Monday, August 15, 2005

Chapter 3 - Risk Averse

Before I jump into the next chapter, I have to mention Alex's first day of school. I can't believe he's in first grade now. He catches the bus right outside our house. I just love this picture Lorenzo took this morning.


I opened my first savings account when I was 8 years old. I remember going into Navy Federal Credit Union with my dad and some money I had received for my birthday. He wanted me to save it. Of course, being 8, I wanted to buy something important like a Barbie or candy, but no, Dad told me to save it. I did, of course.

From then on, when I got money, Dad would usually strongly suggest I save half and spend half. Generally, baby sitting, summer jobs, and any other money I got over the years went into that account. I watched it pile up. When I finished high school, I had just over $2,000 in that account. I needed every penny for ND.

After 4 years of building debt instead of equity, (college does that to all of us, right?), I got a job and tried to start saving again. I didn't save half, who could? But I did have a crafty plan. You see, I was traveling a good bit, being in sales. So, I had an expense account. Well, I'd pay my business costs out of my own money, and when my reimbursement came in, I deposited into a different bank. FOR ALL YOU DEVIOUS PEOPLE OUT THERE, THIS WAS COMPLETELY ABOVE BOARD. I was young, naive and COMPLETELY honest back then. By putting my money in a place I couldn't easily access it, I was able to save almost $3,000 in a year. It came in handy, later when Lorenzo and I were paying for our wedding.

So, what did I find? Well, saving is as easy as choosing to do it. The rainy day fund, in the coffee tin in the cupboard, never worked for me, because it was too tempting to have money sitting around accessible. However, a barrier to my funds made the world of difference.

So, I am financially, by nurture a saver. Ok, how does that make me risk averse?

Let's discuss my professional history, sort of. The week I graduated high school, I knew I needed a summer job. For those of you who have been to Quantico, Virginia, you may know that there aren't many great jobs for non-military, non-degreed personnel. Me, I was just looking for some summer work. So, I went to the places that were most likely to hire. I should add that, at the time, I could only borrow my parents' car. The job had to be close by. I started at the local Burger King. On Okinawa, BK was the only fast food place, so I had a bias. No luck, I wasn't 18, and you couldn't work at BK until 18 due to the flame grill. Bummer. Next, I headed to Wendy's. I filled out an application and was told the manager would call me.

I still didn't have a job, so I went to McDonald's. I didn't really want to work at McDonald's, but not having a job, wasn't a pleasant idea either. So, I went in. The manager was on duty and hired me immediately. I went home and told my parents I had a job!

A few years later, I was finishing ND and needed a job in a bad way. All that school loan debt headed straight at me and no job was not a pleasant future. I should state that my dad offered to let me come home to NC and look for a job after I finished. I was comforted by that option, but really wanted to find my own job. I went on 18 first interviews. I went on about 5 second interviews. I got an offer. General Mills wanted move to Detroit! Before I accepted, I was told I had an offer with a bank in Virginia. No details, though. I had no idea if the salary would be ok. Would there be benefits? The Virginia job was closer to my parents, but the Detroit job was closer to Lorenzo. Yes, these were factors to me! What's the saying? "A bird in the hands worth two in the bush." General Mills was the choice. When the Virginia bank offer came, it was lower anyway.

So, I am risk averse professionally. Onto dating...

When I was in high school, I wasn't much of a dater. As a matter of fact, it was my junior year before any boy's reciprocated feelings for me. I'd like to think they just weren't mature enough for me, but I was probably just the brainy, nerdy red head. So, anyway...With dates being a rarity instead of common, my philosophy was the first one who asks, is who I say yes to. This philosophy worked well, since generally only one person asked me out for any night. Until Prom, my senior year. I actually had 3 different people ask me to Prom. That was completely unexpected for me. Not only that, I wished I had gone with the third person. So, everyone once in a while, the risk averse part of me doesn't pay off. Since I am not dating anymore, I am perfectly comfortable with that, though!

So, I guess whether it's finances, professional or personal, risk averse is a good way to describe me. Whether by nature or nurture, I've become the person who doesn't bet in Vegas. It's just not worth the risk.

I guess that ends my three part series. I hope you enjoyed it!


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