In the western world, most of us choose to live close to the bone. Note that I stress “choose.”
In my early twenties, I achieved very rapid success in my career, being promoted several times in less than five years. I went from slightly more than minimum wage to a salary that would, in today’s dollars, be roughly $105,000 per year. My wife went from being a typical starving student to a registered nurse, earning (again, in today’s dollars) roughly $75,000. I also started a new business, determined to make my fortune quickly.
From living in a rooming house, I acquired a new home, new truck, new car, new RV and new furniture. Along with all of that, we also acquired new debt. For every raise in pay, we increased our debt load, always making just enough to maintain our lifestyle. When divorce hit, so did the financial crisis. Our incomes, together, were barely sufficient. Now that we had two households, our outflow greatly exceeded our income. In short, we had lived our lives too close to the bone, with no reserve or safety outlet.
This is the way many of us live. We spend what we have, acquire more than we need, and suffer the consequences. There is no doubt that the tremendous stress under which we found ourselves contributed to our failed marriage. There is also no doubt that it was the choice to spend more than we needed to spend that caused most of our stress.
I have a relative that recently purchased a house. Smart move? He also had recently purchased a new truck. He loves to enjoy his weekends, and takes numerous trips. He makes a good wage, and felt that he could afford these indulgences. Six months after purchasing the house, he was forced …» Read more