Never a Debtor

Tom Scott

Tom is a retired Episcopal priest. He and his wife live in Evanston, Illinois. They love retirement because they get to see more of their children and grandchildren, and they can spend more time at concerts, the opera and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

    Never a Debtor

    Tom Scott  |  May 6, 2024

    I HATE BEING IN DEBT. It makes me feel anxious and uncertain, as though my finances are out of my control. If I don’t pay all my bills in full every month, I feel trapped, and I’m endlessly restless until I get free.
    I understand that other people manage their finances quite differently, and are happy to pay their bills in installments. Not me.
    Years ago, I made a small bet on a minor thing.

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    Twelve Days Long

    Tom Scott  |  Dec 25, 2023

    AS AN EPISCOPAL priest, I’ve lived for more than 40 years with two calendars for every December.
    The first calendar is widely recognized. It begins on Thanksgiving Day, with the arrival of Santa Claus in the Macy’s parade, and runs through Christmas Day, with all the celebration that’s entailed.
    These few weeks are a huge feature of modern life in America. Businesses depend on a good season. Extra work and part-time jobs are available.

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    Room at the Table

    Tom Scott  |  Nov 23, 2023

    MY UPBRINGING WAS difficult. The alcoholism and rage among adult family members were often at their worst during the year-end holidays, and Thanksgiving could be particularly bad. What made this even worse was that I thought the popular images and ideas about Thanksgiving were accurate descriptions of other people’s good times.

    One familiar depiction of Thanksgiving is Norman Rockwell’s iconic painting, “Freedom from Want.” The picture has come to represent the central moment of our Thanksgiving celebration: the roasted turkey arriving at the table as the prelude to eating ourselves into a tryptophan coma.

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    They’ve Gone Soft

    Tom Scott  |  Nov 3, 2023

    MY WIFE AND I BOUGHT a used hybrid Toyota RAV4 recently. We saw it at a dealership and bought it that day.
    This wasn’t an impulse purchase. We knew it was time to replace my 10-year-old Subaru Forester, and we’d done research on hybrids and electric vehicles. Because the new car would be our distance traveling vehicle, and my occasional work transportation, we wanted the flexibility of a hybrid. In time, we’ll replace our second car with an electric vehicle for local driving.

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    Forever Calling

    Tom Scott  |  Oct 28, 2023

    MY FIRST ACT IN retirement was to turn off my phone at night. The second was to change my socks. More about the socks in a moment.
    I’m an Episcopal priest. My decades of fulltime active service were spent leading several parishes. Upon retirement, turning off my phone at night meant I was no longer readying myself for emergencies and crises. My wife—and our children in the early years—would no longer have me leaving suddenly because something awful was unfolding in the lives of others.

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    Starting Late

    Tom Scott  |  Oct 2, 2023

    IT WAS JULY 2003. My wife and I were in our early 50s. We had jobs we liked and we lived comfortably. Our two children were about to go to college, and we had a plan for covering the cost. We had renewed our marriage vows on our 25th anniversary. We had no debt.
    But I began thinking.
    What would our financial situation be if we retired and our only income was Social Security? That was entirely possible.

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