Thursday, July 19, 2012

Personal Finance Q&A Time

I saw some financial Q & As that have been making the rounds in the Personal Finance Blog world, over at Slay The Monster, and I thought I'd play along.

Given our age and how long we've been keeping the finances, Hubs and I are near the end of our journey both through life and through the money maze.  So not many will be able to take any ideas away from this.  Maybe folks can see how it looks on the "other side".....once you get the cars, mortgages and debts paid off though.

Question #1 What is your income?  Hubs is not comfortable putting that info out there.  I will say that we are now upper middle class as far as his salary goes.   We started out in student loan debt when we got married.  I was a waitress and he worked whatever job he could get.......including dishwasher, inventory taker, clerk in a law library and night security guard.  A few years later we had to pack our lives up and move 400 miles away to finally find a good job for Hubs.  He got hired by a large insurance company and worked his way around the firm to find his niche in the pension and retirement business end of things.
 Me?  I am a SAHM so I generate no income outside of small side jobs on an irregular basis.  I am "support staff" so that Hubs can spend his days working for "the man". lol

#2 What are my fixed expenses?
Food(though this varies)
Cell phones(pay-as-you-go)
School taxes
Local taxes
Property taxes
College tuition x 2
House Insurance
Car Insurance x 3
Health/Medical Insurance(includes Dental & Eye care)x 5
Long Term Care Insurance x2
Life Insurance x1
Retirement Savings

 #3 What would happen if I died tomorrow?
Hubs would have to take over the day-to-day finances and all the household stuff which I handle now.  Since I don't work outside the home, there is no life insurance on me now.  Use to have some, when the kids were little and they would have had to be taken care of while Hubs worked.  The expenses would go down(no more paying for my medical or long tern care insurance)....and I wouldn't be eating
Things would go on as usual after awhile if I died tomorrow.  They would however have to give away or sell my fabric

#4 Where would you get $500 for an emergency.
From the checking or the emergency fund savings accounts where the spare money is liquid.  At our ages and after having been saving for as long as we have been(almost from the beginning of our marriage 30 years ago), we have much more than this to yank out for an emergency at this point.

#5  What would you do if you got fired from your job?
I'll answer this from Hubs persepective, as he is the one making the money.  He is so close to retirement age that we would get a lawyer first thing.  Firing him(without a cause such as theft, etc.)would be grounds for an age discrimination lawsuit.  He is in the retirement business(one area that is growing by leaps and bounds), so being let go would be suspect.  IF for some reason the business shrank and they had no choice but to fire him, we would look into his being offered an early retirement package(where they bridge his income to retirement age)or some such concession.  He could mostly likely also be hired in his field as a consultant.  That would give him a short term income near the level he makes now....and might be enough to get him to retirement.
Now for me, if Hubs lost his job?......I'd shut down any spending that was NOT basic.  The cable would go, the landline but we'd keep internet for now.  No credit card spending on anything!  Food budget would drop like a rock!lol  Would be more vigilant on utility usage.  Medical costs would go up as we'd be forced onto COBRA.  We'd probably take oldest son off of medical/dental since he'll be out of school in the Spring(if it happens after that).
We would shrink the "nut" we needed to live for a year as small as possible to make the money last until Hubs pension money and/or social security kicked in.  We'd get jobs of some kind, as would any of the kids living at home and the kids would contribute a portion of their income to the household.
After #3 kid finishes high school in 2 years, we would sell the house and move.  We'd downsize and go to an area near family and/or somewhere cheaper to live.

The last thing we'd do if we had no other choice..... the college funds would be kept for living expenses.
The kids would have to finish up school on their own dimes.

#6  How will you live in your retirement?
Not sure yet exactly where.  We are looking at retirement in 4-6 years.....probably more toward 6.  We have run the numbers and unless things change drastically, we will have enough income in retirement to be comfortable.  We want to travel a bit at first before settling down somewhere.

#7  What could you sell for extra cash if needed?
The extra car.
Part of the collection of jewelry my mother left to me.
We really don't have much else that is valuable to anyone else.

#8 Does your spending align with your values?  We try to do this.  We don't buy stuff just to buy it.  We buy very few wants.  We try to buy local and made in this country.  We try to buy quality.  That being said, sometimes price overrides  We believe in people being responsible for their choices in live and living the consequences of those choices so we don't hand money over to everyone who has their hand out.  We give thoughtfully and to those we truly feel are the most in need.  Though we will help family in true need, we don't believe in enabling family members who misbehave with money or giving money to family who can work but choose not to.  We'd rather pay a bill to keep their lights on than hand them cash so they can go to the mall and buy another designer shirt with it.

#9  What are you teaching your kids about money?
It's a tool and how you use that tool will decide what kind of person you will be as an adult.
It's like "the force" and you need to understand it and while you are at it?....use it for good. 
And if you want to have a life filled with nice things, you need to make a lot of it and spend it wisely.   ;-)

My older 2 kids "got it" once they had to start spending their own cash.  I still need to work on the youngest kid.  16 year olds with their hormonal brains aren't the best students when it comes to teaching this

#10  What steps can you take today to improve your financial situation?
We waste so little now it's hard to come up with ways to make our situation better, other than me finding a job that pays me a large salary......and that is not going to



  1. Other than the fact your husband makes more money and that you have 3 kids instead of just 1, our situations are very similar. Therefore, my answers would be very much like yours.

    1. Expect maybe you have 1 more thing you could sell off....and I'm not talking awesome floral shorts. lol

  2. Great answers!
    But one question, when Fred and I go out on the town, can I borrow some jewelry?

    1. I don't know Mark.....would Fred be jealous of the tiara?

  3. Question: What kind of pay-as-you-go phone do you have and what is your cost? I am on the verge of going that way with Straight Talk, but read too many negatives on the web. Thanks.

    1. I have an older flip-type phone(no qwerty keyboard or smart phone)and I use Virgin Mobile(which which uses the Sprint network service). I pay $20(plus tax)per month for 400 minutes and I never go over that. It's the Paylo plan.
      There is another cheap option involving no monthly fee but of topping up(adding service-use to be at least $20 every 3 months)and paying .20¢ for each min. used. If you used more than your $20 worth, you added more $ to the account, if you didn't use all the $20 worth of minutes in 3 months, it rolled over into the next 3 months. This is the Paylo Basic plan.
      My phone is one I bought for my daughter back in was sold by Virgin at Target-on sale for $20 or so.
      Daughter upgraded(aka bought her own phone)the next year so I inherited this one. It's all I need a phone to do.

  4. You did good! I hope when we get close to retirement we can say some things similar.

  5. What an interesting look into your life. You and your hubby have pretty good heads on your shoulders. I want to be you when I grow up. Oh wait ...most of my answers would be similar to yours except all of my kids have already moved out. I will stay me. :-)

  6. I wish Den would be able to retire in 6 yrs. We will get there-someday. We have to get the kids out of here first. Darn those kids.


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