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Is there a price to pay for Progress

Discussion in 'The Meadow' started by Hornet3d, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished


    Sounds as though you have had a hard enough life already so I really do hope you do not end up on the street at any point in you life.

    My childhood seems to have been very lucky in comparison but that is not to say it was problem free. My father moved out of London when I was less than two years old (my brother was five) as he could not afford to stay in London. He moved to a new town as companies were hiring at the time. With no savings he was lucky to get a council house. A few years later went down with TB or Tuberculosis and at that time it was a major killer but he survived but was out of work for eighteen months. There was no sick pay back then and very limited welfare. My parents had been saving for a deposit for a house but all that went in the first couple of months. We stayed in the house but only through the generosity of aunts and uncles and some support from his fellow workers.

    I remember there being no TV and Tuesday was wash day providing the man arrived with the washing machine which had been hired for the day, or not if money was tight. Having no car we walked everywhere until the early 1960s when my father purchased his first car. It was a 1934 box Austin that had poor headlights, or none at all if the the journey was more than 30 minutes and a single windscreen wiper that only worked 50% of the time so my father had to drive with one had on the little handle inside working the wiper.

    They never did realise their dream of owning their own home but I have two sisters and two brothers and none of them rent so maybe we are living their dream.
     
  2. carmen indorato

    carmen indorato Extraordinary

    Well I'm not rich but from a kid growing up in a lower middle class family repatriated from Sicily during bad economic times after WWII, I was taught never, well, rarely, charge more than I can pay in one shot. When that credit card bill is due i pay the whole thing off if I can. So I have paid barely any interest on credit cards since I got credit cads.
    Not everyone does that and that causes big problems. For people on limited income using credit cards to pay everything could be a disaster if you have little or no self control when it comes to spending.
    I try to separate wants from needs and conduct my life with very tight frugal fist. My investments were doing great for several years and I was actually making more from investments in interest and dividends than I was making on a yearly pay from work.
    This past year or two that has changed. With all the international turmoil and the toxic political BS among American politicians who seem to have forgotten who the hell they work for, the stock markets is messing me up. In one month for instance, my investment went down almost $20 K ! SO instances whereby my computer has been having problems rebooting or shutting down in the middle of rendering or setting up renders, I have not been doing any images since April or so. I need another computer but because I have lived off interests and dividends and since so few have come in No computer in sight. No new computer no artwork. sucks but every day living expenses are more important to life than making pretty pictures especially with no return on the investment. :(
     
  3. Miss B

    Miss B Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time CV-BEE

    I couldn't agree more on that last sentence Carmen. Necessities are always the top of the list.

    That said, as frustrating as the stock market is, it WILL rise again, and then you'll be smiling. I think the smartest thing I ever did as far as investments go, was to LEAVE THEM BE, and they have never disappointed me, as they always start rising again. Some folks think they need to "get out" as soon as they see the market go through a downturn, but it's the longterm that matters most, as the market will go through corrections every few years, and then settle in again.
     
  4. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished


    My stock market investments are rather modest but they are down over £1,000 in the last six months so I know where you are coming from. I can relate to the computer story too, my old machine used to shut down without warning and it was a real pain to use but I had to stick with it. It was only recently I have manged to replace it as my main machine and that is after putting up with the other one for almost three years. Problem is I am now so busy with other projects I am hardly using it and doing far less renders on the new machine than I did on the old one.
     
  5. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished

    Agree with that I always regard my bank savings as short term, my building society as medium term and shares as long term savings. Frustrating as it is to see stocks fall I am expecting them the rise when Brexit as sorted, how long it will take will depend on how we leave the European Union or if we do.
     
  6. Satira Capriccio

    Satira Capriccio Distinguished CV-BEE Contributing Artist

    We've had some pretty rough times with the stock market over the last 25 years. Some years my retirement account lost more than it gained from contributions. As long as I wasn't approaching retirement, it could rebound and make up the losses. So, I was able to stay positive even while looking at those quarterly reports. But I will be 67 in October. Reasonably, how many more years will I be able to continue working? Especially, when parking at the new location will be twice what I pay now? Too many years of losses to my retirement account now won't leave much time for it to rebound.

