last night was a sleepless night for ben & a restless night for me. (especially seeing i am up at 6am blogging, you know something's going on.) anyone else catch oprah yesterday? anyone else turned on the news, msn, dateline, & actually listen to it??
we are in some real trouble here. when i hear suze orman, a financial adviser who's opinion i really respect, say that our economy is in "as much trouble as in the crash of '29," i get a bit scared. to the point that i am dreaming about it, and ben is not-sleeping about it. all last night we watched hours of news talking about the horrible state our country is in. retirement savings are being cut in half, people are losing their 401k's, and the stock markets have crashed. then we stayed up for hours talking about what we are going to do about it. some questions we have been asking ourselves:
- is now the best time to be going to school & living off of student loans? (aka, money that isn't really ours??)
- if our country can't figure this out, are we really going to need psychologists in 5 years? or will we truly be a cash-economy....as predicted...and be more focused on jobs such as home building, farming, sewing?
- how do we protect ourselves?
...So what can you do to protect yourself? "People, stop living the financial lies that you have been living," Suze says. "If you don't have the money to pay for something, can you just not buy it? Can you wait? Can we start looking at keeping our cars for 10 years rather than getting a new one every three?"...
there have been many times that i have looked around at others & have been a bit...let's just say it...jealous. buying huge, beautiful homes, driving nice cars, their houses looking like the inside of a pottery barn catalog. as i am thinking, "how are they doing this?? what do they know that we obviously don't? where is our piece of the pie?"
i've had to check myself before i wrecked myself because i could feel pride getting to me. not the pride like i thought i was so cool, but pride from what i call "the bottom up" which to me, can eat you alive. it's the jealous, coveting, feeling of entitlement that you feel when you look at what others have that you don't. but it can cause feelings of bitterness and resentment, because you feel you deserve a nice living as much as the next guy. but the only person suffering is yourself. i would feel so frustrated because we felt we had done things the "right way," by putting education first & career second, but nothing ever felt to be working out, at least as far as we could see it. still living in apartments, still barely scraping by.
now that i am hearing about the housing market, the economy, the debt our country is in, i can do another reality check. we have done our best to avoid any credit card debt, have one car, have cheap stuff. we have lived as lean as we can...and maybe now that is a good thing. it is a scary feeling to know that the money you live off of is not your own money. it is borrowed money. and if someone decides that today is the day they need to collect on the debt because they are low on funds, that is when things get ugly.
i have never seen my friend suze as fired up as she was last night. there was a couple featured that is in over $90,000 of debt with 29 credit cards. 29. credit cards. little suze took this couple to the cleaners, not showing them any mercy for the poor financial choices that they made.
so, on our to-do list today:
- sell our car. we are only going to buy one that we do not have to make payments on and that someone else doesn't own while we are driving it around. true, we may be the family with the loud muffler or backfiring engine at every stoplight. true, it will be very difficult to make this change. i have just gotten used to the feeling of security that our car won't be constantly breaking down like our old jalopies. but the reality is, this car is too expensive for our budget right now.
- double check that the banks we use are all FDIC insured. this was something suze drove home about the economy crash. please make sure your banks are insured too!
- pray our little guts out as to whether we are making the best decision here, to be going into so much debt at this point in the game. we know that the prophets have counseled that education is a worthy debt. but is it smart right now, with what the future could be holding for the country? should ben just go back to work and we start beefing up our savings again?