For some of us, 2020 was supposed to be the year of resets, freedom, and new beginnings. It didn’t turn out that way, unfortunately. Sigh.
With no end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic, we cling to hopes of a vaccine and medical treatments. It’s all scary, tiring, and depressing. This, combined with a draining job, has resulted in my not posting much this year.
The job is still draining and stressful and I’d rather be doing any number of things instead, but given the current environment, I’m grateful to have any money coming in. Three more people in my division have been let go. One of those let go was in my team.
A higher-up in my project work unit (not my manager) never really liked me much, but when a new person joined my team late last year and was struggling more than me, he turned his attention to her. He expressed his criticism of her work to other people, including her manager, never directly to her. He got her fired last month.
Now his attention has returned to me and he’s vocally criticized a deliverable that I turned in. I learned this through someone else. So on top of everything else going on, I’m trying to dodge a knife in the back. The other people I work with seem to be fine with me. Well, there is one other person who doesn’t like me (there’s always one, right?), but that would be a novel to write about. Sigh. The corporate workplace…. 😦
S.I.P: Shelter-in-Place | Stuck-in-Place
As you may remember, I rent a room in a house. I have three roommates. Roommate #1 fled and is living with her parents during lock-down although she still comes to the house from time to time. Roommate #2 has been an “essential worker” since day #1, and thus works in town all day and is only home in evenings. Roommate #3 is working from home like me. Unsurprisingly, being cooped up in the house all the time, we are getting on each other’s nerves.
I have had multiple flare-ups of “apartment fever”. Roommates were and still are, coming and going, in and out of the house. It is causing me stress, because when you live with roommates you have no control over who comes in the front door, where they’ve been, or with whom they’ve been. I hate it. In fits of pique, I’ve vowed to get my own place once I’ve fully funded my emergency fund.
But I always end up talking myself out of it. There are benefits to having other people around if I become very ill suddenly. One of them might care enough to call an ambulance.
There is also a financial aspect. Not many people have absolute job security right now. I, for one, most certainly do not. I don’t care what any employer says about “no COVD layoffs”. Companies can, and will, find ways to reduce headcount without calling it a “layoff”. I can’t take the risk of getting my own place and then losing my job in this environment.
So, like many people, I’m stuck-in-place. All the plans I had for 2020 have been frozen.
I finally looked at my retirement accounts. I’m still contributing every pay period like I was before COVID-19, but everything I’ve put in since the beginning of the year has disappeared into a black hole. My retirement savings have taken a substantial hit, but it hasn’t phased me as much as I feared it would. It’s just not particularly important to me right now.
Staying alive and healthy are my priorities. I have some pre-existing health issues that put me at higher risk than the average person for having severe outcomes. I have no significant other or family nearby to take care of me if I were to get sick. I can’t focus on retirement right now. What am I focused on? Cold, hard, cash.
The Year of the Emergency Fund
I only have one goal right now. Save cash. I ended my journey of debt payoff with 10k in my emergency fund. It is now $17,000, several months later. It should have been higher by now, but I’ve been spending a lot.
Most recently, I bought a high-quality ($$) office chair to replace the hard task chair that I have been using since COVID working from home started. That task chair has been destroying my back and backside! My bed mattress has completely collapsed and it is outright painful to sleep on. I have no idea how old my bed is. It came with the room when I rented it. I bought a new one.
My goal is to have $30,000 saved as soon as I can for my E-fund. Because of COVID-19, I’d eventually like to have $50,000 saved. Yes, that may sound like a LOT, and it is a lot. But these are not normal times. I’m also saving for the possibility of additional medical expenses if I get sick. Or I may lose my job along with my health insurance and have to pay through the nose for Cobra or some open market plan, etc.
I expect my supersized E-fund to be temporary. I figure that if a vaccine comes out and I don’t lose my job, I’ll take the extra $20,000 and convert it to a career break/transition fund, or a travel fund, or save it as a down payment on something in the future. Either way, I’d rather have the cash and not need it, than need it and not have it.
On the other hand, maybe I’ll keep it at that amount. $50,000 would be an awesome “Fuck Off Fund”. Once I have that much cash in the bank, losing any job won’t be a big deal. I wouldn’t have to work for well over a year, thus no panic. Sigh. I can dream. I’m nowhere near having that much saved yet, but that’s my target.
Do you have your emergency fund fully funded yet?
A Story of a Fuck Off Fund (The viral essay that popularized the term.)
What is a Fuck Off Fund? (One blogger’s take on what this fund is. $50,000 would put me at Tier 4. How much do you plan to save?)
“When you don’t have options, you’re in prison.”