Tag Archives: adulthood

New Unemployment/Unemployed Budget

Well. Here I am. Unemployed. Since I received no severance and was not eligible for payout of any PTO (side effect of the supposed unlimited vacation perk), I’m left with my final paycheck and waiting for unemployment to (hopefully) kick in.

When you apply for unemployment they ask you a whole host of questions and I’m concerned I won’t qualify, though I should. Even if I do qualify, it’s a whopping $1800 a month (before taxes) and they make you wait a week to start claiming, so the first month is actually more like $1350 for the month. And $1350 is about how much I pay in rent. Thank goodness I’ve been somewhat smart about saving this year (I knew the job was not going to last long given how I performed with the heaping of anxiety and lack of sleep brought on by a very non-supportive work environment and a long commute I should have never signed on for in the first place.)

I thought it would be a good time to check in regarding my networth and budget. My networth goal for this year was $400k but that was a stretch to begin with (a $100k increase from 2014 including savings and interest.) Right now, counting all my assets I’m at about $350k – which isn’t bad considering the way the markets have performed this year to date. I’m sure with some better investments and less stress spending I’d be a little closer to my initial goal, but not by enough that it would really be meaningful. I have to take a moment and applaud myself for reaching $350k networth. Even though it’s not the big $500k, $350k feels sizable enough to merit a moment of self congratulations. For some reason, this amount makes me feel better about my lack of job stability due to my mental illness. While I can’t touch all that money immediately, and after taxes it would be less, if I was desperate there’s enough there to get through my own personal instances of deep depression (yeay bipolar life.) I don’t feel secure enough yet to have kids, or quite frankly, to get married (which is happening this spring anyway), but I feel like this is an accomplishment of some sort I can be secretly proud of… especially given that just 10 years ago I had about $5k to my name and was basically living paycheck to paycheck.

Here’s how the $350k breaks down:

  • $27.5k – cash
  • -$46 – credit debts
  • $153.5k – stocks (taxable)
  • $178.3k – retirement funds
  • $6.5k – 529 / grad school fund
  • $8k – approx car value

Now, my goal for the rest of the year, revised, is to end the year above $350k. This just brings me back to my older goals of saving $50k a year – which I’ve been doing for the last couple of years. I though this year given my income increase I could save a whole lot more, but you know, markets fluctuate so much, and maybe I actually bought enough stock “on sale” this year that I’ll have a really good 2016. Who knows.

The trick at this point is not significantly dipping into my cash to live between my current job and my next job… especially since I don’t know when said next job will start (or what it will be.) The $1350/$1800 a mo in unemployment is barely enough to cover standard recurring expenses, so I’ll have to dip into my savings a bit. I’m hoping that by Dec 1 I have a job so this leaves me with just 1.5 months of unemployment, which shouldn’t hurt too much. With the wedding coming up, and all the expenses for that, I really, really, really need a job – even though I admit it’s nice to have a few weeks to just stop and focus on planning this crazy event since the lack of time to do that was also stressing me out.

But I want to plan for “worst case scenerio” 3 months without a job. I’ll give myself 3 months to find something I really think I can be good at – because the last thing I want to do right now is to jump into a position where my anxiety will get to me again. I’m hoping to find something with a bit more flexible work environment – the amount of work I can get done at home in a quiet space far surpasses what I can do in some horrible open office environment filled with stress-inducing distractions. I’ve made a pact with myself that I’m not going to apply for things I know I’ll ultimately fail at given the work environment. I also am probably going to apply to grad school because I know the field I’m in now rarely meets my minimum requirements for sanity, so despite the great pay, I think I need to take a break from chasing income and now start to actually plan for sustainability. In short, I can’t be crazy mommy who gets fired from her job every year – my future kids don’t need to see that. I want them to see me in my best state – one where I actually like my job more or less. Not the me who I am now. I would never want them to see that person.

So I’m assuming I will need to spend about $2000 a month additional from my savings in order to cover everything from gas to get to job interviews to food to grad school applications to a potential trip home to the east coast to spend some quality time with family when I have the time (dad’s cancer isn’t getting better and despite that he drives me nutso whenever I see him I always think – will this be the last time?) So… say I have $5k of my savings to spend over the next 3 months… give or take. That puts me at roughly $350k at the end of the year – but I’d then be worried I couldn’t find another job. I know that I have some talent and abilities… but I just need to figure out where and how to apply them in a way where someone will pay me money to do so, and I won’t flip out after 3 months or so feeling like I’m so overwhelmed but the piles of things to do and not be able to prioritize those things or even know where to start. Yes, this is the life of a woman who has super anxiety, bipolar II and ADHD. I’m not saying those are excuses for anything – I take full responsibility for losing this job, for falling into the same pattern. But there’s a part of it that is just inherently who I am. I’m different than most people, that’s for sure. I just need to figure out where I fit.

