A friend stopped by after work with a summary of his financial information. He has worked for twenty something years and has twenty something years ahead of him. His question, “Am I ok?”
On the face of it his asset vs. liabilities looked well ahead of others his age. I know this man to be thrifty so I was surprised at the annual outflow he showed. The expense ratio, although within reason, still seemed high to me. We all have some “fluff” in our budgets with things we can do without if we need to. Movies, pizza nights and vacations can all be cut out if necessary, but there seemed to be more than those types of expenses in this case.
As we dug deeper I laughed at my friend’s commentary on his water bill. This man has two teenagers, I raised three myself, so I totally understood this problem. I recollected the hour long showers of the teenage years when my water meter ran and ran and ran.
When my friend described his food bill I groaned at the memory of mine. My neighbors and I would run into each other almost daily at the grocery store stocking up on milk and Gatorade. My friend’s kids play travel sports, all three of mine did as well. Then there were the additional costs for tennis, cheerleading, and so on and so on.
The final large item on my friend’s list was the clothing bill as his children seem to outgrow clothes almost daily. Mention of the cost of shoes sent a shiver of remembrance down my spine.
I told my friend that his finances appeared to be fine, but I failed to give the analysis that I should have, and that is that “this too will pass”. If he can just get past the expensive teenage years he will be heading down the backside of the mountain of financial worry. All that money going to support the little mouths can be invested once his children no longer live out of his refrigerator and his checkbook. Sure, he will still have financial hits, but not the weekly financial commitment he has now. Life will feel really good when it will be possible to budget for two instead of many.
My friend has a rising high school senior and a rising high school sophomore so there are really only three more years left at home. In a few short years both will be grazing three meals a day at some college cafeteria. It will feel like no time before they either stop outgrowing their clothes or pay for them out of their own paychecks. Hour-long showers barely dent the water budget when they occur on weekend visits.
Soon enough my friend will miss the almost daily runs to the Publix, the heart-stopping American Express bills and the other expenses that go with the “pitty pat” of ever growing feet. Yet, if I could turn back the clock on my family I would happily pick up all the expenses again and go back to figuring out how to make all the ends meet.
Knowing how much my friend loves his children, I am sure he will feel the same way.
Contact us at Czajkowski Dumpel & Associates, Inc. to have a chat about where you are on the financial path to success!