After 13 Years of Driving of My 2004 Honda Element, I Paid Cash for a 2010 Jeep Wrangler for My 38th Birthday: This is the Top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid for Me

Exactly one year ago today, I began my job as a recruiter at a Fortune 500 company; after a 6 month stint of being thrown into the role of stay at home dad, when the company I had recruited for and managed retention for 12 years closed down their branch at my location.

For half a year, I applied for over 100 jobs; while also focusing on my 5 online side hustles: running two YouTube channels, managing the SEO for a majority university here in Nashville, plus selling guest blog spots and planting Amazon links here on my website.

When I started my new job a year ago, it undeniably pushed me to my limits and challenged me in ways I had not been before. There were moments I had serious doubts I could survive it. But the position did come with a more than 62% pay increase compared to my former employer; so I did what it took to not only survive at my new job, but to excel.

By March 2019, I was the #2 recruiter out of 31 nationwide for my company for that month.

My wife and I had become debt free (other than our mortgage) 6 years ago, thanks to following the strategy and teachings of Dave Ramsey. (That includes tithing 10% to our church.) By the end of 2018, we had the recommended amount in our savings, according to Ramsey Solutions.

That’s when we were able to start investing money at Charles Schwab, in a serious effort to have at least $2 million by the time we retire; assuming there will be no social security left for us Millennials.

After 13 Years of Driving of My 2004 Honda Element, I Paid Cash for a 2010 Jeep Wrangler for My 38th Birthday: This is the Top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid for Me

So in January of this year, my wife and I were finally able to start planning the replacement of my 2004 Honda Element; which I bought the same month I started my recruiting career, in January 2006; before I even met my wife!

I was considering a Hyundai Veloster, as some sort of a consolation to my dream vehicle:

A Jeep Wrangler.

The first time I announced my goal on this blog of eventually owning a Jeep Wrangler was back in December 2012, in a letter I wrote to my son:

“If we can find a way to be content with what we already have, then happiness becomes a by-product of the integrity of that lifestyle.

Yet at the same time I recognize my personal need for a materialistic goal to inspire me to work harder. Strangely, mine is a Jeep Wrangler.

Actually, you and I both have a bizarre infatuation with Jeep Wranglers.

It all started several months back when Jeep Wranglers became one of the first vehicles you could identify by name. Despite being completely content with my Honda Element that I drive you around in, I had never really noticed how, at least here in Nashville, it appears that for every 10 vehicles on the road, one of of them is a Jeep Wrangler.”

Then, after 7 and a half years, the dream began to come true when my mom showed me where on her Facebook feed, her dentist’s sister was selling a 2010 Jeep Wrangler JK Sport 6 Speed for much less than market value.

I was the first person to call. It was mine as long as I could be the first person to show up with money to pay the asking price.

The problem was that I live 5 hours away from where the seller was in Georgia.

Good thing I have amazing parents. On April 1st, they drove over 3 hours to go pick up the Jeep, on a Monday night; in order to beat another would-be buyer who would be there to buy the Jeep the following morning.

My parents didn’t get back to their house in Alabama until after 1 AM; my dad was able to sleep about 3 hours before he had to go back to work the next morning.

Not to mention, they decided to buy my Honda Element as a spare vehicle, or as my mom calls it, their “farm truck”.

On April 29th, thanks to several divine interventions (as buying a vehicle outside of a dealership means a much more complicated process!), I was able to get the title signed over to me and get my very own license plate for the Jeep.

My entire month of April was consumed with me finally obtaining my dream vehicle, while coincidentally, my 38th birthday was on April 20th.

I am extremely grateful for all I have been given and all I have worked hard for in my life. Now that I finally own the vehicle I have been aspiring toward for 7 and a half years, and my goal is met, I am able to realize this:

At age 38, I have now officially made it to the top of my own Maslow’s Hierarcy of Needs Pyramid.

That means not only does a person obtain a comfortable state of financial means, but they also reach a great understanding of emotional intelligence.

For example, I no longer live under the delusion that I am a “good person”. As long as a person perceives they are “good” (comparing themselves to others who they believe are “bad”), they are in danger of believing they deserve goods thing to happen to them, but that they also don’t deserve bad things to happen (like the “bad people” do).

