I am feeling a little blue today.
It seems that life takes great pleasure in kicking you when you are down, and today has been no exception.
One Step Forward
It started off well: I should have been off work today enjoying my long weekend, but instead I had arranged to go into work for 8 hours overtime (6am to 2pm).
The day got even better when I was asked to stay until 6pm instead. 12 hours at time and a half.
Despite how facetious that may sound, my regular readers will know I am working to pay off my debt before New Years Day 2010, at the very latest. A renewed sense of urgency was provided by my employer when they sent round an email two months ago warning that we were facing a significant funding short-fall over the coming years, and salary cuts were not outside the realms of possibility. Any and all overtime is therefore extremely welcomed, and worked in earnest towards my goal.
Two Steps Forward
As I was edging closer to being one or two months away from being able to pay off my largest, final debt, I phoned my loan provider today to ask what the settlement figure would be if I paid today. I couldn’t of course, but I wanted to know precisely how far away I was, as simply calculating on the loan outstanding is only half the equation.
It’s quite a complicated affair. There is an early settlement fee of 1 months interest if settled early at all, or 2 months interest if paid before at least 50% of the loan term has passed. There is also the added complication of a scaled percentage of the loan insurance being refundable, depending on what stage the loan is at.
If I paid today, I have precisely £8,036.64 outstanding (or $12,726 USD for my readers across the pond). That is still £2,200 more than I have, so paying today wasn’t an option. But next month could well be!
One Step Back
All sounding quite good so far isn’t it?
Except, as of next month my eligibility for a 56% loan insurance refund expires. From next month onwards until sometime late in 2010, I become eligible for only a 26% refund instead. Despite my £415 payment next month, I will actually owe more afterward than I do this month. The settlement figure for next month will be in the region of £8,400. Canceling the insurance altogether whilst tempting, is not viable due to…
Two Steps Back
I found an email from the Big Boss with an update on the 5 year forecast for our organisation. It re-iterated the problem in the last email we all received, but put it starkly that despite looking initially at non-pay budgets, there will have to be cuts.
Department heads have been asked to identify 2% savings for next year, saving as a whole £5 million for 2010/2011. If it stopped there, I would not be too concerned. A one-off saving of £5m in an organisation the size of ours would be achievable with relatively little pain and likely no compulsory redundancy whatsoever. That £5 million though is merely the tip of the iceberg.
After 2010/2011, we will need to save £7.5 million every year until at least 2015.
Compulsory redundancy across the entire organisation is a certainty. My department may be insulated from the initial round, but I do not see how we can reasonably escape the entire period unscathed. Bad, bad times are ahead and I really dislike this feeling. I have worked for the same organisation for coming close to 8 years. I enjoy my job, I am good at it. The pay enables me to plan for my future.
Without it, and in the current financial climate, I no longer have a sense of direction.
Even the best case scenario is emotionally unpleasant – 5 whole years of wondering if I will have a job month after month. The recession has thrown my 5 Year Plan (and countless others, of course) out the window. My dream of becoming a home-owner in 4 years time, faded with this evening’s sunset.
Three Steps Back
A letter from my solicitor had landed on the mat for me when I got home.
Half expecting some good news, it was instead, the third and final kick of today. My wife (who wanted the divorce in the first place) has decided to contest it and defend the matter in court.
As she is bankrupt and to my knowledge unemployed, the public purse will be paying for her defense courtesy of Legal Aid, while I continue to pay for my solicitor and subsequent court hearings out of my own pocket, if there is any money in them come the end, given Kick Two.
I must get consumer-debt free, and soon. It is reasonably likely that employment will continue for at least another year before anything starts rumbling in my direction; yet I cannot help but worry about “What if I get made redundant tomorrow?”. All my hard work over this year would virtually have been for nothing.
All my hopes, all my dreams, all my plans, gone in a single stroke.