There’s a lot of financial advice out there – and some of it is really, really good. We like to think that we publish some of it. We like to think that some of it finds its way home to readers like you and is found helpful. But today, members of our contributing staff (who are working from home not because of shelter-in-place restrictions but because that’s just what they do) have decided to take a lighter, less technical view on the field of financial advice.
Jake added the following to our email thread discussing this post. Here’s what he wrote:
“My theory is that… well, sure, you can rebuild your credit, you can start a savings account, you can start investing. You can do all these really great things to build a wonderful financial tree in your life and get stability and prepare for your retirement. That’s all fine and good. But when you go to buy a cup of coffee and you take out this lumpy, lopsided wallet you’ve owned for 15 years, and half of the membership cards in there are for towns you don’t even live in anymore, and there’s about a hundred business cards you don’t know why you’re saving, and there are all these scraps of papers with notes and contact information written on them but you can’t read them anymore because of the paper folds and the faded ink… What does that say about your ability to manage high-level finance? Here’s what I say. I say, get a new wallet! And the only thing you should save is your driver’s license and the credit cards that haven’t expired. Maybe your library card. But throw away your Blockbuster card, throw away the brochures you crammed in there, throw away anything that has turned brittle with age.”
A few other contributing editors chimed in. One recommended a modern style wallet that only has room for a few items, thus preventing it from becoming the “junk drawer in your pocket.” Another recommended carrying a money clip for the same reason.
This led to the proposal for a new religion: Wallet Minimalism. The question was posed: Other than your driver’s license or ID, why do you need to carry anything? You can use ApplePay instead of credit cards. The physical copy of your platinum debit card and your American Express card can sit at home, because you have the ability to use them with your smartphone. You can set up all of those grocery store and drug store membership cards to work with your phone number, so you don’t need to carry them. Even stores like Costco, which require you to show your membership card at the door before you can enter, now have a digital option.
Someone asked about the library card. The reply was: If you’re really a minimalist, chances are you read all of your books on a Kindle or tablet, so any checking out of books at the library is probably done online. Therefore the library card can sit at home, too.
Then came the question: When can I start storing my driver’s license on my smartphone? It looks like as recently as 2019, this has been in the works. Once you no longer need to carry a physical copy of your license or state-issued ID, the need for a wallet may be completely unnecessary altogether, thus nullifying the religion of wallet minimalism and creating a new religion: Wallet Maximalism.
The idea of wallet maximalism would be a rebellion from dependence on technology for all of our needs. Wallet maximalists would revert to the thick wallet, encumbered with membership cards, credit and debit cards, licenses, IDs, cash, maybe even coin, and every phone number and business card given to the owner of said wallet until such time as a new wallet has to be purchased because the old one finally fell apart.
You could say that our discussion came first circle, yes?