Tag Archives: cars

get out of debt (part 2).

23 Sep

In case you didn’t read You’re a Grown Man, get out of debt (part 1). Here’s a quick recap — 1960’s Batman TV Show style:

Last time, on Grown Man

We learned that Grandpas are awesome (WOW!!!)

We found out that evil Dr. Debt is probably in YOUR HOME (ZOK!!!)

But just in the nick of time, Grown Man swooped in (WHAMM!!!) to save the day and let you know that your life is worth more than just money and possessions! (OOOOF!!!)

Then, just as you were about to stop reading, Robin came to the rescue and yelled, “What are you worth, and how can you find contentment in that?  It’s a hard question but one that’s really at the heart of our crazy spending!” (OPRAH-ED!!!)

Robin always was kind of a buzz kill.  Anyhow, let’s continue on with the reasons why you should get out of debt (KAPOW!!!) Okay, I promise I’m done with those now.  Here we go…

2- Debt destroys relationships. Even great relationships have an impossibly hard time navigating the waters of financial stress.  Research — real research, not like some junky middle school science fair project — has shown that couples are more likely to survive gigantic problems with children, in-laws, or sex than they are with financial issues. Yes, it’s that big of a deal and it a-bombs good couples every day.  If you love that girl, balance the budget.

Me an Ole' Betsy?

3- Men need to dream. They need to be able to entertain thoughts like, “Maybe I’d like to move out west when I retire and open a dairy farm” (and yes, this is a real one I had last week.)  Why do I want to be a dairy farmer when I’m lactose intolerant?  Hell of a question. In any event, being debt free gives us the freedom to entertain crazy thoughts like that or less bovine dreams like, “Maybe I’ll buy my friend dinner tonight” or “What if I gave away some money to good causes?”  We need freedom, it’s in our DNA.  And being shackled by debt locks us into a life that’s void of new horizons.

4- Trust is earned. My grandfather (a.k.a. The Great One) trusted the mailman. Because every time the mailman took five minutes out of his Friday to pay the tab, he was clearing his debt, clearing his name, and looking The Great One in the eye and saying (without saying anything), “What you give to me, I will take care of — even if it’s just a sandwich and nickel Coke.”

And that, Grown Men, is why people trust you.  Because you own what’s yours and take care of what’s others.  If you are in debt, you’ve let the world (and more importantly, yourself) know that you’ll take others’ money and not give it back.  Yes, I know you’re usually borrowing from “the man” who “has plenty of money, so why do I have to pay them back!?”  Because you said you would, and at the end of the day, your word is the only true currency you’ve got.

But Grown Man, I’m in debt for school!  Are you saying that’s wrong? Also, why didn’t you tell me that a degree in LaserDisc Repair wasn’t a good idea?

Let’s talk briefly about the terms “good” and “bad” debt.  Good debt typically refers to a house or an education where there’s a possible, if not likely, positive return on investment.  Conversely, bad debt covers everything else that rarely returns equal or positive numbers.  These bad debts are things like cars, credit cards, and that $200 eBay vintage Glowworm.  None of these things, except maybe the Glowworm, will end up yielding you a profit and are widely understood to be dumb ideas.  However, I want to flip-it-and-reverse it on you…

There is no such thing as good debt.

Oh my, how shocking!  Yes, I’m telling you that you should try desperately to pay off your house as soon as possible and not have school loans.  Yes, I’m saying what you think I’m saying — no debt means no debt. Zero.

Now listen, I’m a reasonable man. I know people can’t usually plop down multiple thousands of dollars for these things. But, I am saying that you should do everything in your power to turn your 30-year mortgage into a 15-year one.  And, if that’s not possible, consider if you’ve got the buying power to be in your home in the first place.  If not, turn your dreams of living some other person’s life into realities of living the life you have. Get a house you can pay for – quickly – and stop leaning on the bank to prop you up for 30 years.

As far as school loans go, do everything in your ability to pay your way through school.  Even if you have to wait a year, live like a pauper, and save a ton for tuition — do it.  It’s only in recent history that school loans became the norm.  It was never common for most people, including the generation before us, to take out money for education. And, because they didn’t, they weren’t handcuffed to interest rates and creditors during the second chorus of Pomp and Circumstance.  You, however, will be.  And trust me on this one, you don’t want that pressure right out of school.

Having said all of this, please know that you can still be a Grown Man and have debt.  In full disclosure, I have a mortgage.  However, you can’t be resigned to it being okay, as you were never designed to live a life playing servant to the lender.  You were meant to do great things, to use your mind, to keep your word, and to own your own life.

