Thursday, May 30, 2013

Money Mindset-Owning a Nice Car

Mercury Capri Convertible

Growing up I was lucky enough to have a car that was considered mine, it started with a 1997 Red Mercury Capri convertible, which I think was my Dad buying a convertible during the summer and then realizing we lived in the snow filled winter wonderland known as Wisconsin.  I don't think I really had to pay for anything on that car, if I did it was minimal, insurance, oil change, gas(Yes I remember .99/gallon), nothing too much.

Mercury Tracer

I then moved on to what many people growing up know as my car.  A 1997 Mercury Tracer, Purple of course.  Many nicknames were given, "The Traca' You Can't Replace", "The Tracer You Can't Eraser", "The Purple Barney Car".  All great nicknames for a great car.  I think the car was a couple years old when my parents bought it, some of the upgrades were.... haha who I am I kidding everything was standard, nothing was power, cruise control, that would be my foot hovering over the gas pedal at the same rate, CD player, haha a radio was the only thing bumping in my car.(I did later buy a CD player when I worked at Circuit City).  During high school and college, my parents had me paying the car payment the best I could, about $160 month until I basically couldn't afford it anymore and my parents paid off the loan.

What does this have to do with owning a nice car?  Well I didn't have a new car or expensive, I consider myself lucky for what I had, but nothing brand new or high end like a Mercedes Benz or BMW.  During college summers I lived in the Chicago suburbs and had the pleasure of working at a golf course that costs from what I remember around 80k to join.  So pretty much every car that rolled in there was a 50K car or more.  Rarely did I see the typical American Ford Taurus unless it was in the caddie parking lot.  I associated having money with having a nice car.  Which I think was one of the reasons I purchased my Mercedes Benz.  Now I bought it below Kelly Blue book value, but I felt like the richest man in the world.  My car payment wasn't ridiculous, nothing that I couldn't afford(asterisk )

I shortly realized buying a car with a payment was not smart.  I was paying about $300 month, not including insurance, gas, and maintenance which gets a little higher with a foreign car.  After moving from Florida(need a car), to Chicago(don't need a car).  I was able to sell my car after listing it on Craigslist, I took a hit out of pocket, I think I had to pay about $1200, possibly less.  This might have been the greatest financial decision I have made in my life.

Now when I see someone in my neighborhood driving an Escalade or new BMW, I think they are morons.  Why would you spend so much money on a car, is it to look good, feel good, these are items that are not going up in value?  That's a lot of money.  So let's say you make really good money and pull in 100K, a new Escalade costs about 60K, that still makes no sense to me, unless you are paying cash for this purchase I have to say this is a bad decision.  That's 60% of your salary.  I think knowone should have a car payment and the fair amount for your salary to car ratio should be right around 10%.  So make 200K you can drive a 20K car, unless it's cash then i think that bumps to 20%, so make make 200K a year and you can drive a used Escalade all paid for.

My Money Mindset when I am in the suburbs or nicer area is to see that same BMW and think that they are doing very well for themselves.  Owning a nice car seems to tell me that you have money.  This could be keeping up with the Jones' which is also something that can bring you down in the debt spiral of course.  But I think it's totally different, the guy driving the BMW is a guy doing well making good cash, the guy listening to Jay-Z driving the 60K Lexus is a moron to me.

Do you have a nice car with a payment or a lease?  Do you own a 1993 Toyota Corolla with rust on the side?  Do you ride your bike to work?  Take the bus, train, carpool?  How do you save money with your own transportation?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Birthday Presents and Dreaming Big

Happy Birthday from Google!!!

So besides Google apparently knowing everything, what happens on your birthday?  Do you throw a party, go out to eat, go to Las Vegas, pretend the day doesn't exsist?

