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04 July 2009 @ 09:07 pm
[Poll] Eeeeeeekonomy.  
So, the other day I took the earthling to the mall for walking-around purposes, and every single store except the Cinnabon was having a sale. It was a little scary. And we're looking for a desk right now, and half the local furniture stores are having a sale. The other half are out of business. Friends of mine have been laid off. California's budget looks like it's been hit by asteroids.

I am alarmed. And so I'm wondering about y'all: how are you doing? Poll time!

And, by the way, if you're thinking now might be a good time to get your finances in order, I highly recommend the services of jarrow, who does custom budget spreadsheets for fellow fans (and, I assume, others). The spreadsheets are a) really, really pretty (they look like Monopoly!) b) easy to use and c) cheap. It does not get better than that, people. (Except it does: he also provides instruction and tech support. And emotional support, too, if you need it, like if you find budgeting just way too scary ever to face, or if you hyperventilate every time you think about your bills.) We had been trying to use Quicken for two years, and basically only achieving an ever-growing hatred of Quicken. John's spreadsheet, on the other hand, is totally working for us.

And now, let's talk about you.

Poll #1425209 Economy

I'm taking this poll!

Why, yes. Yes, I am.
630(100.0%)

Jobs!

I'm as employed as I ever am.
170(25.0%)
I've been laid off.
26(3.8%)
I'm probably going to be laid off.
1(0.1%)
I've been getting less work or fewer hours.
22(3.2%)
My job looks okay, but people are being laid off where I work.
16(2.3%)
At least one member of my family has been laid off or otherwise lost work.
7(1.0%)
At least one friend of mine has been laid off or otherwise lost work.
7(1.0%)
I have a better job than I ever have, or getting more work than ever.
19(2.8%)
Something else! I cannot be encompassed by ticky boxes.
59(8.7%)

Finances!

I'm well-off: money for all my needs, most of my wants, some luxuries.
79(11.6%)
I'm doing well: money for all my needs and some or most of my wants.
196(28.8%)
I'm hanging in there: money for all my needs and maybe a few wants.
289(42.5%)
I'm drowning: not enough money for all my needs.
63(9.3%)
Something else. It's...complicated.
53(7.8%)

Savings!

I've got way more than a six month cushion saved.
71(10.4%)
I've got more than six month cushion in savings.
70(10.3%)
I've got a six month cushion.
51(7.5%)
I've got a three month cushion.
107(15.7%)
I've got a one month cushion.
81(11.9%)
I've got some money in savings, but not enough to cover my expenses for a month.
90(13.2%)
I'm living paycheck to paycheck; I don't have any money saved.
147(21.6%)
Something else. Again, complicated.
63(9.3%)

Longitudinal comparison!

I'm better off than I was two years ago.
265(39.1%)
Financially, I'm about the same as I was two years ago.
220(32.5%)
I'm worse off than I was two years ago.
192(28.4%)

Health insurance! (Note: not dental.)

I live in a country where health insurance is provided by the government for everyone, so that's where I get mine.
158(23.2%)
I live in a country where the government doesn't provide everyone's healthcare, but my government provides mine. (In the US, Medicare, Healthy Families, etc.)
22(3.2%)
I have good private insurance. (Covers almost everything I need it to, and I don't spend a fortune on it, or on medical bills.)
268(39.4%)
I have private insurance, but it doesn't cover most of what I need.
21(3.1%)
I have private insurance, but it costs a lot or has lots of fees - I pay a lot in bills.
66(9.7%)
I have private insurance, but it doesn't cover much AND it costs a lot.
22(3.2%)
I don't have health insurance.
77(11.3%)
Something else! Like you could cover a topic this complicated in radio buttons.
46(6.8%)

Attitude!

Be very, very frightened, Arthur Dent.
94(13.9%)
These are dark times, but I feel sure that before long we shall burst forth into the light once again.
158(23.4%)
For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.
309(45.7%)
For myself, I am an optimist.
115(17.0%)
 
 
 
Sanjsanj on July 5th, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)
jarrow is a GOD, no lie.

I have a job that enables me to more or less scramble through paycheck-to-paycheck now, but I'm about to quit it and go to grad school, racking up enormous amounts of debt -- but hey, the health care will be good.

