Family Finance Friday – 98 Easy Payments of $74.43

To steal a line from the Planet Fitness billboard a mile from our house, this blog here is a JUDGMENT FREE ZONE. It doesn’t matter what your income level is, the amount of debt hiding in a closet shoe box, or how you survive financially in a world that worships consumerism while kids just keep getting more dang expensive. It doesn’t matter…but it also doesn’t prevent me from hopping on my leased soap box and yelling from my refinanced megaphone from time to time and share some observations.

I don’t know how it happened or if I just wasn’t paying attention, but somehow financing phones became a thing. And, as you’re well aware, it’s not just a thing but it morphed into the norm. I will be the first to admit that I’m technologically disengaged—I’m not sure that’s a real turn of phrase but I basically run at least 36-48 months behind the trends on phones, streaming services, televisions, etc. I think I got my first Motorola Razr in 2014. I might grab one of those Alexa voice dealies in 2029. Anyways, two years ago I decided the old iPhone 4 might be in need of an upgrade since our contract had completed. In the entire 15 years since I purchased my first cell phone, completing a contract was a fun time. It meant that you could now sign into another contract BUT get a nice free phone as an incentive. Apparently that’s not a thing anymore. I asked for the ‘”free iPhone that comes with sticking with you (insert provider)”; the younger sales associate looked at me like I was from outer space. Apparently I missed the trend and a monthly phone payment is basically how it works these days. Here’s a new iPhone, just pay an extra $29.99 per month until you die. That’s the deal.

I know financing can be a necessity at times and serve as an essential lifebuoy during emergencies, but is there anything that can’t be financed these days? I’m wondering if any lending institution would be interested in letting me finance my daughters. Can I put the costs of raising them into a 60 or 70 year loan? It’ll be just like new cell phones: here’s an added cost until you croak. So if my daughter costs $100,000 to raise to age 18, I’ll basically just pay $1000 every month for the rest of my life. Is that a fair tradeoff?

My serious two cents: understand that every industry is doing everything within their power to get you to spend more than you earn. That’s why car loans have been gradually stretched from 3 years to 5 years to 7 years; the longer the loan term, the lower they can make the payment for person buying. Unfortunately, only two things happen: the victim pays a pile in interest and also he or she carries this burden around the neck for however long it lasts. It’s also pertinent to understand a company like Ford makes almost as much money just doing financing than selling cars. The secret is out: companies are going to twist and finagle consumers at all income levels into items they can barely afford! Don’t give in! Whenever possible, save up and pay in cash. Save yourself the burden and save yourself the interest. Who needs the iPhone 17 anyway?

Happy Friday! We’ll be back for more early Monday morning!

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