Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Recession refinements and silver linings

Silver Linings from the recession:

Mortgage rates - Refinanced at 4.60%, fixed for 30 years. Awesome.

Gas Prices - Ok, they're creeping up, but it was good while it lasted, and it still feels kind of cheap compared to where we'd been.

Good reminder to me to keep in mind how my grandparents viewed finances - whole different concept than my generation, and probably a much healthier and wiser view in my opinion.

Phenomenal entry points into positions in the market, happy to report we're back to outperforming the health savings account, still don't feel home free, but made up for what were some ugly losses there for a bit. Not sure what they look like in 5 years, but pretty sure I like it in 10.

Stuff, in general, has been cheap. From cycling goods to things for the kids, to travel, to everyday items, we've been getting more bang for our buck and picking up some fun things we wouldn't have otherwise bought, were it not a screaming deal.

Stuff we learned:
Scary how fast everything went sideways. Thought we'd been prudent in regards to savings levels, diverse investments, etc... decided I want a bigger cushion. I knew things had been too good and easy for the past 10 years, but dramatically underestimated and was nieve to what the breadth of the pullback would be like. More money allocated to savings as a result of this ride, not sure what the new target is, but will know when I get comfortable again.

Biggest investment/business venture is the one that's still sideways - and probably will be for a while. Thought I was abundantly prudent with exit strategy on this one, and long term prospects may actually work out better than what I went in anticipating. But calling a spade a spade, would have been significantly less worried had that cash been sitting in the bank vs. deployed during this cycle. Hopefully get away with getting both the benefit of the lesson learned and the ROI, will feel like I stole home base if it works out that way.

Really good time to reassess the mindset we want to teach our kids in relation to luxuries, necessities, hard work, and where a dollar comes from. Especially grateful for this one as I don't want to screw it up.

We did implement some cost cutting measure's in order to get the Whitehouse leaner and meaner coming out of this recession as follows:

Whitehouse layoffs:

Lifetime Fitness - even at employee pricing it got cut, just couldn't drag myself there with Corner Canyon in the backyard - hence, it got the pink slip.

Cleaning lady - Kids are now learning to be more efficient at cleaning up after themselves and collecting allowance. And, maybe even Dad here and there, minus the allowance, although consistently at the bargaining table for an increase in other currency related to marriage.

Some travel expenses - was an automatic last year to book decent hotels for trips. Opted to camp at Durango this year, and low and behold, we had more fun. Have gone back to hotels for the last several long weekends, but due primarily to weather. Camping is now on the radar and will be part of the rotation when practical. Much cheaper, and more fun. A win/win moreso than a cutback, really.

Restaurants - We're doing a better job of planning and preparing meals vs. going out. Another win/win. Most nights it's better, healthier food, and cost difference is significant.

These are just a few. We've been able to divert cash that was being spent on this stuff to savings, and I'm ashamed at how much money we were capable of wasting and for how long we did it.

Overall - don't feel like we're out of the woods by any means, still spooky, but have stepped back from the ledge a bit. Feel a little bit smart and a lot lucky thus far. No 180's in regards to how I look at things or how Annie and I run the Whitehouse, but it's ingrained certain ideas much deeper than what they'd been. Think this shake out has been really healthy in the big picture, scary as hell with lots of good lessons to learn in the less big picture.


evilbanks said...

Good post man, well said. We axed the cleaning lady too.......

eber said...

cleaning ladies unite! where is the union?

can't believe i didn't use this downturn to renegotiate the "other currency related to marriage." i need to put together a prospectus.