Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Everything Old is New Again

The euphemism is in regards to goings on since my last post about 1 week ago. It seems that everything old is new again. Starting from the macroscopic and working down the economy is correcting, the political smears are getting uglier, I have more hobbies than time and more wants than money.

The economic correction is not unusual, but it is the first time I have followed the action with significant skin in the game. I regard significant more than two times my salary. I could not imagine what a 20% drop would feel like with 10X salary riding. It makes sense that one would feel the need to work an additional two years rather than taking an early retirement. As my wife and I are both working, our daily cash flow has not changed, but it does sting a little watching the news. The real risk is not lost savings but rather an impact on the economy that costs a job and the subsequent forced home sale in a down market.

Election 2008 has moved well beyond the issues, as the economy and foreign affairs are baffling the smartest people in the room. A couple of career politicians are not going to solve it with a few of their advisors. Naturally then the question forced by campaign staffers is who is a terrorist, socialist, greedy, double talking bastard who smells. Per the polls, Obama smells a little better than McCain although I stand by my prediction that the Republicans will hold the office based on the female support for Palin.

My hobbies were previously on hold due to injuries and waning interest. I left the arenas of bicycling and coin collecting in favor of cooking and poker. As I have begun to recover and we have a little more help around the house, I find myself stealing family hours to get some exercise and engage in casino gaming. The gambling is a bigger issue for the family as coming and going in the dark of night is not unusual for a single guy in his 20’s but a little weird for a family man in his (late) 30’s. I guess I am not “much too young to feel this damn old.”

Although wanting to live beyond ones means is an age old issue, my dilemma stems from the seed of austerity. I have a bunch of stuff that I never use, that I purchased not because I needed them, but because I wanted them. I don’t feel bad about buying tools which I rarely use as the items were a legitimate need at one point. I also don’t feel too bad about collectibles and precious jewelry which should retain a percentage of its value. I don’t feel as good about camping gear, skis, high end stereo equipment, and trendy clothes. The natural answer is to just wait a couple of weeks as in a gadget moratorium. I now find myself contemplating a bicycle purchase. A bicycle which has well exceeded the two week moratorium and is currently on sale, but unfortunately would be replacing a perfectly good bicycle and carrying a two weeks salary price tag. It is a luxury problem and much better than asking whether to spend money on food or medicine.

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