Do you have a friend or relative who keeps an unkempt or dirty household? Perhaps they don’t clean up as rigorously as they should. Maybe they don’t pick clothing up off of the floor or mow their lawn. Or, they leave dirty dishes in the sink for days. Would you visit such a person regularly? Or, accept an invite for dinner?
It is not about being sanctimonious. You can’t control other people’s actions, only your own—if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and so on. You can apply the analogy of a dirty house to dirty looking, unkempt, and shady looking gas stations. How many gas stations have you pulled into that fit such descriptions?
Contaminated Gas Can Cost You
Although it is not as common an occurrence as you might think, there are shady gas stations that sell old and/or contaminated gas. Either through malicious intent or proprietary incompetence. Gasoline that is contaminated with water, sediment, or impurities can cause massive damage to your gas tank, fuel pump, engine, and other parts of your car. Water contaminated fuel can rust your engine and car from the inside out.
The internal combustion engine operates by a piston compressing a mix of air and fuel vapor which is then ignited by a spark plug. These motions create controlled explosions which powers your engine that energetically propels your vehicle. Clean fuel is required for this process to occur efficiently. Dirty, impure, and water contaminated fuel vapors do not combust properly.
Contaminated fuel can cause pre-explosions before nominal combustion, which is also called, “knocking.” There are many gas station tips you can heed to prevent contaminating your car with dirty, impure, or water contaminated fuel. Or, the wrong fuel.
Don’t Pump Diesel Into a Gasoline Calibrated Vehicle
Refer to your owner’s manual. Every engine in every vehicle is explicitly calibrated to compress a particular kind of fuel mixture. You should avoid accidentally pumping diesel fuel into a regular unleaded or premium gasoline calibrated engine. An engine that is calibrated for gasoline fuel vapor compression is not powerful enough to compress diesel.
Diesel fuel is relatively heavier and oilier. Gasoline fuel injectors are calibrated to spray gasoline vapors, not diesel. You will cause limitless amounts of damage pumping diesel into a gasoline calibrated vehicle. Don’t let absentmindedness be the reason for destroying your engine.
Only Buy Fuel From Reputable Gas Stations
You should patronize a gas station in the same way that you patronize a bar. Get to know them. Experience tells you everything. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have pump filters to filter gasoline delivered by tankers. Some gas stations don’t. Some stations purposefully water down their fuel or mix if with cheaper fuel, to make it last and maximize profits.
Some gas stations buy very old fuel, fuel that may have been in storage for months or years. Such fuel may be water contaminated or impurity rich. That is why it may be so cheap. Others may mix a high ratio of regular unleaded with a smaller ratio of premium in a proprietary blend that they may then advertise as premium. If the gas station owner or attendant won’t answer a straight question, patronize another gas station.
Also, stay away from dollar store and super budget gas stations. Such gasoline is super cheap for a reason, and it isn’t to save you money. You get what you pay for.
Come Back Another Day If You See a Tanker Fill Up
If you see a tanker delivering gasoline to your local station, wait a day to fill up. Or, find another gas station. There are underground tanks under the station that need regular refilling. Those tanks retain the dirt and impurities from years of countless refills. Tanker refills can stir up and whip around the sediment that has settled at the bottom of the tank. Wait a day for these impurities to settle at the bottom of the tank again.
Ignorance is Expensive
The cost of draining the contaminated fuel from an engine, and other related repairs, can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $17,000. Meanwhile, the average cost of gasoline is about $2.78 a gallon. Know what you are pumping into your car and only patronize gas stations that you can trust.
Because of various dangerous driving situations I’ve been in, I make a conscious habit of driving with my sunglasses whenever it is a sunny day. It is a habit for me to leave them in the car. A few years ago, I had a horrifying experience where I was blinded by sun glare. I just crossed a busy intersection, under an elevated train station, and was completely blinded by the sun.
