Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Financial Forcast by Mr. Sunshine

Mr. Sunshine, Congressional Budget Office Acting Director, is speaking about the Federal Budget deficit & Economic Outlook on C-Span. You can’t make this stuff up. I don’t know about you but the Federal, State, local, and my personal budgets and the word "Sunshine" don’t seem to go together anymore. Synonyms are instead: fear, frustration, gap, depression (psychological issue not monetary / economic issue). It seems that all those who do wrong are being helped and all those that are trying to do right are getting stamped on. I keep joking with the kids that they are experiencing the second depression and that they should remember this.

I feel so badly for the kids because they hear about our lack of money close to every day. I never thought it would be this way. For us, it is a convergence of so many issues: job change, labor dispute, truck problems, house not selling, and retroactive health insurance cancellation. The only sunshine that I can see is friends, family, laughter.

This week, I was very frustrated when I called one of our credit card companies (which shall remain nameless) in an attempt to reduce the rate on our credit card and was refused after a review. When I asked a few months ago, they said that they couldn’t reduce the rate on the card I had BUT I could open ANOTHER card and then transfer the money. I opted NOT to open another card. I waited a few months and called again– given the financial situation, you would think that credit card companies would consider reducing rates on credit cards in an attempt to help those that are paying their bills continue to do so. Instead they are waiting to help until customers are faltering, working with consumer credit companies, or declaring bankruptcy. Doesn’t this seem a little backwards? As she denied me, I thought to myself: let’s see, if you reviewed my accounts (which are paid timely) and I showed more assets, then you would have reduced my rate, but if I had more assets would I need the reduction? The government is giving money to companies that are raping us and we are left paying more to these companies and to paying more taxes. Frankly, I have nothing left to give.

Then to top off this financial week, we dropped our house price another $15,000. When we finally sell on the open market, we may get less and have endured a longer periof of frustration than the house down the street that was forclosed and settled for an amount almost equal to our current sales price. We continue to pay our mortgage and other bills, commute to another state for a job, and the owner of the other houses gets more for walking away from his house then we will get for sticking it out. Granted he still owes money because he took out more equity than the house was worth, but it all seems so backward. For me and my family, our financial sunshine is behind a very big cloud and I swear that cloud is getting darker everyday.

How are you all doing? If any of you have ideas or hints about how we can all get through this financial crisis, I would love to hear your ideas. I know that for us some of the small ways that we have been trying to save money:

- Our thermostat is down to 60 degrees and we are using our wood stove
- We have greatly curtailed our driving. I try not to move the cars for days on end.
- When we bought our new car, we actually bought used and looked for good gas mileage.
- We look for less expensive meals and cheaper foods.

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