We just experienced a big day for the United States of America. All over the country, people cast votes for new laws, amendments and elected officials, including the most popular — President. When us common people elect officials, it brings up a question:
Does this mean anything to your overall plan?
For my friends Chris and Lisa, you may wonder. They have two young children and make $87,000 per year. According to them, they have about $6,000 of credit card debt. Although they more than have the capability, they do not save. When we look at their overall financial picture, there is a clear pattern:
They absolutely love high-end restaurants.
One night my wife and I were over at their house watching movies and I asked them “why?” Lisa asked me if I could find her a lower rate credit card and handed me their latest bill.
“We eat dinners out because we work hard all day. We’re both totally fried when the time comes to make dinner,” Lisa replies. “It doesn’t make sense to be tired all day at work, come home, make ourselves more tired by cooking dinner. IF we do that, we are so tired the next day at our job. Everybody’s had enough, so we head for a nice meal out. We’re happy sharing our day together instead of slaving over prepping a meal.”
That sounds nice, until you read the bottom lines: $46 here. $58 there. $76 over there.
“We try to stay away from alcohol during those meals,” Chris says. “That helps keep the price down.”
Further down on the bill, I see some department store shopping.
“It makes it so much easier to get all the stuff at one place. It saves us time,” Chris explains.
“I completely hate shopping,” Lisa says defensively.
Chris has an addiction: sports. They have the MLB network package that allows them to see every game in the league each night.
Each weekend during the fall, he’s watching several games, courtesy of NFL Sunday ticket.
“It’s all for my league,” he says. “I’m in this fantasy football thing. It’s only $100 to get in. If I finish in the top three, I at least get my money back.” Then he points to the television remote. “If I win, it pays for about three years of this.”
“Have you ever won?” I asked.
“This is the year!” he smiles.
House & Lawn Work
Every weekend when I drive by their house, a team of high school age kids are cleaning their lawn. I asked Chris about it at a church function one day. “The kids needed the work. It was nice. They came to the house and asked if they could cut our grass. It’s only $20 a week. Saves me all that time… and gas!”
Speaking of gas… they live in the country. “No high city taxes.” Both Chris and Lisa commute over 20 miles to work. They must spend a couple hundred dollars in gasoline a week. They do not drive gas-efficient vehicles.
On my personal Facebook account, Chris made his politics known leading up to the big vote. “We’ve gotta get the President out of office. He’s costing this country dearly. We can’t afford four more years.”
I think there’s a bigger question:
Can Chris and Lisa last four more years whether the President won or not?