I figured you might be wondering where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. My absence has led to a serious reduction in posts lately. I want to take a minute and fill you in on a couple of things.
I am less than 6 months from retirement and there are a number of priorities at work that I have to fulfill. In addition to that we are supporting large fires in other parts of the country. I am responsible for those logistics.
Our cabin/shop is finished at our property in AZ. We spent the long weekend there over the Fourth of July enjoying it, relaxing, and doing some minor work. One of the things we realized is that it’s time to put in a decent driveway and work on the roads a little bit. No, the county does not maintain the roads. That means we needed to buy a tractor. And we did. I found a great tractor for our needs and I will be writing about that adventure. Yes, I will be writing about building the cabin, complete with pictures.
Since retirement is coming up and we are going to be building a small house next year at the property we are in the process of raising cash. I am doing an online garage sale, the remainder will go to eBay. My wife is heading up an initial garage sale here at our current house. That means we are a little swamped getting all of that done.
And then there are the daily tasks and responsibilities to take care of. All of that means that the website takes a backseat. I have some stuff ready to edit and post, I just need the time to do so. And that is a scarce commodity right now.
Here is something I do want to pass along. Although I will write about it in more detail soon I want to get the message out there to you. The economy is seriously in trouble. I’ve been writing about the pension problem. Well, the consequences have really begun. Central States Pensions began cutting people’s pension checks in half. Yup, in half! And it will get worse.
Car sales have dropped significantly. Car manufactures have reduced production and extended layoff periods. On top of that the sub-prime car loan market is in huge trouble and it is getting worse as well. People can’t afford today’s high-priced cars without easy financing. And that financing is in trouble and car buying has slowed down.
You’ve probably heard that job creation is up. Well, yes it is. However, the vast majority of those jobs being created are government jobs (money sucked out of the economy and out of taxpayer pockets) and low-wage jobs. But, don’t forget…job loss is double what it was last year!
And if you heard that the average number of hours worked is up…it’s due to the job reduction of minimum wage earners and a portion of those job hours being transferred to other low-wage employees. Also, you probably heard that the average per-hour wage is up as well. Again, correct. But, that is also due to a lot of job loss at the minimum wage earner level. That drives up the “average wage” since you are cutting the low end of the wage earners NOT simply putting more money in wage earner pockets.
Bottom line…the economy is in trouble…big trouble. The Fed has been raising interest rates. That is increasing the amount that the government pays for its debt. That in turn drives up the annual deficit which means that the government then has to borrow more money to meet its obligations. That means more debt to pay for. The Fed also announced that they will be selling off more national debt securities. That means the interest rate will go up on all Treasuries in order to entice people to buy them. That also will ripple to the current debt being incurred…driving the interest rate up even more.
I spoke with a number of people over the last month. I asked them each how they were doing financially and was the economy better or worse for them. None of them, not one, said that they were better off financially today than they were a year ago. And most of them said they were still hurting financially and were struggling to get by. That says a lot right there to me.
Please take a look around you at the economy in objective terms. Then look at your personal financial situation. Think of ways that you can put cash in the safe (or under the mattress). Look at how you might be able to reduce your debt load. Think in terms of…What if all of the sudden I was unemployed, how would I get by without government assistance?
Let me explain what I have done, or am doing, personally:
- We have a goal of zero debt. That is extremely important.
- I am turning unused assets into cash. Some of it goes to pay off debt, and I am putting the remaining cash into the safe…NOT the bank.
- I moved our retirement money/investments into “cash” (mutual funds) and out of the stock market (mutual funds). Yes, I am doing dollar cost averaging with the paycheck contributions. No, I am not a “cash it all in” advocate.
- I am looking at the economy with an attitude of…What if it collapsed, could I get by?
- We are simplifying everything! If we don’t use it regularly, and it isn’t part of our perpper strategy, it is getting sold. I feel the need for cash far more than the need of stuff. Especially “stuff” that is just sitting around doing nothing.
I will be focused on issues other than the website for a while, maybe another month or so. But, I promise I will be back with a vengeance in September! In the meantime I will write a bit but not a bunch.
Take care, enjoy the summer, think about what you can be doing if it fell apart this fall or winter.
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