    Both my older brother and his wife were teachers, so they have pensions. Their financial situation in retirement is so much more stable than mine will be.
     
  7. Miss B

    Miss B Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time CV-BEE

    Yes a pension definitely helps. My folks were in the same situation, as my dad never had a pension when he retired, but their co-op apartment was fully paid for by then, and the monthly maintenance was about 1/4 of what I'm paying now, so they managed okay.
     
  8. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished


    That is sad to hear. I was lucky to be working at a time and for a company where they had a final salary pension so the pension was based on what you had earned over an number of years rather than the pension investment. Sadly such schemes are extremely rare these days if not extinct. It has tended get worse over the years so none of my nieces have any sort of pension at all and as they are in their middle thirties, pension wise, it is getting a little late.

    I guessed Brexit was going to have a major impact on the stock market which was one reason my wife and I agreed she should retire early last year, spending more time together was obviously the first. We cashed in all her pension policies before the main damage was done. If we split from the European Union in a bad way I doubt the stock market will recover quickly and the chances are she would have to retire while they were still down. If there is no split they could recover quickly and we might lose out but we were not prepared to take the risk.
     
  9. Satira Capriccio

    Satira Capriccio Distinguished CV-BEE Contributing Artist

    The time to start contributing to a 401K/403B is in your early 20s, long before most of us even think of retirement, and when money is usually exceedingly tight because of entry level wages. Pensions were still the norm in the 70s and even into the 80s, so there wasn't as much emphasis on employees contributing to a retirement fund as there is now. It wasn't until I was in my late 30s that we started being educated on the importance of contributing to a retirement plan. By then, it was too late for most of us to contribute enough that we'd have a decent retirement income. Unless that is ... you were in a management position or another high paying job. I wasn't.

    Although I am a senior programmer analyst, I work for a not for profit. The average pay for a senior programmer analyst is about $30-$40k more than we're paid. I can't even imagine making $30k more. I'd definitely be retired now and living a contented life on the Oregon Coast in my "Tiny" house with a small garden and daily walks on the beach. (It actually wouldn't be all that tiny, since I consider an ideal size for me to be around 400 sq ft.) Of course, I'd also need a screened in Catio, big enough for both Tsuki and me to sit outside and enjoy fresh air and (shaded) sunshine ... safe from bugs and animals eager to snatch up an innocent kitty (and where tantalizing wildlife would be safe from the innocent kitty).

    Of course, it was my choice to work for a not for profit, and to continue doing so for over 25 years.
     
  10. carmen indorato

    carmen indorato Extraordinary

    A few years ago after seeing my investments rise and fall I decided to get the help of a team of pros and after much discussion and analysis I went with a managed portfolio. They take about $800 per quarter to manage it but as I said they have kept my investments in good shape. Reasoning is you pay a plumber and electrician and dentist and doctor nd mechanic why not an investment manager? I warned them that as long as they make me what I need to see my portfolio grow and still have money for a safely comfortable quality of life it will continue. As soon as I see my investments go down for 3 months straight they are fired!!!:)
     
  11. carmen indorato

    carmen indorato Extraordinary

    Not necessarily. I started to invest $100 every two weeks from my pay check (withdrawn for my unmatched pretax 401k about 25 years ago at 40.) Managed to get $1/4 mil accumulated in my retirement funds and now living off interest and dividends aong with a modest Social Security monthly. Car is paid off condo is payed off and I jut sit around on my growing lazy duff while my investments keep me somewhat in the bacon grease!
    Right in vestment decisions, disciplined investment approach, Control spending in a tight wad way and living clean and modest have been my secret.

    Never made more than $20/year as a graphic artist and with a Masters Degree to boot.
    I have actually made more money every year from my investments than ever made working!
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
  12. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished

    We are in a similar position, both the car and the house are paid for and we are living off our different pensions. That said I was in such a well paid job that each year that I had a raise I would up my pension contributions to the maximum that the tax office would allow. We never had children and we also only moved house once, we really stretched ourselves and jumped from a two bedroom with no front garden and very small back garden to a three bedroomed detached with a decent front and back garden. When we did we kept the term of the mortgage the same and just paid the extra monthly payments. We also had an Endowment Mortgage, something that was frowned on later, but in out case it did pay a nice sum once the mortgage was paid up.

