Thursday, June 30, 2011

One of the guys I work with did an interesting thing a while back.

He was and still is working and making a decent wage but he went into the unemployment office and found out how much he would be making a week if he was laid off.

He took this figure and used it as a basis for how he would set up his weekly and monthly expenses.

In short, he changed his lifestyle a little and paid off his debt and carefully has made it a point to make sure he takes on no debt that he can't pay off if he finds himself out of work.

That sounds pretty familiar. I did something like that a long time ago.

Now this doesn't mean that either of us are living in caves and watching television by candle light, but it does mean that we're a little more frugal about expenses, especially the ones that cause long term debt that is hard to pay if we both find ourselves out of work.

There are a handful of people out there that laugh at me from time to time. Over the years I have been chided for driving a simple Toyota pickup that is plain. I have to actually roll up my own windows and step on a thing called a clutch to make it move.

It doesn't have 4 wheel drive, nor a 500 cubic inch V-8 engine, but a pretty snappy little four clinder. It's paid for. If I wind up out on my ass I can keep it.

My home is a nice little cape nestled into a wonderful old neighborhood and is paid off, partly due to a windfall, but then again in the first place it wasn't so expensive that I could not afford to keep it if I wound up on unemployment.

Now, this in no way means I can't have a few nice toys and things. I can, and when yo stop and think about it I can have as many as I want just so long as I don't go overboard.

I don't need a 40 foot Winnabago as if I want one for a week I will simply rent it, nor do I have a boat because not only do I already work on one, I can simply rent one of those, too. In fact this time home I very well may rent one on Lake Arthur to refresh my basic sailing skills.

Seeing I don't have any payments it means I have a lot more disposable income if I decide to go out and buy something expensive.

My shipmate lives the same way, but instead of a house he lives on a boat which is another story. He paid $5000 for it and now has a standing offer of 87K for it. He just described it as the culmination of someone that had so much money and so few brains that when he had run it down he simply said the hell with it and bought another one.

My shipmate said that maybe-just maybe- he put 10K into it, as even though it was run down he simply put his labor and a minimal amount of materiel into it. It wasn't a lot of hard work, either. He simply chipped away at it when he felt like it.

His slip rent is $470/month and that includes water, electricity, cable TV and internet.

Not a bad deal and not really a bad lifestyle for a single man.

Mine is fairly simple, too although my lifestyle isn't quite that inexpensive. I have property taxes, electricity and a heating bill to pay, but still I could easily get by on unemployment if I had to. I actually could when I still had a mortgage, but there would be a whole lot less to play with, but still I could.

Today with no mortgage it is a whole lot easier.

All of this has put me into a position where I have a lot more time to enjoy life than many of my fellow employees do. I haven't put myself in a position where I have so many expenses that I am a slave to the system.

I see so many people I know so far in hock that if they miss so much as a single tour they will be behind in payments.

Why? So you can have a 500 cubic inch engine instead of a 4 cylinder? So you don't have to roll down your own windows?

Someone recently commented to my shipmate that it must be nice living on an expensive yacht in Florida and how independaently wealthy he must be. He told the person that it was great, but I quiety covered my mouth so as not to let the cat out of the bag.

While it is nice to live on a yacht, the truth in his case is that he is far from independently wealthy. He just knows how to manage what he has.

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