Thursday, August 26, 2010

Livin' Like No One Else!!! Debt from my POV

Okay. So this is the first post I've done so I'll start by letting all you curious readers a little about myself. Born a few years ago to two caring parents, the first of three; not three caring parents, but siblings. Spent the first 18 years of my life in Monroe, GA, about 20 minutes from Athens, GA, home of the horrific Georgia Bulldogs (and yes "dogs" is spelled d-o-g-s, not d-a-w-g-s) and about an hour from Atlanta. Grew up as an outside kid who never really watched TV but always looked for the nearest tree to climb, trail to explore, or pinecomb to throw at someone. I grew up playing baseball and was sure I was destined to be a major leaguer with the Chicago Cubs, a dream I have not given up on, by the way. Played sports all of those 18 years and had some scholarship offer to play baseball at some smaller schools. That's when pride stepped in and said "you are too good to play at anything less than a Division I school." I forgot to mention that I was planning on going to the Naval Academy out of high school, to play baseball. Short story is I didnt get in. Oh well. Back to pride. Grew up a Georgia Tech fan, not because I had influence from family members, who were all UGA fans, but because I knew that I wanted to be called "Boss" from UGA graduates. So I decided to go to GT, where I spent 3.5 years bouncing around from major to major (Architecture->Aerospace Engineering (2 weeks)

->Management ->Biology (thought maybe I'd be a doctor) ->Earth & Atmospheric Sciences). Let me say a little about the latter major. The movie "Twister" came out in 1996 and I thought/think it was/is an awesome movie. Weather was awesome, especially severe weather. GT didn't have a Meteorology program and EAS was the closest they had. However, after a year in that curriculum I was unimpressed and uninspired. I decided to transfer. So in the Spring Semester of 1998 I enrolled in the University of Oklahoma Meteorology program, one of the best in the country, I might add. Spent 2.5 years there (yep, total time adds up to 6 years) and graduated May of 2000 with a B.S. in Meteorology, minor in Hydrology. Okay, since I'm getting tired of typing, I'll shorten this. Moved back to GA, got a job teaching 7th grade math in Griffin, GA, hated it, and quit 7 months later, afterwhich I was accepted to the the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program (NUPOC). Went to Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, FL in April of 2001, got commissioned as a United States Navy Ensign, and moved to Charleston, SC in August of 2001. Dana and I met through a mutual friend, thanks Arynn, and as Dana has so eloquently put it in the blog title, got engaged and then married. The rest Ill save for those who have any questions.

So, let's talk about debt since this is the reason I'm posting. As you can imagine 6 years of college is not cheap. Let's just say it was a little more than Dana's one year of grad school. In any event, it was all paid for by Mr. Stafford, as in Stafford Loans. Teaching wasnt exactly bringing in the dough, so when the Navy said they would give me $12k, I was sold. I never really had had a high paying job so when I got this bonus and was receiving Ensign pay, I thought I was rich. Got the car I wanted (Explorer previously mentioned in Dana's post) and spent money as I wanted, although I had never really been a freewheeling spender.  I never really thought much about debt until the time arose where I was posed with the idea of having one car and getting rid of the only car I had really wanted/enjoyed or drive 2 cars, one of which you never want your friends to see you drive.  Thankfully I had a loving, smart wife who made me realize that we have a future to think about.  We needed two cars and not one sweet SportTrac.  In the long run, it was the right decision.  I drove 14 hours to trade in the SportTrac for a car I had never even seen.  Even though I had to live with the Champagne Beige Pontiac Grand Am for a little while, it allowed us to use the money I was making more effectively.  The point. Sometimes it is more important to drive a grandma car for a while to make life better later.  Fast forwarding, I have had the fortunate opportunity to serve my country but at the same time live a humble life and pay off everything that Dana and I share (with the exception of our house).  There are times when I asked myself, and Dana, "why cant I just enjoy life right now with the money that we have?", cause lets face it; it is tempting to just spend when you get the first pocketful of dough.  I didnt want to be an old man when I could finally enjoy life, right?  Well, the wisdom that Dana has has let me see the light.  We have sacrificed little and gained a lot.  We have put money into IRA's and into savings (not without a fight from me, of course) and still able to live a good life.  I'll end this diatribe with this.  I was hard-nosed and fought Dana every step of the way but let me tell you this.  It feels awesome to be out of debt and wouldnt change anything about it.

On a different note, isnt my kid cute?

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