Watching the Steps into Adulthood

by JT McGee

stepsIt’s an interesting time in my life, and the lives of friends and acquaintances. Many are a 1-2 years into a career, and lives are changing.

Sometimes I feel like a total weirdo for not participating in the shift toward, you know, being an adult with adult stuff.

Recent anecdotes:

  • New teacher buys a $30,000 car, roughly equivalent to his annual salary. An all-American gas guzzler with terrible Consumer Reports scores makes for an excellent new car, no doubt.
  • Acquaintances are buying homes, often at prices 3-4x their annual income. This is in a place where doing so is completely unnecessary. This isn’t a big city.
  • Weddings. Children. Need I say more?

I think I now truly understand what people mean about keeping up with the Joneses. Facebook makes watching the “competition” easier than ever before. It’s fascinating. And I understand, to some extent, why people get trapped in this stuff. I mean, if person X can afford a new car, why can’t I?

As I was leaving my apartment the other day, my roommate texted me to ask me when I got a motorcycle. Yeah, my car is that loud. But, hey, it’s pretty darn fly for a white guy:

The novelty of owning a car equal to less than a week’s pay keeps me in this beautiful hunk of metal plastic.

Recently, I’ve thrown around the idea of buying a home currently on the market for $35,000. It’s tiny — roughly 600 square feet — but on a huge lot, in a nice part of town, where all my neighbors would be old folk watching The Price is Right.

Alas, my mother wasn’t exactly impressed with my home shopping frugality, quickly suggesting I spend 3-4x as much on a larger home. I legitimately think she’d cringe telling people that I lived in that house. To be fair, I think I’m really just enamored with the concept of a sub-$200 mortgage payment on a home that I could fit on my credit card.

Weird times, man
I really don’t know where I’m going with this post. I’m human, and willing to admit the decisions of others somewhat impact my own. Maybe I’m going crazy?

“Public opinion polls are no substitute for thought.” Warren Buffett

Thanks, Warren. I feel better now.

Now off to a three week workcation, from D.C. to Florida.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark June 6, 2014 at 10:31

You are not crazy. I wish I had been a better saver in my younger years.


Mark June 6, 2014 at 11:47

Good to see you posting again JT. I agree it’s tough to keep the expenses under control when all your friends are splurging everywhere.

Any update on CFA progress? Are you taking it tomorrow?


JT McGee June 6, 2014 at 13:14

L1 in December, probably. Curious — are you a charterholder? Would love to hear about your experience with it.


The Wallet Doctor June 25, 2014 at 16:03

I think buying a smaller more economic home in a place that looks promising is pretty smart. I wouldn’t let familial pressure push you toward something that you aren’t ready to do. If you are feeling a bit unsure, it might be a sign you should just sit back and give yourself some time to think about it.


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