Monday, August 24, 2009

What Has Been Going On

Contrary to any rumors, I have not been kidnapped or ran away to some far away place. Nothing much has been happening with me except getting poorer financially. I have worked a couple of very short jobs: one six-day contract and another that was under 40 hours. I've had no luck finding work in or out of my field of technical writing.

I lost my qualification for unemployment back in March after having quit a contract job I wasn't qualified for. The only way to be reinstated in unemployment is to get a permanent job that lasts for at least six months and then be laid off again. Consequently, I've been borrowing from my home equity loan to make house payments, pay for groceries and utilities, and to pay all the deductibles and co-pays from my gall bladder surgery. I've almost maxed out the loan.

Luckily, I will be 62 in mid-September, so I qualify for early Social Security, with a lifetime reduction of about 25-30% because I am not at the full retirement age of 66. My payments start in mid-November, as I have finished all the application process. This income will pay a little more than my mortgage payment each month.

I'll also have a tiny pension starting in early October that should cover a few of my utilities. However, I will still need to work at least part-time to pay other bills and to have any money for recreation or travel. The problem is finding such a job or jobs.

I still have a roommate who pays his rent each month. That helps too.

I have some money in a retirement account, which I am holding off on touching since the bad economy has really caused it to take a huge hit. I may have to take a little near the end of the year. I will be in such a low-income bracket for the year that my tax hit on that money shouldn't be much. Plus, Georgia doesn't really tax retirement income. Only federal tax should be owed.

After I turn 62, I'll also be eligible to take courses for free at Georgia state colleges. I haven't inquired yet about the process. I'll wait until I am 62 in less than a month so that when I find out, I can make the application at the same time. I expect to take courses in Adobe Photoshop and in web design to enhance my technical writing skills. Getting another degree would probably only make me even less attractive to employers in this job market. I think the courses should help though.

I write all of this not to complain or for pity. I'm just recording this for myself and any friends who read my blog. This is how things are financially and career-wise right now in my life.

I have to admit to fighting depression. I take an anti-depressant, at the urging of my medical doctor. It has helped some. I think once I have my Social Security income coming in, I may feel a little bit better. Not having much money really sucks, but I'm getting used to NOT being a consumer. It seems that many folks are doing the same in this great recession.

Some of my friends have been very good to me these past few months. I'll remember them when I'm back on my feet. I've been treated to various things that otherwise I would have not done. I am thankful to each and every one of you who have been so kind. That is what friendship is all about...loving and helping your friends in good times and bad. I love you guys.

There is more that I could write in this post, but now that I've started writing again, I think it won't be so long until my next post. Until then....