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  #76  
Old 02-02-2012, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by barry123400 View Post
What I have noticed is two things. Everytime I go to town that is four miles away . So it is pretty well daily. The money I expend is much more than it was in the 2008-2009 period.

The other item is we are fortunate to have surplus income. The surplus is now somewhat smaller each year. It is not our buying and spending habits as at our age they are pretty static. It has to be the higher average overall costs.

An example that is perhaps not typical. I needed some brushed nickle trim today for a granite tile countertop. The last time I purchased some it was twelve dollars a length. Perhaps two to three years ago but no longer since I last purchased.

It was twenty one dollars and some change a length today. So eight lengths were not 96.00 but 170.00. Gas was also 5.89 an imperial gallon in town today. Or 4.97 per american gallon.

Wages are definatly not on the increase yet. So it has to be hurting many. You are right in that we have become by and large a more materialistic society as well.

Perhaps about the most noticeable change in our buying habits is I source a lot of items off ebay and the web now on a very frequent basis. Usually after mailing costs I pay approxamatly 50 percent or less of the average local retail prices. Also save the 15 percent sales tax as well on most transactions. The savings on one item may not seem signifigant but over the year it really adds up. We are talking many thousands of dollars here alone. Primarily since I always seem to have a house build or rehab job of some sort going on.

Also the low return on investments that are fairly safe is now far lower than inflation. This is a concern. I understand low interest for borrowers will persist for many more years unless it stimulates too much inflation. Even then the current policies may stay in effect. The whole mess is still far from sound at this time. There is still not a lot of room left to absorb any form of major hit or even moderate one on the current economy.

I am well aware of how fortunate we are as a household at this time. We do not take it for granted either. We also feel badly about the amount of families in distress. The amount of bankrupcies and other forms of insolvency no longer indicate a healthy enviroment for a growing percentage of the population.
EBay is a good idea. 2 months ago I faced with replacing my Washing Machine for about $350 or trying to fix it.

I decided to take a chance on fixing it. A Special Wrench to get the Tub out, Clutch and a new Electric Motor came out to $102 and that was with the shipping included. (I did not even think about the Sales Tax savings.)
I got the Washer fixed.

I got the parts 1/2 off on eBay from what the other Internet Appliance Part suppliers were selling them for; if bought locally I am guessing the parts would have been more then even the Internet Appliance Part Sellers.
Fixing the Washer was easier than working on my Mercedes. There is also troubleshotting guides on the internet for fixing Appliances.
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  #77  
Old 02-02-2012, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDon View Post
Almost done with my degree but I know how to turn wrenches, dig ditches, do basic carpentry, and proper lawn care.

I'd love to learn how to weld and really go to town with it.
Local Community Colleges have Welding Courses. Some times at night most often on Saturday.
Due to the fact you use up supplies the cost is going to be aroud $300 plus your Personal gear (Helmet, Leather and so on).

In fact if you have good pyhsical cordination Welding is a fast Trade to learn. Most places you will need to take a test to be certified.
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  #78  
Old 02-02-2012, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDon View Post
Almost done with my degree but I know how to turn wrenches, dig ditches, do basic carpentry, and proper lawn care.

I'd love to learn how to weld and really go to town with it.

I'll teach you, if you come help in my shop...

MIG is a very quick type of welding to learn, stick is A LOT more complicated, Tig is easy, but practice is needed. soldering and gas welding is a trade worth learning, but mig is taking over everything.

Harbor freight has mig and tig welders under 200 bucks too...
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  #79  
Old 02-02-2012, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiefRider View Post
(Sigh)

Lastly, I'm quite certan that this is not the country I grew up in. Years of mis-management have created a world where my own kids are facing a lifetime of the uncertainty I'm just starting to deal with.

I hate even committing this to print, and reserve the right to delete it if it sticks in my craw tomorrow morning!
Thank you for not deleting it.

I echo what you say about not the country I grew up in, but more so I say not the country I had planned to remain in all my life--speaking of Canada. I made a choice stay here in the 1980s, when a couple of my friends lobbied me heavily to join the expat route they had taken.

