with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
Our country is in a desperate financial crisis, and last week I was interviewed for an article about how people are coping and talking to their children about what’s happening with the economy. At one point I was asked, “So are things much more difficult for you, financially, right now?
I felt a twinge of guilt as I explained that no, actually, I’m fine. My family is fine.
Some of this is due to my incurable tightwad tendencies in even the best of times, yes, but most of it is due to sheer dumb luck. Freelancing is one of those industries that booms in times of financial instability, because we’re a lot cheaper than payroll staff. So while many people I know are entering dire financial straits, right now, my business is booming. (And my husband is a state employee, so while cutbacks are becoming the norm for him, he’s not in any layoff danger.)
Sure, we’re not going to talk about the state of my IRA—the same IRA I was so proud to be making my maximum contribution to, just a few months ago. Ahem. So what if I won’t be able to retire until I’m 90? I’m sure the market will bounce back. Eventually.
But in everyday life… we’re very fortunate. Heck, it took over a year to sell my house up north, and I’m grateful every single day that we closed that out before the mortgage crisis. I cannot even imagine how long we might’ve been saddled with that particular albatross if the timing had been different. But we were lucky.
Groceries are costing us more than ever before. Gas is twice as expensive as it was last year. But we’re okay.
My husband and I have somewhat differing viewpoints on how to proceed, financially, right now. My natural inclination—especially in times like these—is to stuff as much money as possible into the proverbial mattress. I am in protective mode, never stopping to appreciate our good fortune, not really; rather, I feel my mission while times are good is to lay down a suitable cushion so that if/when the tide turns, we’re still okay.
In contrast, my husband sees the current situation as a bit of a possible boon to us in some things we’d been discussing. For example, we’ve been talking about building another garage ever since we bought this house. I won’t bore you with the whys and wherefores, but suffice it to say that it’s something we’ve been planning on for a long time. My feeling is that in a bleak financial period such as this, the last thing we should be doing is adding on to our house. My husband’s feeling is that we can potentially get it done for a lot less because there are plenty of contractors needing work, and we’ve had the money set aside for this, so why not?
Perhaps I’m becoming more assimilated into southern culture than I realized. Part of my reluctance is financial (”Must bank this money just in case of disaster!”), but if I’m being honest I have to admit that most of it is situational. I think I just feel like it’d be in really poor taste to start a renovation project when so many people we know are struggling just to pay the mortgage.
And I just sleep better at night with that money under my bed.
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