Dangerous Driving Situations Are Everywhere
Luckily, nothing happened when I was briefly blinded by the sun and I recovered a few seconds later. However, all it takes is a few seconds for something horrible to happen. I drove down a one-way street once, and a group of teens drove at me the wrong way. We both hit the brakes and almost had a head-on collision. The accidental crash is probably what led the teen driver to begrudgingly exhibit some situational awareness.
The car full of teens backed up, turned, and drove ahead of me the right way. I had never seen anything like it in my life. The last thing I thought about doing was getting out of my car to rage out. Escalation never helps. No matter how imbecilic the other driver is being. The potential for disaster exists in every moment that we drive.
It’s important to remember that you can only control your actions. You can’t control the environment or the actions of other drivers.
All cars should have plenty of driving distance between each other to allow ample maneuvering and stopping time. Tailgating is the practice of a car dangerously following another vehicle, like a front bumper almost touching a rear bumper, from behind at highway speed. Nearly one-third of all car crashes are a result of tailgating. Sometimes the driver being tailgated will tap their brakes to discourage the tailgating driver.
Such actions can escalate into road rage incidents or crashes. Tailgating also makes traffic worse, makes drivers unnecessarily add 5.5 billion more hours to travel time and waste almost 3 billion gallons of fuel every year. Tailgating costs Americans almost $121 billion a year. If people stopped tailgating, and always drove at safe, fixed-distance speeds from one another, each driver would cut their travel time in half.
Getting angry and escalating the situation helps no one. If another driver is tailgating you, pull over, stop, and let them pass you. Don’t ever tap the brakes. Being in the “right” is no consolation after a deadly wreck or road rage incident.
Deer Jumps in Front of Your Vehicle
Stay calm and don’t panic. Firmly grip your steering wheel and apply the brakes. Never swerve around the animal or into another lane. The animal could follow the path of your car and cause a collision. Or, you could hit another vehicle in the other lane or run off the road.
Driving Through Water
Never drive through water if it looks to be more than 5-inches high. Your vehicle could be swept away by a current. Or, you could flood out your engine. Unless you have a highly elevated off-road vehicle or SUV, you are better off finding another route.
You can’t control your driving environment or the behavior of other drivers. Always remain calm, maintain situational awareness, and rely on your training as a driver. The potential for driving danger does not always have to become a reality.
When deciding whether you should apply for a home equity loan or line of credit there are a plethora of items to think over. Although the line, terms, interest rates, and availability of funds are certainly important, many lose sight of the tax obligations for these types of loans. Some recent changes to the tax laws and what is actually tax deductible could leave you with surprises if you don’t research carefully or consult with a tax professional. Prior to 2017, homeowners could deduct the interest from their home equity loans on their taxes. This is still possible, but a new law passed in 2017 added some limitations.
The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 allows a deduction of mortgage-related interest up to $750,000 for married couples filing jointly. The limit is $375,000 for separate filers for any home purchased after 2017. These laws are in effect for homeowners until 2025. Under the new law, you can only deduct interest on loans used to purchase, build, or renovate your home. Previously, interest could be deducted even if the HELOC was used for non-property related expenses. However, current tax law changed this a bit, and the HELOC must be used for house-related expenses to qualify as tax deductible.
Homeowners have to be careful about how they define home improvements, too. The IRS says a substantial home improvement is one that adds value or prolongs the home’s useful life. An addition or overhauling key structural elements may qualify, but cosmetic upgrades like paint jobs and siding may not. The IRS classifies repairs that maintain your home in good condition as “not substantial improvements.”
Which Loans Qualify for Deductions?
Mortgage-related interest on your primary residence and second home are the only loans that can be included. Eligible loans must be secured by one of these two residences in order to be deducted. Even if you took out your HELOC before 2018, you are subject to the new qualification rules. Even if you previously used HELOC money for medical expenses, college debt, or to start your own business and tax deducted interest charges, you cannot do that this year.
A tax advisor can help you straighten out whether your use of your HELOC qualifies for tax deductions. You should keep all invoices and receipts related to repair costs and renovations to prove the money was spent on the house. If you are ever audited, you can prove your deductions were valid to the IRS.
