(The following is an abbreviated transcription from a video Linda and I recorded. Please excuse any typos or errors.)
This is the story behind the infamous Bubble Taurus (as referenced in Chapter 9 of our book Simple Money, Rich Life) and 3 life-changing lessons that I learned.
Now, you may have heard me talk about this in the past. But, I want to go in depth and let you know what a Bubble Taurus actually is and why it is infamous.
I will also let you in on the key thing that has been important for me to really get ahead financially. In which, I think can serve all of us well in many aspects of life.
In this article I have some hard questions for you, too. Have you pondered where you put your identity? Do you put too much emphasis on the material? How much do you care about what others think of you?
Now before we get into this I wanted to let you know that, Linda and I recorded our discussion that you can listen to on our Podcast below. But, if you would rather read the full transcription, you can do so here in this article!
Is this a requirement for Boomers?
Bob: So this is a lean back lay back episode. We are leaning back in our chairs. You’re leaning back?
Linda: I’m trying to, it’s kinda nice sitting up straight.
Bob: But I wonder if we get like recliners and like put two of those old school boomer rec recliners. Why is it a requirement for baby boomers to have recliners?
Linda: Recliners… my parents don’t have one.
Bob: Yeah, they do.
Linda: Yes, they do.
Bob: They have couches with recliners built in.
Linda: But they don’t ever sit in those.
Bob: My parents,
Linda: Your parents though.
Bob: Still are rocking both of those leather recliners.
Linda: They got rid of the couch and they were like let’s just get recliners.
Bob: They have two recliners.
Linda: They have those giant mugs from the from the gas station (here’s 75 gas saving tips to save at the pump!).
Bob: They have their 64 ounce or 150 ounce mug.
Linda: Oh, look at my giant drink.
Bob: Anyway, we are very much millennials. Isn’t it interesting though, that like, just generationally, no one has…
Linda: We are millennials by the skin of our teeth.
Bob: Yeah. But like generationally isn’t it interesting that like, where did the recliners go? Why is that not a thing?
Linda: They’re so ugly.
Bob: I know, but why is that not a thing?
Linda: Because they’re so ugly.
Bob: Well, some people probably don’t like it or like ’em, and they don’t think they’re ugly.
Linda: I feel like as design became more accessible, like good design became more accessible through Ikea and stuff like that.
Bob: There have to be decent looking recliners, all of them aren’t ugly. Anyway.
Linda: I know.
Bob: If you have a good looking recliner, you should send us a pic.
Linda: Send us a picture.
Bob: Tag us an Instagram.
Linda: If you’ve ever seen a good looking one.
Bob: There are probably plenty of people who are listening still like I have a recliner it’s super comfortable, anyway.
Linda: That’s what they all say. It’s so comfortable.
Bob: No, and I…
Linda: Which we get.
Bob: I still love that. I’m not going to lie.
Linda: I actually don’t like the recliners. I feel like they hit me my head the wrong way. Maybe it’s because I just never broke one in, but you got to break one in yourself. I don’t know.
Bob: So we are leaning back on plastic chairs.
Linda: Ugh. I’ve been struggling. My back is struggling.
Bob: And the reason why, well… yeah, Linda’s back is hurting her a little bit.
Linda: Why don’t you sit up straight though?
Bob: Nope. Nope. This is a lean back episode.
Bob: So anyway, that was a long kind of introduction. I guess.
Linda: That was a really long introduction. A whole lot of information that they don’t care anything about.
Bob: I don’t know somebody somebody’s going to be excited about this.
Linda: I’m sorry. I’m going to fix my hair.
Bob: Somebody is going to be sending us a picture of their recliner. Letting us know how comfortable they are.
The Bubble Taurus
Bob: But today we’re talking about the Bubble Taurus.
Linda: The Bubble Taurus.
Bob: Some of you know what the Bubble Taurus is, cause the Bubble Taurus is…
Linda: It’s in the book.
Bob: It’s a character in our lives. It is affectionately known as the Bubble Taurus. This is from chapter nine of our book.
Linda: Oh, let’s see if I can find that.
Bob: Where we tell that where we tell the story of the Bubble Taurus. So I will quickly tell you the story of the Bubble Taurus in case you haven’t read our book, Simple Money, Rich Life. But the story is better in that because I can write and get all the details out better than I can tell it, but.
Linda: Let’s see, we’ll give you photo of Bob and the Taurus.
Bob: And so for anyone listening, who can’t see this…
Linda: Trying to see, there you go.
