Coffee at the office

I Thought Everyone Drinks Coffee

For those that have not heard the story of how I became a financial planner, I fell into it ass-backwards for lack of a better term.  I don’t recall when I was 6 or 7 years old saying, “When I grow up I want to be a firefighter or garbage man or a financial planner!”  Nonetheless, at 22 and right out of college, there I was walking into my first day on the job.

As new recruits, we were given some pretty specific orders (I mean guidance) on how we should dress, along with the more typical warnings about punctuality and professionalism.  I  had just one charcoal black suit and I remember feeling pretty good about the way it fit.  For some reason, the only thing I knew, or thought I knew, about working in an office was that you drink coffee.  People drink coffee, the boss drinks coffee, you drink coffee and that’s just what you do.  I didn’t drink coffee in college, but I was ready to greet this new world and slug down as many cups of joe as it took to be part of the gang.

When I showed up to the office, which only had maybe 15 people total, I did the good morning dance with reception and got settled at my desk in the “bull pen.”  After about ten minutes I was ready, and asked my manager Joe where the coffee was.  His response, which shook me to my core, was “Ahhh, I don’t know and I’m not sure.  I don’t drink coffee.”  WHAT!?  My one fundamental truth about the working world, was starting to crumble beneath me.  He asked me to hold one sec and he went to ask.   A few minutes later found myself and Joe standing in the kitchen, fumbling with an old Mr. Coffee coffee pot, grounds strewn across the counter next to a few crumpled up filters as we tried to learn the ropes of brewing together.  As it turns out, no one in the office drank coffee.

I don’t know where my completely unfounded belief came from about everyone drinking coffee, yet I would bet that we all have a few of these.  I would also bet that we’ve all had and maybe still do have some unfounded ideas about money and finances.    These ideas, when proven wrong, can turn into lessons and make us stronger and more prepared for the future.  On the flip side, and in a world where the internet will help you find the answer you want, not always the answer you need, these ideas can be damaging.   Here are a few that I come across with some frequency:

  1. You take your Social Security at age 62.  Some think if they wait, they’ll never live long enough to recoup the money they weren’t collecting every month.  This could be true, but the decision has far more depth involved than how long it takes to break even.
  2. You always buy a car, leasing is for suckers.  The world of buying vs leasing has changed dramatically over the past 20 years and leasing could be a very appropriate way to go for your needs and situation.
  3.  Never use a credit card that has an annual fee.  It is true that annual fees can be an unnecessary expense, but for many that fee pales in comparison to the cash back and benefits accumulated by their spending habits.

Like all advice, and beliefs, the appropriate answer is personal and unique.  It can be different and should be different for different people.   On my first day, as hilarious is it seems looking back, I learned that not EVERYONE in the working world drank coffee, but Brian Imrich did.  As I sit here today, drinking coffee :), I leave you with the simple question, what money beliefs do you hold dear that are worth revisiting?

Happy Friday! Please Be Healthy & Stay Safe!