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‘I don’t feel American’: I went down in my 20s and lived in fear of debt. My wife wants to upgrade our house and our lives. What do I do?

Dear Quentin,

In my 20s, I was broken. I bought my first home and lived alone, experiencing my limitations. I already have three used credit cards and pay my salary.

Today, I am in my 40s, married and my financial situation is much better. My 401 (k) has been doing really well for the past 20 years. We invested in the stock market, a savings account that matched our wages and enough money to travel several times a year. We have no credit card debt.

Here’s my problem: My 20-year-old experience has greatly influenced the way I view debt and money. I’m obsessed with it. I drive a broken car to avoid paying for it. I wear shoes that are three years old and buy insoles or lacing if needed.

I buy my jeans on eBay
+ 0.03%

and shirts from dealer stores. We live in a small apartment because a $ 300,000 mortgage will just hang around me in my sleep. I will be tied to my career to pay the price for it.

‘My experience in my 20s has had a big impact on the way I view debt and money. I’m obsessed with it. ”

Our devices are 20 years old. My wife is very frustrated, I keep fixing them with a 10 dollar installment. I feel comfortable living this way. I grew up wearing ready-to-wear clothes and I shop for shoes in a thrift store. Our quality of life is really good compared to when I was a kid.

This is affecting our overall well-being. Our friends have much nicer houses with stone facades, large bedrooms and hotel-like master bathrooms. Every other neighbor is driving a newer Lexus or Audi. Our friends and others on social media always do interesting things or at least give the impression that they’re in the Florida Keys every few months.

I live in fear. I am afraid of credit card debt. I never want to go through that again. I’m afraid that if I buy a $ 300,000 home in the suburbs, I might lose my job next month. People lose their jobs at any time. I don’t want to be one of those people who lost their home because of financial hardship.

I am worried that another recession could happen, and the house will lose a third of its value. I don’t even know if I want to live here for the rest of my life. My problem is not simply living frugally. It is a daily worry, obsession with money.

I also had to look at my partner, who really wanted that beautiful house, and send me Zillow

link every day. She annoyed me with beautiful appliances, and kept talking about our friends’ kitchens. Finally, I want those too.

I feel not as American, refusing to accept home debt, car debt and credit card debt so that our suburban neighbors see that we have “good” things. Hey, the stone is not real, the decoration is a composite plastic and the door is empty anyway!

What can I do?

Looking for the balance

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Send balance,

Someone said cheap store?

On the contrary, your frugality and ability to use dollars and cents are very American – as well as your ability to learn from your past mistakes and do your best to ensure that you and your wife have a good life. Lots of people remember the lessons of the Great Depression, and how many Americans overstated themselves, especially by buying property. And it’s not just an American disease

But you’ve got yourself a second act financially. I don’t know more American than that. Give yourself credit for not being obsessed with keeping up with Joneses and not feeling like you have to compete.

Where you seem to become stuck is your ability to enjoy what you have, and let go and live a little, even if that means meeting your wife halfway. The reason we all work is for us to have a comfortable – and hopefully happy – life. By reminiscing your experiences since your 20s and punishing yourself in your forties, you are emotionally holding back. You need to believe that you truly deserve what you have achieved, and that you deserve to be happy.

Perhaps it was the spoiler that led to your poor financial management in the past that is playing the role of scaring you off what you earned today. We all know the acronym False Experiences for Real Appearance, but to free yourself from that, you have to fight your spoiler on two sides: Take a look and see why you didn’t allows yourself to relax and be happy, and to expect and trust a financial plan that fits the well-being of both you and your wife.

If we don’t have a plan, we’ll all live on the sidelines. With help from a counselor or a financial therapist, you can put some of these demons to rest.

Monetaryist: ‘We don’t blame or give advice’: Are we flaunting our wealth if we give money to friends and family?

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