Friday, May 14, 2010

Twelve Month Milestone

This week I finally did a calculation that I had not done in some time: worst case scenario. This is a calculation that I do in order to give me some confidence that things are in a good state if the worst case scenario that I am interested in protecting against happened. Simply put, if there was no income because of a job loss, how long could the household be operated without any additional income.

In this scenario, my goal is to determine this kind of scenario under realistic conditions. Put simply, I wouldn't be accelerating my debt repayments, continuing my savings plans, or doing anything other than the base payments on all of my fixed expenses.

Given these parameters, without additional income, we have over 12 months of running room. This is a good feeling and is the first time that there have been that kind of savings. It is a really nice feeling. Does anyone else track this kind of figure, I wonder? Personally, after net worth and saving's rates, this is one of the biggest things that gives me a sense of security.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pacific

The past few weeks I have been watching the mini series "the pacific" on HBO. There are a couple of things that strike me abot this as I was talking to a co worker about this that I thought might be very interesting in terms of personal finance.

The amount of television you watch certainly seems to impact your situation in terms of personal finance. I notice that I watch more tv now than I probably did a year or two ago. I think that some of this is because I haven't played as much poker which I think saves money but I also think that I would be stupid to not consider the productivity aspects of it.

The other aspect of it was simply how easy it is to get caught up in worrying about things that in comparison to soldiers worrying every minute on a battlefield just seem a bit trivial. I hope I can maintain that perspective.

A nice thing that I found out about today was that I have recalculated my household liquid cash and it has now reached the 1 year mark. With additional funds I am looking at Vanguard for no load mutual funds as I keep saving.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Continuing Education At The Price of Sleep

So there has been a personal trend for me in my career over the past few weeks and I thought that it would be worth mentioning here. Many who follow personal finance have browsed through some of the major blogs and books that talk about a few themes that I strongly believe in:

1. Don't waste time. Time is a huge asset. Even people who do not have a job, they have something that is quite valuable: time. In short, even when unemployed, this is an opportunity to improve yourself and your skills. Put simply, whether or not you're working, it is really important to not waste time.

2. Remember your value. In short, the skills that you get in many jobs are skills that must be continually improved and refined. If you're not doing that, then you're setting yourself up to be in a bad place in the future when you're lagging behind your peers in the field.

For me, number two came home to roost this past year. I've been in my current position for some time and although I've been working hard, I have not been able to get any outside help and learn anything interesting to continue growing in my field. So, this means that I am going to be working behind the eight ball until I could fix it.

So, in order to fix it, I returned to some of my college texts and decided to review them. This sounds a bit corny, but I am one of the few people who actually went to school and ended up doing a job directly related to my degree. So that is pretty good I'd say. The reality is that things are not that outdated that my books that I already had (remember it is about being frugal when possible), were a bad starting point.

This served the goal of helping me get back into learning about my field and also serves the purpose of avoiding spending money until I am sure that I will commit. So, today I finished my first book and I am in the process of working on two others that were purchased. I expect that these will take longer since they are the first time though.

Now that I've gotten back into the habit, I am much happier. I feel like I am making some productive use out of my commute again and this makes me happy. The only cost appears to be the loss of some sleep :)