Been A While

2018? That was my last post? Wow!

I’m here eliminating spam comments, like 2600 of them. The real ones are few, old, and all approved. Then I’m disabling comments on every post, meaning editing every post to get to that setting. In the process, I’ve been reading the posts, oldest to newest. 2011 Was a big year for posting, and there’s even good stuff. I was working for my current employer, now over 14 years, but needed more money. It was a rough time all around.

I did end up full time for the employer, doing OK, but not getting any younger. Weirdly, having been born with a club foot became an issue. The physical job became excruciating a lot of the time. One foot is essentially one big bone spur, plus arthritis. On the plus side, as I told people, the job kept me in some kind of shape other than round. Then a massive rent increase came along on top of it. And now, inflation, because of course the Covid benefits and other massive spending were outright increases to the money supply.

I moved into a full time Ops Admin position, vastly less physical, several months ago. Biggest raise I’ve ever gotten, not adjusted for inflation. On paper the highest pay I ever made, not adjusted for inflation and not counting amounts I made sometimes in the business that were more on paper than real. Something I’d change. If I were getting the pay from my highest paying job, but adjusted for inflation, I’d be grossing just under 1.5 times my current pay. For that matter, my starting pay at that old job would be over a buck an hour more than I make in this position. Managers make more, but I think I’m better off in what I do, which I absolutely love. It’s disconcerting, though, that the managers are getting a retention adjustment based on location, to discourage them from leaving to work in a lower cost area. 15% Where I am. If I were a manger, that would put me just about up to what it turns out I actually need to make to have enough to live on. This perhaps refines the kinds of things I like and enjoy. A large amount is essentially detective work.
Where was I going with this?

I’m having a conundrum because to make enough money Right Now my gross needs to go up some 35%. Raises are October and I don’t know what kind of numbers those tend to be. I’d feel lucky at 10% based on past experience but figuring a better employer. And people do make that kind of money. More! Or they wouldn’t be able to pretend to afford all those overpriced houses, and apartments that are even more than ours. December was an exceptional month, but in six weeks we drew $3200 out of savings. If I can avoid it long enough, that’ll become 2+ months, but seriously.

What happened is the take home didn’t rise much above what I had made before. More hours, in a normal week, but not as much opportunity for extra hours, and no seasonal bonus pay. There were benefits I could add, both pre- and post-tax. The 401K is automatic. Nobody told me! That’s 6% with a rise 1% each year until it’s 10%. But the company adds a match of 8% and vesting is instant. A shame the market isn’t booming. There’s a FSA on top of the HRA that’s part of the insurance already. There were things like life insurance optional on top of what they provide free. I just wish I’d been told by someone that whatever level you pick initially is the highest you can go in the future with no questions asked. I’d have gotten a higher multiple of annual salary off the bat and eaten the modest cost. In the long run, this is better. The benefits and loving the place are also reasons it’s hard to think about leaving.

Yet I need more money. Side money? I’ve thought about writing for years. Sneak in time for that?

It turned out that self-employment income messed with things like Earned Income Credit, at least from the state. That and Covid cash are why there are savings to abuse, albeit not endlessly. The wife’s disability is going to drop over the next couple years as the kids age off of it. That has the flip side of making things like EIC less an issue. We’ll see what we can come up with. One of the kids wants to engage in a business and is frustrated by having to be 18 for things like Etsy and PayPal.

One thing is for sure, the slipping away from tech I was grumbling about in 2011 has only gotten worse. Despite my still being tech savvy compared to some people at work. I loathe everything being web-based. My bookmark for the web version of Excel I’m stuck using at work is labeled “Fake Excel.” But I found myself a few months ago giving colleagues tips on using Excel, despite it not being something I’ve used the way I did Word and even Access back in the day. I tried to point out to a colleague that it wasn’t necessary to restart the shared computer so the next person could log on cleanly, and that it was simple to log out. Nope. Don’t want to know.

Anyway, this meandered enough. It’s going to be a challenging next few years. The segue to adulthood for the kids won’t be clean or inexpensive, even with them officially being on their own for things like college. Meanwhile, we’ll stop being subsidized for them. No credits. No deduction once they aren’t dependents. It may be that there will be a time during which they make money but can’t move out, so can help out. Meanwhile, it’s six more years before I can collect Social Security and use it to supplement working. By then I’ll probably be over the point where you lose a dollar of SS for every three you earn working over the cutoff, but not necessarily a bad trade.

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