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Are you comfortable financially?


Mimm
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Poll, yay!   

276 members have voted

  1. 1. So, how's it going?

    • Finances are difficult and not improving.
      54
    • Finances are difficult but probably improving.
      36
    • Finances are fine but not improving or getting worse.
      76
    • Finances are fine and getting better.
      98
    • I laugh at your pathetic poll options! MUAHAHA!!
      12


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However you define comfortable? If your tire blew out, would you be scrambling to pay for it? Or do you have too much month at the end of your money? Do you cringe when your kid outgrows her shoes again? Are things better for your family than they were five years ago? Do you think things will be easier five years from now?

 

For us, yes, I consider us comfortable. We can buy things like new tires and shoes without too much trouble. We have "extras" like cell phones (inexpensive plans, not the latest smart phones) and we eat out frequently enough. We do have a lot of debt but compared to five years ago, my husband is making more money at a better job and we have a plan for getting out of it. In five years, we might actually be debt free except for house and student loans. I'm feeling pretty good about to future.

 

But at the same time, my husband's car is about to die (and got a terminal diagnosis from our mechanic) and my daughter is 14 so she'll be driving in two years (if she decides to become more responsible and trustworthy) and going to college in four years (if she decides her grades matter more than they did last year) and she's got a sister right on her heals, so I'm not sure what's going to happen. We'll do what we can I suppose.

 

So what about you? Are things getting better for you? What would it take for you to be in a better situation? Do you think that will happen for you in the next 5-10 years?

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We went through our early marriage living paycheck to paycheck, but as dh's income increased and we made concerted efforts to not increase spending in certain areas, we became more comfortable. We are very comfortable now because the house is paid off as is everything else. So for 2/3 of our years together things were pretty tight but now we have a lot more income than expenses and can build savings rapidly.

 

During the lean years, I was fortunate enough to give piano lessons, do some music therapy on the side, and take a few performance jobs here and there. That money was always the "outgrown clothes, replace the tires, fix the appliance" money. I am so glad I was able to do that because it alleviated a lot of stress.

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We are comfortable. We save $1000-1500 a month, go on vacations and have only one debt, my car. We could afford to pay it off if we felt the need. We aren't rich and we don't own a house. We also live in the most expensive place in the U.S. We are considering buying a house when we move, but there are some other factors at play there.

 

Things are getting better, my dh is a saver and I am not, but I am learning. I grew up pretty poor and just have the mentality of spend it while you have it, so it's been a process for me. We will take a pay cut when we move in January and that's got me a little stressed but I'm sure it'll be fine.

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We are okay.  Okay means we are prepared for various bumps down the road (seen and unseen), we have a plan that keeps us steady, we save money and we can afford to have a few pleasures in our life.

 

We still have debt in the form of a house and a car, and many items on our to-do list will probably be undone.  But we have a plan we are working and are on the same page, and I really can't ask for more than that. :)

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we are comfortable, can pay our bils, go on vacations, and i just got a new car (a prius at a great price) which i can afford, feels safe, and I LOVE (my old hyundai died and it was very unreliable). We just started putting money into retirement again after a long hiatus--we're still waaaaay behind on retirement (dh is 56 but in his profession, people keep working til their 80--and he LOVES what he does, so he will definitely do it as long as he can). We don't have a ton of savings--we have about 6 months of emergency money which i have worked to top off to 8 months.

 

We cannot pay for private school (that would be the only option down here) without aid, and not even sure we'd want to for high school. 
 

I only wish we had more, much more, in retirmenet. So we make enough to be comfortable on, but i want to put away more money each year. I think we'll need to cut back on certain expenses to do that.

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We cannot pay for private school (that would be the only option down here) without aid, and not even sure we'd want to for high school.

 

 

We can't pay for private school either. That's one thing I wish we could do. We also don't go on vacations. Maybe that will be something we can afford in the future.

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We get by fine. We previously had more income and in the future will have more income. We seem to be more fortunate than average in terms of retirement savings for our ages (34 and 35) and we don't have any appreciable amount of debt. We live a simple life. I grew up very poor so even our reduced income seems workable for me.

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So what about you? Are things getting better for you? What would it take for you to be in a better situation? Do you think that will happen for you in the next 5-10 years?

 

I wouldn't say "comfortable." We're definitely stretched, but we do include in our lifestyle a number of things many folks would consider luxuries.

 

For example, our son attends a private university and lives on campus. It wouldn't be possible without a good number of scholarships, but even the left-over portion that we pay out of pocket is not insignificant (at least, to us). He does not have a car. He does not go away with friends for spring break. 

