Enhanced pandemic unemployment benefits, which include $300 weekly bonus checks as well as coverage for freelancers and the long-term unemployed, expire today. Over 11 million people will be affected, with around 7.5 million losing benefits entirely. As of Labor Day, my husband will no longer be receiving any government assistance (click here for more info). Out of work for over 17 months, losing these benefits will affect us negatively. My husband works as a media installer. Even though some of his usual contractors have re-connected with him, the explanation for no upcoming work has always been the same: due to Covid-19 the contractors can not get the parts, thus there are no installation positions open at this time. Many of my husband’s clients had to cease operations or at least remain idle until the equipment comes in. The coronavirus pandemic has decimated my husband’s career.

The benefits my husband received wasn’t much but it was a help. These are unprecedented times, for sure. We prepared for this day as best as we could. Thankfully, we’re both older and qualify for Social Security. Relying on SS, however, wasn’t really part of our plan. And we all know about planning? Man makes plan. God laughs. My husband and I both thought he’d be back at work by this time. He’s not. His future work prospects are not looking much brighter.

Moving forward, hubby and I decided to look on the bright side. We’re going to focus on the positive and ignore the negative. We’ve been through tough times before and this time really isn’t much different. We’ve cut back on non-essential spending. I’ve fine tuned our budget, making just one drastic change and that is lowering our grocery expense. We’re only buying either Loss Leaders or food that is on sale and creating meals around what’s available. We’re finally tapping into our food stockpile. We’re doing more DIYing. Sprucing up our vegetable garden for next growing season. Tending to our one and only peach tree! Cutting back on our heating expense by installing a pellet stove. And praying to God for His continuous good graces.

We’re still not tapping into our savings or investments. We’re utilizing our passive, positive cash flow instead. By not tapping into our savings we’re delaying the inevitable if we’re not careful. That inevitable is running out of money. I ran another scenario through Fidelity’s Retirement Planning tool. They have us dipping into our savings because they think we’re the typical American couple who spends, spends and spends. Based on our future dollars and Fidelity’s algorithms, we’ll run out of money by 2041. Hubby would be 84 years old. That’s an awful age to be old and broke. So, we’re delaying that 4% rule most financial experts advise. It’s nice to know, however that from now till 2041 hubby and I will have had a cumulative lifetime income over a million dollars! (and it’s still not enough!) Needless to say, we’re not spending!

These are the recommendations Fidelity advised us to do, which we are doing:

Personally, I’m looking forward to the challenge. We’re going to learn new things and experience slight successes and losses. I know that these things are happening to a lot of people. It’s a brave thing to admit to. Nobody wants to disclose their life difficulties. I was hesitant at first to even admit this myself. Or to you, my readers…..but here we are. It’s a fact of our lifetime and perhaps my experiences can help others. Being debt free, owning our own home, not having any car loans or credit card balances will see us through. It was a sacrifice to become debt free but it’s eventually worth all the struggles in life as we move forward.

I still don’t want to be a millionaire but I still want to live like one. Perhaps that dream must die and whither away.

Live and learn.

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