Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I just finished reading Cemetery Consort's blog. Let me tell you, she and her husband Rythter are smart folks, and doubly so when it comes to managing money. CC's a lot like me. If you don't have the cash, don't buy it; and if you do have the cash... well, don't buy it then either. It's not that they don't have nice things, they do; but they're very smart about how they go about acquiring them.
Janet and I make a pretty good team when it comes to managing finances. When we got engaged, she had some credit card debt, but she was meticulous about paying her bills on time and managing her credit score. I was big on saving and avoiding debt, but was a slacker when it came to paying bills on time. We've used our strengths to offset our weaknesses and come out largely ahead.
Overall though, I'm still quite disappointed. Though I've had some pretty dang good jobs, I've also had a few employment problems that have off-set the gains. I've seen my salary yo-yo back and forth, once climbing close to the six figure mark. However, I've also been hit by a couple periods of unemployment as well. When IBM layed off me and ten-thousand of my closest colleagues, I watched our savings melt faster than a sugar cube in the rain. More recently, I chose to leave SuckFactors rather than to risk a myocardial infarction. (What an absolute hell hole. I'll have to blog about that place one of these days.) And once or twice, Janet found herself on the short end of a layoff as well. Those types of situations haven't helped.
We've always kept our heads above water, kept saving for retirement, and never lacked for anything, but, dangit, I can't help but feel we should be in a better place than we are. My biggest beef right now is that we do have some debt at the moment. This fall, we had to have our furnace replaced unexpectedly. On top of that, in order to prepare for Janet's day-care business, we had to have a fence put up. Those two expenses weigh on my mind and I can't wait to get them paid off.
One major bright spot on our financial "portfolio", to use a fifty cent word that is better left to folks who dress way better than me, is our home. We bought it before the housing prices started to shoot up. I love the convenience of the location and the house itself, so there's no pressure to move, and we were smart enough to land a 15 year loan back a few years ago. Even with home prices falling, we're still way ahead of the game. I'll still be fairly young when our house is paid off.
What burns me is that we're in a golden period to buy property at low interest rates and low prices, but I'm not situated to capitalize on the moment. Grr. When some people are worrying about how to hang on to what they've got, I'm trying to scheme up a way to buy a second house, something I can rent out and make a buck or two on. Doesn't look like it's happening, unfortunately.
So, for now, I'm treading water and helping Janet set up the day care business. If things go well there, we'll be in good shape. I just can't help but feel we're a day late. I'm just glad I'm also not a dollar short.