ALIVE, ALIVE-OH
speechless

financial embarrassment

I am down to my last million, here.
I have found a rich new source of anxiety for when I wake up at Gloomytime (4AM). Bills - both Very High Insurance (VHI) - and a shortfall from the Torture Chamber Physio, that I believed was covered by the insurance, but wasn't ("pre-existing condition" - my foot! Or shoulder, in this case)  - plus expenses relating to the Residency (Art Camp, as I have come to think of it) have charged at my account like a herd of rhino and made a big hole therein. Bit worrying, this.

SANDWICH
[A jam sandwich I had lying around. Bread, geddit?]

Did you see that Newsnight Special on retirement? (Don't feel left out, people not from these islands. You can easily imagine.) Oh, man. If normal, employed Generation X people won't be able to retire until they are in their mid-seventies, what is to become of the fringey under-employed types like me? We are paying for today's pensioners, (quite rightly, obviously) as the panel pointed out, but that doesn't mean we will be provided for ourselves. The only thing worse than being Gen X, as far as I could see, is being Y. Oh! That's you lot, isn't it? Uh-oh! Lucky you're all such high-achievers, with Proper Careers. You may breathe a sigh of relief.

I am envisioning a future where TPtheEG, the ancient, arthritic version, gets up at 5am every morning to walk out to the DIY superstore in some out of town megamall where she labours painfully all day at stacking shelves for a few paltry shillings, cursing her younger self colourfully as she goes, for being a profligate fool who never saved or had a pension.
(Serious question: is there any point even having a pension? Or are they all devalued and worth shit? Opinions? Explain as if to a five year old.)

As if that wasn't enough, it's tax time, wouldn't you know, which means, as a self-employed person, I must confront the poor financial situation of 2009. It's all there in black and white, dammit. And it was not a good year. Sigh. And I haven't even got on to Peak Oil. Another popular Gloomytime subject! That I'll leave for another day. You may breathe a (second) sigh of relief.


One more thing:
I bought these ovulation tests a few months ago, not realising they only work with the relevant Blearclue contraption until after I took the cellophane off. They are otherwise untouched, and if someone (anyone? please?) has splashed out on the monitor, and would therefore have a use for them, I would be very happy to be get shot of the silly things. Let me know, and I will post them wherever, very happily. Every time I open my beside locker drawer they mock me:
Test_sticks
 
PLEASE SAVE ME FROM THIS.

Okay?
T

Comments

bunny

Serves you right for squandering your money on luxuries like health and important career opportunities. *Shakes finger at you*
Money worries are such a pit-in-the-stomach horrible kind of stress. The only solution is to have more money, and sometimes that's not feasible.

Money is a total mystery to me, particularly the whole universe of financial planning for retirement. I made an effort to understand it once, but then ended up needing that space in my brain for the names of plants or something.

Twangypearl

Yes, bunny, yes. Mystery! Total!
Bloody money.

a

Irish financial systems are a mystery to me. Here in the US, you may get a pension from your employer - it may or may not require contributions from the employee, and it is generally a percentage (determined by formulas calculated based on number of years and whatever benefits were negotiated) of your final salary. Most companies, though, have gone to a 401K system, where the employee contributes, and the employer may match (up to a point) the contribution. The money is then generally invested in the financial markets in some way.

For personal investments, people generally go with IRAs (although I doubt they'd call 'em that in Ireland) or Individual Retirement Accounts. I would guess this would be similar to your pension. You contribute what you can to an account, which you can then invest. The attraction is that you don't generally have to pay taxes on your gains until you are withdrawing the money. Because you're not supposed to withdraw the money until you are of retirement age, the taxes will be lowered. But, there will also be penalties for withdrawing the money before you're retired (i.e. taxes on your gains + extra fees).

The point of having IRAs is for supplemental income to whatever else you may have. Depending on how you can direct your investments, you can take steps to protect yourself from market variations. For instance, although the stock market here crashed big time a couple years ago, my account did not lose that much value. My husband (who actually does all of our investment work) thought it would be best to have a good chunk of money in something more stable (bonds instead of stocks), and switched it all over.