Bob: The Bubble Taurus. It was that era in the nineties where they made those, if anybody remembers the Tauruses, remember how they used to be squared off? And then they were like, whoa, we’re going to turn this thing into all rounded and basically into this bubble.
Linda: I don’t even remember the square Tauruses.
Bob: Oh yeah. Before that, there was a square Tauruses and they went to the more rounded shape. It’s like, let’s turn it into a bubble. And so that’s why I call it the “Bubble Taurus.”
Do not pass up a good “insurance policy”
Bob: So here’s where we were. We were early in our marriage. This is whatever, 15, 14 years ago at this point, right?
Linda: Oh yeah.
Bob: And we have two cars. We have two old cars at that point.
Linda: I mean, not super old, but.
Bob: Probably what, eight years old and six years old or something?
Linda: Maybe something like.
Bob: But they were both fairly unreliable cars. And so for that reason, I’ll just say that they were old because they were kind of unreliable and unpredictable. We didn’t really know what was going to happen.
The great opportunity
Bob: And so my sister, Lauren, who owned this Bubble Taurus she was getting rid of, she was going to go trade into a dealer.
Bob: And buy a new car. And I said, how much is the dealer going to pay you for it? And she’s like a thousand dollars. I’m like, no, don’t give it to them, give it to me. I’ll buy it off you for a thousand dollars. And so I went and gave her a thousand dollars to buy this Bubble Taurus which was going to be a third car for us, which…
Linda: I love the way you tell this story. It’s so indicative of your relationship with her at that point before. You guys are mellowed out now. But you’re like, no, don’t give it to them. Give it to me. Sell it to me. I’ll buy that for a thousand dollars. And she’s like, oh, okay. And she just does it. She didn’t even look to see if she could get more for it. She was like, oh, okay. Bob wants it, I have to sell it to them.
Bob: Well, no, she was going to give it to them. Like if she wanted to give it away for a thousand dollars, like I will take it. Don’t give it to the dealer. Anyway, so we can get into that later.
Having foresight to benefit your financial future
Bob: But so the reason I did this, I was a very calculated. It was a well thought out decision. I didn’t… well, you never know how it’s going to play out. But at the time again, we had two older cars that were starting to become more unreliable. And I thought, and I knew, that she had taken meticulous care of this car. I knew it was a really good car.
Bob: And I knew that if one of our cars, the engine blew or the transmission blew or something like that, it was basically going to be totaled.
Bob: I knew that there’s no way I’m going to be able to spend a thousand dollars and quickly find a car as reliable as hers.
Bob: And so I thought, you know what? We could spend a thousand dollars on this car, buy this as an insurance policy, just in case one of our other cars blows up. And anyway, so that was kinda the logic behind this purpose.
Linda: So Bob comes to me and he says, “I want to buy Lauren’s car. The dealer’s going to buy it from her for a thousand dollars, but I convinced her to let us buy it from her for a thousand dollars.” And I was like, we already have two cars. Can I just have that thousand dollars? Like I could do some damage with that. And Bob’s like, no, this is an insurance policy.
Bob: It was, yeah, it was an investment.
Linda: Right. But you were like, this is a really good insurance policy. You were really convincing.
Bob: I mean, it was a gamble to some extent. But anyway.
Linda: Move along…
Was the gamble worth it?
Bob: How’d it play out? Was it a terrible decision, or not?
Linda: Unfortunately for me. No. Fortunately for me, it ended up being a really good decision because Bob’s car broke down.
Bob: Yeah. What a year?
Linda: Couple months later?
Bob: Yeah, it wasn’t that much longer. The engine completely blew, blew a head gasket. I mean and in…
Linda: Oh my gosh. And it was like, here you go. You can pay like $6,000 to fix this. I think you ended up selling it to a mechanic for 500 bucks or something.
Bob: Yeah, no, it was at the shop. We had to tow it to the dealer and he said the head gasket was blown. You basically had to replace the entire engine.
Linda: So this was back… I mean, we just did not have a lot of money. Bob was getting ready to quit his job. Not quit, but be laid off at his job. And so his car breaks down. We’re just not make pulling in a lot of money. And he goes to a friend who is like have you ever towed a car before? And he’s like…
Bob: Did we do that?
Linda: Remember, you talked to John and he was like, I’ve towed a car before. I’ve also pushed a car before. Like, go from behind and just one car push the other car.
Bob: Did we actually do that?