And I’m going to be 32 in a month, which is – such an adult. My body definitely feels like I’m in my 30s — I pinched a nerve a week ago and my back and arm are still in pain. If I don’t sleep a full 8 hours a night I feel it for many days later. And don’t get me started on drinking / hangovers, oy. That’s just to say that I’m not a kid anymore. I’m a full grown adult. Looking around at my apartment I have to stop and wonder if this is what I pictured adulthood to be like. Well, I never actually envisioned myself as an adult. Maybe that’s part of the problem. But when I envisioned adulthood as a general concept, it certainly didn’t look like this — unfinished apartment, used couch that’s falling apart, bike in the corner of the living room because there’s no where else to keep it, a career that doesn’t feel right at all, getting married (ok that’s a start) to a man who also doesn’t have much of anything figured out yet either, to a long life ahead of me that I imagine will poof suddenly transform into one filled with maturity once I have my own kids (I know it doesn’t happen that way, I just like to think there’s some kind of inciting incident to finally growing up.)

Oh well. Today, I just need to focus on not dipping in too deep to my savings this year, and ultimately continuing on to my “round 1” $500k goal. That was supposed to happen next year. It won’t. But maybe I’ll get there before I’m 40.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretzels and Aging, and Money and Roller Coasters

If it seems like I’m posting an awfully lot lately about my fears of my adulthood simultaneously while being an adult, you’re quite astute. I am, it feels, either at a crossroads or the end of a formerly cyclical journey where I’ve gone through first-world chaos and landed back where I began.

At 17, I left home for college, not because I wanted to go to college, or knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew what I didn’t want to be. I knew I didn’t want to live in a house with parents screaming at each other night and day. But I also was well educated in the suffocation of stagnant suburban life. The long nights with crickets chirping. The circumference connecting one mall to another mall to another mall which stood for the area in which my life took place, sans occasional outings to the big city. Even New York felt small in comparison to the whole world, its looming skyscrapers twinkling into the night sky, and thousands of people dispersing from subway stations and walking every which direction, was just a speck of a world that was far from reach. Continue reading

When I was a little girl, I used to walk a few feet in the snow…

Winter in California is bizarre for a gal like me that grew up on the east coast. Sure, we get our annoying rainy season, but snow and painfully cold whether isn’t involved in the concept of winter here. I kind of like that, as I’m definitely not a “cold” person, and it helps save on heating bills (though I have an ‘all utilities paid’ deal with my rent anyway) but sometimes I miss snow.

Scratch that. I just miss my memories of what snow means. Days off from school. Spending time with family. Watching bad tv all day (as a freelancer I tend to do that now… i mean, at least as background noise). Relaxing.

The only thing equivalent to a “snow day” out here would be a day when a giant earthquake destroys everything… or if a forest fire comes frighteningly close to my neighborhood. That’s not much of a snow day.

Most of all, I miss being a child. Like any other 24 year old, I’m now facing the fact that the future is all about being an adult. A young adult for a while, then an old adult, then a very old adult and then… well, that’s life.

How should I value my life? Should I see it in terms of how much money I make, and how much I can buy? I don’t expect to be rich, but as a freelancer I see how I can build up a steady income and at some point, if I have enough happy clients, I can possibly make six figures a year. That feels almost greedy… although if I have kids at some point I’m sure any money would help.

I feel dirty wanting money. I like working for just the amount I need to survive with a little extra to stow away for savings in case something terrible happens. Then again, I love eating at nice restaurants, traveling and buying overpriced clothing. It’s tough to both want to not be greedy and want to live a mildly lavish lifestyle.

More than anything, though, I want to feel like I’ve earned my money. That I deserve what I’ve earned. That’s why I like the idea of freelancing. Beyond actually having to do a good job, I constantly have to market myself and prove my worth. And if i’m not worthy of a project then I have to rethink my strategy for long-term survival. Maybe that’s a little scary, but I enjoy the ongoing challenge. It keeps me on my toes.

What’s with all of this ‘future’ and ‘past’ thinking? Well, it’s the holiday season, and while I’m not religious, the time around Hannukah and New Years always throws me into a state of extreme reflection. I think a lot about where I’ve been selfish in the past year and how I can change my next year to be a better person. I rarely make as much progress as I’d like, but at least through growing up I’ve stopped being so terribly narcissistic. I’ve accepted that for the most part people do not care about me, whether that’s caring about me being wonderful or a trainwreck. As a kid I was desperate for attention. Not anymore. Well, sometimes, if I’m having a random hyper moment and perhaps a few shots of Vodka. But…

Now… my whole view on life has changed. My basic morals haven’t. I still believe in freedom, I still believe in being a good person regardless of a belief in some divinity. That will always be a part of me. But now I don’t mind being invisible (usually). I’m not sure how I feel about that.