Rates, minimalism, and musings about the long term

Subject: Rates, minimalism, and musings about the long term
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2010 10:00:51 +0300

The discussion about rates, costs of living, and how much we are
willing to work for set me to thinking back over the last forty-odd
years of my own adult existence. (I am 61, by the way).

People seem to have very short memories--a fact which many politicians
count on, by the way--and every time a recession rolls around, the
majority have long since forgotten the last one and the lessons it
taught for those who were awake enough to learn from them.

Please understand that I am not exempt from some of this malady, for I
was unprepared for years of ill health, which wiped out my own
retirement savings...but I digress.

During prosperous times, many people rush to acquire all the trappings
of "the good life"--which can and do disappear rather quickly when
there are times like these and so many have had to drastically alter
their lifestyle, quite often with no choice in the matter.

I believe the worst of this recession is probably not over. Thus, for
anyone working now and making a decent wage, I strongly suggest you
seriously consider how and where you are living, and wherever possible
that you reduce your personal overhead. By adopting a truly minimalist
approach, many people can reduce their monthly nut to something thirty
percent or even more below what they have been used to spending.

If you are employed, carrying credit card or other debt in times like
these is incredibly foolish, I believe. Living in elaborate rental
property, too, seems like flushing a good bit of money down the
aqueous ventilator that could be better if going to make up an
emergency fund.

But what happens when this recession is actually over? Will we have
learned from this one those hard-won lessons and seek to keep our
personal costs at a lower level?

When I was finally preparing to move to Ukraine to join my wife and
stepson full time several years ago, I remember the chagrin with which
I faced getting rid of a rental storage bay worth of accumulated, unh,
"stuff"--much of which I had not used or looked at for several years.
I also remember the feeling of freedom that came from not having so
much weighing me down. Had I been as smart as I assumed I was, I would
long since have gotten rid of the non-essentials rather than paying to
store it all for so long.

By the time I moved, I shipped five boxes and took a carry-on, a
laptop bag, and two checked suitcases--and nearly half of that volume
was things I was sending for my wife and the lad. Here, we have a
small flat--fairly typical for many around here. We have a small
amount of storage, and I am seriously contemplating paring down even
farther with my own possessions. (I had not lived where it gets cold
in the Winter for many years, so I somewhat overdid the winter
stuff...)

Many folks have expensive cell phone, cable TV, and/or Internet
service that can be greatly reduced as well..but you get my drift.

So--I suggest that you seriously consider this a "wake up call" for
learning to live well *below* your means if you are employed, and able
to go into pure survival mode if you are not or should you become
unemployed.

As for the original question about the company that effectively wanted
to give the gentleman more than a 50% pay cut all things
considered--you are speaking of wages not that much greater than
unemployment compensation. It could potentially be better too use the
time instead to find a better gig and, perhaps, to get some additional
training in the meantime so you have your tools sharpened and improved
for the next one.

David
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