Friday, January 01, 2010

January 1, 2010

Today is the first day of the New Year 2010. Doesn’t that have a nice sound?

Do we pronounce the New Year “twenty ten?” Or do we pronounce it “two oh one oh?” I prefer “twenty ten.” That has a nice ring to it.

Last night I got in from work at the hotel at 11:20 pm. That was enough time to change, shower and have a bedtime snack while I watched the New Year rung in on CNN by that sadly unfunny duo of Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper.

I, like many of my fellow citizens will be facing unemployment at the beginning of the new decade. I’m working today but for the rest of the month I’m not on the work schedule at the hotel. I probably won’t be on the work schedule for February either. Maybe even into March. Perhaps the warm weather will bring a change in hotel occupancy.

Several of my friends have also seen their hours of work reduced. I don’t know of anybody who has been untouched by this poor economy. No doubt about it, this is an equal opportunity recession.

Because all of our incomes will be down this year, it will require us to review our priorities and decide what we can do without this year. What we do without will have repercussions throughout the economy. Because I decide to eat out less will mean the restaurants I frequent will earn less money and will require them to cut back on their staff and hours. It is a vicious, cruel cycle.

I for one am going to use this extra time that I will now have and turn it into an opportunity. First thing I’m going to do (I’ve already started) is finish unpacking the remaining boxes from my move to Delaware three years ago (November 2006.)

Then I’m going to go through those boxes and other items and decide what I can live without and either drop those items off at the local thrift store or sell them on EBay (I can use the money.)

Secondly I’m going to cedar line my two walk in closets in my bedroom. They are “his and hers” closets but since there is only me in my bedroom, they’re my “his and his” closets.

Third, I’m going to finish scanning all my old prints of photographs into my computer to share them with friends and family.

Fourth, I’m going to jump in again and update my family genealogy records. I’m 68 years old now. Each year goes by faster and faster and before I know it I will either check out or be too old and infirm to even get those records together. Of course I am concerned what will happen to my records (and photos) when I’m gone but there isn’t much I can do about that now. None of my relatives seem to be interested or have the time or energy to continue my work. It does concern me but I can’t worry about it.

So, all told. I do have a plan that I feel good about. Actually, for the first time in years I feel very optimistic. The past decade was a horrible decade for me and our country. Maybe it was because we didn’t have a good way to pronounce the years. Two zero zero nine doesn’t have the same ring as twenty ten. Yes, I think it will be a very good year.  Hello twenty ten. 


  1. Ron,

    Well, I just called it Twenty-oh-nine. Wasn't my best year.

    My hours are cut again for starting the New Year. Beginning next Monday, they are now 15 a week, which is a nice 40% reduction in earnings in the last two months. I'm still getting more than several others. I see one has had three hours in two weeks; another had five. {In fact, only the managers are getting more hours a week than me.} One has to begin considering when the amount of hours and money earned isn't worth the trouble of the trip in.


  2. Lar,

    It was strange seeing the monthly schedule last night at work and my name wasn't on it at all. Zippo. Nada. Nothing. Hmmm. Sounds like a layoff to me. But, I'm told I'm "on call" which I think is accurate. Anyway you look at it the income is drastically down which means economies have to be put into place in other areas of my life.

    In your situation you raise a good question. At what point is it not worth it to make the trip into work? Fortunately, I'm very close to work so that isn't an issue.

    I was hoping the economy would turn around this year. Talking to the owner last night, he doesn't think the occupancy will improve until late next year. That is going to take a lot of adjustment. Goodbye dining out as often as I used to in the past.

    We're lucky that we have Social Security and pensions to fall back on. I wouldn't want to be a young person these days. We were also lucky that recessions never hit us before, until now that is.

    Interesting times indeed.


  3. Enjoy that 'zippy' music - perks a person up.

    Re the income reductions - I remember teaching all of my children to live on just ONE income (if they were married and both worked). Bank the other income 100%. Now I have a 49-year old daughter who listened to that advice; her husband was laid off in November, and they've got plenty of savings since they banked his money for the last 10 years - he's going to start his own business with another friend (luckily, they also own 3 properties that produce rental income).

