Situation Update

Last year I wrote this post about my then current economic situation. I decided it’s time for an update.

Selling my photographs on apparel, merchandise and as prints from a variety of on-line shops and galleries (see links in the right sidebar) continues to provide only minimal income. With my 99 weeks of extended UI about to run out and no job offers (perhaps “50 is the new 40” isn’t true after all) I will not be able to keep the house much longer. As I wrote last year, I’ve been able to keep it so far mostly due to not purchasing ‘more house’ than I could afford. There is no way to sell it for what I owe; the housing market has been, as they say, ‘soft’ for some time. Every week I scan the list of recent house sales by zip code; my zip and neighbouring ones continue to run over 50% of sales being to the mortgagor for pennies on the dollar. And being unemployed I don’t qualify for a mortgage modification.

The car now has about 140k miles on it. It creaks more than I do in the morning; it works for now, but it is on its last legs. I have just concluded my fourth quarter at Columbus State Community College; still a year away from getting an AAS degree. Federal student aid helps; but is not enough to keep the house or replace the car when it finally croaks.

My 401(k) plan has very few acceptable reasons for a “hardship withdrawal” that would avoid the extra 10% withholding penalty; medical insurance premiums or major medical bills, IRS tax lien and becoming a first time home buyer are it. So those funds are absolutely a last resort. Things are, economically speaking, bleak.

I guess it’s the universe’s way of making the gout, high blood pressure and arthritis seem not so bad.

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