Thursday, August 16, 2007

Singing the Blues

Welcome to PiggyBankBlues. This is for all you artists and other ilk who are waitresses and bartenders, college professors and grad students, non-profiteers and cash cow hustlers. I like to think of you as my friends and family. I, of course, am one of you. The not so nine to fiver. The one with the gargantuan student loan and four year degree in an intellectual bar of gold and not much else. Okay, I slogged a bit through my four years, an intellectual bar of sterling silver.

So why PiggyBankBlues? I'll tell you why. Because I have too much time on my hands. Which brings me to a story. Once upon a time there was this little market anamoly known as the tech boom. You might have heard about it, it was the roar before the crash. New York City was flush, and boy oh boy I do mean flush. Two hour wait for my table and I was walking out of work my pockets stretched. After waiting tables we would go out and have lobster dinners and knob creek until four in the morning. We would buy fancy clothes, go to South Beach for the weekend, and put the "disposable" in "disposable income" in big bold font. Around this time I was trying desperately to clean up my student loan mess. Spending so much money, I had a vague sense that I should have accumulated more, and was trying to do band aid sort of things. I got a secured credit card. I opened an online brokerege account to buy some internet stocks. After a little while, though, things didn't feel right. And then the market started skidding.

After September 11th, 2001, a fellow waitress and I bought shares in American Express because they had announced that, unlike scores of other companies, they were staying in downtown Manhattan. It was then, along with many other things, that I sarted to pay attention. Because now, not only was my city devastated, so was the national economy and right down to my personal bank account. All this money and we had nothing to show for it.

I became, as many of you know, a little obssessed with finance. But don't get me wrong, I'm no Benjamin Graham (for those of you who don't know, he's an intelligent investor who is also famous. I guess i'm an intellegent investor, but not famous, and certainly not AS intelligent). I'm a dyslexic writer prone to the run on sentence. Up unitl recently I hadn't progressed past 11th grade math. I thought it would be a good idea to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) for my closest friends and their dearest associates. Half way through the training, though I enjoyed every moment of it, I realized that this was serious business, the kind that doesn't allow for the writing of the great american novel (purposefully lowercase). Well, that and I found out that I couldn't manage money that was, um, mostly cash. See, the idea was to help people cut off from things like 401Ks, people who don't live in a city where 5% down and a $45,000 annual salary get you and your family an affordable home and mortgage, people who have lots of questions and no accountant to answer them. People with the PiggyBankBlues.

So after much hemming and hawing, I decided to start this blog. Because I don't wait tables anymore, thank you baby jesus, and I can't harrass you all about maxing out your Roth IRA with dollar cost averaging. But boy can I do it here.


el said...

One of my closest friends is getting married in a few weeks. I'm dead broke at the moment but would really like to buy her a nice gift. how do you budget for this kind of thing and how do you decide weather or not you can afford something?

piggybankblues said...

luckily for you, wedding etiquette allows for a one year grace period. if she/he is one of your closest friends, they will understand your financial situation. if you know what you want to get, see if you could squeeze out ten bucks a week until you get enough money to buy that really nice gift. at the wedding, just drop a card and a hint as to what is on its way.

Ms. M&P said...

I have a lot of artists and musicians in my family so I'm very interested in how you do financial planning with irregular income. It's hard enough with a salary and the 5% taken out of your paycheck! Can't wait to read more of your blog!