 

All four of us have cell phones. They aren't iPhones, and they aren't the latest, greatest models (even when we bought them a year ago), but they are smartphones and we do have a nice chunk of data that we share.

 

We don't own a home, but we rent a house that has more bedrooms than there are people living in it. We have a laptop computer for every person in the family and a good-sized flat screen TV in the living room. 

 

We have two cars, both purchased used, but one of them is a MINI, which was definitely more expensive than other cars of a comparable size.

 

We don't frequent fancy, sit-down restaurants, but we do eat at least a couple of meals a month from quick-service and take-out places. I shop sales and watch the grocery budget, but no one goes hungry or is in danger of doing so.

 

We can buy things like clothes and shoes when they are needed, but we shop carefully and buy mostly from Target or the clearance racks at more upscale stores. None of us own anything fancy in terms of clothing or shoes. I buy my handbags and shoes from Target or Burlington and deliberate for a while over those. If my son needed shoes, I might need to tell him to wait until the payday at the end of the week, depending on when in the month that happened.

 

I went to an arts and crafts fair today with the intention of buying a painting by a local artist I like, now that I have a wall on which to hang it, and ended up buying small prints from two other artists on a whim. I dropped $80 just because I wanted to, but all four pieces will now sit somewhere until I find a frugal way to frame them. 

 

We have some credit card debt and are paying on one of the two cars. We're still paying off the last family vacation we took two and a half years ago. (We knew it was our last chance to go somewhere with all four of us before our daughter moved out.) But the bulk of our debt is parent loans we took out to send our daughter to college. She ended up going away to school much earlier than we had anticipated, and although at the time our finances weren't great, we believed we were on an upswing that never really happened. 

 

We moved from one rental to another at the beginning of June and chose to pay our son and one of his friends to help us rather than pay professional movers. Even so, we had to take some money out of savings to cover the costs.

 

We bought some new furniture for the new-to-us rental, but we bought from World Market during a sale. This was a big step up for us, since most of our furniture has come from Target and Ikea.

 

Both cars needed tires last month, and mine needed an additional $200 in repairs. We paid for all of it out of pocket (not using credit cards), but it made me gulp, and we had to put off some other purchases we had hoped to make for the house. The car I am driving currently has air conditioning that works only when it feels like doing so, is missing an antenna so that the radio gets one station and needs more work done in the next few months. I had hoped to replace it with a smaller, more recent model used car sometime this year, but after the move and with some medical bills hanging over our heads, I've now decided to keep it at least until my son graduates (three more years), assuming nothing catastrophic happens before then. So, I need to sit down and try and forecast when we can get each of the necessary repairs taken care of over the next six months or so.

 

All told, we're not scraping to pay the rent, and we have some luxuries (that we manage by doing without certain things other folks might consider much more important) and can absorb some unexpected expenses into our budget and put small amounts into savings, but there's not much left at the end of each month. If we had a larger disaster, like needing to replace one of the cars suddenly, we'd be in trouble. And, unless I start making a lot more money than I expect to make in the next few years, the situation is not improving by much.

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We are comfortable enough - esp considering some of our earlier years when we weren't.  We enjoy some inexpensive travels and eating out plus will be getting new tires on our 1997 truck this month.

 

Right now and through paying for med school for middle son we are stretching our budget considerably and not saving anything, but we can afford what we need to afford.  Once the college/prof bills are finished it ought to seem like we've gotten a windfall.

 

We've freely chosen to help pay for their colleges, so have no complaints.  My guys also have merit aid and we qualify for significant need-based aid too (certainly can't afford 65K + 50K per year!), but still, roughly 1/2 of our income goes to those two bills.

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It's "okay."  But, only just "okay."  It is only somewhat recently that this is the case.  Things have always been very tight.  There have been some years that we were scraping together penny rolls to buy groceries.  Much of that was because of where we put our priorities -- namely,  paying off the farm and homeschooling.  The former is now complete and the latter is wrapping up in just two more too short years, as ds will be starting grade 11 in the fall.  My income has become somewhat more secure, but the farming income is always a gamble.  We still try to be frugal, but that doesn't always work out, and we could always do better in that area. 

