Shortly before I graduated from college, Max (the head of the student consular’s office) held a series of meetings with the graduating seniors. In brief, he told us that although the altruistic goals that most of us had were fine, the real purpose of our education was to MAKE MONEY.
He considered himself to be a successful man because he “drove a Chrysler, drank scotch and smoked cigars”. Max was right, of course. It’s hard to fight the poverty of others is you don’t have much yourself. On average, a college graduate makes roughly 75% more than a person who has only a high school education, and people with masters degrees make roughly TWICE as much. Once I retire, my income from Social Security will help to provide a comfortable living because my earnings during most of my working career were usually pretty close to the Social Security “cap”. (In 2010, the income cap was $106,800.) For a few years, I paid no Social Security tax the last month or two because I had already paid in the maximum for the year.
In early 2002, life insurance sales at MetLife were going well enough that I decided to buy Sharon a brand new P.T. Cruiser, which you can see in the picture below:
The other car in the garage was my red 1996 Saturn, which is pictured below:
In addition to the P.T. Cruiser, our driveway also held the 1990 Buick that we were replacing:
It also held the TWO cars that Kelly had brought home from college, both of which we sold while she was in China:
and it also held Brian’s rapidly dying “hot rod Ford”:
If the number of cars at your house would be considered a sign of wealth, we sure had it in spades in early 2002.
On most Saturdays, my recreation was to spend a few hours washing and cleaning our cars, which I could do even in the wintertime because I had hot running water piped into the garage from the water softener in the basement. Often, I would add to the experience by having a beer and a cigar while I worked.
I took the picture below of myself not long after we bought the Chrysler:
I still drink scotch, and I’ll still smoke 3 or 4 cigars a year. However, we no longer drive a Chrysler. In spite of that, fact, though, I’d still consider myself to be successful. Since I’ve been out of college more than 40 years, it’s extremely unlikely that Max is even alive. If he were, though, he’d probably nod his head in approval at how the class of 1969 turned out, even if we took a much different path than he did.
In closing, my question to you is this:
Would you buy a used car from the man pictured above?
Since I’ve sold well over 500 cars during my career at The Autobarn, the truth is that a LOT of people have done just that! Many times, they’ve also sent their friends in, and a number of people have bought a second, or even a third car from me, so don’t let appearances deceive you.
I am not a crook.
Oops. That line has already been taken.