In reality, it is often the “bad things” that happen to us which are actually crucial life lessons we need to learn in order to mature in life. Believe me, I personally have experienced many of these. (See the 1st paragraph of this article, for an example.)

By age 35, I had learned the importance of not allowing other people to control my emotions: to hurt my feelings, to disrespect me, or to offend me. Because just like with forgiveness, it’s always a choice.

It’s a personal decision that we all get to make on a daily basis; to control our own emotions in relation to other people.

Similarly, making it to the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid also means a person independently and internally understands who they are; no longer depending on society to confirm their identity, purpose, or value.

In an age where people are constantly posting on social media, subconsciously seeking confirmation and/or secretly judging others in a sense of “at least my life is better than theirs” voyeurism, the concept of not basing one’s self-esteem on the perceptions of others is somewhat revolutionary.

If I am fortunate to live as long as the average lifespan of an American man, then my journey of life is halfway complete.

No, it doesn’t make me feel old knowing that my 20th high school reunion is coming up in a few months. Because I’ve never had more focus and life experience than I have now, for Life: Part 2.

If the American Dream is a real thing, I am aware that I am currently living it. This is what the American Dream looks like. I am able to process that these are the good ole days.

But unlike the man who slaves away his life for his career and loses his family in the process, or the lottery winner who still isn’t happy when he instantly becomes millionaire (only to be broke a few years later due to poor money management), I am able to recognize, in real time a very important truth:

I have been blessed by God, and I know that every good thing I have comes from God. I believe it is no coincidence that as I strive to lead my family in God’s teachings (including the Biblical model of wisely managing money and talents), God has honored my efforts; though I fall short on a daily basis.

At age 38, I have come to the same conclusion as King Solomon:

“A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God; for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

Photo above by Mohamad Alaw.

Advertisements

Dear Holly: You and Your Brother Like to Use Each Other as a Pillow

3 years.

Dear Holly,

You and your brother have this habit after dinner of lazily laying around on the carpet, as you both sort of roll around on each other.

Or maybe it’s more like you are using each other as a pillow.

You even has this habit of putting your feet right in his face, as if you’re trying to use your toes to pick his nose!

But he is never are bothered by this.

Instead, the two of you begin laughing so loud by how silly it is.

Sometimes, you just have to be silly and lazy at the same time as your brother.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Helped Your Sister Open Her Birthday Presents

8 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

A week ago for your sister’s birthday, you asked her if she wanted help opening her presents from Mommy and me. She accepted your offer, without hesitation.

You were genuinely happy for her for each new gift she opened.

Granted, I don’t believe there were any toys that you would even be interested in playing with.

You just wanted to do your part in helping your celebrate her 3rd birthday.

And you definitely did help make her big day feel that much more special, because you were right there next to her during the whole thing.

Love,

Daddy

How to Rebuild Your Home or Office after an Emergency Caused by Inclement Weather 

Act with caution

When you have been given permission to return to your neighborhood and home, act with caution.

  • Check the outside of your house to see if there are cracks in the foundations or chimney and to check if the roof is sunken, loose or if there is any sign of deterioration.
  • Do not force the opening of a door if it is stuck. I could be holding the structure of the house.
  • Contact your insurance company. Ask what are the steps to follow to assess the damage to your home or business.
  • If you need a place to stay, you can find refuge through the Red Cross.

You may discover that due to the damage caused by the disaster it is necessary to do an intensive repair in your home or in your business, or directly a demolition. The availability of funds from insurance settlements and the assistance offered by the federal government to homeowners can be an opportunity for scammers to take unfair advantage of the situation. It is no secret that opportunistic scammers are alert to weather emergencies attracted by the demand for repairs and the availability of funds.

If a weather disaster causes serious damage to your home or business and you intend to repair the property, make sure you can do it legally. When you submit a work permit, local inspectors will determine what federal regulations you must comply with. Check the construction permit well to see what restrictions apply to your property and to check if the new structure meets the corresponding height standards.

If the structure is basically intact, but you need a contractor to help with some repairs, ask first and pay later. Remember that it must be SKEPTICAL: control the expenses that are charged to your name in the store of construction materials.

