The Money Issue QUESTION

I love money. I hate money.

After my mom died, my sister came across some letters my mom wrote to no one in particular – they’d be journal entries, I suppose, had she put them in a diary. One in particular from November 1995, was about how quickly my father was burning through their retirement savings. My mother was very thrifty, very good with money, but my father was…not, let’s just say.

When I graduated from college, I wasn’t making enough money to pay for my student loans right away, so it wasn’t until about five years after I graduated that I was able to secure a credit card. It was a Sears card, with which I bought a clock/radio for $12.95. I lived too much on my credit cards, especially when I was unemployed or a grad student.

But at the beginning of 2011, I had no credit card debt at all, due in no small part because I won some money on a TV game show a decade ago, and the much more disciplined attitude of my spouse. And now, I can’t STAND to have credit card debt.

It became clear that the money I spent around my mother’s funeral I would not be able to pay off in a month, so right away, I did something I almost never do; I took out a credit card to transfer the charges from another credit card. The latter card is a zero interest card until February 2012, which will facilitate me paying it off without extra charges.

Now, while I’m pretty much off desiring STUFF, I still wish I had more money for EXPERIENCES – travel, specifically. We ARE taking a trip to Canada this year. But if I were less disciplined – and in my heart of hearts, I’m really not that disciplined, I just force myself to act as though I were – I’d be going to a lot more plays and concerts.

Oh, and I hate paying taxes, not just because I can’t get that favorable GE rate, but because I’m a 1040A or 1040EZ (i.e., simple) guy, but since I’ve gotten married, I have had to deal with additional schedules involving various deductions.

So what’s YOUR attitude towards money?

***
The original version of Money, by Barrett Strong, co-written by Berry Gordy, the very first Motown hit.

0 thoughts on “The Money Issue QUESTION”

  1. We pay off the credit card at the end of every month. My retirement funds are due on June 29th – we plan to “tidy up” the house and buy a more efficient central heating system. We downsized our spending when I stopped fulltime teaching. We holiday once a year to the Isle of Man – possibly a second break to France. Not big spenders ( though I could be!)But resist – part of the plan.

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  2. I did something that some might find stupid, but I feel better about myself for it. I took money from my floundering IRA to pay off all my debt. I figured it was actually worth more to me that way. Instead of losing more money for no reason and it not doing a thing for me, I “lost” the money to secure a better future. I have no plans to ever get another credit card, unless my credit score starts going down and having some activity will help. But my basic opinion of credit cards is that they scare me. Too easy to buy things you don’t really need.

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  3. I’ve found that, at the core of successful personal money management, is self-denial and suppression of immediate gratification. NOT my strong suit, but it works well when I apply it.

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  4. Agg, I still remember my first few credit cards, particularly a Discover card that I somehow managed to rack up $2000 or so on without blinking — a sum that then, in my first few years at college, seemed utterly impossible to ever pay off. I remember when I finally paid that sucker off in 1996 or so I chopped it into a million pieces and never ever let a card get that high again!

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  5. Makes me think of the old saying, “people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.” It’s applied to a lot of things, including retirement planning/saving. Getting rid of debt is an important part, but only part—you still have to live, and being debt-free by itself won’t take care of that. It’s complicated enough that I think it’s worth consulting a professional.

    About taxes, Roger most New Zealanders in your position don’t file tax returns. We don’t have a distinction between married and single for income taxes, nor many deductions, either. So, most New Zealanders don’t file a tax return. Also, the system is well-balanced, so they don’t owe anything extra or get a refund.

    There are people who DO file tax returns: Self-employed, people with a lot of investments (especially overseas), people who make a lot of charitable donations, those sorts. But most people don’t face the annual chore of tax returns.

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  6. I was broke for years when I was a single mother. Once I remarried, my new husband put all my old debt under his good credit rating and cleared it up.

    Now we live very simply: He is an ordained minister, which brings a few good deductions but has the negative of automatically making him self-employed. (It’s true; no ministers are considered employees of their churches.) Add to that the fact that I’m a self-employed poet/musician and sometimes make no money, and OY!

    But like I said, we live simply. When the Market crashed and my sisters were gnashing their teeth over their lost 401Ks, I said, “We never put money in the stock market, because you should gamble money you can’t flush down the toilet.” End of story.

    We are rich. We have an apartment, food, clean water, and all we really need in life: love, happiness, God, our family.

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