    All of this meant I was able to retire from full time work at 55 and totally retire at 60 with no mortgage to pay. My wife is younger than me so she continued to work on the basis she would follow the same retirement path. As it turned out a change of management at her work place resulted in bullying so she resigned and had a year off then worked part time for a year finally retiring completely last year, well before her 60th birthday. She has a state pension to come when she is 67, it should have been 60 but the government raised the pension age a few years ago, well they raised it for everyone but themselves. With some savings behind us and my diabetes getting worse we tend to stay within our means but otherwise spend freely while we are still both fit enough to enjoy life.
     
  13. Satira Capriccio

    Satira Capriccio Distinguished CV-BEE Contributing Artist

    I was contributing more than $100 per paycheck, and my employer does match contributions. Although, even if you don't contribute, they still contribute a decent amount per paycheck. Principle manages our investments, although, I don't remember if they have always been the firm to do so. I have a vague recollection of it being another company when I started. But that could just be our medical insurance, since we change that ever couple of years when the premiums get too steep. All it takes is one or two employees in a year having a devastating illness, and the insurance companies jack up your rates.

    I owe another $5,000 on my car, and I have rented since I was 40 and moved to the East Coast. Living in Philadelphia, rent is rather high. Especially, if you live in a building with any kind of security. Which, to my thinking is essential when you are single and female. Principle estimates expenses per month in retirement at $4,500. That seems a bit high to me, though perhaps not if one retires in Philadelphia. The plus side is that renters insurance isn't that bad. But car insurance is nasty bad if you live within the city limits. If I lived across the street (which is outside the city limits), I'd be paying much less ... though still driving on the very same streets.
     
  14. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished


    Car costs are a major factor and if we did not have a dog I would probably sell the car. What with car insurance, road find tax, MOT safety test once a year the casts add up. I also have a roadside assistance cover and recovery for peace of mind when I travel but the government regard that as insurance so I pay tax on that. We also pay a large tax on fuel in the UK and the main car insurance is also taxed along with any repairs and parts. I run a Honda CRV and it costs around £1,000 a year just to have it on the driveway so that is just tax, insurance and yearly service and MOT safety check. I have just changed the tyres which was £700 for the set, but they will last me five years or more. The latest repair bill is just over £1,300 to which the governments Value Added Tax (or Vague Additions to Total , which I think is a better description) will add another £200+ to that bill. Petrol here is around £1.72 a litre at the moment, it has been a lot higher and of that over 61% is made up of fuel duty and VAT.

    I do not live in a major city so my insurance is a lot lower than for city folk and fuel prices increase as you travel across the country so there are those paying far more than me just to keep a car on the road.
     
  15. carmen indorato

    carmen indorato Extraordinary

    Not sure if available in England or outside of US but here you can get bundled car and home insurance for a reduced package rate. And if you shop around you can get other providers to offer a lower rate if you switch to their coverage. I call my insurance every hear to get any discounts they might offer. I got senior citizen discount and a low mileage discount (they send a meter to you that records how many miles you actually put int the car over a 3 month period and readjust the car coverage to reflect lower mileage). Because I keep my car in the parking space 90%of the time (yeah become a real agoraphobic-like home body.....who would have thunk!) I pay way less in car insurance. In fact I had to change tires with almost perfectly good tread left due to tire rot from lack of use!
    It pisses me off they don't just announce these discounts yearly unless you call them. I went for years with same company as did my parents before they passed paying more because of their lack of announcing these discounts. Damn insurance companies!
     
  16. carmen indorato

    carmen indorato Extraordinary

    Please pardon my confusion but what does dog ownership have to do with car ownership!?
     
  17. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished


    Sorry for creating the confusion I should have given more details. Our dog is a Lurcher weighing 28Kg and though not big or heavy as dogs go being a running dog he has long legs and generally not accepted on public transport. He was adopted from a rescue centre and was abused so does not take to strangers unless either my wife is with him and he sort of gauges our reaction as to whether he should become stressed or not. We walk him locally twice a day but do try to get further afield so he can run wild in a forest or with other dogs and when we go on holiday he comes with us. With only one exception I am aware off dogs are not allowed in hire cars so the opportunity to hire the right car at the right time is very limited. We do not need a car the size of a Honda CRV but the large luggage area means we were able to fit a decent sized and safety test dog box. This allows us go on holiday and take days out without having top leave the dog behind. The other reason for a larger car is that my pervious one was a two door Honda Civic and my elderly in-laws were finding increasingly difficult to get in and out of the car. The CRV is a lot easier and we can even take the in-laws out and still take the dog with us.

