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Tales from Saving & Preparing

March 9th, 2009 at 01:49 pm

Bad news on the horizon - lots of laid off relatives (news this weekend). It's starting to hit the same old demographic.

I was telling my mom about how it seemed we knew at least one person per household laid off in the 2002 era. & that I Was susprised to not know so many with this new 10% unemployment rate in the state. (Though clearly the layoffs are starting to pile up. Could just be a matter of time). But in reference to 2002 I said, "Everyone was laid off, including us." My mom said, "What do you mean?" I said, "I mean when my husband was laid off in 2002." She didn't remember. She said, "I thought he quit."

I think that nails it on the head. Yes, he was laid off, after working shortened hours and many mandatory unpaid vacations, for about 18 months, in 2002. No one remembers because our savings and preparation made it smooth sailing. At this point everyone thinks it was planned that my spouse has not worked a day in 6 years. Um, NOT planned! But I must admit I am pleased that something that could be so devastating to a newly starting out couple, was barely a bump in the road for us. I am honored that people think we planned things this way. (Though often the same people would say we are lucky to have never had a hardship. Which is kind of annoying. Just because we were prepared didn't mean it wasn't a hardship).

I mean there was a good solid year in there he looked for work - if not longer.

I think this is why I am a true believer in saving. & when I have to roll my eyes when I hear the word "deprivation" as an analogy to saving. I feel like our savings has kept up from feeling deprived.

I'll put it this way - being prepared lessens the hardship blows of life. Indeed.

As for us, we don't dwell on the bad. If I think about it there was plenty of hardship along the way for us. But we don't dwell; we move on.

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Anyway, along the same lines, FIL will be laid off this summer (government, so lots of notice). He is just going to retire. Now there is a perfect example. Wasn't the plan, but they will make do. They seem surprisingly zen about the whole thing.

It looks like our parents will all be in a position to retire around 60. (Probably sooner, if not for the health benefit issues - my dad is 57 now and I think it's the only reason he is working full-time any more - for benefits). It's interesting to have a number (an age) for retirement. We always look to our parents as our baseline. They are moderately successful, and we seem to have it easier than them at this point in our lives (easier than they did at this age). I know we face very different parameters as well, but it's like. "Hey. Is retiring in our late 50s really out there?" Maybe not?

On the flip side, my parents seem well prepared. My impoverished grandparents were quite able to take care of themselves. My more well off grandparents have done quite well for themselves. Dh's family? His grandma really struggles financially (though not quite the same hardships my own grandparents faced) and we have offered to help out. His parents scare me. I don't think they had any good role models financially like my parents did. So I do worry about them, for sure. But in the short term they seem quite all right. (The panicked and cashed out their retiremet for one - so of course we worry).

Now if my dad told me tomorrow he was retiring, I wouldn't worry about him a bit. So it's a little different. His parents taught him how to save, for sure (purely survival) and my mom's parents were good examples for managing money. They seem to be managing their money a little better. I can't see ever worrying about them.

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