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We are comfortable right now, but while I do not worry about our future in terms of the big picture stuff (food, shelter), I know that we will not enjoy this level of comfort for much longer. My husband has a nice-paying job, but he hates it and it's very high-stress for him. He will be eligible for retirement in less than a year. He may continue to work a little longer than that, but probably not a lot longer. He will get a pension, but of course it will be a small fraction of what he currently makes (still, I do realize that makes us very lucky, because not many people have that anymore). And we have a daughter that we will be putting through college in three years!

 

I will go back to work, but my earning potential is . . . well, I don't know exactly what it is, but it's very little, and probably every penny I earn (and possibly more!) will have go towards dd's education. So it will be a major adjustment, learning to live on that much less than we live on right now. I feel that we're already pretty frugal. We don't buy new cars, we don't buy nice furniture, we don't buy much in the way of clothing and shoes, we don't have cable or smartphones. I know that I *can* live on less, because a lot of people do. I'm just not sure yet *how* I will accomplish it.

 

I really wish that our house was completely paid for. That would make me feel a lot more confident about the future. It sounds so liberating, to truly own your home outright.

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We are comfortable.  Husband's income is very variable (it's zero at present) but because we have a rental property and I work full time, we are okay.  We don't worry about things like new tyres, and we just got back from a one-week holiday (self-catering cottage to which we drove).

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We are working through business, medical, and personal debt but doing okay. Things are tight but we can afford the basics and some extras. Long term we are awesome - our retirement is sizable, investments are healthy, insurance is up, main assets are almost entirely ours, etc. It's just the short term than has been tricky, but the overall prognosis is quite good. I can't complain.

 

We have to cash pay for that ER visit last night and it's not going to be cheap, but it's not going to sink us, either, because that hospital has an 85% discount for cash pay patients. So we will be fine :)

 

Hilariously, if we make it to retirement we will be golden. I'd love to put less into that account now but with the employer match it doesn't make sense to not max that out. However we need more money now and less money then - so I'd love to put a little more of that toward our current bills!

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We're doing okay. Dh makes a decent income for the area and will continue to receive raises and bonuses each year, so that's good. However, we don't have any real savings because we have debt to pay off from the years of un- and underemployment. We could fix a blown-out tire without trouble, but if something major went, like the transmission, that would be tough. We have stuff like smartphones and gadgets, and can budget for any curricula I want, but our vacations are all in-state so far. Most importantly, we have enough for me to stay home with dd and homeschool.

 

So I suppose we're comfortable in the sense that we have everything we need, but not so comfortable that we can buy anything we want.

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We were comfortable for a long time, and we managed to put some money aside and made good financial decisions. But the last two years have really knocked us around, and now we're eating through the money and reversing the good decisions *sigh* If we had a flat tire, we have the money to fix it, but it would be taking money from our future, which is scary. I really don't know what the next few years will bring, other then intense belt tightening. I keep being optimistic, and each new "opportunity" that comes our way turns out to be a bust. It's frustrating. 

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After 24 years of marriage, we are now very comfortable. Dh's income should continue to increase----he's a Certified Financial Planner with three different income streams.

 

Our house is not paid off, but that's because the interest rate is lower than what we earn on investments.

 

I received a sizeable inheritance after my parents' estate settled. That money, meant to support my parents for 20 years in combo w Dad's pension, has bolstered our retirement accounts. I would rather have my parents here instead.

 

We have not always been in a comfortable position. The first 10 years were very, very lean. The next 5 were just tight.

 

One kid is through college and on to a great job. Second kid is halfway through. I am so thankful that we are able to help them on their way :)

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We are comfortable in the sense that we have enough to pay for food, rent, electricity & wi-fi.  Right now we don't have anything left over at the end of the month.  It's pretty stressful.  We are blessed in the fact that the country we're living in has socialized healthcare, so we don't have that hanging over our heads every month.

 

We don't have any savings because we had to use it all during the recession and we live in another country because that was the only job dh could find after looking for 6 months. If he lost his job again we'd have to rely on family to get us back home (to the States).  

 

We have friends/family visiting off and on for the next month, but after that I will start looking for a job that is homeschool compatible.  If oil goes back up our finances will improve again and things will feel a bit more secure.

 

I'm only planning to homeschool for two more years, so will start working on getting a certificate at the technical school down the street this next winter.  That will end up paying more than working in the local coffee shop.  It won't help us save a lot, but it will help to put the kids through university and give me a marketable skill long-term.

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In terms of comfortable, I would really like to have enough money to heat this house. It's a very cold house, because it isn't well insulated, but I try not to heat it as much as humanly possible, so that I don't get a crazy high electricity bill. I am often very cold, and it would be very comfortable not to be.

