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Saturday, May 19, 2012
A Clarification . . . and a Bit of Financial Ponderings
Oh dear . . .
I'm going to talk about $$$ again . . .
(see my last post on the "job . . . or lack thereof . . . update")
so I'd better get out my shield to protect myself
from the poison arrows that will be headed my way.
(insert smiley face)
Clarification . . .
Some of you apparently assume that when I talk about Jim being "unemployed", that he is receiving "unemployment benefits". That has not been the case for the majority of our unemployment the past 17 months.
Because Jim was a "self-employed" pastor . . . and then a "self-employed" painter . . . he has not been eligible for unemployment benefits for the majority of the time he has been unemployed.
Many people face times of "unemployment" on a regular, annual basis (due to the nature of their construction jobs not working during the winter months). Those people make generally high wages during the months that they are employed, and then are able to frugally live off of their "unemployment benefits" during the winter months.
Others use credit cards to pay their bills during the "lean" months, and then pay off those loans during the "more fruitful" months.
Jim did not receive ANY unemployment benefits during all of his months of unemployment in 2011. And, we do not have any credit cards, and did not take out any loans. We have always worked hard to live frugally during the "fruitful times", so that we could put a bit of money into savings to get through the "lean times". However, with month after month after month of ZERO income, our savings account hit empty right when Jim got the temporary job at the refinery this spring. Then, while he worked this spring, we filled up the savings acct. as best we could (while also needing to pay our current bills, etc...).
Now, Jim is getting a very small bit of unemployment from last year's temporary refinery job. In the past month, since he has been unemployed again, he received one check for $128 and another for $241. Clearly, we are not living off of unemployment benefits. I don't know exactly how unemployment benefits work, but he was told that the benefits he "earned" while working at the refinery this spring, are not available to him until December. So, if he is unemployed for another 6 months, then he can get a couple of hundred dollars per week of benefits? Doesn't make sense to me. Do any of you understand how unemployment benefits work?
Financial Ponderings . . .
Should we sell our house? This is a valid question. We do have a lot of equity in our house, so that could be an option. However, we would not be allowed to purchase a less expensive home (and . . . our house is a pretty inexpensive house to begin with), due to Jim being unemployed. Renting is often an option for people, however it can be VERY difficult to find a landlord that will even rent to an extra large family. Did you know this is the only area that landlords are allowed to discriminate? They cannot discriminate due to gender, s*xual orientation or preference, religion, etc ... but they can discriminate against large families. So sad. (insert frowny face)
Should Jim take a minimum wage job . . . even if it doesn't fully pay our bills? Another valid question, and one that we ponder often. A small income is better than no income. However, then Jim would not have the time to pursue other job possibilities. And, unless it is a job that requires no training (like painting), we do not feel that it would be right to commit to an employer while continuing to look for work.
Should Jim substitute teach as much as possible . . . even if it doesn't fully pay the bills, and he doesn't get paid for 6-8 weeks? We just don't know the answer to this one. When he is substitute teaching, he isn't out "pounding the pavement" in search of more profitable and consistent work.
Should we get a credit card or two? No. Not an option. We do not believe this is the route the Lord wants us to take.
Should we take out a 2nd mortgage on our house? This is one that I have been seriously wondering about. As I said, we do have a lot of equity in our home. Maybe this would help us over this financial bump until Jim finds a permanent job. I don't even know if a bank would give us a 2nd mortgage without a job, but we could look into it. Have any of you ever gone this route???
Should Mama get a job? No. The LORD has clearly called me to be home. But . . . it is a question that still nearly haunts me. There is a job opening . . . a few blocks away . . . that pays pretty well . . . with full benefits . . . where I know people . . . that I am highly qualified for. BUT, the LORD has continued to tell me that my place is at home with my children (a conversation just last night totally confirmed this). But, I have to admit, it is HARD. I am NOT called to be my family's primary provider. I must allow Jim (and the Lord) to fill their God-given roles. I must not "take over" this position, even if I am qualified, able, and available . . . even if it means selling our house and living in a tent. (Seriously.) My "job" is to trust (my husband and the Lord). My job is to wait patiently. My job is to pray. My job is to support Jim in any way that I can. My job is NOT to become our family's primary provider. Period.
Now . . .
some of you are wondering WHY? I wrote this post . . .
because it is so very uncomfortable for you
to even hear details about peoples' personal finances . . .
and so very hard for you to not judge those that
make decisions contrary to the decisions you would make.
Why ? ? ?
Because . . .
I like people shooting poison arrows at me.
I like talking about "unmentionable" subjects.
I know others of you are walking the same journey.
I know we can learn a lot from each other.
I want to hear your thoughts and ideas.
(as long as they are not attached to a poison arrow)
I know that we can pray more specifically when we know specifics.
So . . .
Let's TALK about MONEY!
How have YOU responded to extended times of unemployment?
Have any of YOU taken out a 2nd mortgage?
Do YOU use credit cards to make it through the lean times?
Have YOU gone to work,
when your husband is unemployed or under-employed?
(I am in NO WAY judging those that have made those difficult choices;
I am just sharing what the LORD has called ME to . . . OUR FAMILY to.)
What have YOU done to help your family survive during "lean times"?
How can I be praying for YOU and YOUR family???