Deducting Home Equity Interest
Before you can file your taxes in 2019 you should watch for your 1098 forms. These forms should arrive by January 31st. They will come from your mortgage and home equity lenders, many of which are listed on the Home Equity Wiz site, and will show how much interest you paid in 2018. If your loans are near the allowed limits or you used a portion of loans for non-qualifying expenses, you will need IRS Publication 936 to help you calculate your interest deductions. The tax code has become much trickier since 2017, so consult with a tax adviser if you are unsure about the status of your home equity loans.
I am not an expert gearhead. It is a big regret I have in life. I wish that I could just fix every problem that occurs in my car. But I can’t. Like most people, whenever a minor or major issue arises with my car, I automatically take it to the mechanic. The average car has over 30,000 working parts that must work in harmonious mechanical alignment to get you from point A to point B.
How many times have you paid a mechanic to fix an issue with your car? The average mechanic’s repair bill is at least $600. What’s worse, more than one in three drivers end up going into debt to pay their repair bills. More often than not, an issue arises with the functionality of my vehicle that is beyond my knowledge to deal with.
Save Money With DIY Car Repair
However, that does not mean that I, nor you, have to take a car to the local mechanic for every minor mechanical issue that comes up. For instance, I recently learned to repair an air filter on my own. The last time I went to the mechanic to replace the air filter, it cost over $100. Most air filters cost anywhere between $13 to $50, depending on the model of car.
I paid more for mechanic related service charges and fees than for the actual air filter itself. The experience taught me that you shouldn’t surrender money to the mechanic for every issue that presents itself. So, I consulted with some gearhead friends of mine, and some YouTube videos, and learned how to change an air filter myself.
What is an Air Filter?
Your car has an oxygen intake system that sucks air directly into your engine. This oxygen combines with fuel vapor which then combusts in your engine. This action propels the pistons which power your engine allowing your car to move. Environmental oxygen is full of dust, debris, smog, and impurities. An air filter scrubs out these pollutants before they reach your engine.
A dirty air filter can disrupt the proper fuel-to-air combustion ratio. This can cause many problems. For one, a dirty air filter can cut down on your car’s gas mileage efficiency. It can block oxygen from reaching your engine. Dirty air filters can cause the inefficient burning of fuel, which turns into black smoke and soot exiting your exhaust pipe.
A dirty air filter can also damage your engine. If you never change it, it will eventually deteriorate. Then, small pieces of it will get sucked into the engine.
Replacing an Air Filter
First of all, you should refer to your owner’s manual for the air filter replacement process. Most air filters are made out of paper, but some are made out of gauze. Others are made of foam-wrapped paper. There is no one uniform size of air filter, though they all perform the same function and are usually installed and removed in the same fashion.
The air filter cover usually resembles a rectangular or box-like object with a hose connection to the engine. There should be labeling that identifies it as such. Look for hooks, screws, or latches that hold the air filter cover in place over the air filter. Remove the air filter and hold it up to a shop light or flashlight. If the filter blocks over 50% of the light, then you should replace it.
How Often Should You Replace an Air Filter?
How often you need to replace an air filter depends on the model of your car, how often you drive, and the environment you drive in. You replace it every 10,000, 15,000, or, 30,000. Or, once or twice a year. If you drive on dirt roads or live in a high-pollution area, then you may need to replace it more often.
Do you know what a parking pawl is? I didn’t either until I learned that I had to stop forgetting to engage my parking brake. When I park on level surfaces and need to make quick stops, I sometimes forget to do this. I always engage it when I park for extended periods or the night. But I am learning that there is a price to pay for not engaging it every time I park.
The parking pawl keeps the engine’s power from reaching the drivetrain. However, over time, you can damage it if you leave the parking brake, or emergency brake, disengaged. It can cost over $500 to replace a parking pawl. I try to write often about creative ways to get around repair bills. Unlearning bad driving habits that precipitate high repair bills is just as important.
