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Friday, May 2, 2014

Preparing for lower income



I had a chat with my local representative in the New Hampshire State House. NH has something like the third largest legislative body in the world. There's over 400 representatives for a tiny state. Good thing they only get paid for mileage. Since there are so many of them it's easy to talk to these guys now and then.

The bulk of my income comes from a small pension from when I was a Firefighter and got hurt in the line of duty. It's takes an act of the legislature to give me a raise. My representative said that just isn't going to happen. In fact, in recent years they cut out a $1000 yearly bonus. Poof! $1000, gone. They've even gone through old retirements with a fine tooth comb to see if anyone's pension was too high. One guy I know discovered they've been paying him $30/month too much for 6.5 years and he has to pay it back. It's not a huge pile of money, but I'm sure he's going to miss it.

At one time I used to get tiny raises in my pension instead of reductions. About the best I can hope for in the foreseeable future is that my income will stay the same. With inflation, that's a steady decrease in real income.

Right now I've got a little slack in my budget. That surplus can be used to further reduce my expenses. It does take money to save money. Solar panels provide free electricity, but they are costly up front. My diesel to waste veggie vehicle conversions have saved me thousands over the years. Recently I figured out how to heat hot water from the woodstove and how to cool the fridge with cold well water.

In the past I've been in situations where I've known how to reduce expenses, but did not have the up front capital to make it happen. When you can barely make monthly expenses, scraping up extra for something as simple as more attic insulation is out of the question. You know that in the long run it will save money, but short term survival exhausts all resources. Forget about spending a couple hundred dollars on something that may or may not work. That's right out of the question.

My efforts have kept me ahead of the curve. I suppose a normal person would just get a job. I can't afford a job right now. It would have to pay amazingly well. It would take time away from gathering wood for the stove, collecting and processing waste veggie oil, gardening, building and repairing things. Those activities would either have to stop or someone would have to be paid to do them. I'd need a reliable car to drive back and forth to work every day. No doubt my wardrobe would need to be improved. Heath expenses would go up.

I'd also probably have a lot less fun.

There are a few little projects that I'm involved in that may or may not pay off in the future. I know how fortunate I am to be able to do things of a speculative nature. Many people have to take the sure thing, even if the pay is little. I've been there in the past and it sucks. Besides, I'm not a kid anymore and few want to hire people my age, even if I can do the work.

If my income does improve, so much the better. If not, I don't expect to miss too many meals.

-Sixbears

16 comments:

  1. Maybe you can figure out a way to pick up a few bucks from your land - make a little rustic furniture, get a chainsaw mill and sell a few boards now and then, make and sell walking sticks and bird houses to tourists somewhere (maybe on your trip south) and so on. Nothing sure-fire, just some thoughts.

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  2. Can't afford to give up that "fun factor!" That's what makes it all worth while!

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    1. Having had some terrible years with very little fun of any sort, I really treasure the simple pleasures.

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  3. As far as I am concerned, you are a "rich" man. One doesn't need a lot of money to be rich. You have a lot of time to spend the way you want to spend it and a lot of people do not.

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    1. Keeping it, now that's the trick!

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  4. Yup, my old man is not happy about his pension issue. Basically punishing someone for some other idiots mistake

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  5. While you hope to simply maintain your current income (which actually is a loss when inflation is factored in) and your friend is having his paycheck confiscated for having been paid "too much" through no fault of his own, IRS agents who are in trouble for not paying their own taxes are getting bonuses.... I would say that I am amazed at this day and age of total, pervasive, in your face corruption in our government but I hate to lie.

    Anything I buy now, where possible, I buy with the intention of it lasting absolutely as long as possible and if necessary I buy extras while I still have money and purchasing power. I trade my fiat paper money for things that have value. I do this for the day when things collapse and hyperinflation sets in. I am sure you do this already. I like the way you do things.

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    1. Thanks. My lovely wife and I are amazed at the corruption. At one time they at least tried to hide it.

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  6. I suspect things will only get worse if is anything like here. For years they have been recruiting equality managers, diversty monitors, awareness managers for any ism you can think of. At the same time cutting back on basic services because of insufficient money. To make matters worse all these non jobs have substantial pensions paid for by the taxpayers leaving less in the pot for those workers that actually make a difference.

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  7. in the long view, you at least get an income

    till the day it all goes away

    beats mugging your neighbors

    Wildflower

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    1. In the long view we all are dead.

      Neighbors?

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  8. My hubs pension they send these letters all the time about what will happen if the money goes south as in no more, it seems to me they are wasting paper and postage scaring the beejesus out of people who slaved away all their lives to have the union top people live like kings and or queens, just saying! I get a tiny federal pension I was not even aware of until I applied for social security way before my 66th birthday this month..I get a teeny tiny amount..we save it like crazy, we live simply, my hubs adores the car but I walk everywhere and buy veggies and fruits at a marketplace that is only open in may,june,july and august and September, I take the bus for a quarter now and enjoy it a lot, got the age pass for a big discount my neighbor is my friend and he is 66 and works for the tiny bus system he picked me up one, it doesn't cost a thing, but one must go thru this and that to get it, can you imagine..? I think the crooked IRS agents need a big bitch slap in their faces, raise I would raise my leg and kick them in their smug asses! I worked in High School for the IRS they got peoples boats, cars, homes, they came in laughing about it and one day the dear childhood friend's dad was not laughing dropping off all the money he seemed to let us know in the world to pay for his IRS bills and he was left with little to get home in his old car to boot, I tell you the IRS is an evildoer like GW Bush to talk about after 9/11..Raise I would raise my hand and bitch slap them all, but I don't want to go to federal prison, shameful shameful and more shameful!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe their Karma will kick their smug asses!! I read your blog as much as I can, weather is turning warm here and I get out on a bike my hubs bought me for my birthday and anniversary in the last bike shop where the owner fixed the bikes and sold new Schwinn's the good kind many years ago! can you imagine no more bike shops here at all..Things have changed so much for small companies many went out of business..Live a good and healthy and long life and get every damn penney they owe you back there, the firefighters here risk their lives daily for little money and little respect the very least the states can do is pay them when they do get injured and pay them some much needed respect just like the police force, if they don't who will do those most needed jobs? no one, they kept the pensions here nicely and the police get raises too..Two professions in my opinion that are thankless and not respected in this part of North American, been to Canada boy are the royal Canadian police respected and the firefighters too, too bad USA doesn't give respect to firefighters and police like the Canadians do! have a wonderful summer, hope it gets warm where you live!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. This isn't the country I grew up in, sad to say.

      Bit too rainy and dark for my tastes, but it is slowly getting warmer.

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