I will need to have a part-time job for expenses, but I should muddle through.
jarrow: emma-downjarrow on July 5th, 2009 05:16 am (UTC)
A god! My goodness, I don't think I've ever been called that before outside of bed. ;-) You are too kind! *blushes*
(no subject) - sanj on July 5th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 06:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sanj on July 5th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Doctor Sciencemecurtin on July 5th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
My husband and I and another person have a very small business together. We have to juggle health insurance with money to pay other business expenses with money for life. We are very worried and want a ROBUST PUBLIC OPTION NOW. We're trying to get the Stimulus Fairy to give us money, but it's hard.

I've been grinding my teeth, and one piece of advice is "reduce stress". As if. And the cost for fixing my cracked tooth is not covered by insurance.

If we were experiencing this by ourselves, we'd feel like total disgraceful failures. Now, though, we're "just" caught in the gears of dysfunctional capitalism.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - idlerat on July 5th, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 06:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - neery on July 5th, 2009 08:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 08:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
MegStuffmegstuff on July 5th, 2009 04:43 am (UTC)
I can't really complain about my finances, since I am about to quit my job voluntarily to travel for a few months, but I am not optimistic (which is to say, I am freaking out) about what the job market is going to be like when I got back. Timing, why so bad?

Edited at 2009-07-05 04:44 am (UTC)
tried to eat the safe banana: three globesthefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 06:11 am (UTC)
Have fun on your trip! And maybe the magic fairies will come and fix the economy while you're gone! *hopes hopes hopes*
bluevsgrey: Gazing Outwardbluevsgrey on July 5th, 2009 04:44 am (UTC)
Okay well I kinda of quit. By that I mean I didn't actually quit, but I stopped going to work because team performance was shit and I was going to get fired(probably) unless my boyfriend started working with my team. But he got a different job. One that pays half as much. And I don't have a job. At least I get to see him for more than two days of the week?

Also, I clicked situation is the same financially as two years ago. This is untrue, however I was still living at home two years ago and didn't have bills, but also I had a job and saving so I guess technically I would be doing worse. However living there was eating at my soul and the way I see it soul >>> actual currency, others may have a different perspective.
tried to eat the safe banana: Two centsthefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 06:12 am (UTC)
*nods* Sometimes getting away from home is the best investment you can make in terms of your actual sanity. I see that!
Caminando, desaparezcomargueritem on July 5th, 2009 04:45 am (UTC)
I have no idea how well I'm doing because a) I'm still living with my parents until I move into my condo in October (then we will see) and b) people take fewer language lessons in the summer, so I'm getting less hours. Hopefully, it will pick up again in September.

I live in Canada and no one I know has been laid off. *crosses fingers*
tried to eat the safe banana: Timethefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 06:13 am (UTC)
*crosses fingers with you*

(And, oh god oh god, moving. We are doing that right now, and it is HORRIBLE. For your sake, I hope your stuff amounts to two boxes of precious metals.)
(no subject) - duckyjane on July 5th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Carol Slapillus on July 5th, 2009 04:49 am (UTC)
Well, I've been happily temping for about a year. The last day of my current assignment was Thursday (it went on for six more months than I'd really expected) and I'm taking off for a couple of weeks to go visit my parents up in Maine and so don't have anything lined up immediately. We'll see what happens when I get back.

I have private insurance that doesn't cover much but doesn't cost much either (and does save me more than it costs me - it has a good drug benefit and with my fibro I'm on a LOT of meds.)

As for attitude, I do think that things will improve in the immediate future, however I think that it may be start of a distinct downward trend as climate change, peak oil and other pressures on finite resources start kicking in with a vengeance. Our current system is up against pressures it cannot, ultimately, last against and the shift in mode is not going to be pleasant.
tried to eat the safe banana: Two centsthefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 06:17 am (UTC)
We'll see what happens when I get back.

*wishes you luck*

Our current system is up against pressures it cannot, ultimately, last against and the shift in mode is not going to be pleasant.

...Yeah. *winces* I hear that.
Lu (Not Your Average Retelling)elucreh on July 5th, 2009 04:51 am (UTC)
My dad's business has gone under--it was based on a market of people building new buildings, which NOBODY IS ANYMORE--and it's kind of really terrifying. We'll have three kids in college next fall and we have a lot of expensive medical issues that our insurance doesn't cover. I'm quietly freaking out on the sidelines...there isn't much I can do beyond what I'm already doing, working all I can and sending good vibes into the universe. *sigh*
tried to eat the safe banana: Timethefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 06:19 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm sorry about your dad's business. (And the medical issues.) And three kids in college, holy SHIT.

I'm quietly freaking out on the sidelines...there isn't much I can do beyond what I'm already doing, working all I can and sending good vibes into the universe.

