I’ve been in this beautiful country for slightly over 2 years now and I’ve noticed some things that weren’t very common back in Kenya.
The first is how common buying new cars on credit is. I first noticed this trend when I was in technical school in the bunduz of Texas. Young airmen straight out of high school were buying $ 20,000 cars without a care in the world. That surprised me. Most didn’t have a lot of money or very good credit history but that didn’t stop them. They were getting into a life of debt very early in life. They would be offering rides for gas on base after spending their whole paycheck financing those hot 5 liter engine cars.
The number of car dealerships that were willing to sell to these young airmen surprised me. As I’ve moved to my new base I’ve realized it’s not a young airmen thing but a general culture with the populace.
There are very many affordable used cars that wouldn’t dent one’s finances that much but I guess I think like a Kenyan who wants to save for a rainy day instead of blowing it all on a 2017 Subaru WRX that will set me back $500-600 a month for years inclusive of comprehensive insurance.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to own a brand new car but you can have a nice car for less and have some change without having to dig yourself deeper into debt.
It’s not uncommon to see people change cars in a short period of time. They just refinance their loans and get the next newer, faster rides and with it becoming financial prisoners of the lending institutions.
Most people swipe credit cards wherever they go but a study I read the other day said a very small population of Americans is capable of raising $1,000 if an emergency arose.
I guess it’s good having come from a different country with a smaller economy and maybe a different way of doing things.
The other observation is eating out all the time or most of the time. The hospitality industry in this country makes a killing. People have fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not all but the queues you see at fast food joints says a lot about those habits. Dining restaurant’s parking lots are typically full during meal times and especially on the weekends.
I try to avoid the temptations that come with peer pressure. Everyone at work going out for lunch and you head home to make a quick meal. It’s not easy sometimes and it does get expensive when you do the maths. In the end is well worth it.
It’s also unhealthy and this is more evident in my fellow airmen who you see struggle with their physical tests. Bulging waist lines and panting on the track like they are about to collapse. If only they would make changes to their burger and fries choices they’d avoid ‘fat camp’. That’s where they send you if you fail your PT test as we call it. 1.5 mile run, less than 35 inch waist line, 60ish pushups and sit ups is the standard test for the Air Force.
You’d think it would be easy but you’ll be surprised at the number of obese service members.
Those two observations have really stood out since I’ve been in this country.
In other news I’m getting my flying time in and it’s so much fun. I fly twice a week and hopefully should be done with the Private license by early next year.