Linda: No, I don’t remember what we did. I think we ended up getting it to start or something. I can’t remember. It was like you left it for a day, and then it started back up. And so you drove it to a place and…
Bob: No, that was, that was the Bubble Taurus later on.
Linda: That was when it ran outta gas. Right?
Bob: I don’t know. Anyway, too many things.
Linda: There are a lot.
Bob: All this to say it ended up working out really well because my car blew up and then I began driving around this Bubble Taurus. So I wanted to talk. This is a long, long, long intro.
Linda: Long way get there but, let’s go.
Lessons learned from the Bubble Taurus
Bob: Let’s get to the point of all this. I want to talk about some of the lessons that I learned from driving around this Bubble Taurus.
Bob: So then at that point, the car was probably 11-12 years old. One of the ugliest cars I had ever seen in my life. And I spent three years driving this thing around. And I learned some, I don’t know, I think pretty important lessons through this.
Linda: Do we own seedtime.com/bubble-taurus, so people can just go and look at this car?
Bob: We do need to make some link to that. So here’s what we’ll do. We’ll make a link: seedtime.com/bubble.
Linda: Make a note.
Bob: We’ll create that. You can go take a look at it if you want. Look at me and the Bubble Taurus all you want. So I’ll go ahead and set that URL up so anybody can check it out. Okay, let’s get into the lessons I learned.
Lesson #1: Patience
Bob: So the first lesson I learned in this whole thing, you know, because God used this to help me develop things in me. And so one of them was patience because I did not want to be driving this car, you know? It was a good financial move for us to create this as some sort of insurance policy for the worst case scenario, which kind of did happen. But I didn’t want to be driving this car around. I was embarrassed by it. It was really old and ugly. And the fact of the matter is, like we began doing better and better financially where we didn’t really need to do that.
Bob: We definitely didn’t need to do that. But I had this goal. I wanted to buy our next car with cash.
Bob: And so I had the option of all right, do I run out and get a loan? Buy a brand new car, or newer car, that I really want right now?
Bob: Or, am I patient until we can actually save up enough to buy our next car with cash?
Linda: Which our other car at that time was a Honda Fit.
Linda: Which we called it the “mini minivan.” Because, it looks like a minivan but it was just… tiny.
Bob: No disrespect to anybody who owns a Honda Fit. But it also is not the best looking car in the world.
Linda: Not the best looking car for sure. But, that car was great though.
Bob: But probably the best car we’ve ever owned. Ever.
Linda: Yeah. I will agree because you could fit so much in that car.
Bob: You could fit so much in it.
Linda: It surprising how roomy it was.
Bob: The most reliable car by far that we’ve ever owned.
Linda: Oh my gosh.
Bob: 150,000 miles. We drove that thing over 10 years. And other than light bulbs, we replaced a bunch of light bulbs in it, but no mechanical issues. It was just amazing.
Linda: Yeah. That was a really good car.
Bob: It was a great car. So anyway, the patience component. This was an important lesson that I feel like God taught me during this. Because the fact of the matter is, if you can’t learn to wait for the things that you want, like you are never going to get ahead financially.
Bob: This is just something that all of us have to learn. And honestly, I think we just continue to learn on deeper and more significant levels. Everything good in life requires patience. And the people who have no patience and are like, I gotta have it now. I gotta have it now. They miss out on so much good stuff in life. And so that was a really important thing that God kind of used.
Lesson #2: Humility
Bob: Another lesson that I learned from this experience was humility.
Linda: Boy, did we.
Bob: And you drove it some. But I mean, I felt like I drove it more.
Linda: I didn’t drive it a lot. But yeah, it was kind of funny driving that thing around. Because I think we live in an age where image is everything. Where it’s like, you got to look a certain way. You got to have a certain things. And it’s interesting when you are in the position of not looking a certain way.
Linda: And you can either take that and it makes you feel like terrible about yourself or like stupid or embarrassed or whatever. Or, you can take it and realize this doesn’t define me.
Lesson #3: Identity
Linda: This doesn’t really say who I am. It’s just a temporary thing.
Bob: Yeah. And that leads to the third lesson.
Linda: Which it’s all temporary when we’re really thinking about it.
Linda: It’s like we can’t take any of it with us. So good or bad, super cool design or super ugly design… it’s not going with us to heaven.
Linda: But what’s happening inside our hearts is going with us to heaven. So that’s what we need to be constantly purifying that. And constantly looking at what is on the inside of us to make sure that it’s lining up with who God has created us to be and how he wants us to be, you know?
