Two years ago I was asked to give a 30 minute talk on how to prepare and survive difficult times. At that point, I thought that we had been unemployed for FOREVER (eleven months) !!. Little did I know that we were just starting. I haven’t looked at those notes or that slideshow for a few years. I was surprised to see how optimistic I was when I made that presentation.
I think one of the most important lessons I taught in that half hour was to “do without NOW to survive in the future”.
My Hot Hubbie and I got married at the beginning of the McMansion Era. Yet we could not figure out how our friends were affording all the ________. (you can fill in the blank; toys, house, pools, vacations, new SUVs, etc…) We became the butt of the jokes. We sometimes were ridiculed for ________ (not having new furniture, not remodeling our home, driving a used car, taking a stateside vacation, etc..) . Hot Hubbie and I were perplexed. “How in the WORLD could Couple X afford that ________ (car, vacation, custom home, etc)?” We brought home more money than they did (remember those days during your 20’s when you were so proud of your income and were not ashamed to blab about it to all your friends-we had lots of friends who told us their income) and we could not afford cable!! Little did we know that while we were putting away money in our rainy day fund, and in our retirement fund, and in the kid’s college fund, our “friends”, were spending more than they made. Hot Hubbie and I knew something like that must have been happening, but we did not comprehend the extent of the situation. Unfortunately, we have seen their unwise choices catch up to them. Homes lost, cars repossessed, businesses fail, etc. So what was one of the biggest lessons that I realized help us weather the unemployment:
DO WITHOUT NOW TO SURVIVE IN THE FUTURE!
Hot Hubbie and I (and our kids) did without fancy vacations, dance lessons, new cars, unused furniture, and used the money that would have paid for those items to save for the future. Little did we know that the future would bring 3 years without a paycheck. But we are sure grateful that we did.