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Jailbird

October 3rd, 2007 at 03:47 pm

One often hears when it comes to personal finances to have "experiences" rather than to accumulate "stuff". I recently had an experience that I don't think anyone really wants to have. After 46 years of nothing but a single speeding ticket, I was arrested and spent about six hours in jail.

I was handcuffed, placed in a patrol car, and transported to the local police station. After sitting on the Group W bench while the paperwork was completed, I was loaded back into the patrol car and driven to the county jail for booking. At the county jail I was "read my rights", patted down, and fingerprinted (no ink involved). Before placing me in a holding cell with 30 other guys, the jailers took my shoes and my belt. "We don't want any hangings."

To make a long story short, as this was my first (alleged) offense and it was a misdemeanor, I was released on my own recognicance after 5-6 hours. The court hearing has been put off until December.

You might ask what this has to do with personal finance. I've learned a few things from this experience.

Two things that you can't put a price on are your health and your freedom.
Anger can be very expensive.
A holding tank levels the socio-economic field
Your career and more importantly your reputation can be ruined with one bad decision

Sacrifice

September 27th, 2007 at 05:12 am

Often sacrifice is brought up as a necessary component of personal finance management. The so called "latte factor".
After watching the first few episodes of Ken Burn's The War documentary, I've realized that I know next to nothing about true sacrifice.

Giving up the gourmet coffee or dropping the Cable TV is nothing compared to throwing oneself into harms way. How would we react today if we had to use rationing coupons? What hardships are we willing to bear for our country today?

Financial Feelings

September 25th, 2007 at 03:16 pm

When it comes to spending money, I don't seem to have too much trouble denying things for myself, but have much more difficulty in denying things to my wife or children. I can say, "We can't afford it" occasionally, but either guilt, frustration, or fatigue usually get to me eventually and I cave. For instance, I currently drive a 1995 Ford sedan with over 154,000 miles on it and no debt attached. My wife drives a much newer Honda CRV which she still owes about $5,000 on. She wants to get a larger vehicle. I suggested we wait until her car is paid off, a little over a year. She seemed ok with that, but I know the thought will come up again in a month or two. Each time I suggest holding off, I feel a bit more guilt.

When my oldest daughter was entering the sixth grade she took an entrance exam for a private school. She was accepted into the school. At the time she applied, I didn't know exactly how expensive the school was. Once I found out, I ran the numbers and told my wife that we really couldn't afford it. Obviously, I should have researched things more ahead of time. To make a long story short, my daughter graduated from the school last year. The cost to me for 7 years of middle and high school was over $70,000. Her mom and I have also been divorced for about 5 years now.

For some reason I can't seem to be happy if I spend money or if I don't spend money. Maybe it's my Catholic upbringing to have to feel guilty or I'm not doing something right.