Forgetting to Engage the Parking Brake
You should engage the parking brake, also known as the emergency brake, even time you park your car. Many people don’t ever use it or assume that they don’t need to use it on non-sloping, level streets. The parking brake shares and even out the full weight of your vehicle with the brakes. Your brakes are not parking brakes and aren’t substitutions for them.
Brakes are for slowing down from acceleration. If you only engage the brakes for parking, then you are burdening them with the full weight of your vehicle. They are not designed for that. There is a mechanism in the transmission called the parking pawl, about the size of a finger. When you use the brakes as a parking brake, then the parking pawl assumes the full weight of the vehicle and can become worn down or break over time.
Use the parking brake after you park, every time. You will save wear on your transmission components.
Shifting Between Gears Without Braking
How many times have you shifted between drive and reverse without braking in-between movements? It might be an absentminded habit. Or, laziness. You should unlearn it as soon as possible. Abrupt, directional changes, without engaging the brakes, stresses, wear downs and can damage the drivetrain. Or, the engine or axle system.
Such damage occurs over a long time, so you may not notice such problems until its too late. Brake and come to a full stop before shifting directional changes.
Using the Gear-Stick as a Palm Rest
I get it. It looks and feels cool. You are confident in your driving schools and want to look the part. When driving a manual transmission, you are probably in the habit of driving with your left hand on the wheel while resting your right hand on the gear shifter. This practice goes against the most basic driving rule.
Whether you drive automatic or manual, your hands should rest on the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 o’clock hand positions.
You must always keep situational awareness while driving and may need to make an emergency maneuver in the blink of an eye. There is no reason to cut down on steering response timing by putting the other hand on the wheel. Also, the gear shifter is more sensitive to pressure and movement than you realize.
Using it as a palm rest places undue pressure on various internal components, like the selector fork. Or, the synchronizer or the bushing components within the transmission. This incremental wear and tear may cause the gear shifter to accidentally shift between gears over time, just from the weight of your palm.
Remember that your palm is also supporting the weight of your arm as well as you sit in the driver’s seat. Keep it at 10 and 2 until you need to shift gears.
Bad Habits Aren’t a Driving Skill
Driving is all about using learned behaviors according to the driving conditions you encounter. There is no reason to adopt bad and counterintuitive driving habits. If you don’t get into an accident, it will always cost you in repairs bills in the long run.
Hydroplaning is like a random horror movie scenario that can occur during many kinds of driving conditions. Basically, the tire treads on your car begin gliding uncontrollably on layers of water or oil on top of a street or road. The car’s wheels lose all tactile contact and friction with the driving surface. Contrary to popular belief, there does not need to be a sizable amount of water covering a driving surface for hydroplaning to occur.
A thin layer of water, oil, or black ice is just enough to cause a hydroplaning incident. This happened to me once as I drove down a highway. I felt like I was driving my car on a car-sized Slip-N-Slide.
The back wheels of my car began fishtailing and sliding from side to side for a few heart-seizing and terrifying moments. It had rained earlier in the day.
I had reduced my speed as much as possible. And yet, it still occurred. I reached my destination and then got home without further incident. After coming home, I knelt to have a look at the tread on my tires. It was an enlightening moment that made me feel like a moron. I saw significant and widely uneven tread wear on my tires.
The front tire treads were worn down more than the back tires. Also, the outside edges of my front tires were really worn. The front tires lean over when making turns. Also, on front-wheel drive vehicles, the front tires bear the weight of the engine, transmission, and most of the stress in turns.
I had missed my tire rotation schedule by months.
In truth, I just hadn’t thought about it in a while. As a result, I lost steering and handling for a few seconds in a minor hydroplaning incident.
Tire rotation is one of those terms that people may hear in passing or on TV, but still not really know what it means. It is a basic car maintenance procedure. Tire rotation involves, “rotating,” the position of your tires from one position to another. So, you would physically transfer the positions of the back tires to the front tires. Additionally, you would then transfer the tires from side to side.
