Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Battle Mode

I’m not an economist. I don’t play one on TV. I’m just a guy who’s been on the wrong side of two layoffs in a year.

Luckily I’m also a media junkie and an addict of This American Life, whose outstanding reports about the housing collapse and the credit meltdown jolted enough fear into my system that I adopted an aggressive savings plan. I remember vividly driving down 101 one Saturday afternoon listening to TAL and learning about the implications of the commercial paper market stalling. That’s when I realized my company wasn’t immune and would need to make some tough decisions. Such a beautiful day, such sobering reality.

I went into Battle Mode. I cut my spending by 25% and allocated that amount directly into savings. I reawakened my weekly budget spreadsheet and started to report every expense. I reinstated my left pocket, right pocket system (more on that some other day). I began considering options for my condo. I’m one of the fortunate ones because I reacted soon enough to build decent safety net. Some of my other colleagues were not so lucky—they had families to feed, mortgages to bear, debt to pay off.

I’m blogging about the economy because there are rays of sunlight that can break through these cloudy days. The worst thing for us to do now is to give in to the perception that we’re screwed. We’re not.

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