Well I like to keep things simple, I might mention it casually here and there, but a birthday extravaganza is not on the horizon.  I live by what a comic once said, I'm only celebrating every 10 years, so 30, 40, etc., the rest is for the kids.  What I have done in the past is go grab my favorite drink or favorite lunch spot, it's relatively inexpensive and puts a smile on my face:)

So this year at the old age of 31, I will be having a relaxing birthday.  The wife made me breakfast, I'm eating leftovers from last night, and to cap it off I will be hanging out with the wife for a beer and probably some pulled pork nachos from one of my favorite places for a beer in the city.  Yes life of luxury, gotta love it. 

I think this is being frugal, my guess is I don't pay a dime out of pocket on my birthday(thank you Wife!), but even if I didn't it wouldn't be anything Andrew Jackson couldn't take care of.  Any gifts of money I receive usually get a 50/50 split between let's buy something for me and let's pay off that debt.  I'm a big believer in small gifts to reward yourself and still attack the Evil Debt Monster, which I imagine to look like these guys over there.

Dream Big...........................Time to Reflect

It also brings me to a point to really think about goals and dreams I had growing up and recent as things change from a professional basketball player to owning the Milwaukee Bucks.

Watch out Herb Kohl!!!
It's amazing the things that change your life and your expectations.  Coming out of college, I had dreams of probably golfing every day and driving a Mercedes.  Life and poor decisions gave me black eye, pretty much swollen shut.  Then a beautiful woman comes in to your life and the swelling goes down and you can see great things ahead.  For those people who are exactly where they want to be and have reached or on track to reach life's goals, congratulations!!!  My journey is in progress probably took a detour to Mexico, I'm not sure if climbing a mountain or a hill, but I'm climbing upwards and that's the most important thing for me.

What do you do on your birthday that's special to you?  Where do  you think you would be at this point in your life?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sprint and Relax, Sprint and Relax


So sometimes I forget the relax part and instead of sprinting and then relaxing, it goes Sprint, Frustration, Sprint, Frustration.  I think I get alot of this from my Dad(not that I'm blaming him, but the apple does not fall far from the tree right).  Sometimes I have to check my self before I riggiddity reck myself, insert 90's rap song quote!

So here's some updates on life and what I'm doing from previous blogs.  So the sprint is going great for paying off student loans. I am on pace to pay it off by July, I did however take out money from a Roth IRA, from what I read this is allowed as long as it's paying off student loan debt and is your principal balance.  It was a small amount and I'm willing to risk any penalties or taxes, which I think will be small even if it happens.

In the game of life, I missed out on a manager position, but was promoted, I learned alot about myself and really have to pay attention more of the person that I am at work.  But they gave me more money, which will go towards debt, maybe a vacation!  I'm only so frugal.

Bachelor Party weekend worked out almost perfectly, ALMOST.  So after I did all of my calculations on the blog I realized I would need an extra $50, so I bought golf with my debit card and the only card I left in my wallet, well I wanted to play a little more blackjack and took out another $100!!!  Idiot move that actually paid off, I ended up winning all my money back and leaving the place on the positive side.  So the DomRicketts is tough and can work, just like paying off debt.

Last but not least over the next couple weeks and weekends I will busy with a wedding, memorial weekend, and a vacation.  Apparently I like to just hand out money, haha as I cry a little.  But after those occur I am ramping up my Man Fund and business and going as hard as I can for 60 days(do what you can do in 60 days what would take someone else 2 years), let's see how much I can make, I will be giving much more details on my plans and where I am selling and buying etc.

Until then, thanks for reading and let's all be Wealthy, your definition of course!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bachelor Party Spending

Bachelor Party Spending

I am in the middle of my debt sprint and what should happen to come up but a bachelor party. So here's the dilemma do I say no sir I'm saving and paying off debt or do I say lets roll fellas and spend some dollars, well the answer is in the middle.

