This is a tale of passion. Of childhood dreams, adult play things, and about excuses. It’s not about being frugal, yet that’s what we strive for. It’s not even about early retirement, but still remains the goal.
When I was but a wee little boy, my older brother and I had one main thing that we always played with. It involved what we could do to modify them. What we could do to get them out of trouble. How long we would have them. Where we would go. What we would do if……
We had Hot Wheel style life-like jeeps that we used to dig holes in the dirt, add water, and push them through the mud. We would spend hours creating 4wd “problems” and drive our jeeps through them. All the time imagining being behind the wheel at the top of a mountain or in the thickest, deepest, worst mud you could imagine, or scrambling through a big pile of rocks. Sometimes it would be daydreaming about using imaginary winches to pull out damsels in distress. Or crossing some 3rd world country with extra gas cans, food, and gear.
For one reason or another neither one of us purchased actual real jeeps until we were in our 40s. Both of us were raising kids, working jobs, doing whatever that life has you do and that’s okay. Now we’re both jeep owners.. He purchased his 4 years before mine (a 2007). It wasn’t until 2011 that mine came along after a major hit and run rear-ender car accident that left me and my, now wife, cautiously looking into the rear-view mirror every time we stepped on the brakes. That was the last time I would drive a little car. We got thrown off the freeway at 65 mph and slid for 160 feet, luckily, without a rollover or hitting anything solid. That’s when we went shopping for a new vehicle.
Shopping for a vehicle was a major uncomfortable situation, as I was working to get myself out of bad financial problems following a very rocky divorce. Some of you might think that I’m a complete ass for doing it. 🙂
But my lady www.sookiesaves.com knew what I wanted and supported me the whole way. I spoke to my brother about it and he had some good advice. At the time, Chrysler was running a lifetime bumper to bumper warranty that was something like $2000 at the time of purchase. His thoughts “I will keep my jeep forever. I’ll probably purchase other vehicles throughout my life, but I will always have a jeep.” And that was that. SOLD!!!
Though not the best financial decision it was a huge hit with my family. We have had numerous adventures over the years that might not have happened without this jeep’s capabilities .
I could have just bought a used little something or other as Dave Ramsey ( a financial advisor who I was following closely) would have advised. In fact, he probably would have screamed at me 🙂 But, as dumb as it might seem, I wanted it. Over the last few years, I’ve been working to pay off this wonderful piece of machinery that would make most of my mentors freeze at the thought.
mrmoneymustache who I’ve met and truly appreciate his wisdom www.mrmoneymustache.com would likely want to give me a face punch at my own stupidity. But, as much as his focus was on retirement at a very early age (30), I made the decision that I would be perfectly happy calling it quits at 50.
So bare with me for a minute. It was a $43,000 toy that I bought in 2011. Payments end after 6 years (but we’re paying off early). That is a heck of a lot of money once you do the math. Not to mention what I could have done with that money if it was invested in mutual funds instead. I get that and, to be honest, it does get me wound up sometimes. But not enough to make a difference. If we made less money things would not be the same and I would have gone a different route. We are still investing a lot into our 401ks and have a forecast as to how much we’ll be putting in over the next few years plus paying off the house early. We have a decent income and are on target for my wife to retire in less than 4 years. (That side story will follow later thanks to Mr1500 at www.1500days.com )
We’re going to keep doing it.
I have yet to go jeepin with my brother, as we live in different states, but I’m sure it will happen. We have our whole lives left as jeep owners. Besides, Moab and the Rubicon trail are between us (meet in the middle). By the way, here’s my brothers rig. It’s suhhhhweet!!!
And who knows, my lady might be leading the way…