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Tight lips, strained eyes, and a sigh, is my reaction to realizing that I am below average.
It all starts when I read something, typically financial, and realize that I am below average. My writing includes a slew of inner dialogue with a dash of research. Since my writing is personal it is, by default, lacking in facts. However, I still enjoy finding facts and data to add to the dialogue.
Ironically, this is where my problem lies – realizing, quite frequently, that I am financially behind in terms of “the average wage”. There have been other aspects that I have stumbled across, but this is the most painfully obvious.
After all the fluster and bluster, I am not interested in any of that! I am going to look on the bright side, even if it becomes even more awkward. I am going to be a weird cheerleader of below average!
LAYING LOW OF A STUDENT LOAN
I am starting with an area that I am Proud (that’s right, capital P) of my below-average ranking. The first winner is student loan debt!
There were many choices I made in life, mostly good ones but some bad ones too. One that falls into the “good” category, and seems to build more momentum with time, is joining the military. Signing the contract for the GI Bill in boot camp was one of the best investments I ever made.
Because of that, I am below average in student loan debt. When I graduated in 2012, the average was $29,400. My student loan debt was $0. Seeing this comparison makes many of my anxty feelings feel better than average.
FALLING BELOW A CAR LOAN
The number two spot goes to a car loan.
In college, I managed to finance my way to a car. It was a less than ideal time to get a car loan, but after I wrapped my donated green machine around a light pole in a Petco parking lot, I had no choice.
For a few years, I zoomed around in a shiny, red Mazda until I slid into a ditch.
After experiencing the joy of being fished out of a ditch in winter, and as a way to combat my new 45-minute commute during the blustery winters of South Dakota, Mr. BuLL and I bought a Subaru. We decided on a Legacy because she was a heftier version of the other sedans. In honor of the icy, ditch I survived (as in sliding off the road and getting stuck) and the Subaru’s metallic sheen, I named her Winter Warrior.
Since 2014, Winter Warrior and I have been battling the ice roads together without the help of diches. Mr. BuLL and I paid her off a few years ago, after dancing with the .9% APR.
I plan on battling the icy winters of Montana with her for another 15 years. There are many reasons for this, but a big one is that Winter Warrior is paid in full.
SECOND RATE IN CREDIT CARD DEBT
Of all the ways to be below average, this may be my favorite: having no credit card debt. The interest rates for credit cards is criminal. I live a Spartan lifestyle, at least compared to the Target home décor photos. This lifestyle reigns in my consumerism.
I use credit cards a majority of the time, but I pay it off every month like the postal service. Used rain or shine but always paid on time. I also have multiple credit cards to maximize reward cycles.
To keep track of my spending, I keep a budget. It allows me to track all my finances even the rare times I don’t use a credit card. Tracking all of my spending is how I keep track of my credit cards while not overspending.
BELOW AVERAGE TERMS
After my below-average block party, I feel grateful. Some areas are not desirable like my wages.
But some of those below average areas are pleasant like having less debt, a lower mortgage interest rate, and using less than the average amount of toilet paper. As I continue to scourer for personal finance information, my wealth is turning into one area I am doing slightly better than the average.
While I am making it rain with gratitude, I hope to move forward and learn how to live below average a bit more gracefully.