 

Comfort would be paying bills, with seasonal variations, without too much stress. It would be things like buying a new bra, AND paying for ds' to go to (cheap) homeschool soccer. Idk. I could think of lots more but it might get depressing :)

This is one of those things with Aus. It's not cold enough that heating is essential. It's just cold enough to be uncomfortable and miserable. I have had to run a heater overnight the last week due to sick kids and I'm scared about the next power bill.

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Things have been a roller coaster ride since fall '07 but (knock on wood), they seem to be improving. We're in positive territory when it comes to our house, which is a relief after several years where we would've faced the prospect of losing part of our down payment if we'd needed to sell. Our savings have recovered from the most recent financial setback in early 2014. I finally got my backside in gear to go back to school and in 3 to 4 years I will hopefully have a decent income stream from that.

 

We definitely have savings to pay for small and even medium unanticipated expenses. It's the possibility of a major one that scares me.

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We are okay, and things are getting better. We are definitely in a better position than we were a few years ago. We can afford car repairs and tires and such without too much stress, and we took a vacation this year. We stayed with family mostly, but were able to afford a couple side trips that involved a hotel. Next year we will likely skip the vacation to pay for major house repair though.

 

Barring major unexpected expenses we will be past okay and into comfortable - ability to replace my old, beat up car would be nice or have major house repairs and a vacation in the same year - in about two years.

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We used to be fine and getting better, then we were fine and not getting worse or better, now we are difficult and getting worse.

We used to have a very solid savings account, but in the three years since husband graduated from graduate school and we moved across the country to follow the work and had another surprise baby, we've nearly wiped that out.

I've been trying to tutor to fill the gap, but that isn't happening often enough. I'm starting to substitute teach in the fall with thoughts of even more work ASAP. It's pathetic that we were more financially stable when he was a grad student and I watched one baby in our home while staying home with our other two, but that's what happens when you move to a high COL area and the income isn't there (despite a PhD). Not a good decision, but he insisted. He still thinks it was the right decision because he loves his job. He doesn't care about money and doesn't worry about debt. I thought we should have stayed in our low COL area. It might have taken longer to find a job, but we'd still have our savings account (and I had contacts to go back to work there. No contacts here in that field).

 

Edited for typos

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We are comfortable enough now that we could afford one big thing--a car giving out on us, a short layoff, etc.--but if a number of things attacked at once, especially if they included medical bills, we'd have to pull from retirement savings.

 

We are doing much better than my parents were at our age.

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We're currently comfortable for the first time in a few years.  We can meet normal unusual expenses without too much trouble (we've had repairs on our 2002 Suburban, a leaky roof, an expensive G&T camp for ds) but we are still building up savings and paying off debt from the past few years when things were much rougher.  I expect things to get much much better in the next 5 years with both of us working full time.

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We are ok, but we haven't been on a vacation in almost 3 years, we live in a single wide trailer, and have medical bills. Plus, every semester of college brings on more that I will owe on student loans.

 

So, while I never have to worry about the grocery bill, we are not really comfortable. However, I know that there are plenty of people who wish they had it as well as we do.

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I am ok, but due to my foolish impulsiveness and anxiety not as well as I should be. I have a paid for 40 y/o home with no updates that I lived in for 12 years. I bought it and paid it of in 7 years. I thought I wanted to build a house in my dream neighborhood so I did. Huge mistake. I went from living a completely debt free life to one with a large house payment. I put 1/3 down payment on the new build. I still own my old  house. I added my parents to the deed (for homesteading) and now they live there. I am very happy about that. I am paying extra on the new  house payment but the taxes and HOA fees are high.

 

I totaled my paid for 8 year old Honda and had to buy a new one. So I have a car payment for another 20 months. I have no money saved for my kid's college. I would sale this house but I would lose my shirt. So I am trying not to think about it. If I can pay it off within 6 years. They I can pay monthly for me kid's college.

 

I am too scared to really spend money these days.

I do have a 6-9  month emergency fund.

 

I don't live paycheck to paycheck but I worry about money all the time.

 

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However you define comfortable? If your tire blew out, would you be scrambling to pay for it? Or do you have too much month at the end of your money? Do you cringe when your kid outgrows her shoes again? Are things better for your family than they were five years ago? Do you think things will be easier five years from now?