There's a bunch of information available about how you should invest based on your age, how much you'll need, etc. But, if you're really not interested, and you can't do what I do (hand it over to the husband and forget about it, but pick things up because that's all he ever wants to talk about), you're best suited talking to a financial advisor. Again, I don't know if they even have those in Ireland, so this may all be useless information.

Regardless, it's always a good idea to have savings (as much as possible), and to have diversified investments (property, precious metals, cash, stocks, bonds, etc). So, ask for really nice jewelry for gift-giving occasions, and call it an investment in your future. :)

Twangypearl

Wow, a. Thank you. Okay, I get it. Yes, we have IRAs (or equivalent) also employer funded pensions and state pensions. And since I obviously don't have an employer, I REALLY need to get this organised and see a financial advisor.

This is good, I am panicking to the point where I am actually going to get something done.

irretrievably broken

This actually makes me hyperventilate and makes my heart pound. But here's the thing--a couple of female friends of mine and I swear we're going to live together in a nice communal-type arrangement (bees, chickens, garden, etc) when we get old and no longer require any sort of penis-type interaction. So there's that to look forward to. I figure we won't need much money, and we'll have each other....

Adele

Tax time always gives me this vaguely upset, nauseous feeling. As you say, seeing one's own destitution in black and white can be a bad shock. Somehow, I manage to hum along nicely through the year, in a state of denial. But then it's all waiting to be tabulated at the end - all those pluses and minuses (lots and lots and lots of minuses). Sigh. If you're stocking the shelves I may very well be a bag-girl, pouring plastic into more plastic and sending the responsible financial types on their happy way.

But the residency is going to be worth it. I feel it in my bones:) (And, if times get leaner we can always subsist on jam sandwiches).

Andie

All worthy thoughts of Gloomytime, certainly, and as 50% per cent owner in an artist run business and 100% owner of graduate studentship, I can assure you I understand the dread of tax time and financial planning worries. i do agree that our generation faces a substantial risk that there will be no government pensions in the future.

But, fear not my friend! You can learn about such things. A has done a very great job of explaining things. A financial advisor is a good idea. You have to work out whether you are low risk/high risk etc. I am substantially LOW risk. I did have an ordinary superannuation (pension) fund, but some years ago changed it from the default shares option so it all into cash, as I do not like shares. So while shares may be devalued in the GFC, things like cash/bonds are not, although their return is less due to the lower risk. You can and should get yourself a superannuation fund (that's what we call it here) as a business owner, and there should be tax benefits to you for doing that, as well as preparing for the future.

Savings accounts - I love them, especially since they brought in high interest online ones. Yes, you have to pay tax on the interest, but I budget for this and am happy with it. It is low risk and that is what I prefer.

Another thought (obvious one?) - would think that the trip to Art Camp would all be tax deductible.

Well, that was a bit long wasn't it? I think I have raved on long enough, but I do hope the above is helpful. I have a cheerful thought for you and Adele to finish on and it is this: as gardeners we may well be the new rich of the future. :)

valery valentina

I got myself a tax advisor. She costs money, but knows about art/culture/green/self-employed deduction rules, and about tax free put in pension money.
I don't believe that 'normal pension' will still exist if i would ever make it to 65, so I prefer money in my house. Should get proper financial advise though. But not @ 4 am.

Twangypearl

[Googling financial advisor]..

Thanks for all your ideas. You lot got your heads screwed on!
Andie, that was excellent advice.

And there are always chickens.

QoB

re: VHI - call them up and ask to switch to the equivalent company plan. They're not allowed to tell you about it but if you ask they can switch you.
(I saw this in the Irish Times recently).

Nicole

You can still use them. I was part of a study that used the them and the monitor and I could not see the screen but what I figured out is that they are one day behind the ov predictors. I could still tell when they were positive. Also, they needed like 10 min to register sometimes.

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