Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Convertible cars vs. dreams

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up my goddaughter for an overnight visit and her parents and I made a big deal about how she was going to ride in my new car. She was very excited about it. As she was climbing in, she asked “is this a convertible car?” and my heart plummeted. It pained me to explain that it wasn’t and I found myself wanting to reassure her that I’d have a convertible soon. Throughout the weekend, she asked “why isn’t this a convertible car?” several more times. As word spreads about the new car (at work, to family, etc.), people keep asking the same question. Every time I hear it, I have second thoughts about my decision. It’s not exactly a fun process but it’s got an upside: my conviction that I made the right decision grows stronger because I have to keep reliving the decision process.

That was hammered home yesterday as I talked to a colleague about the new car and he needled me about the lack of convertible (which has been sorely missed with this week’s nice weather). I started down the usual path of questioning myself…and then I really listened to him talk. He was describing how he and his wife approach cars: they lease new cars every three years. He considers car payments “just another bill,” like a student loan, so they don’t bother him anymore (his words, not mine). That snapped me back to reality. By the end of this year, I’m going to pay off my student loans and less than a year later, my new car will be paid off – then I’ll be non-mortgage debt free! And that means more to me than having a zippy little convertible. Because then I will be that much closer to financial freedom.

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