Being unemployed for a few months only helped to reinforce my decisions to never get married or have children. At this point, it was also making me reconsider my aspirations of buying a house. Ever since the Financial Meltdown of 2008, I always had this deep feeling that the world could end at any moment. Actually, that feeling started after the September 11th attacks however the financial meltdown just seemed to magnify the threat.
The United States spends more money than it collects in tax revenue each year. We have a total national debt greater than our GDP. Young people are either unemployed or underemployed. Also, trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities would eventually come due in the future. Social Security and Medicare are the programs that will eventually bankrupt our Country. It is a very hostile environment to even consider marriage or children.
With $34000 in my bank accounts and no debt, I was lightyears ahead of the average America. Of course, the only way I could have such wealth was to keep my living expenses down to the bare minimum. For a man with a wife, children, mortgage, car note, and credit card debt, being out of work for as short as two months could feel like a death sentence. In my case, it was just a minor inconvenience. It was almost a vacation. However, there was always a possibility that things could get far worse.
During the time I was unemployed, I remembered two significant news events. The first was that some crazy lunatic went into an elementary school and shot some kids. The second, and far more concerning story, was the event that happened in the country in Cyprus. During the start of 2013, the country of Cyprus was experiencing some financial problems. The country was probably on the verge of bankruptcy. In order to remedy the problem, the government decided it would be a good idea to take a portion of the bank deposits of the citizens of Cyprus. Obviously, this lead to a panic and a run on the banks. I’m not completely sure how much money the average citizen lost however I heard accounts of people losing anywhere between 10% to 50% of the money in their bank accounts. What struck me so hard about this story was that if it could happen in Cyprus, how long would it be until it happened here?
I had put my life down on spreadsheets but having a portion or all of my assets was something I never accounted for. After doing some research online, it seems like bank haircuts or “bail ins” have happened before in several other European and South American countries. Here in the United States, we have a situation where we continuously spend more money than we make. It is a completely unsustainable system. Even in the news, there was talk about nationalizing retirement plans as early as the year 2000. With life being even more uncertain than I had anticipated, I wondered if there was anything I could do to protect myself.