A friend of mine, Andrew (not his real name), is married with two kids. A few years ago, his life was like many Americans – he carried consumer debt, had no savings, and was stressed out. Life was not turning out the way he’d hoped. Then he realized he was responsible for the mess he was in and set about to change things.
He worked hard to improve his financial position. He eliminated all his consumer debt, leaving only his home mortgage which he has now paid off more than half. He owns a single rental property which he recently paid off completely. Due to his and his wife’s diligence in paying down their debt, his wife recently stopped working to stay home and care for their children full-time.
Andrew’s family lives in a nice home, but he and his wife drive older, paid-off cars. They don’t take annual, expensive vacations. They aren’t flashy.
Andrew listens to financial podcasts like The Money Peach, reads books like The Richest Man in Babylon, and is excited about his future.
Although some would like to think so, this isn’t easy for them. Andrew works two jobs. One is seasonal while the other is commissioned-based so there are good months and bad months, good years and not-so-good years. This requires frugality and communication. Sometimes the couple is on the same page about purchases and sometimes they are at odds (like all of us), but they are always focused on the same goal – staying debt free so they can live a life that most can’t achieve.
While I’m in the office, I touch base with Andrew about our financial journeys. It’s one of our favorite topics to weigh-in on and we’re very open about how each of us is doing.
One morning recently, he was slightly bothered. I asked him what was wrong, to which he replied, “I learned something disturbing this weekend.”
“What?” I asked.
“You can’t talk about how you’re doing to most people. They’re either going to be jealous or expect you to start paying for everything.”Read More