It’s important to rotate tires regularly to keep tire tread from wearing out unevenly and quickly. Also, the tire rotation process varies according to wheel configuration. For instance, there are different ways to rotate tires on front-wheel, rear-wheel, and all-wheel-drive vehicles. If your car’s tires stagger, where the rear tires are wider than the front tires, you’ll simply swap them from one side to another.
Experts recommend rotating your tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, or at least once a year. There is really no set rule, as the need for tire rotation is mostly dependent on how often you drive and the driving conditions. If you regularly drive on off-road and in rough conditions, then you may need to get your tires rotated twice a year.
Keep to Schedule
The average cost of tire rotation is about $66, or as high as $120. You might want to pay and watch a mechanic do it once before attempting it on your own. Refer to your owner’s manual and keep to your tire rotation schedule. You may want to get your tires rotated every time you change your oil, so as not to forget— for your own safety and to save some money. Depending on the model of the car you drive, a new set of tires can cost anywhere from $50 to $1,400 per tire. Regular tire rotations will keep you from having to invest in new tires sooner than needed. Also, keep in mind that many tire manufacturers will void a warranty if you don’t rotate your tires regularly.
I have a relative, whom I won’t name, who was obsessed with speeding and taxing the limitations of his cars. When he was young and started buying cars, he didn’t even understand that it was important to change the oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on the model. He never changed the oil on his first vehicle.
Important New Car Tips
He took it to a mechanic who laughed in disbelief at his ignorance. The mechanic warned him that he must maintain and take care of his car. Get it inspected and checked-up regularly. The mechanic also warned him about his treatment of new vehicles. This particular car was a used car, and my relative ran it hard.
The mechanic warned him that if he ever got a new car, he would need to treat it gently during the break-in period. The break-in period usually refers to the first 600 to 1,200 miles of running life for a brand-new car. Think about how you break-in a new pair of running shoes. It takes a while before they become less rigid and conditioned to the exacting shape and contours of your feet.
It is not an exact analogy, but a useful one. During the break-in period of a new car, all of the newly integrated and intricate working pieces become conditioned. This process should be gentle and non-arduous, as it will help all of the lubricated parts wearing against each other settle into a working rhythm.
How you treat your car during the break-in period determines how well your vehicle will run throughout its working life. Yes, many vehicles come pre-broken-in from the factory. That fact doesn’t rationalize drag-racing a new car just off the dealer’s lot. Here are some breaking-in tips you should observe with a brand-new car.
Read the Owner’s Manual
The manufacturer of your vehicle built the car. They understand how your vehicle works, how you should maintain it, and how you should treat it. There should be a section in it about the break-in period and how to manage your vehicle for the first 1,000 miles. Don’t wait until problems occur during the break-in period to open it to look for advice.
Try Not To Rev the Engine Over the 3,000 RPM Mark
The piston rings need conditioning time in a new vehicle to seal against the cylinder bores properly. Piston rings are similar to small compartmentalization bands. They prevent oil leaks during the combustion process. In a new vehicle, a little conditioning time is required for the piston bands to settle into the cylinder properly. Revolutions significantly over the 3,000 to 4,500 RPM mark will work against this process.
Don’t Drive Over 55
I hate to contradict the great Sammy Hagar, but you will have to find a way to drive under 55 MPH. Try to drive in urban, stop-and-go traffic for the first few hundred miles. Try not to go over 50MPH for extended periods. Keep it between 30 MPH and 50 MPH. Preferably for intervals of several minutes at the most. This is preferable to driving at consistently high highway speeds,
Change the Oil During the First 100 to 500 Miles
This will keep your car well-lubricated and operating functionally. Also, it is an issue you won’t have to worry about for a while. Get it out of the way now.
Respect the Break-In Period
The average cost to rebuild or replace an engine can cost anywhere between $2,700 to $5,000. Or, the equivalent of 10% to 20% of the overall value of the vehicle. The cost of most new cars is almost $40,000. Also, if you think waiting to surpass 1,000 miles is too long to wait before flooring it, consider: You can drive 1,000 miles at 55 MPH in two to three days with minimal rest and fuel stops.