    My oldest son followed the same advice; now instead of having two Honda dealerships, he's been able to save up enough money to buy a Ford dealership that went bankrupt - thank goodness they've only lived on just his income for 20 years.

    My son (Kevin) is banking his income; his wife finally is a certified doctor, and they can live on just her income.

    My son (Tom) banks his income from his business that he owns; his wife owns her own business, and they set up their budget to live within her income.

    I think what I see (as I saw back when I started my own business in 1980), is to work as hard as you can to own your own business - then you govern the management; you decide when to invest - when to spend - when to save, and all the methods available.

  4. My daughter started her own business back in 2007; she's 'in control'. My son bought his first dealership in 2004 - 'in control'. My son (Kevin) manages 3 stores for Office Depot; he's NOT in control, but with his seniority and the awards he's received for his services these past 8 years, he's at least as solid as anyone can be as an employee. My son (Tom) started his business back in 1991; 18 years - ups and downs, but always 'in control' (and his wife did the same back when they were newly married).

    I ran my own business from 1980 until 2003; again, 'in control', and free to diversify with services and provide for your clients in customers to the best of YOUR ability (not the company's ability if you're a cog in the employee machine).

    Also I believe proper budgeting; an excellent savings so you have at least FIVE YEARS of living expenses in the bank (not the 3 to 6 months that most financial advisors tell you) is also VERY KEY.

    Living not within your means, but UNDER your means will allow you to keep sound savings in tact.

    Taking care of your health is imperative (which I know you've done).

    Sadly, I live in a 100% tourist community; we've had so many lay-offs and Nevada leads the state in foreclosures because too many lived too 'high on the hog'.

    When we retired, my kids asked why we didn't buy a fancier house; I told them we were going to live on 50% of our FIXED income and like it - 50% goes into investments and savings with 70% into long-term CD's, and 30% into investments.

    We don't drive the newest car (as you don't); we pay off our credit cards every month and use their money (free) for 30 days which I like.

    Living 'free' is being free from ailments; free from debt, and free from trying to keep up with the Joneses and free of 'stuff' that becomes landfill after you die.

    My goal in 2010: Have all gifts bought; wrapped, and packaged for mailing = done as of January 3, 2010.

    Have money for 2 months of traveling in 2010 = done as of December 25, 2009.

    Replace new appliances - in process - money in savings to do this without debt.

    Replace SUV - money in the bank to buy it for cash when we find the right one.

    Clean storage locker: Marked to do in March - 2010.

    Clean closets and donate non-used items: Done January 2, 2010.

    Learned to relax more - in process.

    Stop being on the computer so much - in process.

    Take more pictures with new camera - in process.

    Be more understanding of peoples' sensitive ways (including mine) - in process.

    ENJOY THE REST OF MY LIFE - in process.

    Happy New Year and I hope you might think of starting your own business. You love to garden; maybe plan other people's gardens for a fee - even tend to it. You love to take photographs - do this as a part-time effort.

    Think of your hobbies and turn them into part-time services for a fee.

    You enjoy shopping - shop for those who can't get to the store - for a fee.

    Do promotions for restaurants you like; you write about your favorites - maybe they could use some additional promoting - of course it would be commission-based (or at least free meals for you and Bill).

    Just a few thoughts I had. Diane

  5. Diane,

    Excellent advice. Your children were lucky to have a Mom like you. I'm glad they listened to your advice.


  6. Diane,

    Again, excellent advice. I've already given some thought to some of the suggestions you mentioned in your latest comment. Specifically about taking pictures of events for a fee. Nothing fancy, just candid shots that others don't have the time or skill to take. Also, running errands for folks.

    My first thing I'm looking into is my long overdue checking out Ebay. I have a number of collectibles that I no longer have an interest in (stamp collection) and other possessions that I will not take with me when I die. Time to get rid of those things as well as a lot of other "things" at the thrift store.

    I'm going to make good use of this hiatus I have from my job at the hotel and make some major steps forward. Of course the biggest being is some kind of self-employment where I am in control. That is the best situation of all to be in.

    Thanks again for your advice. It is all appreciated.



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