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Keep One Eye on the Big Picture

July 25th, 2010 at 01:45 am

I need to be one of those lizards with the two eyes which can go in different directions. Actually, sometimes in the AM, before I put my glasses on...... mmmm, not going there. I had a very enlightening morning. Its the weekend of my 30th class reunion. About 9 of us got together for breakfast this morning. These are all girls (?) that I hung around with in school, some stayed local, some are here from all over the country. This is the first time that I felt we are all living in the same universe, country, life etc. Its quite a diverse group, executive types, SAHM's and everything in between. I have seen most of these same girls every 5 years at the other reunions, and maybe its just the dinner/party atmosphere of the actual reunion, which is tonight, but this is probably the nicest conversation that I have ever had with some of them. At this moment in time, for better or worse, we are ALL on the same page. EVERYONE is hurting/nervous financially. Not one person was sure that their job will still be there in a year. We are all scrambling to decide how to fund a retirement when pension plans have taken a major hit, probably, (we decided), no social security to speak of, we're buying/selling/refinancing/losing our homes, and still raising families! If the pollsters want to know how Americans are doing compared to five years ago, I can tell them who to talk to! I always feel slightly silly/stupid/uninformed at these things, because it seems like everyone else is doing so great! And I'm still OK. Nothing wrong with OK, it's just...OK. Some of us thought we saw it coming, some were completely surprised, but we all agreed that we won't be looking at finances in the same way, maybe ever again. It's easy to get so lost in the day to day, work, home, kids, school cycle, that its hard to believe things can change so fast, and permanently! It may now be too late to correct some of those old financial gaffes. The girl that's losing her house may never be able to buy another. By the time the fallout disappears, financial, credit-wise etc. she may not be able to get the cash together to get financing again, and if she does, she will be hustling to get it paid off and be able to retire at any reasonable age. Another knows that she will probably never retire, she will have to work until she is physically not able to do so anymore. There is an unemployed teacher, and a nurse (a nurse!) Now to be fair, they could both certainly go elsewhere and find employment, but that would mean uprooting their families, and employed spouses, and there is no guarantee it would be any better! Will the spouse find a job? They will lose benefits/pensions at the job they have, will they find something comparable? We are all on the cusp of almost 50, statistics prove older workers have a harder time (than usual) of finding good paying jobs. Employers want young, cheap kids that they can train. I saw a mention on the national news this week about the unemployment benefits extension possibly being voted on,passed. The economist they had said that of every 5 people unemployed today, 4 of them will not be able to find a job. Mathematically speaking there simply are no jobs out there for the other 4 to find! Anyway, no matter how involved your financial life has become, how many coupons you clip, how many buckets of laundry soap you make, you can't afford to ignore the big picture. It catches up with us all in the end!

4 Responses to “Keep One Eye on the Big Picture”

  1. PatientSaver Says:

    I ALWAYS have the big picture on my mind these days!

    I will be 51 next month and have been out of work for close to a year now. I agree with most of what you said, except that I believe Social Security will still be around when we retire, in some form. They won't cut benefits entirely!

    Yes, jobs are scarce; i think we all need to think outside the box about creative ways to earn money outside a conventional 9 to 5 job, and also look for places to shave expenses, even if you live frugally already. I do this constantly.

  2. Homebody Says:

    I am in the same place, age 52, just refinances. Taking 3 weeks off to try to get in shape to be able to continue working, not sure it will work since I am a medical transcriptionist, the wrist, hands, shoulders, neck are going....

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    Very interesting post. I hope everything works out for you and your compatriots!

  4. Jerry Says:

    The big picture is taking the lead for a lot of people right now, especially financially, and it is interesting that every one of your friends was in that boat. There's no insurance for employment in a year (or six months), and it is a scary time in that regard. I hope that the reunion is a blast, nonetheless!
    Jerry

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