The break-in period is probably the most critical period you’ll be driving your car. Unless you are a millionaire drag racer with impulse control issues, take it easy during the break-in period.
The primary way we learn as adults and human beings is through experiences—learning how to do or not do something via mistakes or accidents—by not heeding some previously tendered good advice. More often than not, we learn something vitally crucial life lesson through close calls and near misses. Like avoiding a close-call accident through dumb luck.
Car Door Accidents: What’s Dooring?
Have you ever seen a movie where a driver opens their door and then a motorcyclist or bicyclist slams into the driver’s side door? This is known as a dooring accident. It’s hilarious when seen in a film. However, it’s horrifying when it occurs in real life. Someone could get killed or severely injured. Or, you could become entangled in lawsuits for years.
Also, keep in mind that in most states it’s the driver’s responsibility to open door safely if it is in the path of traffic. Trying to ascertain who is at fault will be the least of your problems in such situations. There is also the financial responsibility. Depending on the model of your car, it can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500 to replace a car door.
About a week ago, I absentmindedly opened my car door into oncoming traffic. A bicyclist sped past my door at high speed about two or three seconds before my door fully opened. If I was just two or three seconds earlier in opening my door, a deadly dooring accident might have occurred. This is beyond obsessing about who is in the right or wrong. It’s about changing the mindset that a crash won’t happen to you.
Only one American state, Illinois, keeps statistics on dooring accidents. There were over 300 doorings in 2015. It’s a problem that most people won’t view as a problem until statistics worsen even more.
The Dutch Reach
An advocacy group for driving safety in the Netherlands, the Dutch Reach Project, is endeavoring to enlighten drivers about the dangers of doorings. They keep statistics of dooring accidents all over the world. This advocacy group also wishes to spread the word about drivers adopting the “Dutch Reach,” method of opening car doors.
Imagine that you are sitting in your car and you want to get out. You intuitively would open the driver’s side door with your left hand. That means you are not looking behind you and are just assuming nothing terrible will happen. You will not see a cyclist or motorcyclist approaching as you open the driver’s side door until it is too late.
With the Dutch Reach method, you should always pivot your upper body to the left to open the driver’s side door. Meanwhile, use your right hand to open the door while looking in your rear-view mirror an/or side-view mirror. This method forces you to pivot your upper body to look in your side-view mirrors, behind you, and to be more aware of traffic conditions as you open your car door. Passengers on the left side can reverse this method if their car door opens into traffic.
Practice Makes Perfect
In short, don’t use the hand nearest to the car door to open it. Use the hand farthest from the car door to ensure that your upper body pivots to check traffic, mirrors, and blind spots before you open the door. Learning this behavior can save you money, legal hassles, repair bills. And perhaps, save you from tragedy.
The best thing about owning a car is the freedom to take a drive and decompress — to take a short break from work, stress, and family life. I get in my car, put on my sunglasses and crank up the music of youth. There is nothing more relaxing to me than taking a short leisurely drive with no set destination. To feel free.
Now, I can’t even have that. If you’re a car driver, you know that your car communicates with you by making expected or unusual sounds, noises, and motions. I understand how well my car is functioning by the sounds it makes whenever I start the ignition, execute a turn or brake. But now, my relaxing drives are being interrupted by ominous and startling noises coming from my car.
My car’s engine would surge, begin sputtering, or completely turn off during various times of function. I took it to my mechanic and learned that my fuel pump needed replacing. Irregular fuel pump resistance was the cause of the surging. When my engine sputters, its because the fuel pump is struggling to supply fuel to the engine at average pressure levels.
Loss of power is a sign that the fuel pump is slowly beginning to fail completely. This isn’t welcome news for me. The average cost to replace a fuel pump is almost $500, though it can also be as high as $1,000. The worst part of all this bad news is learning that it was all my fault. I am the reason that I needed a new fuel pump.
