We just experienced a big day for the United States. Throughout the country people cast votes for new laws and elected officials, including the president. Common people electing officials….it brings up a question: does this mean anything to your overall plan?
For my friends Tim and Kathy, you wonder. They have two young children and make $85k per year. According to them, they have credit card debt of around $6,000. They don’t save, although they could. When we piece together their financial picture, there’s a clear pattern:
They love high end restaurants.
“Why?” I asked when we were playing games together one night. Kathy asked me if I could find her a lower rate credit card and handed me their latest bill.
“We eat dinners out because we work hard all day. We’re both absolutely fried when it comes time to make dinner,” Kathy replies. “It doesn’t make sense to be tired all night so we’re tired the next day at our job. Everybody’s had enough, so we head for a nice meal out. We’re happy sharing our day together instead of slaving over prepping a meal.”
That sounds nice, until you read the bottom lines: $48, $53, $79.
“We try to stay away from alcohol during those meals,” Tim quips. “That helps keep the price down.”
Further down the bill, I see department store shopping.
“It makes it so much easier to get the stuff at one place. Saves us time,” Tim explains.
“I hate shopping,” Kathy says defensively.
Tim has an addiction: sports. They have the MLB network package that allows them to see every game in the league each night.
Each weekend during the fall, he’s watching several games, courtesy of NFL Sunday ticket.
“It’s for my league,” he says. “I’m in this fantasy football thing. $100 to get in. If I finish in the top three I at least get my money back. Then he points to the television remote. “If I win, it pays for about three years of this.”
Has he ever won?
“This is the year!” he smiles.
When I drive by their house, a team of high school age kids is cleaning their lawn. I asked Tim about it at a party we were both attending. “The kids needed the work. It was nice. They came to the house and asked. It’s only $20 a week. Saves me all that time….and gas.”
Speaking of gas….they live in the country. “No high city taxes.” Both Tim and Kathy commute over 20 miles to work. They must spend a couple hundred dollars in gasoline a week.
On my personal Facebook account, Tim made his politics known leading up to the big vote. “We’ve gotta get the President out of office. He’s costing this country dearly. We can’t afford four more years.”
I think there’s a bigger question: Can Tim and Kathy last four more years whether the President won or not?