an accountants office here in Vancouver with
    “Its not what you make, its what you keep”
    on their billboard this morning. Which obviously sparked my interest for this post!

    A friend of mine once said, ‘The rich don’t get wealthy by giving it all away’.

    I think wealth is more of a mind set than physical cash at any one moment. If you want a Lamborghini, perhaps think not “how can I afford that” but ‘what can I do to afford that’. Whats your thoughts on this?

    Thanks again for your thought provoking post as ever.

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