 

For us, yes, I consider us comfortable. We can buy things like new tires and shoes without too much trouble. We have "extras" like cell phones (inexpensive plans, not the latest smart phones) and we eat out frequently enough. We do have a lot of debt but compared to five years ago, my husband is making more money at a better job and we have a plan for getting out of it. In five years, we might actually be debt free except for house and student loans. I'm feeling pretty good about to future.

 

But at the same time, my husband's car is about to die (and got a terminal diagnosis from our mechanic) and my daughter is 14 so she'll be driving in two years (if she decides to become more responsible and trustworthy) and going to college in four years (if she decides her grades matter more than they did last year) and she's got a sister right on her heals, so I'm not sure what's going to happen. We'll do what we can I suppose.

 

So what about you? Are things getting better for you? What would it take for you to be in a better situation? Do you think that will happen for you in the next 5-10 years?

Comfortable for me would mean enough money in the bank to never have to worry about having a job again or losing a home.  It means cash to pay for college and no loans. 

 

So I would consider very few "comfortable" in this shaky economy. 

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I am ok, but due to my foolish impulsiveness and anxiety not as well as I should be. I have a paid for 40 y/o home with no updates that I lived in for 12 years. I bought it and paid it of in 7 years. I thought I wanted to build a house in my dream neighborhood so I did. Huge mistake. I went from living a completely debt free life to one with a large house payment. I put 1/3 down payment on the new build. I still own my old house. I added my parents to the deed (for homesteading) and now they live there. I am very happy about that. I am paying extra on the new house payment but the taxes and HOA fees are high.

 

I totaled my paid for 8 year old Honda and had to buy a new one. So I have a car payment for another 20 months. I have no money saved for my kid's college. I would sale this house but I would lose my shirt. So I am trying not to think about it. If I can pay it off within 6 years. They I can pay monthly for me kid's college.

 

I am too scared to really spend money these days.

I do have a 6-9 month emergency fund.

 

I don't live paycheck to paycheck but I worry about money all the time.

Being a single mom is stressful.

 

I think many kids who grew up in poverty carry that into adulthood, too, even when they're doing well. Pain gives us long memories.

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I guess we're comfortable. To me that means: we can retire early if we need to do so, our children may need to have debt for college but not so much they won't be able to pay it back in a reasonable time, and we have that emergency fund.

 

However, I still don't "feel" comfortable. I'm all too aware how quickly things can go wrong financially. Plus, I sometimes doubt the decisions that got us here because we're missing out on a lot of things that would be wonderful for the kids, and the payoff may not be there in the end (we could lose money we've invested, etc.) Sometimes I wish I could borrow the brain that lets me take my kids to Disney on credit...

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We are kind of ok.  Dh makes a decent wage.  We don't have a huge house payment.  However, it just seems like our expenses are consistently growing faster than his raises.  I keep telling myself that we'll recover when the kids move out.  This year has been rather costly for various reasons.  

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Not comfortable -- dealing with significant medical debt and recovery from an unemployment period. But I still count us as OK because

 

1. We are capable of living very, very cheaply.

2. When DH has work (as he does right now) he makes plenty, as long as we observe Rule #1.

3. We can soak off that debt. We've paid off that much before.

4. Our elder kids seem as if they're going to launch well. When it's down to just DH and me, and one or two left at home, we'll live even more cheaply. 

5. It's only a few years until I can work part-time, and a couple years later I can work full-time.

 

Also, we flat refuse to be truly discouraged about that medical debt (although we grumble) because our son's treatment actually ran into the millions of dollars but our insurance was very, very good. The amount left for us to pay is more than we have, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the whole price. We're just thankful. Thankful for good insurance, thankful he survived, thankful DH is back to work so I can finish my job of homeschooling our children.

 

 

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We are kind of ok.  Dh makes a decent wage.  We don't have a huge house payment.  However, it just seems like our expenses are consistently growing faster than his raises.  I keep telling myself that we'll recover when the kids move out.  This year has been rather costly for various reasons.  

 

Yep. If everybody can just stay alive and reasonably healthy, and we moms can find a second wind, I think this is a typical homeschool family plan. It's rather by the seat of the pants and skin of the teeth but that's life.

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Comfortable for me would mean enough money in the bank to never have to worry about having a job again or losing a home.  It means cash to pay for college and no loans. 

 

So I would consider very few "comfortable" in this shaky economy. 