I will join you in both the quiet freaking out and the good vibes.
awkward and potentially life-threatening: queenpocketmouse on July 5th, 2009 04:51 am (UTC)
Two years ago I was still in college, so I don't know if that counts as the same, but I'm not worse off since I'm able to pay my loans off. Basically at the end of the month I either have no surplus after bills or under $100. My pillow is graduation money from grandparents, and I try to ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist, as I can't really rebuild it.

I work part time at a library and the rest of the time I do overhire work in theatre tech. There's definitely been less job opportunities, but the pay's the same, and I've got my regulars, so I'm still doing fine, but it's harder to find new stuff and extra money. I get by, but that's it.
tried to eat the safe banana: Two centsthefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 06:22 am (UTC)
Basically at the end of the month I either have no surplus after bills or under $100.

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness!

My pillow is graduation money from grandparents, and I try to ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist, as I can't really rebuild it.

Wise! (And, um. I assume pillow money is savings? I have never actually heard the term before.)
(no subject) - pocketmouse on July 5th, 2009 06:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Gauche in the Machine: NZ flaxchina_shop on July 5th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
I'm self-employed so while I haven't been laid off, my last contract ended in April and I haven't found the next thing yet.

As for the health insurance? Umm, complicated. New Zealand doesn't have government health insurance, per se: we have a public health system (ie, public hospitals and partially subsidised GP visits and prescriptions). However, for various reasons which don't need exploring at this juncture, I also have (fairly expensive) private health insurance which gives me access to specialists and services which I could get through the public health system but I'd have to wait longer and/or have less choice. /far more info than you wanted, I suspect :-)

Wrt attitude: I still have visions of Anne stealing apples at the beginning of King Kong, but I've also had vague murmurings and possibilities of work in the last week or so, so it's hard to tell whether we're still plummeting downwards or things are looking up. *shrugs* In the meantime, I have plenty to keep me busy.
tried to eat the safe banana: Timethefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 06:26 am (UTC)
I'm self-employed so while I haven't been laid off, my last contract ended in April and I haven't found the next thing yet.

Oh, god. I remember the joys of being self-employed - for the most part, actually, it was really good, but not having anything was not so good. (Now I do some freelance stuff, but mostly I am employed by the earthling, who does not actually pay anything. But he gives great intangibles!)

New Zealand doesn't have government health insurance, per se: we have a public health system (ie, public hospitals and partially subsidised GP visits and prescriptions).

To someone in the US, trust me, this looks like government health insurance. And, actually, I'm always fascinated to hear how these systems work in other countries, and I wish more people would talk about them on LJ and elsewhere; I think it would help clear up a lot of confusion and get people comfortable with the idea. I would LOVE to see lots of posts from people talking about what the health care/health insurance situation is like where they are.

I still have visions of Anne stealing apples at the beginning of King Kong, but I've also had vague murmurings and possibilities of work in the last week or so, so it's hard to tell whether we're still plummeting downwards or things are looking up.

I will hope for looking up! *hopes hopes hopes*

(no subject) - china_shop on August 2nd, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on August 3rd, 2009 06:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - china_shop on August 3rd, 2009 09:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
j00j: marx/engelsj00j on July 5th, 2009 04:54 am (UTC)
I've just graduated, so unemployment is immenent when my assistantship (and health insurance!) ends, unless I get a job. It's a wonderful time to be on the job market... whee!
tried to eat the safe banana: Two centsthefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 06:33 am (UTC)
I wish you luck! (And also, hey, congratulations on the graduation!)
Zigismunda formosamelannen on July 5th, 2009 04:58 am (UTC)
I have catastrophic insurance: basically, it covers any medical bills over 10,000 dollars in a six-month period, not counting pre-existing conditions. So if I get in a plane crash or have a stroke or something, I'm not *totally* screwed, but other than that - yeah, all out of pocket. (It costs a couple hundred per six months, and then I have to renew, though if a particular injury/illness carries over the renewal date, I am still covered. So not horrible, and at least it functions the way insurance is supposed to. Now if only I had money coming in to pay for routine doctors' visits with...)

I was subsitute teaching, which is basically temporary seasonal work, until they cut funding for substitutes and I stopped getting paid. Not exactly laid off, but the effect is the same.
tried to eat the safe banana: Heartbeatthefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
I have catastrophic insurance: basically, it covers any medical bills over 10,000 dollars in a six-month period, not counting pre-existing conditions.

OMG. I mean, on the one hand, I'm glad you have that! On the other hand, only having that must be scary.

