So go ahead and read them. I’ll wait….
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Well, what do you think? My first response is a gut wrenching primal scream. HOW COULD YOU BE SO IRRESPONSIBLE? HOW COULD YOU NOT KNOW? YOU SPENT YOUR RETIREMENT ON A WEDDING????!!!??? WTF????? I am still trying to breathe. Here’s why:
I have had a job since I was 14. Because I wanted to buy my own stuff and my parents couldn’t afford it. I kept working through college and took out loans because my parents couldn’t afford it. I got married and then divorced and ended up with a bankruptcy. I still had student loans and I still paid off my car. I kept working. Then I went back to school. Then I met my second husband and had twins. My savings took a hit when I stayed home with them and then worked part time for a few years. Now I am working again like a “normal” person. While working part time we paid off a couple of loans we took out and we paid them off early. I contributed to my 403B. We refinanced our mortgage but our mortgage is less than 20% of our net income per month including taxes and insurance. We have no credit card debt. We have budget.
Now that I am working again, we are using the money to pay off my student loan and recent car loan. It should take 2 years to pay off both. Then retirement savings will go into hyperactive overdrive to make up for some lost time. We have plans for medical expenses and summer camp for our kids. We have a small emergency fund and will make it grow. I can cover a $400 emergency. Probably even a $2000 one in short order.
Why do I say all of this? Because I can’t wrap my head around a grown man putting his daughters wedding ahead of having money for retirement for himself and his wife. I can’t wrap my head around someone blaming everything but their own decisions (stock market tanks aside) for their financial situation. I can’t wrap my head around not having a $400 cushion for emergencies. I can’t wrap my head around taking out a mortgage when you can barely pay for groceries every month (or can’t in this case). I cringe when a real estate guy making $250K per year thinks there is nothing he can’t afford and can consider a $10,000 watch when he is paying rent and his car expenses are more than half of his rent. I laugh when this same guy says he doesn’t plan to retire because the reality is that he probably won’t ever be able to. I smile when the guy making $53K has been saving for retirement as well as putting money away for his kids although $7k for bedroom furniture for the family seems ludicrous especially since he says his kids are now outgrowing their $2000 worth of furniture. This guy thinks he’ll be able to retire around age 60 which is remarkable because his twins will only be 20 and in college at that time. That one makes me scratch my head. I feel bad for poverty guy because he thinks he’ll triple his income as a bar back in 10 years. Although if he does and he acts like $53K guy he might turn out ok. Alright, I am breathing now.
My rant is far from over and I could go on and on but here’s my bottom line:
- don’t spend more than you make. period.
- save SOMETHING. you need an emergency fund. sell something to make it happen. you won’t die. I’ve had one even when I was only making $300 per week.
- pay CASH. It’s much harder to part with and when it is gone, it is gone. You have to either work more or sell something to get more of it to make a purchase. it doesn’t contribute to debt.
- pay off your debt. don’t expect anyone else to do so. and stop paying the lottery. they won’t pay off your debt.
- budget. spending plan. whatever you want to call it. get a plan.
- no one needs a smartphone. especially no one under the age of 18 who doesn’t have a job.
- retirement trumps college. and weddings. your kids aren’t your retirement plan.
- shop at aldi. carry a quarter. and your own bags.
- read Mr Money Mustache.
- and a million other things.
Then go read THIS (ignore the Bill Cosby quote. the rest of it is really useful) and realize you can exit the rat race and get ahead and actually be sort of happy without incurring more debt and even retire someday.