Here are a few ways you can start reclaiming your world and get out of debt (none of these suggestions are affiliated with Grown Man or have any clue I exist):

1- Listen, read, ingest, and do everything Dave Ramsey says.  He’s intense and brilliant with money management.  You need him.

2- Start using Mint.com.  It won’t make you not crazy with money, but it’ll show you how crazy you are.

3- Find your friend who is out of debt and trade his/her advice for beer (that you buy with cash!)

4- Talk to The Great One, he’ll straighten you out — and give you a Werther’s Original.

You’re a Grown Man, get out of debt.

the size of your truck doesn’t matter.

18 Aug

So I was on a couple date the other night when the other fella at the table (we’ll call him Manute) declared, “Well, I’ve got some ideas for the Grown Man.”  The table snickered and then was exceedingly impressed when he produced a 3×5 card with neatly written, bullet pointed, ideas.  Clearly, this man meant business.

RIP ManuteOne of his ideas was something like, “Grown Men must have trucks. I love my truck, and when I see a guy in a little Honda, I laugh.”  At this point in the conversation, I slipped away into my own thoughts and began writing this post.  Because trucks, and cars in general, are something that men go ape-crap about.  Really, I don’t need to elaborate on this point, do I?  Guys love automobiles, it’s as American as TMZ and Double Downs.  But why? Why the obsession?

Manute had a solid point.  Trucks are awesome.  I’ve had a truck, someday I’d like another one.  There’s something about knowing that you can do basically anything in a good truck that makes them so appealing.  While most men drive the same six mile stretch everyday with their suitcase in the passenger seat and absolutely no adventure worthy of such a grand vehicle, just knowing that, if the need arose, you could haul two palates of sod or could quickly enlist a stranger to drive while you stand in the bed of the truck and shot at bad guys! Trucks rule.

But Gentlemen, we’ve turned the love of our vehicles up to 11 and need to dial it down a notch.  Being cool in a truck isn’t about having the truck, it’s about confidence.  My friend Manute doesn’t really laugh at poor Honda Civic drivers when he sees them – he’s too good of a man.  And, in fairness to him, he was sitting next to his girlfriend of 10 months and across the table from the two of us who basically knew him through the girlfriend.  The freaking guy had a lot of charming to do.

However, plenty of guys do see their vehicle as some badge of superiority in the caste system of masculinity. These are the same guys that put stickers on the back that read “It’s a Jeep thing, you wouldn’t understand” or display a picture of Calvin pissing on [insert rival truck company’s logo].  These guys are, wait for it…wait for it….NOW!  Compensating. They’re saying, “Don’t see me, see the truck.”  To these men I say, nothing on this planet will make you look cooler and stand out above the other men like a solid sense of self and a truck load of humility.  What’s important is that you like the truck.  It’s not about being held in higher regard than others, it’s about being your own Grown Man.  Confidence, confidence, confidence – it’s really the game changer.

Allow me to end with a story:  When I was 15, my grandfather gave me his car as he was upgrading to a standard issue, old dude Saturn.  For six months before I got my license, I went outside every day and cleaned the car, put a new and ridiculously loud stereo in the car, and generally just played with my new toy.  I loved that car and felt like the coolest guy that ever lived.  On the day that I turned 16 and finally got to drive it, I went everywhere!  My mom would mention two rooms away that we were running low on eggs… “No problem mom, I’ll be right back!” My brother would need to go to t-ball practice… “Oh geez mom and dad, you’ve had a hard day, let me take him!”  For real, I was the MAN in that car.

That car was* a 1.0 L, 3 cylinder, Geo Metro.  Not familiar with the Metro?  It’s a lawnmower with four doors that I literally had to fall into because I’m so tall.  And, even though that was one of the smallest, crappiest cars ever made, it was absolutely the coolest vehicle I’ll ever own – even when I finally get the 1957 Chevrolet 5100 (or one of the thousand other amazing trucks I drool over).  The man makes the Geo, not the other way around.

You’re a Grown Man, the size of your truck doesn’t matter.


*I totaled that car 13 days after I got my license.  16-year-olds shouldn’t be allowed to drive.

open her door.

26 Mar

Here’s when you’re a tool:

You walk out to the car with your lady friend in tow. You go to one side, she goes to another. You hit the clicker, beep beep, you both get in, done.

Next time, try walking with her to her side hitting the clicker, and opening her door. Does she need her door opened? No. Is it in any way helpful? Nope. Is it the good thing to do for a girl who could probably get a way cooler dude than you? Yes.

P.S. While your at it, open all doors for all ladies. It’ll help mask your sub-par upbringing.

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