    Without the dog it would be far cheaper for me to just hire a car for the days out with the in-laws other than that we tend to walk to and from most places locally to do shopping and the like.
     
  18. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished


    The bundled car and house packages are relatively new to the UK but they are available. I am very selective in the insurance companies I use in the UK as I do not trust many. I am not sure how the insurance companies operate in the US but here in the UK many have an agreement with the big commercial body shops and basically they agree a standard price for a repair. So let's say the standard claim cost agreed is £3000. So if a car comes in with a damaged wing mirror, cost to replace £300 plus labour the claim is for £3000 and the body shop rakes in a massive profit. Now say that the car is nearly new, and has major front end damage and the repair is £9000. For many new cars this would be the below the write off value so it has to be repaired and the body shop can only claim £3000 and thus will makes a £6000 loss so they cut corners. Many of the parts used will not be genuine makers parts or, worse still, if they just happen to have a similar car that has had a rear end shunt they will pinch parts from that to do the repair that could mean that nice looking bonnet on the repaired car is actually a few years old. Even smaller bits are used so the door switches will be scavenged, engine part s the same and so on.

    The insurance companies will deny this but I have worked in a body shop and seen it happen, seen the agreements and have been told by others I trust that it is standard practice. I had customers bring their cars back within a year because their recently repaired car now has rust coming through the drivers door and they were surprised. They would not have been surprised if they had known it was four years older than their car and had spent the best part of a year in a small grassed area at the back of the repair shop.

    My insurance stipulates only Honda Dealers and repair shops can be used and all parts must originate from Honda. Of course I have to trust the insurers that this will be the case but it least I have contract I can fall back on if I find rogue parts and I tend to trust main dealers more than I do some body shop who work with insurance companies to stitch up the customers paying the slightly reduced, but still expensive premiums.
     
  19. carmen indorato

    carmen indorato Extraordinary

    Our insurance estimates the damage to bring the vehicle back to working spec. If the car is in great condition or relatively new the body shop will get original manufacturer parts to replace it. You can see this posted on the front offices of the repair shops and in your contracts. The insurance can either give you a check for the repair and you can find your own shop or they pay the shop directly. Usually the service shops recommended by insurance companies here have proven excellent and the relationship they have is good for me as long as the car gets fixed properly.
    When I was younger living in another state many younger drivers would collect the check and either not do the repair if the car was driveable, or get a friend to do the repair on the cheap keeping the extra money. Now here in Virginia the insurance wants to see some proof of repair. All makes sense to me. the more people who screw the insurance the more the rest of us get screwed by the insurance company.

    Manufacturer shops are more expensive here and really don't give you a better service in fact i have gotten worse service from manufacturer shops than a long used trusted reliable shop with good ratings. Yeah, there are rating books (similar to Consumer Report Magazine)you can check on local shops service history before you drop a load of cash in their hands too.
     
  20. Janet

    Janet Extraordinary Contributing Artist

    Getting old sucks! I've had an independent income since I was 36 so I haven't had to work though I have here and there. But now I'm wondering what if that goes away which it could. So I applied for a job in town at a Laundry mat. I have an interview tomorrow. The job is 4 nights a week and will cover my basic expenses but just barely. Still it will be nice to have some extra money that I worked for and to get out of the house. And money that I won't feel guilty about spending as every extra penny I have goes into savings. My kitties will miss me and I will miss them. I was a social worker in a past life but want something not stressful.

    Wish me luck at the interview! Oh when filling out the application today I listed the last place I worked and that was it. The company ended up closing in a huge scandal which is a big reason I quit working. People should learn to keep their romances and private lives out of the office. But so many social workers have some huge quirks. So I explained to the lady at the laundry mat that I haven't worked in 20 years and why. She seemed okay with it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019

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