Shall We Play a Game?

Shall We Play a Game?

In the spring of 2002, I bought a used Mercury Sable from an abandoned auto auction held at a local tow yard.  I thought this would be a great way to get an extra vehicle.  I was driving a 1989 GMC S-15 and worried that if it ever broke down I’d need a back-up vehicle.  The Sable was very clean, although really nerdy.  However, I couldn’t complain for $600.

I took the car home and shortly realized I didn’t need a third car.  It just sat in my driveway most of the time. 

My friend, Steve, however, needed a car.  His car was on its last days and he was tired of putting money into it.  He made me an offer for the Mercury that I couldn’t refuse.

For the Sable, he offered to trade a Sinbad pinball machine and a Galaxian table top arcade unit.  Both of these machines needed additional work, but I jumped at the deal.

In less than a year, those two machines would grow into a small basement arcade.

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I am Deeply in Debt and I Feel Fine

I am Deeply in Debt and I Feel Fine

I read an article recently wherein the writer stated that all debt is bad.  I paused on his stance and reflected for a bit.  It seemed extremely militant.  I’m not saying the author can’t take that position, it’s just that I don’t agree with him.

I battled consumer debt for many years before I finally cleaned up my act.  I’m not perfect now by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m doing a heck of a lot better.

Part of my growth was getting a better understanding of debt - on how to use it and when to avoid it.

I don’t hate, nor do I love, debt.  It took me some time to get comfortable with what debt is and how I could use it properly.

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How I Avoided Soul-Crushing College Debt

How I Avoided Soul-Crushing College Debt

I screwed around in high school. 

All it takes is a look at my report cards.  If there was one consistent piece of feedback that teachers gave, it was this: “Is not working to potential.”  I found some old report cards recently and was embarrassed by the dismal remarks from my teachers. 

Part of my poor performance was due to the number of classes I missed.  The final half of my senior year, I had Electronics 3 before lunch and Economics afterwards.  I took the various electronics courses to hang out with my friend, Steve and kept getting in way over my head with the content.  Economics, on the other hand, was a course I wanted to learn because I saw myself in the business world.  Lunch time, however, was for drinking beer and smoking cigarettes in a mutual friend’s VW van.  It quickly became a group hang out and the place to party.

There were a lot of skipped Electronics classes so we could start the party early or avoided Econ classes so we could keep going late.    

I had ten missed classes one semester in Electronics and nineteen in Economics.  When I did show up to Econ, I often wasn’t sober.  One afternoon, the prettiest girl in school leaned over and asked, “Are you drunk?”  I tried to get her to notice me all year and when she finally did it was because I was liquored up.  Well, my hopes for a John Hughes movie moment (think Some Kind of Wonderful) evaporated right then and there. 

My parents were solidly middle-class with no savings for my college education.  There were no sports scholarships on the horizon as I hadn’t played high school sports, instead preferring to work at Albertson’s so I could earn money to pay for my car and beer.

I knew my options for college were limited.  I could either work full time, take out student loans or I could run away from home.

The third option was my best choice.

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How Getting Knocked Out Financially is Easier Than You Think

How Getting Knocked Out Financially is Easier Than You Think

When I was in my late twenties, I found myself with roughly $32,000 of debt.  The debt, mostly consumer, had been rolled into a second mortgage to ease the burden of the various monthly payments.  As things happen, I ended up divorced and that debt became solely mine as part of the settlement.  I’m not bitter nor blaming anyone.  It’s the way life goes and how I ended up where I am today.

I later remarried bringing this debt into that marriage.  Unfortunately, she also brought $14,000 worth of debt for a combined $48,000 worth of debt.

I made good money, but lived paycheck to paycheck.  It was frustrating to live that way.  I wanted more out of life, but couldn’t figure out how to get it. 

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I Was Broke Because I Wanted To Be

I Was Broke Because I Wanted To Be

In early 2009, a broker friend of mine asked if I was ready to start investing in commercial real estate.  I was a property manager at the time and my personal finances were a mess.  Unfortunately, I had to wait and told him to think about me the next time around.  I had a burning desire to be in a real estate deal and realized there was only one thing I could do to get there: grow up.

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