Bob: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah. So third lesson is just in identity.
Bob: This ties into what you’re saying. But I had to ask myself, am I going to define myself? Or, am I going to care that other people are defining me by the car that I’m driving?
And this is such a dangerous thing. Because again, one of the reasons that I don’t use the term net worth, but use assets under management instead is because I just don’t want my identity be tied up in any specific number. And I think it’s the same way with our cars. There’s so many people that allow their car to become their identity.
Bob: You know? Either direction. But I think a lot of people think “I drive a really nice car, and therefore I feel better about myself.”
Bob: I feel more important. I can convince other people that I’m important because I drive a really nice car.
Linda: Right. Yeah.
Bob: And who am I, if I don’t have that anymore?
Linda: Well, even like your dad worked in the union and it was really not cool to drive a foreign car.
Bob: Not only not cool, but…
Linda: You were not allowed to in your house, right?
Bob: Oh my gosh. Yeah.
Linda: To have like a Honda? You had to have a Ford.
Linda: I mean, it’s just interesting. How we tie up our identity in these things, that do they really matter? I mean, it’s a good question to ask.
God created us to see the beautiful
Linda: Because there’s a side of it that is, you know, God created us to see things that are beautiful. I think about the sunsets he created and how they’re always changing. They’re different every single day.
Linda: God didn’t have to do that. There are lightning bugs and it specifically in the… What is it, The Smoky Mountains?
Bob: Oh, yeah.
Linda: That light up simultaneously only for like a week in June, or something like this.
Bob: Yeah. Sometime in the Summer.
Linda: God did not have to do that, but he chose to do that because he wanted us to be able to see something visually and realize how beautiful it was and what a cool thing it was, you know? So there’s part of me, that’s like, it’s okay to enjoy the good design, right?
Bob: Of course, absolutely.
Linda: But, I think that there is an aspect of thought in there.
Bob: But, when we put our identity in it…
Bob: And like, I have to have this or else, it would’ve…
Linda: Or it changes who I am.
Bob: Yeah. And that was what part of what God, I feel like helped break out of me by having me drive this old hunk of junk car for three years.
Bob: Is getting to the point where I was comfortable in who I am in Him. Regardless of whether I was driving a nice car or an old junker car. Because I don’t want my identity, you know, so if I’m driving a Rolls Royce, I don’t want my identity to be in that.
Bob: I don’t want me to feel more important than someone else because I’m driving that. Or to feel like I have to do this so that people think I’m a certain thing because of that. And at the same time, if I’m driving a junker again, I don’t want to feel less than anyone else.
Bob: Because of that, you know?
The little incident
Linda: Well, and we did just have our car we had gotten in a little accident. And we drove around with this…
Bob: It was Bob’s fault.
Linda: Ding in our car, it was a big ding.
Bob: It was a big old dent.
Linda: It’s kind of, I would like to call it my car. And the only reason is because it’s minivan and I was driving that thing around for probably six months with that ding in it. Because we were trying to sort out, we were trying to sort out some things before we got it fixed.
Bob: Well, yeah, the short…
Linda: And it dawned on me, all these people that are seeing that ding in that car and they’re like “mm-hmm, woman driver. Can’t trust a woman driver.” And it was not my fault.
I was like, am I secure enough in who I am? And though what the truth actually is that I can drive this thing around. Or, is this just going to really bother me? And I finally just decided, I just don’t care what people think about me. They can think I’m a terrible driver. But the fact is, I didn’t do that.
Bob: Yeah, it was definitely me.
Linda: You are a terrible driver. I’m just kidding. That’s just what it seemed I was implying. So I just said it out loud. But no, Bob’s a great driver.
Bob: I am a great driver. Thank you.
Linda: But you did make a mistake.
Bob: I did. Yeah, I definitely made a mistake. And we had a big old dent in the back of our van. And the reason…
Linda: And then you tried to fix it and it looked even worse.
Bob: Oh yeah.
Linda: Bob was like, I wonder if I could do this myself? And it was so much worse.
Bob: I’m a DIYer. And so I’m like, well…
Linda: We had to get it fixed either way.
Bob: We got a quote for it and they wanted to charge $3,100 to fix it. Andwe’re getting ready to sell it. Like we’re trying to get rid of this thing. So, I don’t want to put $3,000 into it if we’re about to sell it.
Bob: And so I’m like, I’m just going to see if I can hammer that thing out with the hammer.
