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Are you better off than 4 years ago?

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    Are you better off than 4 years ago?

    My husband and I were talking about the recent downturn in the markets...the stock market has been on the downturn for the past 5 weeks. Gas prices have gone up. Groceries likewise. More taxes are being taken out of my paychecks -- DH is on a pension and Social Security. We have a few investments that I'm sure took a hit, we are doing "OK" as far as paying bills and such. The question DH asked was, "Are we any better off than we were 4 years ago?"

    Good question. I'd say no. We can still pay our bills and have some left over, but it is getting harder to save because groceries, gas and other items keep going up. Illinois increased taxes. Every time we open the paper, it seems, the legislator are asking for another tax hike or the utilities are screaming they need to increase costs.

    So, are you better off than 4 years ago?

    No. 4 years ago I had not purchased my current house. I kick myself everytime I think about it.


      I think I'm smarter about finances than I was 4 years ago, for sure. But I don't know that I'm any better off. I'm better off than many others my age and worse off than many others my age as well. But as long as I have my knowledge about finances, I'm sure I'll be fine. I always know how much is in my checking and savings accounts at all times and I haven't overdrafted in 7 months. So I think mentally, at least with finances, I'm better off.

      Financially itself, I'm in a world of debt, but I'm working my way out of it.


        Four years ago I was still in college racking up debt. Since then, DH and I were married and saved more money than our currently deferred debt. We started investing for retirement in late 2009 so we caught the upswing and with constant additions, our net worth is constantly going up. We are on the path where even the debt from buying a house in two years will still keep our liquid net worth in the green.

        So overall we are doing way better!


          I'm better off not due to any government policy, but due to personal choices and better financial skills.

          As for my challenges, they are greater than before making my personal progress less than it could be.


            4 years ago i was working a 40 hour job and had 250K in the bank drawing 5% interest. today i'm 41 and retired with 4 rental homes and 190K in precious metals. i've been putting every dollar after expenses are paid into metals, around 3K a month. i need my metal portfolio to go up another 60K and i will have doubled my money.
            retired in 2009 at the age of 39 with less than 300K total net worth


              Without a doubt, yes.

              However, 4 years ago I was a senior in college drawing an $800/mo stipend with maybe $5k in the bank. I'm now 3 years into a job I love living in a country I enjoy making a higher salary than I need with nearly $130k in various savings and investment accounts. Only thing that hasn't changed: good friends and loving family.
              "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"


                We're absolutely better off than 4 years ago. We have continued to live below our means. We have continued to save a good chunk of our income, even increasing the percentage going to savings each year. Our investments have done well. Our jobs have been stable. We're all in good health. Life is good.

                * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.


                  Most definitely better. Our net worth is much higher, and that's including the major loss we just took in selling our NJ home last month. We were able realize our dream of moving to Seattle, we never could've afforded it 4 years ago.


                    We are much better off than four years ago. DH's income has tripled and we've cleared a lot of debt. We can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel...and it's not a train.


                      We have more money than we did 4 years ago. We also have much higher fixed expenses because we sold our starter house and bought our dream house. I miss the old mortgage payments, that's for sure.

                      But I also managed to change careers into something I love, our son finished preschool and is now in public school so we don't have tuition payments any more, my spouse is still in the same job and still mostly enjoying it. Our biggest problem is I'm partially disabled and can't work as much as I'd like to, but mostly we're doing okay, and yes, I'd say it's better than it was 4 years ago.
                      Last edited by TBH; 06-05-2011, 01:24 PM.


                        No, we are not better off than 4 years ago.

                        Our savings has doubled, and that is fine.

                        But, the value of our home continues to fall faster than we can save. So, our net worth (conservative - did not even use full fair market value of home to track net worth - at peak and such) - the net worth has stagnated the past 4 years.

                        OF course, being in California, we could be so much worse off. We still have over $50k equity in our home, etc. Good financial choices mean overall/big picture stagnation, but far more in savings than we did 4 years ago.

                        Overall compensation has also decreased. My career choice went from "as solid as can be" and huge raises, accordingly, to more shaky ground and lower expectations of compensation. We seemed un-hit the first few years of the recession, but is starting to affect us. There are few job opportunities of any kind, which will maybe leave my spouse under-employed or unemployed longer than we really want or planned.

                        Expenses are kind of ho hum. Outside of health insurance, we have not noticed any inflation in our expenses. So, I don't feel like our budget it tighter or anything in that regard. We've had a run of bad luck with medical expenses, etc., which doesn't help. All our financial whoas revolve around healthcare. Well, healthcare and housing.


                          Wow. . .sooooo hard to assess.

                          This question is generally asked at the end of a Presidential term to see whether or not you may or may not vote for the Chucklehead a second term or not. Ironically, sometimes people will vote for you again whether or not you are doing well or not ("Truman Beats Dewey" "Obama Beats Romney"). So Americans are not as shallow as many think they are and campaign managers can miscalculate.

                          But I digest. . .

                          It's so hard becuase I went through an acrimonious divorce, which is financially devastating.

                          In the end though, I really did get a lifestyle that I like (simple is the best I can describe it). I was driving through a nice neighborhood yesterday with a woman I am seeing and she said, "I wouldn't mind having that house." I really looked at it and said, "I really don't want that house."

                          And I really didn't. But I am glad some people do, honestly. . .it keeps our economy going.

                          But I just see taxes, more taxes, high utility bills, and more taxes. Lotsa upkeep too.

                          Financially, I made a killing in silver in my Roth, so my net worth is up. My business is looking up due to some legislative changes that my profession got pushed through in NJ that got us out of 1950 and into 2010. I am borrowing about 5K to expand it further, actually getting a design co. to come in and make it a "home" for me and gear it more towards nutrition.

                          So yes, in the end, I think I am better off than I was 4 years ago. Of course, there are still problems. . .mainly I face the challenge of shared single parenting and I don't know how I am going to afford 3 college educations.

                          But there is a parable. A man climbed to the top of the mountain and was unhappy. He asked the guru why he was unhappy and she said, "Your problem is you have 85 problems in life and most people only have 84 problems."

                          He replied, "Oh great, I get to have an extra problem. That just figures! What is my extra problem?"

                          Tte guru replied, "Your extra problem is you think you shouldn't have 84 problems."

                          So, yes, despite my problems, I am better off. And I owe it all to Obama

                          (just trying to get Maat's goat there, ha, ha)
                          Last edited by Scanner; 06-05-2011, 08:05 AM.


                            Originally posted by Scanner View Post
                            ("Truman Beats Dewey" "Obama Beats Romney").

                            (just trying to get Maat's goat there, ha, ha)
                            You do know that your comments above will be my signiture after the election?


                              LOL. . .honestly, I"ll admit that is the only thing Obama has going for him right now. . .the people like him (well, he took out OBL too).

                              That's the only reason Truman won too. . .the people had every reason to vote for Dewey but they voted for Truman instead.