Thursday, January 03, 2008

Employed, Hindsight into Past Poverty, Prayer, and Planning.

I know nobody likes a blogger who writes about how wonderful things are, but in spite of all my ranting, I *am* relieved that G-d came through for me and my family in such a time of need. I'm not sure if I told you this, but our circumstances were dire because my wife left work to stay full-time at home with our baby and I committed to work full-time at the PCT practice with the firm that I was remotely working for. The problem is that at that exact day that my wife quit, the USPTO stopped giving my firm business because other examiners were falling behind on their deadlines. To add to the difficulty of matters, when scraps would be thrown my way to keep me from quitting when I threatened to quit using terms such as "constructive unemployment" (they don't fire you, but legally, because of the circumstances, it is as if they did), the level of difficulty of those cases were FAR BEYOND my skill set and I physically did not have the technical skills to kill the patent (or even understand them for that matter), so for a few months, my income was literally ZERO and we were 100% living off of the savings from when times were better. So as much of a coincidence it is that the job came when it did, the job also came just as we had run out of the savings that we were living off of to survive.

All-in-all, I'm relieved and thankful to G-d. As a tribute to Hashem (G-d), contrary to what most people do, when good times come, I increase in my yiddishkeit (religious observance) to say thank you to Hashem. Consequently, when things go bad (and this is a problem, I know), while most people pray to Hashem to help them change their situation, I get annoyed at Him for testing me and I often decline in my religious observance by missing minyans, lessening in my Torah study, etc. This isn't intentional, but because during bad times, while I should be doubling my effort in my studies and in my prayer, I double my efforts in remedying the situation in a physical way (such as sending out more resumes and e-mails, calling firms, and working many many hours just to get by). My mashpia (spiritual advisor and Rabbi) tells me that while I should also be davening to Hashem during the bad times, that my actions are understandable because I have a healthy relationship with G-d, and that I get angry at Him when it appears that He has hurt me as one would get angry at a loved one. However, that doesn't excuse my actions (or lack thereof) when things go bad. I just thought this was an interesting side note.

So where am I now? I've been trying to figure out financially how to replenish the deep loss of our savings account from the lack of income these past few months, how to pay off the thousands of dollars in bills that have accumulated, and how to pay for all our new expenses here in the city with the cost of living now increased significantly and still either put away enough into the 401K to retire comfortably or whether to take that money and instead of investing it pre-tax, to pay off my private law school loans with it (which are now hovering at around 10% interest which keeps compounding). I think this is probably the smarter idea.

One last thing. I wanted to mention how wonderful it is to have a wife who is such a hard worker as mine is in keeping our child happy and who works so hard in keeping our family healthy and fed. I don't know where I would be without her. I don't know how I ever managed without her.

1 comment:

Ahuva said...

Zoe, the decision to save for retirement or pay off loans is going to depend on what your current tax rate is and if your new employer offers a 401k match. If your employer offers a match, take it. That, plus the tax savings, plus the expected return on your investment (which will be compounding as well) will be better than the 10% on your student loans.

If you decide to pay off your student loans first, pick an amount and set up an automatic withdrawal from your account to make sure that the money doesn't just "disappear" into daily expenses. You also won't feel it the same as you would if you had to write a check each month.