Linda: Because like in our mind, we are either going to fix it ourselves or we’re going to have to pay it to get it fixed. So if you ruin it…
Bob: It was going to work either way.
Linda: It’s going to either way. And it was the thing where you had to replace the whole panel. Like it wasn’t like whatever damage we did wasn’t going to make it any worse.
Bob: Yeah, exactly. So I gave it a go and it did not work.
Linda: Made it worse.
Bob: Made it worse. But it took us a long time because I was not wanting to spend $3,000. But we ended up actually finding a cheaper solution. So that was good.
Bob: But, anyway. All this to say…
Linda: Anyway, all this to say.
Thankful for that season with the Taurus
Bob: I’m really thankful for that season with the Taurus.
Linda: Yeah. Because honestly I feel like driving around that van, I was kind of like I’ve driven an uglier thing.
Bob: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Linda: I mean a minivan at least is a minivan. But a mini minivan it’s like…
Bob: Mini minivan.
Linda: Why would you make a car that looks like a minivan, but it’s not at a minivan? Like that is just such a funny concept. Isn’t it?
Bob: Yeah. All right. Let’s go ahead and read a review.
Linda: All right. Let’s see what we got here. This one is titled one of my favorites.
Bob: I like it already.
Linda: From faithful budgeter. Ooh…
“I love this podcast. It’s full of practical financial advice from a Christian perspective. I enjoy listening to Bob speak and the episodes with his wife Linda, that’s me, are especially great. I’ve found every episode helpful. But a couple that stood out to were the ones on finding your purpose and handling financial disagreements with your spouse. Definitely give it a listen.”
Bob: Love that. So your action item for the day, because we’ve been doing this. I’ve enjoyed just kind of giving you guys homework.
Bob: Like why not?
Linda: So bang up your car and see if it’s see if you can still feel good about yourself driving around. We’ll come hit it for you with our car. Our car doesn’t matter at this point.
Reader paid off $16K of debt just by doing this…
Bob: Oh actually real quick. I want to read something. So somebody read chapter nine in the book where I talk about this Bubble Taurus and he reached out, and I love this.
This is a guy named Josh, he said,
“I want to tell you how much you’ve inspired me while I haven’t gotten the spending plan (Real Money Method) in place. Yet our family owned a 2017 Honda Odyssey. Our kids are getting older, we just didn’t need the minivan. I heard your story about the Bubble Taurus, felt like God was telling me to sell the minivan, pay off debt and buy something cheaper.”
Bob: And so he said “this week, God brought another believer to our Odyssey. Then I connected with another believer and bought a 2009 Honda Fit.”
Bob: Yes. So he said “I was able to leverage the assets of the Odyssey and pay off $16,000 of debt.”
Bob: That’s cool.
Linda: I think we bought a 2007 Fit.
Bob: Yeah, we had an ’07..
Linda: I mean….
Bob: But, but this is so cool. Like this is powerful, you know? So, so even like we were talking about these three lessons here. But, like, you actually save a lot of money too.
Linda: So he had the minivan and then he bought a mini minivan.
Linda: This is awesome.
Bob: But $16,000 of debt by changing the car that you drive.
Linda: That is amazing.
Bob: It’s so powerful. That’s really awesome. And I love that.
Linda: And that really is such a good car.
Bob: It is a great car.
Linda: Like if…
Bob: What, you want an another one?
Linda: I mean, maybe. I don’t think we can fit our three kids in it. But, maybe we could as soon as all the kids are without a booster.
Bob: Well let’s do it. Let’s sell our minivan and get… Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if we can get all the car seats. You’re right. Anyway. All right.
Bob: So your homework for today is to sell your car. That’s it? Whatever it is, just sell it and get something cheaper.
Linda: Just sell it.
Bob: No, but do take this into consideration next time you’re buying a car. Or, maybe be like Josh and maybe pay off 10, 15, $20,000 of debt just by driving something a little bit older.
Linda: That’s just fascinating, isn’t it?
Advice from my millionaire mentor
Bob: You know, because I’ll remind you of what my millionaire mentor told me, that I’ve just never forgotten. He said there’s two areas where most Americans waste money: eating out and the cars that they drive.
Bob: And if you can master both of those two things, you set yourself up for such a tremendous amount of financial success. And it’s so true. Like the decisions that we make around our cars have such a huge impact on our overall financial success.
Bob: So anyway, that’s a thought for the day. Hope you have a good one.
Bob: We’ll see you soon.
Linda: See ya.