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A Tail of Two Families…

August 2013
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Mrs. Bgddy has lamented, on more than one tear-filled occasion, that we don’t “do better” financially.  It’s not that we don’t do well, we do, but that we do not maximize our earning potential.  There are several reasons for this.  For instance, Mrs. Bgddy does not have a job.  I work relatively set hours (from well before my wife and kids wake up until 4 pm at the latest).  Only under extreme circumstances to I work late or on the weekends (almost never).  I made a decision long ago that my kids wouldn’t know they’re dad only by the fact that they had to keep quiet when he comes home so I can catch a nap before a late dinner.  My wife and I also made the decision that we would stick to a traditional upbringing of our kids rather than rely on daycare.  The choices we make have consequences.  We own a smaller home, though on a fantastic two acre lot, out in the country.  We don’t live in a nice subdivision and we don’t have a lake or even lake access.  We live, for two people with a great deal of earning potential, fairly simply compared to some of our friends.

On the other hand, I have a friend who has everything.  He and his wife both work and are very successful.  She works a decent amount of hours while he’s gone from sunup to sundown (in the middle of the summer).  He works 15-16 hours a day, at least six days a week…  On the other hand, they have everything.  Huge house, new cars and just about any toy they could want.  He was a cyclist as well.  His rims cost more than my first three bikes cost me – combined.  The choices we make do have consequences after all.

Of course, he doesn’t ride his bike anymore because he doesn’t have the time, so he’s as big as he’s ever been and he’s miserable about that.  He rarely sees his daughter anymore, awake at least, and he’s pretty miserable about that.  Oh, and he’s now on his way to turning himself into a drunk, “just to take the edge off” – so everybody’s pretty miserable about that.

All too often we compare what we have with what others have without looking at what must be sacrificed to have those things.  We have a tendency to believe that everyone who has money had it handed to them, as if they won the “life lottery” and everything is beaches, bikinis and bubbly… that’s all we can see from the outside.  We don’t know people well enough, or don’t pay attention enough to see that to have that high yearly income, things must be sacrificed – and it’s all too often sanity.

So my wife and I had a conversation last weekend and she was teary eyed again, but for a different reason.  She said that now she gets it, that she can see the full picture – and she’s glad that we made (and continue to make) the decisions that we do.  Folks, it just doesn’t get any better than that.  I’m a blessed man.

P.S. I did not misspell or misuse the word “Tail” in the title.


6 Comments

  1. Sandra says:

    No kidding. You guys are blessed, and your children are so lucky for it. I wish more people would make that decision for themselves.
    We quit teaching summer classes and overloads for that very reason. Life is too precious and too short for that.

  2. Too many people buy things they do not need, with money they do not have, to impress people they do not know.

  3. Paige says:

    My husband & I both gave up our real jobs (as my daughter said) to become teachers when our children were young. I took my “baby” to college yesterday. As educators we have never, and will never, be financially wealthy. But the amount of family time we have as memories are priceless. We have traveled for weeks on end some summers without ever having to ask for a single day off from work. All things considered I wouldn’t change a thing!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Paige,

      As teacher’s normally do, you are making the mistake of thinking that your pension and life time health benefits don’t have value. Look at this another way. I am taxed to pay for teacher’s retirements (usually $4,000-$6,000 a month plus health care). In order for me to have a retirement like that I will have to save in the neighborhood of $3,000,000 – while paying for State employees as well. When you look at it that way, your deal is pretty good – a lot better than I’ll ever see. Oh, and you’ll likely retire when you’re 55 or 60 at the latest. I’ll be lucky if I can get out when I’m 75. You’ll never be cash rich as a teacher, but when you add everything up that you do get, you are wealthy.

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