Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I had 2 colleagues confide in me yesterday.  One (A) I've known for over 10 years but wouldn't consider "close" and the other (B) I had just met for the 2nd time.  Both women.  A is 50 and B around 27 years old.

"A" wanted to run something by me.  It was a work dilemma at her part time job.  She works full time and part time.  The terms of her contract were up for review and what was being proposed is a significant pay cut.  The original rate was set taking into consideration it was a fledgling business requiring a moderate commute.   I guess it is still struggling financially (huge overhead) and the owner wanted a bigger cut. 

What was being proposed would still be considered reasonable but obviously not when compared to what she is currently being paid.  So the question was, "Am I being unreasonable?".  To which I asked "Do you need this job?  Does he need you more than you need him? Why are you doing this?"  I'll get to her response shortly.

"B" is new to work, almost 5 years into it.  Am starting to see the financial potential and enjoying the first real burst of consumer power.  Bright eyed and bushy tailed, she does good work and is well liked.  The conversation started with "I haven't told anyone outside of my boyfriend...".    I wasn't sure why I was hearing this when we didn't really know each other. 

Turns out she has decided to buy something expensive but was feeling shy about sharing her indulgence with family and friends who would not likely understand.  The item was a luxury automobile (first vehicle)... 6 figures.  And she thought I would understand because I drive an expensive one too.  I think she thought she was following in the footsteps of seasoned colleagues?  She had saved all year for the down payment towards the lease.

I didn't know how to feel -- Insulted?  Sure made me wonder what type of vibe I was giving off!  I don't know if she was looking for encouragement or congratulations.  Leaving my opinions aside, I congratulated her on her new lease, asked a bit about the car (she didn't know much...which really surprised me) and was told about the "great" deal ($1500/month, down from $1900 because she knew someone who knew someone).

When it was my turn to talk, I told her I bought my car used, 2008 with 35K on it.  I think I burst her bubble.  I didn't tell her what I had been driving for the 14 years prior as it was a used one too.  That would have probably done her in.  There is obviously no glamour with buying a used vehicle in her eyes and our reasons for buying a performance vehicle differs.  I don't think I'll be privy to many more confidential talks like this.

The person who would understand would be A.  The reason why she is working 2 jobs is because of debt -- 300K line of credit of which roughly 1/3rd is mortgage.  Scary right?  We aren't close because I just don't find talking about going shopping and buying new clothes every month fun or exciting anymore.  I used to when I was much younger.  Now I channel my monies towards travel and education which in turn really doesn't excite her.

I'm scared for B.  It is likely her income will stay strong but what if her relationship doesn't?  A large lease would compromise her ability to qualify for a mortgage.  And what about maintenance?  Everything costs more on a vehicle like that.  I doubled our "car" working account when I decided to buy mine just in case.  And should something happen and the cost of repairs sickens me, I will have no problem going back to a less expensive vehicle. 

So A needs the job but her pride is hurt.  I told her to go over the numbers and see what her gut says.  It isn't a bad deal, just that what she has been getting was an ultra good one. 

B is picking up her new ride just in time for Christmas and she is over the moon with excitement.  I can certainly understand the excitement part but hope she doesn't become A in a few decades. 

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