"We become what we think about." ~ Earl Nightingale

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Giraffe Journal

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rather than under a
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Hugs and blessings,


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

WordyWednesday-Considering Costs & Possibilities


NaBloPoMo-Day12

I don't know about you, but I find it challenging to envision really large numbers like a billion or more. Recently a friend shared this illustration with me that helps put big numbers into a more meaningful context. I haven't checked the figures because I trust his math/science background more than my own. He said:

A billion seconds is 32 years.
A billion hours brings you back to Biblical times.

A billion days ago no people or animals walked the earth.


He ended with ... "our government spends a billion dollars every
8 hours and 20 minutes"
... a rather sobering thought since that amounts to (on average) more than
3 billion dollars each day
27 billion dollars each week
240 billion dollars each month
2920 billion dollars each year
Realizing that our National DEBT is now measured in TRILLIONS ...
I recognized that his examples would need to be multiplied by 1000 ... once again rendering the numbers incomprehensible to me.

The only debt I carry is a mortgage and that would have been paid long ago if I hadn't had to buy out my 'ex' at inflated prices. Even so, my home will be paid off in about 9 years. I learned from my Dutch mom the value of money, the way compound interest works for or against me, and to save for what I want so I can pay cash or decide against the purchase altogether.

Considering my own limited budget as a retired teacher still paying for my home ... my personally responsible frugal habits ... my rather frantic dismay at what's happened to my savings & investments ...
I began to look into how the government allocates those funds.

Since this is already lengthy, tomorrow I'll share some of what I learned online as food for thought and discussion, but I'm curious about your responses today.

What are your thoughts on spending & debt?

Thought for Today
"Who recalls when folks got along without something if it cost too much?" Kin Hubbard

5 comments:

Karen said...

I have a very low tolerance for financial stress--which means, the only debt we carry is the mortgage (and I pay a little extra every month). We used to carry credit card debt, but about four years we paid it all off and we've not piled it back on again. I couldn't stand it! As for savings--we automatically put 15 percent of Mark's paycheck into his 401k. I have a 401k from my last job, and a meager IRA account. We have a 529 Plan account set up for Nathan (started with a generous legacy from Mark's aunt). We also have enough saved for about three months worth of expenses. I have a feeling that we're better off than a lot of folks, but still, I think we ought to be saving more.

When our finances were bad, I had trouble sleeping, I overate through the stress of it, and I think we even argued more. It just doesn't feel good to NOT have the money figured out.

Of course, we also have decent health insurance, and we're all very healthy--I don't underestimate the importance of that!!

These are scary times--we've actually lost quite a lot in the aforementioned 401ks, IRA and 529. My instinct is to hunker down even more--but without panicking and stopping with the contributions. Or even worse, pulling all our savings out! I think a return to thrift is a good thing. I think growing out of our "everything disposable" phase is a good thing. I don't want the economy to tank, but I also didn't like the direction our country was headed.

Nothing is all bad or all good, I guess.

Sorry...I'm sure you didn't want a ramble like this!!

storyteller said...

Karen – Actually, I’m delighted to find your detailed comment … and am reassured to know I’m not the only one with such habits & beliefs. These are scary times financially, but you two are young enough that your 401K, IRA, and 529 should be fine eventually … and continuing to contribute as much as you can is an excellent idea because you’ll recoup your losses and grow your money all the quicker down the road.

I just hope I live long enough and that the markets come back quickly enough for me to recover before I need to draw on those funds. I feel for the retirees who at 70 and a half must start withdrawing funds & hope the rules will change for them so they have options.

I do have a continuation post ready to go tomorrow in which I share information about our Federal Budget, Spending Priorities, and National Debt that I deleted from today’s post figuring it was just too long. I hope you drop by and share again … just because ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Geraldine said...

There is nothing worse than overwhelming debt. I think money and better management of it, is on the minds of a lot more people these days. If nothing else comes out of this current financial crisis, I believe that that at least is a good thing. We are now debt-free and it is a very good feeling. Money does not buy happiness and chronic debt can bring so much pain and heartache. Great post and good points to ponder.

gardenpath said...

Quite scary, isn't it?
War sure is an expensive way of life. I am looking forward to something else.

Personally, we are not panicking. Hopefully, things will smooth out.

kitten said...

LOL! I needed the laugh! Thanks!