Friday, November 13, 2009

News Flash! When You're Laid Off, STOP Spending!

Color me cynical, but how can I feel sorry for these folks profiled in the Wall Street Journal?

I am prepared to be sympathetic to anyone laid off during the past two years, but when I read that many of them didn't cut back a bit on their lifestyle because they thought the job loss was temporary, it makes me want to scream.

If the job loss is anticipated to be temporary, then why not TEMPORARILY CUT BACK ON EXPENSES????

Why would you continue to spend even on a temporary basis, knowing that you'd have to make it all up later?

And once you've been unemployed for several months, wouldn't that be a clue that getting another position might not be as easy as it looks?

What's up with turning down jobs because one wants something better? Heck, we all want something better, even folks like me who love the work we're currently doing.

It strikes me that many of these people feel ENTITLED. Entitled to make a large salary. Entitled to own fancy and expensive vehicles. Entitled to keep using credit cards when no income is on the horizon. In general, they feel entitled to enjoy the lifestyle they once had even if the economic realities should be telling them otherwise.

Sorry, but Grace just doesn't have more compassion to give to these folks who mourn the loss of their BMW's, not when I see the working classes engaged in a struggle to survive.


Sharon said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Well said.

Florence said...

Grace, with the wisdom of hindsight I truly agree with you. However, in 1987 we went through something similar (job loss & housing market crash) and the truth is, we did some really, really stupid things before it sank in that the world was very, very different from our previous 20 years. When things (jobs, finances) just come easily for 20+ years, at first you do think it is temporary and you are embarassed and people who you thought were your friends do treat you differently. It took me about a year to realize that if we were ever going to get back on our feet financially, I was going to have to make it happen myself--the easy times were over. I had to work, I had to take charge of the family finances, I had to cook after work, I had to shop with coupons. We are now on sound financial ground now and the people in the article most likely can get their lives together too but only if the realize that the easy times are over and if it's going to happen, they're the only ones that can do it.

Revanche said...

Oh hai, I'm one of those people still spending.

Laid off at the end of June, I've been traveling like a fiend, paying for CFP online classes, and buying things that aren't strictly necessities but are really awfully useful [printer all in one, business-casual clothes, travel for interviews/informational meetings] and eating out on occasion. It's not all frivolous but it's not strictly bare bones either which means I do feel guilty.

Then again, my lifestyle was very bare bones when I was employed, so perhaps there's a bit of allowable balance there. Nevertheless, balance or no, judgment notwithstanding, there's definitely a lurking fear that this isn't strictly temporary and that I, the last bastion holding my family together, will also fail in no small part due to my not cutting back on spending more stringently.

frugal zeitgeist said...

I posted on this very same topic last night!

Revanche, I don't think of you in the same category of spenders as the people profiled in the article. These folks had much, much more extravagant lifestyles than you ever did based on what I know.
/end threadjack*

Shevy said...

I haven't read the article yet (and I wouldn't be surprised to find that they were folks with truly extravagent lifestyles) but I can see another side to this too.

Sometimes there aren't a lot of items that can be changed very much. Maybe you have a big mortgage and the kids are in private school or in college. You can't get rid of your cell because you need to be available for any interviews that come up. And you're locked into a lease or are upside down on your car.

If you *knew* that the job loss was going to be long term you might do things like refinance the mortgage or consider switching the kids' schools at the end of the school year, but it probably wouldn't be great to do immediately upon finding yourself out of a job.

Going every week to the spa and the hair salon and paying for a personal trainer 3 times a week, on the other hand, are things any sensible person could ditch immediately.

Anonymous said...

I have worked for $1.00 per hour, and for $200.00 per hour.

It would seem that most Americans spend at least what ever they make each week, without thinking about next week.

If you are debt free, no bills including mortage, and just half-a**ed frugle one can live a very good life.

If you live the 200k lifestyle, and then have to live on 60k seems one needs to change the life style.
I don't feel sorry for them.

See Ya

Dawn said...

I have to say I agree with Did it MY Way. My financial situation changed dramatically, but as you say Grace, it wasn't that hard to cut back and make some changes. In the course of a year I was able to make up the difference and get back on track... all you have to do is pay attention to spending. The thing that kills me was that it wasn't even all that difficult to do - and I never felt like I was suffering because of it, yet getting other people to try it can sometimes be like pulling teeth!