Thursday, March 25, 2010

Teasin' From The Fellas'

I wish I had all the time in the world to spend writing this story.  I love to think back on all the hit and misses of our Financial Love Story...but for now here is the guy who is at the heart of all my stories.....

So that is the Jeep story. I will admit, however, that the “gang” on the boat had quite a laugh at my predicament. Generally, the first question people asked after I told them about the new jeep that I just purchased in the middle of the South Pacific, was, “She did what?” Then they proceeded to ask many more questions, ranging from the simple (did she get a good deal?) to the more, ah, complex (what are the terms of the note?)

These, of course, were all fair questions that I, regretfully, couldn’t answer. Actually, I wanted to ask them myself. You see, the deal had been made in one of those low rent bland deal making rooms that seem to be the décor du jour in the used car industry, two months after the Post office found me in the southern latitudes. I had already made $700 worth of car payments and didn’t even know about it!

I felt left out. I also felt liberated knowing that she had a decent car because I knew that I had left her with a moldering heap that would have a hard time passing muster even in the environmental wasteland of India. So she got a Jeep. And let’s face it, jeeps are pretty cool. I was also proud of my little lady. A lot of the lads weren’t exactly getting letters saying that the problems at home were “not a problem”. I, for one, didn’t have to worry about that either.

Even though she bought the car that she needed, there are some valuable lessons here.

The simplest first:

If you are going to get into debt, know what the terms of your loan are.

And I mean you need to know everything about that debt. This was the first and last time that we had no idea on what the interest rate was or for how long we were obligated to make payments. All I knew is that we were on the hook for $350 a month. Oh, and don’t let these debt junkies push you around with buying something based on a monthly payment either. Once, we had one guy who would run to and fro to the Great and Powerful GMAC Oz and pitch monthly payments instead of the purchase price. Once we settled, I asked to know the terms…14% for 7 years! For a crummy used car! We walked.

We learned another automobile lesson the hard way when we bought a sporty little VW Jetta 6 months later (the jeep didn’t last long with us).

Another lesson?

This one is more subtle and insidious. Lisa now had the reigns of the Melnick financial “empire” for the next 5 years. I never looked at the money and I pretended not to care.

Men, you need to be involved in the financial matters of the house.

I’ll leave you with that one to cogitate. I think you will be surprised.

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