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Friday, May 22, 2015


So, Readers, now that we are safely out of the range of New Year’s resolutions, I have another resolution to tell you about. I made it quietly. It wasn’t a sneak-up-on-you resolution like the one I eased into about morning sun salutations. This one is an actual resolution I made, and kept to myself. I know, that’s amazing, right, considering how many things I do tell you? Well, this one was bigger and scarier to me, so I had to keep it quiet, until I was ready to do something about it. I made a promise to myself that I would get a grip on finances. You may recall, from earlier posts, that I have a little problem dealing with finances and moolah. Perhaps I mentioned that under professional advice, I stepped away from paying the bills and turned that over to the husband. This wasn’t because I’m incapable of paying them. It was because I was having panic attacks every time I considered our financial situation. Indeed, under professional advice, I  even stepped away from the husband when he paid the bills, because I had to sit someplace soft with my head between my knees. 

Healthy, no?
Well, we could argue about that all day. The fact remains that I was instructed to leave it alone for my own sanity, and so I gladly did. However, that was a few months ago - a few dozen months ago, if I’m honest - which I am, to a fault. As a grown up feminist female, I feel that part of success is handling moolah. So I quietly and silently promised myself that I would take it up again. Look into things. At least check our bank balances. 

I know, a major step. Perhaps you are sputtering at me through the Interwebs. You are sputtering, “Hope, you don’t even check your bank balances?” I am wiping your judgemental spittle off my cheek, Readers. I can only do my best, and even if that best is quite poor, well, it is my best. This goal, getting a grip on the moolah and finances, is a multi-step process. 

So with that in mind, I am proud to tell you that I have just returned from an event called High Anxiety: New York Gen X and Baby Boomers Struggle with Stress, Savings and Security. I went for three reasons:
  1. What I said above - to prove I can begin to take control.
  2. A writer colleague who helped organize the event lured me by saying it could be blog fodder
  3. The husband and I have an appointment with our accountant this afternoon (yet another positive development, I might add,) so I figured I could debrief there.
4. I had to dress nicely, which is something I enjoy.

So, pat, pat, pat. I have taken another step towards financial bravery. 

Ok, to come clean, this event was hosted by the AARP. Which I am apparently eligible to join. (Shhhh, don’t tell the husband. He thinks I’m thirty-nine.) That in itself is embarrassing. Oh, bother, why go there. 

The event was part of a campaign by the AARP to promote a state-facilitated retirement savings option for everyone. The idea would be that part of every paycheck would go into these accounts automatically, the way it might go into a pension if you were lucky enough to work someplace with a pension. This would help keep millions of senior Gen Xers and Boomers off of public assistance in their declining years. Something like that. Basically, the kind of thing that usually sends me into my handbag for the Xanax. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this, but one of my deepest fears is that I’m going to spend my final years impoverished and alone in some state-run nursing home, propped in a collapsible wheelchair dribbling onto a paper bib. Well, the event went over the results of a survey about how worried Gen X and Boomers are about being able to retire.The upshot is that apparently, I am not alone in my anxiety about finances. Apparently 74% of Gen Xers and 67% of Boomers are worried about not saving enough. But the bad news is that there is reason to worry. We are not saving enough. 30% of GenXers in NY have no retirement savings at all.

However, I came away not rattled or needing a Xanax. I came away even more determined to figure out this financial stuff. 

So, pat, pat, pat, I pat myself on the back.

I also took the 11th grader to the bank and opened a new account for her, instructing her to deposit at least 10 percent of her allowance into savings every time.   

Baby steps for you, Readers, perhaps, and baby steps for me, too, it turns out. But - steps. 

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