i grew up in the other side of the tracks.
that is, if slo had tracks.
i would have been on the other side. you know the ones... most of my friends were on the right side. i've written before about coveting white carpets and new appliances and a mom and dad under the same roof, and the smell of freshly baked cookies. and though i spent a significant part of my weekends at such houses, i always came home to one amazing mom and thursday nights at my dads. we never had a lot of money. we had just enough.
don't get me wrong, i can't tell you how thankful i was for those deep country club pockets that provided me experiences my parents never could have- third row seats to warrior games, trips to hawaii, and magic mountain. fun stuff for sure, all with someone else's family. i loved and treasured those trips cuz they were definitely not the norm for me. though they weren't something my parents could afford, i remember feeling satisfied, i was never scared, and never hungry. sure, i longed for presents and gifts and the immediate gratification i saw my friends provided, but it wasn't something that consumed me.
now that i'm all growed up with a family of my own, it got me thinking i could really be a consumer if i had the resources. to be honest, having *a lot* of money scares me. could i really be trusted? mo money, mo problems yo. i gotta admit there's a bit of romance in just squeaking by-- like well, if i want to get that, i got to sell this... there is a satisfaction that comes from actually wanting-- not just always getting. sounds crazy i know and b thinks i'm coo-coo, but honestly i guess i just know my carnal nature.
yet just when we began heading towards affluenza, something changed. that little bitch called the economy. everyone loves to blame everything on the economy. and really, rightly so. crappy economy=crappy jobs=zero dollars. for a lot of people our age-ish, this whole economy tanking has been a bit of a rude awakening. maybe some of us felt the effect of a similar time in the early 90's when the market crashed... but we were teenagers and so the stress of money was distant. for most of us, the hardest part meant we wouldn't be getting our subscription to seventeen renewed. we didn't have to worry so much about food and shelter, our parents shouldered that. and then we went to college and things were kinda crappy when we graduated, but then it quickly turned around. jobs! jobs! jobs! then a lot of us got married and guess what, it didn't matter how much money you made- 'no income, no assets' became our best friend. a lot of us got into houses we couldn't afford and popped out a few kids and then we woke up and were like, 'oh crap, we can't make our mortgage!' and suddenly the stakes were so much higher, cuz we had people we were responsible for. very little people.
i feel super fortunate to have escaped most of this. i mean really fortunate. b has had some pay cuts and my real estate career - wait what? your a realtor? like a broker? like you would love to help us find our dream home? or list our house for a 1% listing? yes, as a matter of fact i would. and the good news is, i will work my mother of 3 booty off for you,
cuz you are probably my only client i care that much. ahem, as i was saying, my real estate career has tanked slowed downed considerably. however, we are fortunate to have that little bit of savings (from the good ol days) that continues to waste away as we nibble away at it each month to make up for the pay-cuts. with that said, i have so many friends that this has affected in a really, really real way. its so difficult to watch your friends gasping to stay afloat, and feeling too strapped yourself to help in a substantial way. i want to blame someone, like bush, or fox news, or hurricane katrina, or the j-holes on wall street, but nothing really helps. the fact of the matter is, whether you are loosing your home to foreclosure, or just barely squeaking by each month, times are tight.
so when b and i got to talking the other day about how few dollars we actually have, i told him if we just (just always being the operative word) had like $300 more a month, we could make it. and he said, 'with that extra money, would we be putting any into savings?'
it was then and there we decided that you were officially doing okay if you were able to save each month. the reality is, we live paycheck to paycheck, and so do almost all of our friends.
so with that said, i'd love to know...
'how much money do you need to make before it's enough?'
leave it to the wise woman...
comment of the day: I once heard "enough is a little bit more than you already have." so we never have enough. it's good that we are all in the boat together. the most generous people i know have next to nothing. just a reminder that this is not our home.