Just $500

23 Oct

A recent survey by CreditDonkey.com, a credit card comparison company, found that more than half of Americans do not have more than $500 in total (cash) savings.

WOWZA.

That’s like 1/3 of some people’s rent.

That’s like just two month’s car payments.

That’s like not enough to fix a radiator or a timing belt.

It surely ain’t six months savings.

Talk about living paycheck-to-paycheck.

In the aforementioned survey people also expressed concern and anxiety over the fear of not being able to save enough for retirement.  Particularly those already in their 30’s or older.

A few years back when I sold the one and only house I’d ever “owned” (I use quotes because the bank technically owns it until you pay for it, all typical 30 years of a mortgage. I’ve always been persnickety about the use of the term home ownership. But I digress) I had a great deal of money, all mine to spend how I chose. I had no debt, really and just my monthly bills.  I eyeballed a few things like renovating houses and writing projects but nothing took hold.

Oh, I had great plans to establish myself outside of CubicleVille. What started out as an auspicious road to financial freedom involving land and quality of life turned in to a glorified sabbatical. (Now I have a huge gap on my resume that just won’t close; apparently it makes potential employers chuck my resume into a trashcan. Or shredder.)

After the money dried up as I sat unemployed for what seemed like forever.  What did I do? Did I put all of my trust into a job or the prospect of a job? No, I couldn’t. There are just times when you don’t get hired in enough time to not fall through the cracks financially. Either that or you do get hired but you’re making, oh, $8 working at Macy’s and they’re only gifting you with 25 hours/week.

Hmm. That’s $200/week before taxes. Which would be approximately $800/month before taxes.  

They rent rooms here in the D.C. area for $500-900/month and upwards. Don’t believe me? Have a glimpse at craigslist.dc.

For me, having a huge sum of money mixed with time off mixed with vocational frustration mixed with an innate need for freedom made me look at working differently. I no longer view a job as a potential career or a career as a long-term solution to most of my future needs and desires.

Jobs come and go. Sometimes careers do, too.

So find a way to have enough financially for your own/family’s needs,  a safety net of your own bearings.  All around all of us there are ions of things to make into hot commodities.

Food. Clothing. Sewing. Physical labor. Kids. Talking. Blogging. Fixing computers. Driving. Advertising space. Cleaning. Busking. Tutoring.

And the list goes on.

What I’ve learned from having money and then not having money is that no matter what, NO MATTER WHAT you have to always have a back-up plan, a talent reserve, a side hustle to earn a living.

You cannot always and should not always rely on a mere job to float you straight into retirement. Whenever that is.

And if you’re one of the “half of Americans” with merely $500 in savings, YOU BETTER FIND YOUR HUSTLE.  

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