Well, it is Black Friday, the big shopping day after Thanksgiving, so lets hope the retail market perks up for all those companies who desperately need this to be a good day and keep their doors open and their employees on the payroll. I must admit that it is hard for me to say “spend, spend, spend for the holiday season” when that is part of what got our economy into this mess in the first place.
Some of you have asked how the drop in the stock market and the housing market is impacting our life part two. Several things have worked in our favor.
Bob and I have always been able to work when we want to. The layoffs, restructuring, outsourcing and retirement when they finally happened worked to our benefit providing health insurance and severance packages. We have been able to continue to work or consult as much as we wanted to since then. Thank you U of MN, my web clients and ING!
As our financial planner Carolyn reminds us – we have lived within our means for many years and don’t have any debt except for the house payment. When we sold our house in MN we kept most of that cash and put it in the bank and took out a mortgage on the new house so we do have a house payment but wanted that to get the interest deduction. Long story behind that strategy so ask if you want to know more. We will probably do this for 2-3 years and then pay it off. Of course when we sold our house we didn’t get what we could have gotten two years ago but I think we got the best price we could get, given the market and we certainly got more then we put into it. If we had waited another few months I think it would have been even worse.
It’s cheaper to live in Travelers Rest, SC and that was definitely one of the reasons we moved here. Housing, utilities, insurance and taxes all make it about 15% – 18% less expensive then the Twin Cities.
We have been planning this relocation and semi retirement for at least five years and in the last 18 months or more have been moving money into bonds and building up our cash reserves. Our investment portfolio is conservative and diverse. However, at the end of last month for the money we do have in the stock market, which is still the majority of our retirement income, we lost our 30% like everyone else and if the market never recovers we have problems.
Right now we are confident we can wait it out but we are not over confident. Bob is still working part time for ING so yesterday when they called and asked if he would fly back to MN and work Nov. 30 to Dec. 23 he said yes. It will make for a weird holiday at our house. I think my holiday decorations will be a couple poinsettias and the ceramic XMAS tree Bob’s mom gave us. Maybe I will put a bow and bell on the cat! I am still doing web sites and always seem to have a couple new ones to work on.
I check the stock market several times a day now which I never used to do but I don’t loose any sleep over what’s happening although I do admit to groaning and sputtering at the close of some market days. My advice – don’t spend, spend, spend. Instead save, save, save.