A reader writes:
After reading the stories of people's recession on your blog these past few months I can't help but feel really blessed lately. I'm a software engineer that grew up in a trailer in Arizona, just like the movie Raising Arizona, except without a dad to steal for me and about 4 more babies. I graduated college at the height of the dot com boom just in time to get a sweet job and then get laid off, so I've been planning for something similar ever since. Work has not let up at all for me this year. In fact there's more of it with tighter deadlines.
I have no debt (other than a mortgage that I'm closing in on), no credit cards and a very high paying job that I love and that has given me the opportunity to have worked on websites and built applications for companies that I'm sure 90% of your readers would know about. I work from home, so gas prices really only affect my groceries. Naturally I buy in bulk as much as possible. If work dries up I still have a small recurring income from internet ventures I've started over the years that would pay most of the bills each month.
My main investments over the past years has been fine wine and my house. It just made sense from my perspective that I invest in something I can consume. It's never been a better time to purchase wines for investment. If it's the end of the world as we know it my fiance and I plan to get on the roof, smoke a joint and get drunk because that's how the song goes.
I've always had a budget and a plan for as long as I can remember. A small part of that is to meant to make forays into the stock market and last week when Citi was down just above a dollar I bought 10k shares of it. Yesterday I sold when Citi was around 2.50. Profits will go toward my mortgage. Barring complete economic meltdown I should be able to completely own my house before the end of the year. I'm 31 years old and the prospect of not having any debt makes me as ambitious as ever.
While I'm better than most financially I'm not immune to what's going on around the country. Most of my friends have been keeping up with the Jones' for years and I've had to watch them lose their jobs and self respect over the last few months. It's heart breaking to my fiance, but for me I've very apathetic. One of my friends actually hosted us at a nice dinner (that they probably couldn't afford), presumably to get us liquored and then to ask to borrow money. I didn't and now he blames me as much as anything for them having to go into bankruptcy. I can see it in his eyes when he talks to me.
All the sad stories makes me feel blessed for having the struggles I've had. My mother raised 5 kids by her self. We were poor because there were a lot of us, not because she was bad with money. None of my siblings are struggling at this moment either. While I'm apathetic and wouldn't trade positions with those that got overextended I'm still the poor kid who is jealous that others have something that I don't, so I go back to work because this is America and anything is possible. To struggle can be a beautiful thing.
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