Don’t Drive On Fumes
I was in the bad habit of waiting until my gas tank was bone dry before refueling. In my mind, it cuts down on refueling often. How many times have you taken a road trip and waited for the fuel gauge meter to go to the left of, “E,” to refuel? Well, it turns out that this is the worst and most catastrophic thing you can do to your car and its fuel pump.
The fuel pump ferries gasoline from your gas tank to the engine at optimal pressure. As it functions, your fuel tank heats up. A fuel pump is designed to be submerged in gas as it functions. Fuel acts as a coolant which keeps the fuel pump from overheating. Submersion in fuel also helps the fuel pump to regulate its operational pressure as well.
In other words, the weight of fuel acting against a submerged fuel pump helps it to ferry fuel efficiently and at optimal pressure. Gasoline contains sediment and impurities that sit at the bottom of the gas tank. Such impurities are caught in fuel filters when the gas tank is full. But if you drive on fumes, the impurities and sediment at the bottom of the gas tank get into the fuel pump and can damage it.
Also, if you drive around on a nearly empty fuel tank, condensation can occur inside of it. This can dilute the fuel, which can rust out your engine.
A Quarter Full Gas Tank
Always keep your gas tank at least a quarter of the way full. This will keep it running efficiently, protect your fuel pump, and extend the overall life of your vehicle. Get out of the habit of driving on fumes. Or, get into the habit of paying your local mechanic regularly.
I was an educator for over a decade. Many a time I have sat in my home, looking over my mortgage and other bills, dreaming about another life. I actually thought about joining a fishing vessel for the adventure, teaching ESL in underdeveloped countries around the world, or becoming a truck driver before robots make such professions obsolete.
However, my good sense overtakes me. I for one enjoy my work, and it allows me to travel. Still, I have so many financial responsibilities. Changing jobs, disrupting my income flow, and starting all over in a new vocation is just too dramatic a lifestyle change to consider. After all, there is the mortgage, my family, and all my other bills to consider.
Who doesn’t dream of changing their job? Too many people are just not fortunate enough to make such considerations. The average mortgage payment is about $1,000 to $1,500 a month. That does not take into account other bills like food, electricity, insurance payments, and so on. Some people end up paying double or triple the equivalent of their mortgage payment when other bills are factored in.
It’s also very difficult for people with established social and professional lives to just change jobs for its own sake. The average American makes about $44,500 a year if they are lucky. Anyone making more money than that is taking a risk by changing jobs. Like taking for granted the new job will last long, pay as much or more, or will provide a better work environment than the last one.
It’s one thing to be young and exploring your options. When you have a family, financial responsibilities, and a 30-year mortgage, is it wise to change up jobs just because you can?
The average American changes jobs about 12 times throughout their lifetimes. Usually from the age of 18 until age 50. They hold a job for an average of about half a decade before taking on a new job. Such estimates are not fully representative of all Americans, however. Some people hold onto a job for a lifetime. Or, change careers less than a dozen times within a lifetime.
This isn’t an indictment on people who want to change jobs or try out new careers. If you sense an opportunity for advancement or you are expecting a raise, you should go for it. Got the connects to land a better job? Go for it. There is nothing wrong with professional advancement. If you are stuck in a rut or want a change of pace, then you should consider the consequences first.
Change Jobs The Right Way
Let’s say you have committed to changing your job. How will it affect your finances? Are you changing to a new job with a similar salary or an entry level $20K-a-year salary? Have you double-checked any vacation, sick days, or back pay that your employer owes you? Don’t make a spectacle and tell your boss off. We only regret the bridges we burn when we realize we need to cross them again.
Maintain contacts that you have with colleagues. You never know what may happen when you leave the familiarity of drudgery for adventure. It is not my intent to tell you how to live your life. If you hear the call of a new life beckoning you, I just advise that you answer it wisely. Many people want to quit their jobs and do something different. The realities of life, family, and financial responsibilities just don’t make such wishes viable anytime soon.