Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ostriches have it good

Sometimes I just want to bury my head in the ground like an ostrich and just stay there a while, with the notion that when I finally pull my head up, things will be better. The news will be better. The nation will be better.

I hope things are going to get better under Obama, but I don't think we've hit bottom yet and I'm worried both about how far down things will still go and how long we'll take to get there before we bounce back up.

I think of my own financial situation, which is in many ways, the best it has ever been. We don't owe money on any cars. Our day car costs, which are still ridiculous, have at least started to go down as our 3 1/2 year old daughter has been out of diapers for three months. We have more money in the bank than we ever have had before. Our 401(k)s are down 1/3rd, but we really won't be caring as much about what is in those for at least another 30 years, and things will be different by then. In 17 1/2 months, our daughter will start kindergarten, hopefully full day by then, and so we'll no longer have to pay for day care for her. Two years after that, our son will start as well, and then no more day care costs at all (except summers, which may be taken care of by a long visit by the mother-in-law...)

But despite this, I'm still worried. It can all go south so fast. My wife and I have both lost two jobs since we've been married, though the landings were rather soft for her losses and one of mine. So it is appealing to just stick my head in the ground and wait for things to get better. In a sense, that's all most people can do - hunker down and hope. At least we have the luxury of hunkering down with full bellies and warm beds. All we have to worry about is worry right now. I feel lucky. And I'm not an ostrich. I'm going to have to have my head up and I'm going to have to watch where things go from here as they get there. At least I'm terribly busy with work and two kids, so time goes by fast. Maybe that's almost as good as being an ostrich.


C Woods said...

It sounds like you have managed your money well. However, for those who haven't, find the highest yield Money Market APY out there and start an emergency fund.

Generally you need 3 months of take-home pay for each family member. That way if you lose your job, you won't need to dip into your 401k.

When I was in jeopardy of losing a job, I managed to save a year's worth ---it took a while and by that time the threat of a job loss had passed. I continued to save. It was nice to be able to pay cash for new refrigerator when the old one died, for unexpected auto repairs, or a new roof, and not have to run up more debt.

Luckily you have about 30 years for the market to recover. My husband and I are already retired. We haven't had to dip into IRAs & 401k yet and hope we can hold off until the market turns around somewhat. I'm not one to panic ---but there is this little lump in the pit of my stomach every time i watch the news.

Now, I wish I had just a little more money each month so I could invest while prices are low.

I have been emjoying your blog. I have added your url to the list of Freethought Resources I have on my blog:

Also, on 3/13/09 I will be posting information on the 2009 “Blog Against Theocracy” event in April, supporting church/state separation. I hope you can participate.

DBB said...

Thanks for your kind words.

I'm always glad to find someone who likes what I write. I know there are a few of you out there.

I will try and participate in your event. I certainly am against theocracy.

I am impressed you saved a year's take home pay. That takes a LOT of discipline. We've not managed to save that much, but we probably have enough in checking to cover five months of expenses (taking out day care as someone would be home if someone loses a job).

Once the market went down, I actually increased my 401K contributions significantly for a few months and then left them still up quite a bit after that. I figure now is a good time to buy buy buy.

I'll check out your blog - I already have, come to think of it, though I recall there was a long list.