5 Financial Wake-Up Calls—And What You Can Learn from Them
My Wake-Up Call
Nineteen eighty-five was a big year for me…I graduated from college, got a job at Price Waterhouse and got married. To celebrate my new life as an official grown-up, I went out and bought myself a Firebird. I had worked hard to get through college and the Firebird was both a reward for my hard work and a lot of fun to drive. I loved that car…but I also learned that having a sports car was expensive. Between car payments, insurance, and gas, I was starting to feel squeezed. Plus, I was starting to learn that other stuff was expensive too—stuff like rent. And as an official grown-up, and one half of a married couple planning to start a family, it was time to be thinking in terms of mortgage payments, not rent. So I sold the Firebird and bought a rusty Datsun B210 for $500. I won't say that it didn't cause me a pang, but I really did see it as an investment in the future. That transaction put me in a position where I could afford the down payment on a co-op apartment, and start building toward a more solid financial future.
What You Can Learn
I don't see that Firebird as an indulgence…and I wouldn't call it a phase, either. It was a perfectly fine choice to make at the time. But different choices were called for later. You choose what you let go of, just as you choose what you reach for.