A little time has passed since my last blog post. My company went through a big layoff about 2 months ago. People keep calling it a RIF (reduction in force) but let’s just call it what it is, layoffs. It sucks, it’s not fun, and there isn’t a perfect solution on how to get it done. No one questioned the business rationale but it is still shitty to see people you admire packing up their boxes. For those who were laid off and reading this, thank you. Thank you for all you’ve done for the company, but more importantly thank you for the positive impact you have had on people like me.
During the past couple months I have witnessed and experienced a wide range of emotions. I’ve seen friends angry and wanting to leave the Midwest, some have been excited about what could be, and others have been depressed because they felt like they’d lost everything they had worked for. I was proud to see so many friends and other co-workers reaching out to help one another. With so many negative websites/forums, it was nice to see some private forums that were positive in nature (thanks Donn). Thankfully I’ve seen many of my friends get new jobs and they are on to new explorations. I wanted to be there for people, so I gave myself permission to go out for lunch and became more available for happy hours. Money can never buy the gift of time with people you care about.
Aside from the survivor’s guilt, there were some emotions I felt regarding money. I had moments of panic worrying that I might lose my job and also some validation for saving what I had. It was the first stir of money-related panic that I have had since I buckled down and created a plan for budgeting and paying down my debt. Even though I was worried, I also felt confident that I was ready for any scenario. Well I’ve sort of fallen of the financial wagon the past 60 days, and it is time to get back on. I haven’t been donating plasma, have been going out for lunch more than I should, and just went out to Breckenridge for a bachelor party and spent a bunch of money last weekend in NYC/Philadelphia. Oh, and I just paid a $500 car repair (luckily from my rainy day fund). Time to buckle down.
I’ve been doing more headshot sessions for my photography business and as the weather warms up, so does the outdoor photo side of my business (and wedding season). With warmer weather comes temptation. Temptation to spend money on patio happy hours, baseball games, and weekend festivals but I need to stay focused on my financial goals. It’s not all anti-fun, but it is about being disciplined and building in savings to do these extracurricular things I enjoy with warmer weather. Soon I’ll start biking more to work which will reduce gas and parking costs.
As of this evening, I paid off Firstmark Services which included 5 loans I had taken out between August 2004 and August 2007. These were part of the SELF Loan Program and I had to have family members co-sign for me. These loans feel particularly good to get rid of because it takes away any financial risk/obligation that could fall on my dad and grandmother who co-signed at the time. I have about $78k left to pay off on this journey, but I’ve made a ton of progress since nearly hitting the $128k mark. Let’s just let that sink in. I’ve paid about $50k off so far. Boom. Navient/SallieMae…you’re next.
I learned a few things the past 60 days:
- Having a financial plan feels like a super power, especially in times of trouble.
- Even though you have a strict financial plan, it’s okay to cheat when it comes to spending quality time with people.
- Winter is an easy time to buckle down on spending money out. Spring/Summer…TBD.
- Big companies are still big companies, so no matter how loyal you are there’s always a chance your position can be eliminated. Skip loyalty to companies, give your loyalty to people.