Monday, March 16, 2009

Planning for the Future

I've just read an opinion piece titled "There's No Pill for This Kind of Depression," published by the Wall Street Journal which, I think, accurately sums up our situation at the moment: "People are in a kind of suspended alarm, waiting for the future to unspool and not expecting it to unspool happily."

We had a dream of traveling for a year, but with the collapse of our savings and the uncertainty of the economy, that seems a bit irresponsible for our future. In fact, the cost of the RV parks and food is, perhaps, the least of the cost; there will be the steady income of Jeff's job we'd be walking away from as well as the expense of maintaining our medical coverage.

The dream has not died, we still want to travel and we will, I hope, in several years. This timing was tempting because we were still young and at a juncture in our lives with the ability to choose from a variety of roads, but we were obviously premature in thinking we were "done" with the serious work in our life. We've been handed yet more challenges and it's not time for a vacation just yet.

Jeff has a good job he likes here at Apple, and while we were eager to get out of California due to the high cost of living, even a much lower cost of living will wipe you out if you have no income. Apple hasn't started lay-offs yet, so I guess we stay, for now. We're feeling, quoting the article again "There is "a pervasive sense of anxiety, as though everyone feels they're on thin ice.""

As a renter I feel really exposed and am worried about our future. I'm not feeling confident about our ability to take care of ourselves if the economy does, in the end, topple over. The government can only do so much to protect people from their own mistakes.

This quote from the article sums up my belief: "I asked a Wall Street titan what one should do to be safe in the future, he took me aback with the concreteness of his advice, and its bottom-line nature. Everyone should try to own a house, he said, no matter how big or small, but it has to have some land, on which you should learn how to grow things." So, despite the preference to leave California for greener pastures up north in Oregon, we spend a bit of time looking for an excellent deal on a house here in Silicon Valley, though few exist so far, even among the foreclosures and bank owned properties.

I suspect our short-term course will be to move in either with my mother in a small portion of her house, or perhaps we may "rent" my grandmother's house inherited by my father and aunt. At least they probably won't evict us if things get bad! =)

One of the very few nice things about this economy is the reemergence of Thrift as a valued lifestyle; I read more and more articles everyday.

BTW, change of subject, thanks to the referral of a friend, I have an interview tomorrow, for a position with some bookkeeping and event planning responsibilities. I'll try and do well; perhaps I'll finally line up an interesting job.

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