I don't want to be perfect, just better...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Working poor problem getting worse or how can I keep on top

I know poor people are poor, crap like this is what happens to poor people that's why they are poor, right? They should pull themselves up by their collective bootstraps. I don't believe that I know how hard it is to play a game and not know the rules and that is what the poor are doing playing a game with no concept of the rules....How long can we go on this way?

I seriously wonder how long it will take to erode the middle class. If the poor continue on a downward slide toward the bottom then their momentum has to pull everyone else along for the ride.

How much of a cushion will you need to stay floating in these times? I have been thinking of what is a sufficient cash cushion. I know the experts say six to nine months after this last year I would actually recommend a whole year of savings.

I was unemployed (to me that is not having a permanent position) for just about nine months. I did work as a temp doing a bit of everything from Office Assistant to Staff Assistant to Media Reconciliation to stuffing envelopes to passing out buttons and mints to Hill Staffers. But it wasn't until September that I finally begin another full time position with all of its up and downs.

While I was unemployed I received my unemployment benefits, I had child support income coming in, it is often sporadic but a little is better than none. I had my emergency fund but no matter what money I had coming in I always felt behind the eight ball. I put my student loans into forbearance.
I saved whatever excess money I had, and slashed expenses - cheapest cell phone plan, smallest Netflix plan, slice and dice the cable, moved in with fiance when lease expired but I still felt inadequate money wise at the end of the day. My friend who recently lost her job has no emergency fund, no child support, no savings whatsoever. She told me she had ninety dollars in the bank the day she was terminated. I don't know how she does it. I worry and I have enough to cover at least one month of expenses or three months of bare bones. I have had to go into my emergency fund a couple of times to cover expenses when I started the new job. I went from getting a paycheck every week as a temp to waiting three weeks for my first check for my abbreviated start week.

The fifteenth was my first full paycheck and I must admit I was elated to be paid once again. I paid bills. I have enough for extras again. I put twenty percent into savings and still have enough to cover me through the next pay period. WooHoo! I have just a couple hundred left after saving half of the rent out of this check. I am debating whether to place that excess into my emergency fund or hold it separate account to save to open a Roth account. I have already begin contributing to the company 401K up to the company match of six percent. Here is my thinking, I am putting 6% percent away in the 401 so if I put 4% percent into a Roth I am still saving ten percent. Another ten percent is going into the household accounts that are my emergency fund, the kids account, special dedicated savings like vacation and down payments.

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