 

Never having to work again but being able to pay for college outright? I consider this way beyond "comfortable". This, to me, is quite wealthy. Very few people live like this but that does not make them poor or in a bad financial situation. I'm more considering people who don't know how they can cope with minor unexpected expenses, people who don't see their prospects improving. I know a family whose budget is so tight that if her child's extracurricular activity is moved any further away from her home, she won't be able to afford gas to get there, and they'll have to drop out. They are very frugal and there simply is no extra money. I know a family that lives without a water heater for a long period of time. Not because they want to, but because the money hasn't been there to replace it.

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Never having to work again but being able to pay for college outright? I consider this way beyond "comfortable". This, to me, is quite wealthy. Very few people live like this but that does not make them poor or in a bad financial situation. I'm more considering people who don't know how they can cope with minor unexpected expenses, people who don't see their prospects improving. I know a family whose budget is so tight that if her child's extracurricular activity is moved any further away from her home, she won't be able to afford gas to get there, and they'll have to drop out. They are very frugal and there simply is no extra money. I know a family that lives without a water heater for a long period of time. Not because they want to, but because the money hasn't been there to replace it.

 

 

This brings back a memory.  All my kids used to swim year round.  Then the price of gas sky-rocketed (this was a good 7-8 years ago).  We had to drop off the team.  They offered to let us keep swimming for free, but we couldn't take them up on it. What they didn't realize is that my parents were already paying our dues and we didn't have the $100 extra for gas each month.  It was, what it was.

 

At the time we were a little obsessive about making sure $ went into savings with every paycheck.  IF I could go back in time, I'd make a different choice. Mentally it would have been healthier for all of us.

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We're okay.  DH is on track to retire in about six years when he's around 60.  We have money set aside to pay fully for the boys' college.  We still have a mortgage, but could pay that off if we wanted to (but it would be a poor financial decision, since our investments earn a significantly higher rate of return than the interest on the mortgage).  I reckon if DH lost his job tomorrow we could get by w/o either of us needing to work again.  We'd need to cut back a lot, but we could make it.

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Yep. If everybody can just stay alive and reasonably healthy, and we moms can find a second wind, I think this is a typical homeschool family plan. It's rather by the seat of the pants and skin of the teeth but that's life.

Oh, so true. I think it's the nature of having someone out of the dork force for a long period of time. It just happens. Homeschooling families are more vulnerable to disability, death, unemployment, divorce issues, you name it, because one person's income is already put of the equation and in most cases job skills are atrophying. The exception would be those who homeschool and work part time, but not many can manage that.
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We were financially quite comfortable last year, by our standards. Putting $300 a week into savings and still having a little spending money. Then DH got a diagnosis which left him unemployed and unable to drive, so unable to get work, for 9 months. 

 

Now, we get by. But we did manage to get through his unemployment debt-free thanks to the social security system here and my part time work. Now we are back in a moderately comfortable position. $100 a week into savings, a little less spending money than before but still some available, and entirely debt free (we rent our house and unless the market changes drastically will likely never buy, for many reasons. We also own our car outright). We have a credit card for emergencies which is clear right now. I figure we could live paycheck to paycheck, but as long as we are debt free, we're good. Any major unexpected expenses can go onto the credit card and be paid off through tightening the belt for the next few months. Not ideal, but it could be worse. And as it is, we ARE saving a little, so I'm happy.

 

 

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Oh, so true. I think it's the nature of having someone out of the dork force for a long period of time. It just happens. Homeschooling families are more vulnerable to disability, death, unemployment, divorce issues, you name it, because one person's income is already put of the equation and in most cases job skills are atrophying. The exception would be those who homeschool and work part time, but not many can manage that.

Actually, as counter intuitive as it seems, relying on the full economic output of two earners makes families more vulnerable to financial hardship caused by unemployment or the disability of the primary wage earner. NEW income in such instances makes a big difference, even if that is the SAHM getting shift work at Starbucks or working as a department store. It might mean lean times but generally some new work plus unemployment help keep people from the brink better than needing two full incomes to survive and only having one left. I suppose the families in the best position to weather downturns are those who earn two incomes but live off of one. That, however, is so rare as to be nearly irrelevant. Most dual earning households are nearly living paycheck to paycheck. Having someone who can join the workforce if needed is a pretty great resource when there is a layoff or a workplace injury.

 

I've plugged it like 87 times on this board, but the Two Income Trap is an informative and interesting read.

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I don't feel financially comfortable. However our monthly expenses including mortgage is less than half the average monthly paycheck. So in the day to day living sense we are comfortable.

 

We have no retirement savings other than hubby's 401k and our emergency savings is only adequate to tide us for two years assuming no unemployment benefits. So it's hard to feel financially comfortable in that sense.

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