While their years abroad have had mixed results, and in some ways they envy some aspects of the life I have, I now regret not following their trail. And like most men my age (52), I also regret a hell of a lot else, but that's for another discussion....
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  #80  
Old 02-02-2012, 02:52 PM
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My kids are all grown up now. I even have grandkids. My wife and I did all the things "responsible" members of our society were supposed to do: Work hard, get an education, save and invest your money. I strategized through my career path and worked for companies with long histories of success and innovation that I would be in a position to not only help out my kids when they needed it, but also to be able to retire based on my planning. Instead I find my house is probably worth less today than when I bought it 25 years ago, my earnings are a fraction of what they once were, my employability is in question and my investments and savings have tanked like nobodys business. Although my wife is employed, the sword of damocles is swinging above, waiting for the inevitable outsourcing. Meanwhile, I watch my state and federal governments spend like there is no tomorrow. Maybe there isn't.

Anyway, I'm not angry, or even down, although I DO get frustrated! I always tried to convey to my kids that we all need to be principled, but be flexible when it comes to the changes in our lives we cannot control. So dad has to lead by example and not be defeated. Doesn't mean I can't lament what I think should be, instead of what is. As long as I'm getting out of bed every morning, I'll make things work.

And 52 is too young to have regrets (for most things anyway!)

Other than putting a lot of money in nuclear stocks just before the Japanese tsunami, I don't really have any regrets, and still hope to accomplish a few things!
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  #81  
Old 02-02-2012, 03:21 PM
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Good point: I should not generalize about others my age. Everyone has their own history and own decisions-pathway upon which they can reflect at leisure....

One of the most disturbing aspects of the last few years is the damage done to households that did all the right things. To people who made what seemed to be sound choices over decades.
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2002 e320 4matic estate│1985 300d│1980 300td
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“Let's take a drive into the middle of nowhere with a packet of Marlboro lights and talk about our lives.” ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22
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  #82  
Old 02-02-2012, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Zacharias View Post
Good point: I should not generalize about others my age. Everyone has their own history and own decisions-pathway upon which they can reflect at leisure....

.

Hey, no offense taken, and I think your assesment is accurate. You almost can't get to this age and not have regrets, I do.

My mantra to my kids growing up was always "You can't look back, only forward," so I guess it applies to me too!
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  #83  
Old 02-02-2012, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by vstech View Post
I'll teach you, if you come help in my shop...

MIG is a very quick type of welding to learn, stick is A LOT more complicated, Tig is easy, but practice is needed. soldering and gas welding is a trade worth learning, but mig is taking over everything.

Harbor freight has mig and tig welders under 200 bucks too...

I can second the fact that MIG welding is very easy to learn. I actually broke down and took a class at the local Comm College. It was only $250 after tuition and mats. Plus, I was able to actually take some of that cost off of my taxes. And now as soon as I get my hands on a garage - I'm going to get my hands on a MIG.

But alas, I am now part of the Unemployed Diesel Owners... (Let go 2 days before Christmas). And on top of the growing holes in my floor, I also just realized that the inside boot on my rear driver side has completely torn and the right front upper control arm is starting to go.

When does one go from keeping the car fixed to driving it till the wheels fall off?
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  #84  
Old 02-03-2012, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QS23 View Post
I can second the fact that MIG welding is very easy to learn. I actually broke down and took a class at the local Comm College. It was only $250 after tuition and mats. Plus, I was able to actually take some of that cost off of my taxes. And now as soon as I get my hands on a garage - I'm going to get my hands on a MIG.

But alas, I am now part of the Unemployed Diesel Owners... (Let go 2 days before Christmas). And on top of the growing holes in my floor, I also just realized that the inside boot on my rear driver side has completely torn and the right front upper control arm is starting to go.

When does one go from keeping the car fixed to driving it till the wheels fall off?
Look here.

