For most of us, the more we make the more we spend. It’s our nature; it’s the way of the world. For some unknown reason, we feel we have an obligation to stimulate the country’s economy with each raise we earn.
Many years ago, I remember having a conversation with a good friend of mine who had just landed a job with one of Canada’s major financial institutions.
To this day, I still remember how he was selling me on the concept of more is better. “Going into debt can significantly increase your standard of living,” he explained. “Just make sure you can afford the monthly payments.”
Unfortunately I could afford the payments, so I made damn sure I was going to the head of his class.
When I signed the loan for my first car I was charged an interest rate of 21 per cent. Ouch.
But that was okay, I had worked out the “easy monthly payments” and all I had to do was curtail my weekend socializing to make up for the added expense.
The year was 1980 and I was driving my first new car.
Sure, I had to cut back, but you’d be surprised at how many different ways you can dress up Kraft dinner.
With or without ketchup, maybe a little HP, I bought it in bulk but it didn’t matter, I was way cool.
In those days I was heavily into sailing. I’d spend most summer weekends on my friend’s Contessa 26, sailing up and down the north shore of Lake Ontario. After a few years, he suggested I just might want to look at getting my own boat (go figure).
Low and behold, a few months later, I was the proud owner of a Hunter 25.
My entertainment budget was reduced to watching “Chips” every week but that was okay, I was Captain Highliner.
Eventually, I came to the realization that although it was really cool to have these things it didn’t matter a hill of beans if you couldn’t afford the gas.
It came to a head when my TV broke down and I didn’t have the cash to buy a new one.
Goodbye boat, goodbye cool car.
Getting into debt is easy to do, and in some cases, makes sense. Just make sure you do it for the right reasons.
– Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at 416-510-5123.