When we last left the ‘Getting out of Debt Story’ we were free of credit card debt – yea! To go back and read the first two installments go here.
The next chapter in our story is called ‘The Era of Good Feelings.’ My 8 year old history-loving child tells me that the Era of Good Feelings refers to the time of James Monroe’s presidency. Monroe was cute, smart, popular, and the country was in the mood to party. We were embarking on our own Era of Good Feelings after paying off our credit card debt. Would you believe Mr and Mrs Saver test drove an Infiniti with intent to purchase? Almost built a bigger house even though we were never home? Got massages every month? Shopped every weekend? All true!
We were both working full-time and technically we could “afford” all of these crazy antics. We weren’t adding new debt (other than our reasonable mortgage), but we clearly had no plan for our money. Sure, we were funding our retirement accounts and bought some bonds here and there, but mainly we were spending.
We somehow managed to escape this period without doing too much damage. We were still using Quicken and had a budget, but we usually spent all of our weekly money and sometimes even needed to take money from savings to cover the spending.
In retrospect, it is hard to believe we were such carefree spenders and it’s a bit embarrassing to think of how much money we must have spent at Starbucks. Yet I do know the Era of Good Feelings is a key part of our financial story. When I look back at it, this period of time shows me that we appeared to be doing all the right things with our money (retirement savings, no credit card debt) and yet we could have been doing so much more had we set specific goals or talked about what we wanted to accomplish with money.
When we come to the next chapter in our story, we meet the man with a plan. . .