I was subsitute teaching, which is basically temporary seasonal work, until they cut funding for substitutes and I stopped getting paid. Not exactly laid off, but the effect is the same.

...But then what do they do when the teachers are sick? Cancel school? I'm not entirely sure how they can cut funding for subs.

But, in any case, I hope the funding picks back up again. Or that you find a new job that you like. *crosses fingers for you*
(no subject) - miella on July 5th, 2009 08:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melannen on July 5th, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Cristin Anneladysorka on July 5th, 2009 04:59 am (UTC)
I've been a full time student, but I'm graduating at the end of this month and I'm not looking forward to the job hunt.
tried to eat the safe banana: Timethefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
I wish you luck in the job hunt! And, hey, congratulations on graduating!
(Anonymous) on July 5th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
I left my job voluntarily in May of 2008 (due to the nature of the job, it was a decision I had to make in September of 2007, considerably before the U.S. economy went into a tailspin) and haven't found work since. I'm living off my retirement account and my credit card. I can probably make it another year, but if I haven't found some kind of decent work by then I don't know what I'll do.
tried to eat the safe banana: Timethefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 07:05 am (UTC)
Eep! I hope you find decent work very, very soon.
Blackletterblackletter on July 5th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
I think one's sense of economic reality is skewed when one is a grad student.

I said that I'll definitely be laid off--what I *really* mean is that I'll finish my PhD Exams, my funding will run out, and I'll go hide in a hole somewhere to write my dissertation.

I think my finances are OK. I pay my bills, occasionally let myself have a treat, have enough in savings that I can make it through the unemployed days of summer. Yet when I tell people I earn $9800 a year (and don't take out loans) no one's quite sure *how* I manage this. For that matter, *I'm* not sure how I manage this. (I suppose I have simple tastes?)

But I do have great health insurance. Totally free. (Hurrah for TA perks.)
tried to eat the safe banana: Two centsthefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 07:06 am (UTC)
I think one's sense of economic reality is skewed when one is a grad student.

Yup!

I pay my bills, occasionally let myself have a treat, have enough in savings that I can make it through the unemployed days of summer.

I'm insanely impressed that you can do that on 9800/yr. Perhaps growing up in the Park Service has taught you secret survival skills!
(no subject) - killing_rose on July 5th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Korey: readingdancinguniverse on July 5th, 2009 05:04 am (UTC)
I just graduated college, and I have a job, though it's only a one year position. Hopefully I'll be at grad school after that, and I'm in a field where I get paid to go to grad school, as long as I TA or do research, both of which are expected anyway, and guaranteed positions.

But my Mom was out of work for a few months, and her new job is not nearly as nice as the old one, and of my friends who graduated and didn't go to grad school, only one of them is currently employed. And I went to a nice college, so that's pretty scary.

I feel like I'm doing quite well, but I've also been living in dorms for the past four years, so living above the ramen-only diet seems like high class living. And I have no dependents, and no expenses beyond rent and food and some student loans, so I think I have it pretty easy. I'm not making that much (not minimum wage, but certainly not beyond what I've known cashiers at somewhat nicer stores to make), and I think I'm living both comfortably and below my means, which feels good.

I get insurance through the college I'm doing research for, and it's a pretty nice package, so that's ok. At the same time, I'm only going to hold this position for a year, so a lot of the policy stuff I just didn't care about. Long term disability? It's only a year long position. That really shouldn't make a difference to me. I really only cared about whether I could get my prescriptions cheaply. I doubt I'll even see a physician in the next year.

*shrug* I'm optimistic, as long as I get into grad school. I didn't, last year, and that was crushing, but I also applied to pretty competitive schools. I'm good for now.
tried to eat the safe banana: Timethefourthvine on July 5th, 2009 07:09 am (UTC)
I just graduated college, and I have a job, though it's only a one year position. Hopefully I'll be at grad school after that, and I'm in a field where I get paid to go to grad school, as long as I TA or do research, both of which are expected anyway, and guaranteed positions.

This sounds cautiously awesome, if such a concept is possible.

I feel like I'm doing quite well, but I've also been living in dorms for the past four years, so living above the ramen-only diet seems like high class living.

*snickers* Yes, I remember the days when purchasing mac and cheese seemed like a great luxury. Oh, ramen; where would the American education system be without you?

I'm optimistic, as long as I get into grad school.

I hope you do. What field, out of curiosity?
(no subject) - dancinguniverse on July 5th, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - heyiya on July 5th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dancinguniverse on July 5th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)