Am I the only person wishing they'd raise interest rates? I don't mean to be a downer, but I don't see anyone's 401 coming back in this lifetime. If I'm down 30%, the stock market needs to go up about 43% for me to break even, let alone gain. I don't see it happening.
My mother was telling me she's been investing in the market for 30 years and between bubble and bust, she's just about broken even. She'd have done better to leave it in a savings account. But as we all know, unless you save a lot of money and have very low living costs, 5% will most likely not be enough for retirement, or at least the sort of luxury dream retirement we've all been lead to believe hard work and thrift will provide.
So for me, we've been affected, but I think the bigger changes are ahead.
1. Our retirement savings is pretty much gone....which makes us want to stop being the careful frugal folk who live way below our means and put money in retirement rather than enjoying it...why oh why didn't we take our kids on a nice trip rather than putting it all away for "the future"...why oh why didn't we buy a house we loved????
2. My parents, who are retired, are certainly a bit p'd off. That makes me sad for them, but also strains things a bit. Truthfully, it irritates me a bit because since they have pensions this is their "extra" money and they have made a fortune in real estate by passing houses down at higher and higher prices. That being said, my mom has pointed out that they don't have time before retirement for the market to recover, of course, they retired early because they have pensions.
3. We are about to try to sell our house to buy a nicer house (see #1) and are afraid we won't get a buyer
4. I worry that we no longer have a plan --- like the pp hinted --- I no longer think that a 401K is a path to retirement. In 10 years of careful savings we haven't broken even --- so we need a new plan.
5. All that being said. Dhs job seems solid. I have been getting freelance work. We never did any of the stuff that people are cutting out anyway (eating out, etc.) so our day to day life is about the same. That said, it is all very depressing and I feel terrible for people who are losing their jobs and worry so much about what might happen and wonder if our entire generation will have anyway to retire without pensions.
His job is hopefully secure, as is my mom's. They did freeze raises for this quarter at DH's job, and are shuffling ppl around to avoid hiring. They all but froze OT about a year ago. I used to watch my neighbor's 2 kids mornings before school, but their dad just got laid off so thats $40 a week gone (of course I feel worse for them). My dad has been unemployed since April, though his wife is working so they're ok. My brother lost his job in October, his wife is a SAHM, and his unemployment will soon run out. My best friend since 6th grade is pregnant and facing foreclosure as her DH took a big pay cut this year, and they have had other circumstances as well. My grandparents had basically all their money in property. They own millions in real estate, but have little cash flow, and since they can't sell they are struggling. I know of other friends/acquaintances who have been laid off recently as well. It seems to be everywhere I turn.
I am trying to stockpile, and will attempt my first-ever garden this year. We are saving every penny, and trying to be prepared for the worst. DH grew up in a depression economy in Peru. His father left his mother with 6 kids, including a newborn, and no income. They all survived, and grew into amazing individuals. He promises he will guide us through anything, and I trust that he will, but it is still worrisome.
I am struggling emotionally with stress and fear of the what-ifs. DH's degree will be in manufacturing engineering, and I worry that it won't be worth the struggle with the state of manufacturing in the US. If he stays with his current employer he should be secure as they are short on engineers all the time, and they manufacture parts for the military and NASA, among other things. From his understanding these must legally be made in the USA, so there is no danger of the company going overseas. However, I hate the region we are living in, and our plan was always to move out of state. Now I don't know if thats a good idea, but I cannot bear the thought of these long, terrible winters and the accompanying depression for the rest of my life.
In the immediate future my biggest problem is that my little sister is moving in next month. Not only will that make us very crowded, but my sister is a childish, selish, and hateful person and I cannot stand the idea of my children living with her. I desperately wish we could move out.
Now theres a novel for you - can you tell its on my mind a lot?
Awaiting our Grand Finale, Haven Xavier in July 2011 ****5****10****15****20****25********35****
The Hippie & the Marine
My boys: S (4) & O (2) & Expecting #3 in Dec. 2011
401K actually more, somehow DH had some wisdom and invested in some of those gold stocks early on! It helped that those went up when the others tanked. But overall, it's still plummited.
We live so cheaply I haven't really changed how we're living. DH actually teases me sometimes, says that I live like he makes 29,000 a year or something.
But, what disturbs me most is the bail outs. Spending money that we don't have, taking care of the elite, while forgetting about the country and its future.
We probably have already spent 10-15 times over what it would cost for universal healthcare in this country. The politicians can bolster the effort to help banks, but cannot provide for the people.
I really hope, that out of all of this, that somehow we get some renewed sense of people wanting to ensure a future for our own people and their children. That people think about community, sustainability and progress.
I'm still rather depressed about the prospects of universal healthcare. Our healthcare costs are insane, and we know so many more people who go without because they cannot afford to pay the premiums.
