How to live a valuist lifestyle and how status is killing the American Dream with Kofi

In today’s episode, we will speak to my friend Kofi from 400 Lb Elephant.

We met on Instagram and actually met a bit later at Fincon last year on the first day of the conference. Kofi has been debt-free for 3 years now and has also become a financial coach next to his full-time job (which is awesome by the way!). His goal is to help people get out of debt and empower them with the right financial education and coaching.

Kofi Gyebi Jonathan Verhaeghe Fincon19
Kofi and me at Fincon

We will dive deep into the topic of living a valuist lifestyle: What that means and why Kofi chose this lifestyle. Secondly, we will debunk the idea that because one has a high earning profession, one should automatically know about all things money. And last we will discuss why status will kill the American Dream, or in more general terms how the pursuit of status will impair your finances.

Listen here

…or listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

This episode is for you if you are looking at understanding what drives us to pursue status (yes this applies to me as well) and to compare ourselves to our peers, and as well to find ways to stop doing that.

Key Takeaways:

  • A valuist is someone who spends their time and money consistently with their values: Family, religion, education, giving back to the community,… for Kofi that means, for example, no money spent at Happy Hours. It is about aligning your time and finances with your values.
  • One thing that came out of the conversation is that we all have made errors trying to look the part, going to fancy places, happy hours,… but as one matures, one gets a better understanding of how to spend your money. In the case of Kofi, it has now come to a point where if a purchase/event does not bring value or joy, he does not spend money on it. He is at peace with every dollar spent (a great place to be) and part of that came with age (for both Kofi and me).
  • Even people in high earning professions (attorneys, doctors, dentists, etc) struggle with personal finance. They may have prestigious high earning jobs but it does not mean they have a better grasp on money matters such as stocks, bonds retirement accounts,… It is not inherent to them to know these things. Most money topics are not addressed in general because of taboos or simply because there is no culture of educating people on all the money questions.
  • Do not pursue status: You can keep up as much as you can with your neighbours or the Kardashians but in the end, you will be on your own as Kofi shared in his very personal story. Who will help you in case of financial distress? Not the neighbours you’re trying to “one-up”, nor the credit card company,…it is up to you to secure your financials.
  • Why do we have this inner drive to compare ourselves? This can be explained by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model. It is an ego and pride thing and this leads you to measure yourself against the next person instead of against what you can afford. It is in our human nature to want more.

Who is Kofi?

Kofi Gyebi is the founder of 400LB Elephant, a personal finance company that helps young professionals achieve financial peace. His coaching empowers people to get out of debt, save money, and build generational wealth. Kofi’s own debt-free journey is a testament to what is possible with a bit of focus and discipline: he paid off $34,000 of student loans in one year. He is a community leader, recognized as a Champion of Justice and Equality by the Urban League of Greater Atlanta. Kofi is a graduate of Bowling Green State University as well as the 2018 Leadership Buckhead Program and LEAD Atlanta, class of 2019. You can read about his story on his blog and find him on Instagram or via Twitter.

Kofi Gyebi suit financial coach
Kofi Gyebi


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3 thoughts on “How to live a valuist lifestyle and how status is killing the American Dream with Kofi

    1. Absolutely had a great time meeting him in person and during this episode, glad you met him as well and thanks for listening!

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