No Brakes

Slow Down

Growing up, I was mostly poor, but I didn’t realize it. The electricity was never shut off and I never missed a meal, but there was rarely money for anything extra. Clothes were only purchased immediately before school started. Shoes were always at least one size too big. Hand-me-downs were a way of life. With very rare exceptions, new toys were given on birthdays and at Christmas. As a Christmas baby, this was unfortunate. If I wanted something during the year, I had to buy it. I had an allowance on and off–more off than on–for a few years. So, I got my first job-a paper route-when I was six. Most of the toys I accumulated as a child, I bought.

Through all of this, my parents never said “We can’t afford it.” I was simply told that if I wanted something, I could either save my money or wait for Christmas. I never saw my parents paying bills, but they got paid. I never saw a checkbook get balanced, but it did. There were only a few times money management was ever mentioned, even in passing.

Naturally, when I moved out on my own, I expected money to take care of itself, just as it had the entire time I was growing up. That wasn’t terrible until I got married, bought a house, built an addition and decided a needed a new car. There was nothing in me to apply the brakes. I can count the number of missed payments I’ve had on one hand-with fingers left over. I can’t begin to guess the number of purchases, both large and small, that I should have skipped but didn’t.

Shortages growing up coupled with absolutely no budget training turned into financial irresponsibility as an adult.

My wife grew up with almost the exact opposite training. She was also poor, but the household budget was clearly in evidence and generally taken to an extreme. Her training involved getting “the best bang for the buck”. If an item was on sale and could potentially be useful, her mother bought five. I don’t mean five similar variations. That’s five identical products, same size, same color. She still has a display box full of screwdrivers with interchangeable tips. It looked useful and it was on sale, so she bought them all.

Through all of that, the bills were always paid.

This training has made it difficult for my wife to turn down a sale price. If something is on sale-or worse, clearance-there is an excellent chance it will be coming to our house. Once again, there are no brakes.

Shortages growing up coupled with almost two decades of watching every sale turn into a purchase has turned into financial irresponsibility growing up.

Neither one of us were prepared to handle the financial aspect of being an adult. That is something we intend to improve on for our children.  We intend to give them the ability to brake themselves.

Enhanced by Zemanta
No comments yet

Future Dreams

While jogging with my wife a few days ago, we had a conversation that we haven’t had in years. We discussed our dreams.

It’s an important conversation for couples to have. What are your hopes? What are your dreams? Where do you want to be in 10 years? In 20? In 50? Planning for the future gives you a map for the present.

My wife and I hadn’t had this conversation in years. A few days ago, we did. Our life-goals are simple and achievable.

I want to leave the corporate world and support my family with writing and the training classes I do. I want a chunk of land outside of any major metropolitan area, but close enough for the entertainment and shopping. I want enough land to expand my classes on my own property, relying on no one.

My wife wants enough land to have some horses. It was unspoken, but I think she wants my goals to take off so they can support her goals, too.

We want a comfortable retirement and we want to help the kids with college.

We’re a bit behind the game for college funding. That’s ok, though. There is nothing wrong with a kid working his way through college and learning those life lessons.

We are also behind on the retirement. But, if I can support us doing the things I love, I don’t need $X million. Retirement isn’t a cessation of activity, it is taking the time to do the things you love on your own schedule. If writing a book while sitting on my private range is enough to fund our life, that’s the perfect retirement.

Enhanced by Zemanta
No comments yet

How Refinancing Your Student Loans Can Save You Thousands

This post is brought to you by Jeremy Biberdorf.Students who graduated college in 2015 were said to have graduated with an estimated $35,000 in student loan debt. Of course, some students will have less and some more depending on what you did … [Continue reading]

No comments yet

Fat guy running

As part of my effort to improve every part of my life, I have decided to get back in shape. Twelve years ago, I worked in a factory during the day and cooked in a resaurant in the evening. I didn't have a car, so I biked 5 miles in between my … [Continue reading]

2 comments