Things I wish I Knew 20 years ago! (or...RUN from debt!) - Frugal Country Living
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Things I wish I Knew 20 years ago! (or...RUN from debt!)

When dh and i married 20 years ago we were full of all the trappings society gives us: credit card debt, new car debt, student loan debt and materialistic wants. The wants came natural to me, dh aquired then from a lifetime of going without, being the oldest of a large poor family. There are so many things we should have talked about, worked out, and planned back then but OH we were in loooooove. It's all Ok as long as we have each other LOL. Oh to be young and silly.

Well we're still a little silly but much wiser now. the other day dh looked at me and exclaimed how he wished we would have figured this out when we first got together...we'd been so much further ahead in life, doing what we love and not worrying about losing a house or a car if the income drops. back then it was unfathomable that after working for a company for years your income would actually go DOWN or STAGNATE.......after all every year brough new raises for the both of us.

Well things change. Looking back these are the things i would tell my younger newly married self:

1. PLAN to stay home. Don't just have a baby and then tearfully decide you can't leave him in daycare without figuring out the details first.

2. Don't buy a house just because everyone says so. No its not a good investment, no its not always building equity, and no its not a cheap loan ...i don't care how much the bank says you're worth it's a ball and chain debt. It is not the American Dream like in Its A Wonderful Life.

3. Don't feel that you have to have your kids doing every class and sport their friends are doing...that doesn't make you a good mom and they really won't care about it years later. Save the money and take more family trips that you always said you couldn't afford.

4. Figure out where you want to live and stay there at least 20 years.....with NO mortgage! Do what I'm doing now....buy a $20,000 foreclosure dump and make it into something pretty. You can do alot of fixing every month when you aren't paying for a car or a mortgage or a HELOC.

5. Plan on a home based business...or two! I feel the new wave of the future is in enterprneurship. If businesses cut back on hiring, work for yourself.

6. Life doesn't always turn out like you plan....so roll with the punches. But PLAN.

So I tell these things to my teen and almost 20 yr old sons....and it falls on deaf ears. ((sigh)) Why do we seem to know everything at age 20 and at age 40 realize we knew nothing at all?



babs said:

So true,


October 1, 2011 7:28 AM

Cheryl said:

When we moved in 2007 oh what joy. The realtor and our credit union assured us we could afford, based on our income, x amount of mortgage. I assured them we'd stick with Dave Ramsey's recommendation of it being no more than a quarter of our take home pay. After listening to the realtor attempt to change our minds and sell us a more costly home I told him that if we're not on the same page, I fully support him working with another potential buyer. That ended that :) So that would be my advice for my younger self or any younger person. Buy what you have planned for, what you want, what you know you can afford, but don't allow yourself to be "sold" by someone else telling you what they want you to buy, to increase their commission.

Same with autos. And while you're at the dealership, dont give your drivers license or car keys to a saleman. If they need to copy your license before you test drive, you walk it to the counter, and take it back as soon as the copy is made. They will say they need to move your car, you offer to move it wherever they need it moved. Oldest tricks in the book to keep you at the dealership while they work on you.

The best time I ever had in a dealership was in my 30s. I'd finally saved enough to pay cash for a used car, knew which one I wanted. Test drove it. Didn't know back then to check consumer reports, but it was a good solid used car. The salesman tried to play his game with me. I told him I'm writing a check for a car today, and if he was too busy or too interested in trying to sell another car I could go somewhere else that was less busy (smile). He kept leaving me alone for 20 min at a time, and coming back with info on a pricier car, by "accident". I didn't know the license and car keys tricks back then, so got stuck there about an hour total before I finally decided to speak up. So that's my last piece of advice. Speak up when you need to.

October 2, 2011 2:51 PM

bane01 said:

I would tell myself DO NOT GET MORE THAN TWO CREDIT CARDS, one would have a lower limit for use to build a good credit history and pay off each month and one for emergencies that exceed the savings account.  I would save more money, realize that a splurge purchase now equals not being able to afford necessities later.  Set up a budget and stick to it!  A good house with what you want is worth waiting for, so is a good car, etc.  

October 3, 2011 10:16 AM

cheapChic said:

tell the younger gerneration pay bills ahead of time .

get your head out of the sand.

get to work

grow up mommy can't do it for you.

October 3, 2011 7:57 PM

ann said:

Cheryl:  Thanks for the great advice about the auto dealership.  I didn't know about those tricks - and I'm no kid.

I'd tell my younger self to figure out how much I needed to live on for a year then save it up as quickly as possible.  I'd tell young me that those savings would allow me to still have a bit of fun while looking for a job should I ever need to.  And if I didn't need to, then just leave them alone, forget about them, and let them grow.  I don't suppose young me would listen, though.  Back then all I cared about was going out and having fun, seeing the world, falling in love.  Jobs were easy to come by, I jumped from one to another at will and never went without a paycheck.  Who knew that the economic situation decades later would be the exact reverse of that.  If I'd saved up a year's expenses at age 20 and left them alone I'd be a rich old lady now with no worries about a looming retirement.

October 6, 2011 4:06 PM

greer63sykes said:

This blog about frugal country living. Return to the simple way of life. Live a life of your own way is the secret key of life.

October 7, 2011 4:35 AM

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