When we were teenagers, the talk about where to shop for shirtwaist dresses and affordable SAT coaching was called "bargain-hunting." And it was a bonding device. I knew I had finally penetrated the in crowd in high school when X told me about the secret outlet operated from an apartment in downtown Jersey City, New Jersey. That was then.
Now, the bonding takes place among us "Golden Girls" over lessons in financial literacy. Two new female friends here in Arizona pounded into me the bad economics of buying a condo. Keep renting, they mandated. And, stick with your two mutual funds instead of buying individual stocks. Then we went to the early bird special seafood dinner for seniors. I felt so a-part-of.
Actually, the bonding is more intense than in our youth. That's because we can't afford to make mistakes any more. When I was 16, the shirtwaist dress I paid too much for, even at the secret outlet, can be made up for through a part-time job. We had the time and infinite energy to make ourselves financially whole again.
Currently, we have become like mother hens about all our female friends' financial matters. Typical is the text or swing-by the apartment with the, "thinking about your car insurance. Call State Farm and you might get a cheaper rate."
Last weekend a group of Golden Girls introduced me to dental tourism in Mexico. They had chastised me for continuing to buy dental insurance which "gets you nothing." There was that smirk mothers used to give about "I told you so" when the fee for the mouth guard at the Mexico dental clinic was hundreds of dollars less than what I would have ponied up at a local dentist, even with dental insurance.
This week a woman not old enough for Medicare asked me about medical tourism in Mexico. She needs a knee replacement. I referred her to another woman on my financial-literacy network. Hopefully, this long Memorial Day weekend the bunch of us will get together for a cookout.
Would I have had this many close friends in my middle years if I hadn't participated in the economic boom and could be financially reckless? There's no way of answering that, of course.