I have a confession to make: I’m the Prince of Unhip. The King of Cautious. Poster boy for Blah. Lord of the Nerds.
I get misty-eyed every time I watch Anthony Edwards give that inspiring “I’m a nerd and I’m pretty proud of it” speech in front of the entire Adams College student body after being unceremoniously tossed into the fountain by the Alpha Beta jocks at the end of Revenge of the Nerds.
And because I’m socially challenged, I ask that you don’t chastise me because I’m late to the “25 Things About Me” game that took the world by storm a long time ago.
Anyway, staying true to the basic theme of my blog, I’ve decided to reveal only financially-related stuff about me.
Unfortunately I only came up with 24; I just hope you don’t hold that against me.
Okay, off we go:
1. My first money making gig was at the age of six, betting my Dad on NFL football games. The skin was ten cents per game.
2. My first real job was mowing neighborhood lawns at the age of 12 at five bucks a pop. In inflation-adjusted dollars, that comes to roughly $17. Edging was included as part of the deal.
3. My folks never charged me for the all the gas I used mowing those lawns. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
4. I remember being taught how to balance a checkbook in elementary school. Apparently they don’t do that anymore.
5. I think personal finance should be mandatory curriculum in middle school. Many folks might not be in the bad shape they currently find themselves in if they had taken such a class.
6. When it comes to the world of money, I think one of the two most important things that everybody should know is the Rule of 72.
7. The other is the power of compound interest.
8. As a kid I worked as a baseball scorekeeper for Little League. The games were 90 minutes and I got $2.50 per game.
9. In 2007 and 2008 I was President of my son’s Little League. I worked roughly 35 hours per week — sometimes much more. The pay: $0.00. But I’m not complaining.
10. My first job where I got an actual paycheck was as a box boy for a grocery store. My starting salary in 1981 was $4.64 per hour. Our store was held up by three masked gunmen a few months after I started. I was thrown on the ground by one of the gunmen and held to the floor with a sawed-off shotgun at my back. Thankfully, he didn’t pull the trigger.
11. Ten years later I was involved in another hold-up while eating dinner at a pizza place – this time the robbers fired their guns but, thankfully again, nobody was hurt.
12. In 1982, while still in high school, I made $14,168 as a grocery store clerk. That is equivalent to over $30,000 today. I used that money to help pay for my college education.
13. When I went away to college in 1983, I had two scholarships for $500 and a college fund account with $15,000 in it. That’s equivalent to roughly $32,000 in today’s dollars.
14. When I graduated in 1988 the college fund had less than $100 in it.
15. I have a coin collection passed down to me from my grandfather.
16. If you added the face value of all the currency in my coin collection, it would amount to slightly more than $700. I have no idea how much it is worth to a collector.
17. For the most part, almost all of the coins in my collection are from 1964 and earlier, when American dimes, quarters and half dollars had a silver content of roughly 90%.
18. I worked as an engineering intern for a large aerospace corporation in 1986; I got $10 per hour. That was less than I made as a grocery store checker in 1982. At least I didn’t have to worry about getting robbed.
19. My starting salary upon graduation in 1988 was $31,000. That’s roughly $56,000 in today’s money.
20. After being hired in 1988, it took 15 years to receive my one-millionth dollar in cumulative base salary.
21. I hate paying interest to anybody. My only household debt is my mortgage, and I hope to have that paid off before my kids go to college. That’s less than 8 years away.
22. I bought my second house in 1997 for $198,000 at the bottom of the market. Despite a precipitous drop in home prices, it was recently appraised at $440,000.
23. I bought my first house in 1990 for $114,000. I bought at the top of the market and my mortgage was “upside down” for seven years. It resulted in a brutal case of buyer’s remorse because although I wanted to move to a new location, I couldn’t. I refused to do a strategic default and faithfully paid my mortgage until I could finally afford to sell in 1997. At no time did I expect the US taxpayers to bail me out with a subsidy.
24. I’m a strict financial conservative and a firm believer in capitalism and the free market.
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