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My grandpa is awesome. He has lived an amazingly adventurous life, with 6 kids and a wife of almost 60 years! He has the most awesome stories, and if you get him talking, you won’t be going anywhere for a LONG while (grab a snickers). In the past decade, he got some speech recognition software for his computer, and started dictating his life story. My wife has the privilege of editing this story to eventually be printed soon. It’s probably 250 pages on a traditional book print, over 60,000 words and full of all kinds of fun stories from my grandpa’s life.
I’ve been able to catch parts and pieces of it, and even found ME in the story, being born when my parents were still living with my grandpa and looking for a place to stay (w00t, I was born!). My grandpa has also sprinkled in his life lessons in each chapter of his life, stuff he’s learned by just living. This is what we would call “wisdom”, and comes from experience and understanding that sometimes only time can teach. As my wife was reading through the story last night, she messaged me this tidbit that she thought I would get a kick out of:
“We could not afford the car payment and the house payment. The house payment was $64 per month and a car payment was $70 per month but I only made $70 per week take-home. That made it hard on us for all of the things that we needed for our family; food, clothes, shoes, doctors and so on so I start looking for another car.”
Car Payments Sucked, Even back Then
As I mentioned a time or four, I hate new cars and car payments. They are the life-sucking brood of waste that are keeping broke people broke. And my grandpa illustrates it here perfectly. Not to mention the payment WAS MORE THAN HIS HOUSE PAYMENT! This is crazy nuts, but you know what, people did this! And my grandpa realized very quickly how ridiculous this was, and made plans to get a different car ASAP.
Putting Wants Before Needs Always Fails
The backstory on this decision to have such a crazy expensive car payment ($70 A MONTH! HOLY JUNK!) is one of putting wants before needs. You see, at this point, my grandpa and grandma had 6 kids and could not stuff them all into one vehicle. So they were on the hunt for something that would fit the whole family. My grandma said they NEEDED a station wagon, which was true. My grandpa said he NEEDED a sporty car, which was NOT true. So they compromised and got a sporty, fast station wagon, and it cost a bundle! It also got 11 MPG, which even back then was tough on their wallet.
My grandpa was making $280 per month to live on. THEY OWNED A HOUSE ON $280 PER MONTH INCOME! But he’d sunk the family budget by getting a car with a payment that cost more than their house! He put his WANT in the place of their NEEDS, and it failed miserably. Luckily, they were able to get rid of the car and buy a $300, good used vehicle that they could afford in cash, and it fit the NEEDS of the family. My grandpa got his priorities back in order, and all was (financially) well again.
Learn From My Grandpa
I have learned a lot about life from my grandpa, and I think you should too. He has lived a long, full life and his wisdom is timeless. He showed over and over again in the story that putting WANTS before NEEDS always ended up badly, and it never served him well in the long run.
And car payments still suck. They hamper your ability to live life and become financially free. Here’s what my grandpa had to say about car payments after learning his lesson:
“We did not have any car payments and that made life a lot easier for us.”
Comments: Are you finding yourself putting your WANTS before you NEEDS? How are you actively trying to make sure you have your priorities in order? Do you think you are getting ahead with your car payment? How?