Blog Archives

It’s July Fools Day…

We’re getting ready to celebrate the 4th with Congressmen everywhere sucking down hotdogs and beer and telling us all how they love America and will get our budget balanced and get the evils out of government. Then they get into their Koch Brothers paid cars and head for the next community cookout so they can check it off on their itinerary.

Meanwhile, we decide not to spend too much this weekend. There’s a good chance these dipshits will let the government close down and my Social Security check won’t be there in August, so I have to save cash now (gosh, does this mean I’m helping to lower the economy further because I’m not buying anything?) for basics through the end of summer.

And while I know there’s no fool like a July fool, I’m afraid the fool is me because I didn’t prevent these guys from doing all this (but now you’ll never catch me buying a Bounty paper towel.) You didn’t either.

Five for every one… and why unemployment will go on longer than we want it.

The current Dept. of Labor statistic is that there are five unemployed job searchers for every one job that opens up at present. This means that only 20% of people seeking work right now are likely to get it, leaving the rest of us to ponder our futures in different ways.

Some, of course, will retire or take early retirement with reduced Social Security because they have little or no choice. Some, who have access to some investment money, will set up new small businesses… often with themselves as the only employees… and hope that something will come along at some point to get them off their own dime (I call this the freelance graphic designer option. I’ve been there, too.) Some will turn to crime… no joke…it is happening already.

The 20% who do get work are, for the most part, getting jobs which pay less than they were making before they ended up on the unemployment rolls, while their day-to-day cost of living expenses are significantly higher (just take a look at gasoline!)

So what is the government planning to cure this situation? Damn little, I’m afraid. Congress will be a left-right wrestling ring. The Obama Administration will hope Congress does something…but it won’t. The Supreme Court will continue its firming up of the Corporate Wealthy.

And we’ll watch a lot more television, cry in our sleep a lot more, and go progressively downhill as the Middle Class disappears.

Making life changes.

Today I got my hair cut and I started filing job applications, something I haven’t done since I retired, off of Craig’s List. There were four local jobs I felt qualified for, so I answered the ads for them. The biggest reason, of course, is that being retired is boring… and even though Social Security is adequate, I would just as soon have some or all of it cut back (depending on the income I get from a part-time or full-time job) and have something to do that I don’t have to invent myself.

I think I’m going to do a little bit of hair and mustache dying as well… perhaps if I look 55 instead of 65 and no one asks my age a job will come along easier. Ever since I was laid off (with my whole Department) at CSC a few years ago, right at the beginning of the deadly recession, and started my long and unsuccessful job search, I have felt simply OLD. It’s hard to work with that feeling, but I’ll get over it.

I’m not really sure I can get anything, but I’m sure going to try.

Why does Brown’s have to make so much money off me?

Last month when my Toyota Echo’s engine cracked and it died, I had already spent a large pile on all the things Browns Automotive had repaired the week before. It died a week later. I went out, of course, and bought my new old Subaru…then took it in to Browns for my WV state Inspection this morning and it was rejected!

Apparently I need to replace the tie rods (the guy said one side’s rods were the worst he’d seen… loose, bent up and ready to break.) So tomorrow I’m going to be back at

Old tie rod

Brown’s for a job that’s going to take around three hours and cost about $400.00 in parts and labor. How in hell did they know that tomorrow was my Social Security day?

I’d like to go a month without an unexpected expense, when I could use my Social Security money to help pay for things we owe already, instead of going out for new problems.

This, however, should put the car in good shape… it passed  everything else. Maybe November will be better.

Now Time Magazine is telling us that the 401 (k) Retirement Plan was never meant to be our main retirement vehicle.

For 30 years, since it was created by Congress, the 401 (k) has been pushed on us from Human Resources Administrators and accountants… and now, with last year’s big recession starting many folks (and I’m in that bunch) lost tens of thousands of their retirement dollars and, subsequently, are not going to be retiring.

Is anyone pissed off about this? I know I am, since I lost a good third of my retirement money before I could move it to another kind of account. I’m two years away from needing it, and now it’s not there.

If you’re in the same boat I am, start by reading the Time article, Why it’s time to retire the 401 (k).
Here’s a clip:

In what must seem like a cruel joke to many, the accounts proved the most dangerous for those closest to retirement. During the market downturn, the 401(k)s of 55-to-65-year-olds lost a quarter more than those of their 35-to-45-year-old colleagues. That’s because in your early years, your 401(k)’s growth is driven mostly by contributions. You control your own destiny. But the longer you hold a 401(k), the more market-exposed it becomes. It’s a twist that breaks the most basic rule of financial planning.