Welcome to 2013, where the paychecks are smaller but life continues to roll on. Confidence in the economy is still a bit shaky, but somehow America survived the heavily anticipated "fiscal cliff." At least, there appear to be some people who are still working and living. I guess it wasn't the doomsday scenario that some were projecting. My paycheck is smaller but I still have a job, and for that I am grateful. How are people like me surviving our new fiscal reality in 2013? Simple. We just are.
The value of 2%
My parents always taught me that it isn't polite to discuss how much money you make, so I will continue that practice. However, let's just say that 2% of my paycheck does not represent a huge sum of money. I suspect that for most Americans that is also the case. Obviously it is money that I would not mind having back. It doesn't matter how large your paycheck is, as 2% is 2%. For some people, that probably is a significant sum of money.
Who has disposable income?
In all honesty, I have some disposable income. This is a very broad financial designator, but I view disposable income as the ability to buy goods and services that are not core needs. In America that includes eating out, gadgets, going to the movies and larger diversions such as vacations. Translation? I can do less of those things this year. Would it be nice to eat out a bit more? Sure. However, I recognize that this is still a luxury and I should not complain.
Adding up over time
Granted, 2% does add up over time. Again, this is somewhat about perspective. If I had to pay the 2% all in one lump sum, that would be a significant financial hardship. There is some value in examining the long-term impact of a change in the household budget, but sometimes it is better to stick with the short-term reality. Since I do not have to absorb the 2% as a lump sum, why worry about that scenario?
The important costs
How am I coping? Again, I just am. Small adjustments have been made and they will continue to be made in the future. For now, there is nothing to do but remain upbeat and focus on what could happen in the future. I have a job and I can meet my monthly expenses. I would like that 2% back, but perhaps I will receive it in the future through some other form of income.
The fiscal cliff has come and gone. We move on.
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- disposable income