How to choose a contractor

  • Ask for recommendations from friends, family, neighbors, work colleagues, insurance agents or liquidators of insurance claims.
  • Stay away from contractors who encourage you to spend money on temporary repairs, offer “special prices” in exchange for your credit card number, or promise a loan in exchange for an advance charge.
  • Only deal with contractors who have the corresponding license and insurance. Ask the contractors for copies of their general liability and workers’ compensation insurance policies. Contact the local Home Builders Association office and consumer protection officials to find out if they register complaints against any of the contractors you are considering.
  • Get a written quote that includes all the verbal promises of the contractor. Before allowing someone to come into your home to make a budget, do not forget to ask if they will charge a fee for the budget.
  • Take your time to sign a contract. Ask for explanations about price variations, and do not automatically choose the lowest budget. Do not make deals with a contractor that asks you to pay all the work in advance. The norm is to pay a deposit equivalent to one-third of the total price of labor. Pay only by check or credit card, and only pay the final sum when the work is finished and you are satisfied with the result. Do not pay in cash.
  • Before signing a repair contract, ask a friend, family member or lawyer who is knowledgeable about these issues to review it. Before the work begins, get a copy of the signed final contract.
  • Before the work begins, ask your contractor to deliver a lien release. This is a document that states that workers and material suppliers will not claim money once you have paid the contractor. In any case, never sign a landlord’s statement that says you, the property owner, will cover the costs of the materials and labor if the contractor does not pay them.

How to pay for repair work

Never endorse your insurance payment check to a contractor. Instead, process a Certificate of Completion with your bank. The bank will pay the contractor for each completed stage of the work only after you express your agreement.

If you get a loan to pay for repair work, be careful to put your house as collateral: If you do not pay the loan on the agreed terms, you could lose your home. Consider asking a lawyer to review the loan documents.

If you used your credit card to pay for a product or service that you are not happy with, you may be able to recover your money if you dispute the charge. Write a letter to your credit card company detailing the matter; You must do so within a period of 60 days from the date you receive the invoice that includes the charge for the product or service disputed.

Using a credit card to pay for products and services offers you additional protection. In general, you can dispute the charges for unsatisfactory goods or services (even for issues related to the quality of an item) if you made a good faith effort to resolve the dispute with the seller, if the charge exceeds $ 50, or if you made the purchase in your state of residence or within a 100-mile radius of your current billing address.

If you are thinking to sell your home and going to shift to a new home than consider Hudson Movers for moving service.

Dear Holly: Celebrating Your 3rd Birthday at Our House Yesterday

3 years old.

Yesterday for your 3rd birthday in the middle of the week, we waited until all 4 of us were home at the same time, after work and school, to open your birthday presents.

Instead of getting you one main gift, Mommy and I selected several smaller gifts, like a backpack and new set of clothes for one of your baby dolls and a pretend make-up kit, as well as Elsa and Anna sunglasses.

Mommy stopped by Whole Foods on the way home and picked us up a smaller family size cake to celebrate after dinner.

By the way, you are convinced that the pretend lipstick is real.

You keep applying it, looking in your play mirror to see the results.

You had a fun little 3rd birthday.

Dear Holly,

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Flew Your Kite in the Rain Like Benjamin Franklin

8 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

Perhaps it was a perfect coincidence that as you were preparing your class presentation for the following week, there happen to be a perfectly windy and rainy Sunday afternoon.

You wanted to take your kite out in the perfect environment, but neither Mommy nor I wanted to go outside and get wet with you.

So I suggested a compromise:

You got to go outside and fly your kite in the field behind our house, while I supervised from your bedroom window overlooking the scene.

Granted, it didn’t take too long before the wind caused the string for your kite to catch itself in a knot that was impossible to untie.

But at least you were able to feel like a boy who was getting to break the rules in some way.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter on Her 3rd Birthday

3 years old!

Dear Holly,

Today is your 3rd birthday. I love it that our birthdays are just 4 days apart, because by the time my birthday wears off, yours begins!

I feel that I am definitely getting my money’s worth for having a 3 year-old daughter who loves Frozen and Peppa Pig.

However, I love knowing that you are so excited about something so not-girly as the big black Jeep Wrangler I am finally getting in a couple of weeks.

There’s no way for you to understand how much I love you… or how much I think about how our relationship will be when you get older.

Hopefully, this letter will help. I have always adored you.

I love you,

Love,

Daddy