The Thin Green Line

I am reading a book called The Thin Green Line. It’s interesting but I find myself slogging through it a bit. It’s about the 1% and their money habits and how they can translate to anyone’s life. 1%ers take calculated risks he says. Well, yes. He talks about it a little but not enough for me. 1%ers make some of the same money mistakes us regular folks make, they just have more of a cushion to fall back on. Well, that’s not particularly helpful to me. I’m trying to build a cushion but, until I do, I’m out of luck. The man writing the book is actually one of the 1% himself. He is a writer for The New York Times and makes enough money that he can worry about which private preschool to send his kid to to get them into the best college down the road. Bully for him, but most of us are just trying to get the kids into a decent school district if we can.

I find myself not in sympathy with him and I’m not sure that he remembers the days when he didn’t make as much. Yes, there are some lessons here that translate to a $30,000 a year salary, but he doesn’t really dwell on them. He likes to do biographies of rich men and women and assume that it will teach us what we need to know about how to live. Maybe I’m not his target audience, but I would prefer it to be a little more spelled out. HE spends time talking about the importance of early childhood education. Good to know. But the examples he gives are people who hire private tutors and keep their kids in exclusive (expensive and very good) schools. That’s just not possible for most of us.

The thing is, the book isn’t bad. It’s interesting and there are some lessons in there. I will finish it, I just find myself not as interested as I have been in other personal finance books. Maybe I’ve been spoon-fed tips and tricks too much lately. I don’t know.

And, lest you think I’m a big old hypocrite, I know that my kids are in private school. They started there because it was the same price as a decent day care. The price has gone up over the years and we are scrimping to afford it. We may end up moving before the older boy ages out of the school because we won’t be able to afford to send him anymore and we want him in a better school district. I know that this is not an option for many people. It wasn’t an option for us until I went back to school using my husband’s Post 9-11 GI Bill, which pays a housing stipend while you’re in school. That stipend is what’s paying their tuition. When it runs out, well, we are going to be putting their tuition on credit cards unless we can get a loan to cover it. I will be finishing school on student loans. It stinks, but that’s the only way to get it done.

Anyway, I will be finishing the book and I think it will be interesting. And if I tease out any really good pieces of advice, I’ll let you know.

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