NAPA Hobby Mig 100

Mig mate wire welder

Dayton MIG Welder

brand new in the box MIG welder (REDUCED)

12 pound .035 mig and 2 pound .030 wire

.
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  #85  
Old 02-03-2012, 05:18 PM
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Whatever brand new or use make sure parts and specialised consumables are still available for the model.
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  #86  
Old 02-03-2012, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiefRider View Post
My kids are all grown up now. I even have grandkids. My wife and I did all the things "responsible" members of our society were supposed to do: Work hard, get an education, save and invest your money. I strategized through my career path and worked for companies with long histories of success and innovation that I would be in a position to not only help out my kids when they needed it, but also to be able to retire based on my planning. Instead I find my house is probably worth less today than when I bought it 25 years ago, my earnings are a fraction of what they once were, my employability is in question and my investments and savings have tanked like nobodys business. Although my wife is employed, the sword of damocles is swinging above, waiting for the inevitable outsourcing. Meanwhile, I watch my state and federal governments spend like there is no tomorrow. Maybe there isn't.

Anyway, I'm not angry, or even down, although I DO get frustrated! I always tried to convey to my kids that we all need to be principled, but be flexible when it comes to the changes in our lives we cannot control. So dad has to lead by example and not be defeated. Doesn't mean I can't lament what I think should be, instead of what is. As long as I'm getting out of bed every morning, I'll make things work.

And 52 is too young to have regrets (for most things anyway!)

Other than putting a lot of money in nuclear stocks just before the Japanese tsunami, I don't really have any regrets, and still hope to accomplish a few things!
I look at the House ownership issue differently. If I had been renting all the years (I paid on my House 1977-1992) and the years I am still living in the House now; I think of the Money I would have wasted on renting someplace to live.
I am not sure I even have the info to calculate the total as to how much it cost me the buy My House to compare it to what the present market value may be.
But, since I paid it off in 1992 I guess I am not moving anywhere.
(Note: My House was in very run down condition when I bought it and while I DIYed the Improvements to make it livable for me I do not have what most people would consider a Nice House. But, until 1997 I was not Married.)
For the last 4 years we have been living off of the Income of my Wife.
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  #87  
Old 02-03-2012, 06:25 PM
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Being from an it background I find it amazing that the wages for a full time it guy today is almost half of what it use to be in 2000. No more making a living working on computers...
There are still good IT jobs out there but you have to have experience and a specialized skill set in something that's in demand...network engineer positions still pay well, for example. Entry level salaries are in the toilet, though; you're competing with everyone laid off in the last decade plus a lot of people who jumped into IT because of the tech bubble. And of course a lot of the big players bring in H1B guest workers to keep wages down.

The other thing about IT is you'd better either have a stable job or be prepared to go it on your own as a contractor by the time you reach your mid-40s, because no one's going to want to hire you after that.
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  #88  
Old 02-03-2012, 06:30 PM
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All the "employee" stuff goes away for both parties, and what magically replaces it is a true peer-to-peer relationship between professionals.

Think about becoming a corporation and thinking differently about your relationship to work.
I agree that we definitely seem to be headed into a world where the majority of people work as contractors or freelancers instead of as actual employees. There is a certain amount of freedom gained in that kind of arrangement.

The downside is you bear all the risk. Get hurt? Sorry, you don't get sick pay; you have no income until you recover. Oh, and your private health insurance will probably be canceled.
Business that you're contracting with wants Net 30 terms? Uh oh, now you gotta front the cash for supplies, and you're stuck holding the tab if they don't pay up...

It's a potentially lucrative course but also a highly perilous one. You're doing a highwire act without a net, and the first time you slip, you're bankrupt.
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  #89  
Old 02-03-2012, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Orv View Post
I agree that we definitely seem to be headed into a world where the majority of people work as contractors or freelancers instead of as actual employees. There is a certain amount of freedom gained in that kind of arrangement.

It's a potentially lucrative course but also a highly perilous one. You're doing a highwire act without a net, and the first time you slip, you're bankrupt.
Most people I know are self employed. We have to pay all health care & insurance costs, fund all retirement & pay both sides of payroll taxes. Sometimes self employment looks like unemployment. Sometimes not. The benefit is control over my time. Working fore someone else would be difficult.

We live on a lot less than what most others do who have similar incomes. That has allowed us save and to navigate some very rough financial times. Having everything paid for helps. It is also a disincentive to buy a new car. Every time I think about writing that size check, I always decide that I'd rather have my money than the car.
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