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The Grand Plan: Part I

May 22nd, 2008 at 07:34 pm

I am getting married on May 31st. My fiancee and I are extremely excited, have known each other for a long time, have similar interests and values, and all of that other good stuff. One thing that I think is going to help us avoid a lot of fights is that we have similar values when it comes to money.

With that being said, I want to lay out our plan for the next five years to see what you all think. First, between the two of us, we have saved roughly $17,000 since we graduated from college. That is somewhere between nine months and a year of living expenses for us. With that safety net in place, we can proceed to debt.

In terms of debt, all we owe is for student loans. I currently have $9,200 and will only have a few thousand more to complete my M.A. I get a $4,000 raise when I complete my M.A., so we plan to throw all of that on to student loans until they are paid off. DF, soon to be DW, (If I understand correctly, DW means "Dear Wife"? Going on this assumption, DF is "Dear Fiancee.") is starting an M.A. in college administration, so that will ultimately throw $18,000 to $20,000 more in student loans on top of that.

Our plan is to live only on my salary and save all of DF/DW's salary. Assuming she makes somewhere around $30,000 each year, which is low-balling it, we could have $80,000-$100,000 saved up in five years.

If this does come to pass as planned, we have a couple options. The first option is to throw all of it on a house. The second option is to max out a Roth IRA and throw that rest on house. Beyond that, I don't really know. Any suggestions? Is this plan feasible?

State Budget Cuts = My Job in Danger

January 10th, 2008 at 12:40 am

Well, Kentucky needs to balance its budget. That means education funding is about to be cut. Potential staff layoffs, hiring freezes, and other such wonderful things are on the horizon. Letters and memos have already been flooding through the state everywhere from community colleges, to state universities, to high schools: funding is being cut.

I pride myself on being an advocate of the free market. If a company can't compete, it shouldn't receive any help. The people who work in those careers should move on to more productive positions in the economy.

I may be faced with that now. The claim is art, business, home economics, and PE will be cut. Furthermore, I find it hard to believe that the 800+ students in my high school are going to receive English instruction unless there are the same number of English teachers as there are now. I guess I'm trying to say that I'm 70% sure that I'll have a teaching job this coming fall.

I don't like those odds one bit. Maybe I'm completely wrong. Maybe the last thing on anyone's mind is cutting English positions, but I'm the new guy. Other teachers there have houses and kids and tenure.

As I said before, I'm an advocate of the free market. I'll move on if I have to, but I'm not going to fib: it's going to hurt a bit.

This is why I save money. This is why I can't imagine living paycheck to paycheck. I currently have three month's living expenses saved up. With the three months of summer that I'll still have paychecks and insurance IF I don't have a job next year, that's at least six months of living expenses. I could feasibly have ten months in my emergency fund by the time next August rolls around.

It may seem like I'm blowing things out of proportion. I'm just saying that I see a storm coming, and I'm going to be caught right in the middle of it. I stand by my 70% chance of having the same teaching job next year. If I don't get rehired, I'll have plenty of money saved up. I'll easily find employment somewhere else.

Like I said, though, it's not going to be painless.

Of Sickness and Snowdays

January 2nd, 2008 at 05:06 pm

I had a wonderful New Year's Eve party. My home was filled with friends and family. We laughed, played games, and...ate pizza.

I had a dream in the wee hours of January 1st that had something to do with my stomach being upset. I woke up to find that my stomach really was upset. I proceeded to do the things people do when their stomachs are severely upset for the next day. This included a sustained fever of 103 degrees.

While I haven't missed a day of school all year, I was going to have to call in because I have been visiting family some three hours from where I work. I simply could not drive under the circumstances, including a sever snow advisory.

Right as I was going to call in sick, I received an automated message from our superintendant. School was cancelled as a result of snow! Yay! I feel well enough today to make the three hour drive. Reason #548 why teaching is a wonderful profession: snow days!