Paycheck Chronicles

Changing Priorities Mean Changing Plans


(Note:  photo NOT a TR-7.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to find an image of a TR-7 that is available for legal use?)

Just the other day, I was talking to someone about how my financial goals are constantly changing.  Then, I was selecting a photo for JJ's post, Can Military Service Make You A Millionaire?, and several things came together in my brain all at once.

As with most people, my financial priorities were significantly different when I was younger, and they have evolved over time.  Heck, when I had my first job, I was paid in cash (yes, I paid taxes), and I would literally leave work and spend all my money before I got home.  Eventually, I started to have some small goals:  to have enough money to get a manicure every week, or to own fabulous clothes.  I also desperately wanted to own a convertible Triumph TR-7.  My best friend drove a hard-top version, and I was pretty sure we would have a lot more fun with a convertible.  I told myself that when I turned 25, I would have paid off all my credit cards and be stable enough to have a reliable car and a Triumph, and to afford insurance on two cars.  It was my dream.

Then, I got married.  Suddenly my dream was just to get out of debt entirely.  And my 25th birthday rolled around, and I had no interest in getting a Triumph.  And then we got out of debt, and I wanted a reliable station wagon as we started having children, and I wanted to be absolutely sure that I never had to count my pennies at the grocery store.

It's been over 20 years since my planned convertible purchase, and I've hardly given it a thought.  My goals and desires are always changing - now I am concentrated on the few years left we have to cram money into the Thrift Savings Plan, and whether we want to purchase Long Term Care insurance, and making sure we have the cash in hand when we need to purchase our next vehicle, and socking away enough money in our Transition to Retirement account.

And then I was cropping the picture for JJ's post.  I'm not a huge Bentley fan, but they sure are pretty.  And I caught myself thinking, "If we are ever millionaires, I'll buy a Bentley."  And then I realized, that is ridiculous.  I'm pretty much never buying a Bentley, just like I never bought that Triumph.  First of all, there aren't a lot of Bentleys in the US, so I'm not going to find some amazing deal.   Second, they get lousy gas mileage.  Third, I bet the parts and maintenance on them is crazy expensive.  And insurance!

Even if I could get beyond those four very sensible reasons why a Bentley is not a good choice for my family, the fact is that a status car just isn't important to me right now.  As you go through life, priorities change, and those things that once seemed important lose their allure.  It makes a lot more sense to change your plans than to go buy that dream car that your 20-year-old self always wanted.

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