To start the BP=bachelor party is in Minnesota, I don't own a car and BP costs $! Well I live in Chicago so the path is Chicago to Milwaukee to Minnesota. So there are many paths to get there rent a car, take a bus, taxi, train, heck I could even hitch hike, but safety first kids! So I'm hauling a duffle bag and golf clubs so not the easiest luggage to carry around. I started with the metra which cost me a total of $3 to get to Union Station and then what's right there but Amtrak for a one way trip to Milwaukee for $24, so I haven't surged with a plane trip or take a taxi to the train station I'm at $27 in travel and $5 in breakfast, I will then share a ride and gas up to MN which round trip should cost $100 total or $50 for me, so not so bad a total of about $80 in travel costs.
Now lets not forget the strippers, gambling, drinking, and sleeping in the penthouse, sounds like The Hangover! I actually think most of that is just crazy, I'm trying to save money and be married for 30 years, she would kill me if I did more than 2 of those, so lets be smart. But how do you not spend money on this trip, well besides not going you set a budget and make it all cash:). Cash is king.

So like a friend made me leave all my debit and credit cards on our way to the gentlemens club one night in my younger and stupider days, it saved me a lot of money that night but that's another story for another day. But i will be leaving all debit and credit cards in the hotel im calling it thr DomRicketts aka leave your credit and debits at home. So I'm going up with a budget for hotel, a couple activities, and what's ever left over is my fun money for gambling. So I have $$50 for hotel, $50 for golf, $20 for bowling, and $30 for food, leaving me $50 for gambling, it's a tight budget and now that I wrote it down very important need an extra $50 for drinks! Dang ok regroup and sum this up travel $80, food and drink $80, hotel $50, activities $70, gambling $50, Total $330!!!!!
Is this all worth it? I would usually say no, I don't make enough money or save enough to do this, but I have not seen this friend since I left Wisconsin so at least 3 years, so I would spend that just to visit and see him, so yes it's worth it, it's a 1 time expense to see friends and without people you care about its not worth it to me.

So have a bachelor party or bachelorette party make sure to know your budget, bring all cash, DomRicketts your plastic, and make sure it's for a good friend or family member. Oh yeah have fun!!!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Are Your Parents Rich-Small Town Life

Good Morning Happy Friday right!?!?  So growing up as many of you know, we lived in a small town, I mean our school had like 6 towns combined and we were still considered very small.  One thing came to my mind the other day when a couple of friends and I happened to stop by in our old hometown to pick up some golf clubs.  What did we ever even do in this town?  No wonder we played sports or watched movies, the only businesses were a grocery store and 2 restaurants.  It's was unbelievable to me, I currently live in Chicago so that might have something to do with it, but I was almost taken back, and then I thought about it who is rich or wealthy in this town and area, it was definitely not my parents despite the subject.

So I started thinking how do any of us know how to be wealthy?  Do we take what are parents have done and mimic what they have done?  I don't see anyone as of yet running a hedge fund, owning a multi million dollar business, so how do we get there, who teaches us what we need to do to become wealthy?

Let me back track this a little, there are many people who have great jobs and professions who make a good or even great salary.  I have friends who are doctors, lawyers, nurses, construction workers, bankers, and I know they will do well, but will they be wealthy?  Do they have student loan debt, mortgage, are they debt free?  Because otherwise they/we are walking with a limp, during the race of being wealthy.  What are they doing to become wealthy?  What did your parents tell you to do?  Did they show you the path? 

Growing up I feel like very few friends or classmates had wealthy parents.  Without saying specific people although small town it will be pretty easy to figure out, here's what I have taken from it.  Insurance agent, Judge, Railroad worker, Restaurant owner, Business owner, these are the names that pop in my head that seemed to be doing above average compared to other families.  What do I see with almost all of these is that they had there own business in some way, these are the people who did well.  Yes there are certainly outliers and many people who work at a solid company and appeared to be doing well, but the outer appearance is small business is the way to wealth, there are other ways, but this sticks out.

Wealthy Farmer?

My parents have not taught me how to become wealthy, they have taught me many things that I am indebted to them for life, the list would be to long to even mention.  This is my goal, become wealthy.  I do not own my own business, strike 1 for me, I am in debt, strike 2 for me, however one topic that I did not cover, real estate, this is not a strike for me and feel like this maybe the home run of wealth. 

Please comment I love to read them even if it's this is terrible or great or your story, I love them!