I try not to think about that. Because it really is a huge downer. I would say that the emotional aspect of the recession is the toughest for me. I hate to see so many around suffering. And, it's also disturbing for me to see many elitists who are so out of touch with the common citizen and their needs.
I fear that we are no longer that government 'of the people, by the people or for the people' that we used to be.
(sorry if this post was a downer, I try not to think about whats going on and live as I always did)
Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!
Just a thought, but you might want to get a second opinion on the dental work. My dentist back home, who I trust a great deal, told me to be a little doubtful of dentists who suddenly find a lot of work that needs doing. He said that dentists do such a good job of preventative work nowadays, some feel the need to come up with "emergency" dental work to bring in $. I took his advice w/ dd's braces when the first orthdontist came on w/ horror scenarios and scary $$ amts. The second opinion was much more logical.
I moved from the city to the burbs in the fall and had to switch dentists. One tooth had a 20+ year old silver filling that old dentist would not replace with a composite filling since the tooth was too fragile. He even told me to just wait for it to fall out - he was pretty sure what was left underneath would not be enough to support a pin/crown. Same with the other tooth - 20+ year repair that was on its last legs.
I'm 40 - these repairs/fillings were done in my early college years.
ETA: the 401K from my previous job with $29K that I rolled into an IRA is down to $15K and change. I don't know whether to leave it or not.
We live tight as it is and will have to start making more painful cuts to the budget to stay on track with our debt repayment plan. Bummer.
But then again, my husband continues to be employed so we are doing well in that sense.
Frugal, food growing mama to my four loves
- My dh's job is secure, so that is definitely a bonus, and he did get a cost-of-living raise in January.
- Our retirement fund actually gained more last year than it ever has before... it's 100% in Government Securities, and is "guaranteed" to gain, so lots of people have been transferring from stocks/bonds w/ risk to the no risk, giving us more gain.
- Our property value has gone down by 25k, at a minimum. On the bright side, our property taxes have gone down as well, which lowered our total monthly mortgage payment by $50 a month.
- We did lose about $200 worth of other monthly income... but it could be worse - in 2-3 months, we're expecting to lose another $650, at the same time we gain another mouth to feed.
- My IL's income went down substantially and we've been "forced" to step in and help w/ some of their bills. This situation will keep declining until MIL is "forced" to move in with us. :sigh
- We decided to keep our older cars, rather than trading them in, so we've saved lots of $$$ there.
- Dh, for the 1st time ever, got on board w/ cutting cable!
- We have 3-4 months worth of groceries stockpiled, which is a huge blessing.
- Dh is concerned about his future marketability, therefore is taking advantage of the education benefits available to him through work... this could help us in the future, if the economy continues in the downturn.
- Dh is finally on board with cutting out some of our spending for birthdays and holidays (good thing, too, since we are running out of room, and Lord knows we'll never be able to sell our house!)
- In the past 6 months, we've paid off more than 12k worth of debt, freeing up over $400 a month.
It could definitely be worse, but I think it's making us - well, dh - more aware, and this is great!
Thank God, the recession hasn't affected us negatively. Dh's job is secure at least until 2010 when they do the new budget, but he is a government employee so we feel fairly secure. We rent, so no housing market to deal with.
We feel extremely blessed, extremely -- as we see all around us how people are struggling, and try to be of help when we can, however we can within our own pretty limited means.
Other than that, things have actually been pretty good for us. DH got promoted and he is military so no job security worries. We are going to buy our first home soon (finally in one place long enough) and without one to sell this puts us in a good position. DH is definitely staying in the military at least 8 more years so he can get that retirement.
I just want to give a big "you can do it!" on the gardening front. The "Digging in the Dirt" forums here are a great resource, and having just gone from black to greenish thumbed myself, I know how reassuring it can be to know that you've got food in the dirt.
Patients have had to choose between paying their bills and paying for chiropractic care...our response is to slash our fees by almost 60% by instituting a sliding scale. So far, OK. The number of folks receiving care has increased slightly. Most of our existing patients are choosing to pay the regular fees. God we love them. Still our income is all over the place.
Credit card debt has grown. CC companies have raised interest rates.
I finally took my head out of the sand and went through everything. DH and I met with a debt management company. They recommended bankruptcy. Not thrilled with the idea but we are meeting with a lawyer today to discuss our options.
Thankfully, we are all incredibly healthy.
Oddly it's strengthening our relationship. We are cutting up the cards no matter what we do and that feels great.
Our older kids know that the belt is tightening and are taking steps to earn money this summer. 12yo son can play music on the pedestrian mall and base ump for little league games. 14yo DD has an opportunity to work on an organic farm.
We are holding a yard sale next week and selling all non-essential crap that is crowding our garage.
We are eating lots of rice and beans!
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