Every business under the sun is giving a coronavirus update. I don’t want to this to be one of those. Staying home and reading personal finance blogs may be one of the safest things you can do now.
At the same time, everyone is sacraficing for the greater good now. Things are changing so rapidly almost every hour. I said to my wife, “It seems like each city and state is trying to one-up each other with more strict measures… and this is a healthy development!”
There are a few different perspectives in how this immediately impacts our family. Part of the reason I’m writing this here is that it impacts the Lazy Man blog. Another part is that it often just helps to talk to someone (even if it is writing online). If you need that space, feel free to use the comments below.
The kids were already on school vacation for the next two weeks. I doubt the school will open then as planned. One grandmother was going to take them for a couple days. I was going to bring them to a children’s museum for a day. I was also going to bring them to my mother’s house who doesn’t get to see them much. That’s all canceled. With the local library closed, the only thing I think we’ll do outside is a hiking area with the dog while the kids play Pokemon Go. They’ll probably ride their bikes a bit too.
Being 6 and 7 years old, they often get in each other’s faces if they don’t have some separated time. That won’t be much of an option. That will be difficult to deal with.
Their private school costs $2200 a month – even if it’s closed. They’ll do some distance learning activities set up by the teachers, but I’ll be doing 90% of the teaching and 100% of the child care with 100% of the fight prevention. I feel like that we’d be losing 90% of the value that we pay for. I’d like to opt-out of the distance learning and grab my own homeschooling curriculum to save the money.
At the same time, I understand that teachers have mortgages and need to make an income too. It’s a difficult situation and I’m not sure there is an easy answer.
As a phramacist with the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), she’s on the front lines of this. It was only a couple of weeks ago that she was dinner with the Surgeon General (along with a dozen other USPHS representatives). Things have moved fast, but they haven’t deployed her yet. She may be deployed to help with airport screenings on Tuesday. For now, she can work from home (the office is shut down), which is very helpful.
She’s very excited about the Presidential conference with all her USPHS co-workers at the podium. In 22 years of her being with the service, the work they do has been behind the scenes. It never gets mentioned in the big hurricanes, earthquakes, or ebola outbreaks. Now she’s pumped and ready to kick some coronavirus butt! I want to remind her that this is the administration that has spent three years trying to shut down USPHS. They systematically added new regulations that forced many to take second jobs and maintain fitness levels in off-time (military do it as part of their work day). My wife recently spent three years getting a master’s degree in addition to her Pharm. D. due to new regulations.
They put more effort in the Space Force. That doesn’t look too good now.
She had to cancel her trip to the annual pharmacy conference. That means that she might have to earn continuing education credits some other way. No one is really thinking about that now, but I bet some will be surprised surprised to lose their license later on this year. She’s been trying to get through airlines and hotels for 4-5 days now to cancel and it’s just a busy signal.
I’m very good with the kids. As you can tell from the above, the USPHS has really piled the work on my wife over the last 3-4 years, so I do almost everything with the kids. However, it gets to be too much for me if it’s too long of a time without a break. They never nap and for a long time constantly needed help with stuff.
I often find impossible to get much blogging done with them around. I have no quiet place to focus on writing. The interuptions break up my flow whenever I feel like I’m putting two decent sentences together. However, I’m using this time to teach them how to be more independent. They can get snacks and drinks themselves. They are pros at working the TV and tablets now. Things are a lot better now than they’ve been in the past – as long as I can limit the fighting.
Besides the loss in blogging time (and likely revenue), there’s likely going to be a loss in dog sitting business. Dog sitting income is best when people travel – school vacations, long weekends, and summer. If people don’t travel, they won’t need to book their dogs to stay here.
I also do customer support for a company based out Silicon Valley. They are largely virtual with many international customers. This should continue to be a strong income for the near future.
Losing the majority of two incomes, and having to still pay the school $2200 a month is a big financial blow.
Most businesses are going to suffer for a long time. That’s a given. Everyone’s local economony is going to feel it.
However, our area, Newport, Rhode Island is a tourist town. They do 75-80% of the year’s business in the summer restaurant and hotel industry. If there’s a rainy Memorial Day weekend, restuarants close forever. That’s not an exaggeration.
Maybe it could be worse. Maybe our city could be where they build cruise ships. It’s very close to the worst situation many could imagine for businesses.
This is a not an easy time for anyone. There are certainly people who have it a lot worse than us. People who have tested positive. People have family members who tested positive. Families who rely on day care to bring in a single income and are looking at losing both. It’s impossible to enumerate them all, so it’s hardly worth trying.
We’ll lose some significant income sitting dogs. We’ll do more supporting of great teachers and the local economony than we may get back in return. We’ll lose a significant amount of money in the stock market. However, the key to all that is that it’s all just money. Because I’ve been writing about money and managing it for so long, these aren’t completely and forever life-changing. In the the grand scheme of things, as long as we can healthy we’ll be fine.
As for the blog, I’ll continue to do my best to keep it updated with the most relevant information. Today’s update about our family was necessary, because this blog is about our money journey and this is certainly part of that. However, I’m committed to helping you with your money journey.
I know a lot of parents are being put in difficult situations. Losing day care and staying home to educate kids isn’t easy. I need mental health breaks. You need mental breaks. The kids need to relax and have a little fun too.
Fortunately, I have a couple of articles that can help do all that for you, while keeping the kids learning:
- There’s the best educational streaming shows for preschoolers. This isn’t meant to replace an educational curriculum, but these shows can give everyone a break.
- If you have Hulu, you can stream multiple Teen Titans Go! episodes about money: 401ks, compound interest, landlording, currencies, and pyramid schemes. I suggest some parental guidance with this show as it’s for older children. However, it’s rare for a kids’ show to introduce the topic of a 401k or compound interest and give you something to build a discussion on… all while making it hilarious.
If you know someone who is staying at home with their kids’ school closed, maybe send them one of those articles. It could be the lifeline they need to get a little sanity back.
Best wishes to you guys. My employer is allowing us to work from home full time(we were already wfh 3 days a week(and weekends)), but my wife is PRN speech pathologist in a large hospital chain where she works with a lot of old, sick people, so it puts here closer to the front lines than I would like.
Lazy Man says
That’s a tough situation Wesley. So far my wife hasn’t been in a situation to be close. We’ll see how that works though. I don’t know much about speech pathology, is that the kind of thing that could be postponed if things get worse and worse?
They do a lot of work with people having swallowing issues due to stroke, cancer, etc., as well as cognitive work due to strokes. Anything that can be put off will be, some are more critical.
First of all, thank you to your wife for working to fix this coronavirus problem. The US will go through a tough time over the next few months. My son is stuck at home too. We’ll try to go hiking once in a while, but not much plan to go outside other than that. We’ll need to find some educational stuff to do at home.
Good luck and stay safe.
ROBYN A. WEINBAUM says
good luck with everything, and may your and yours stay healthy through all this.
maybe the kids can do what i did as a child and bored: dig a hole to australia. i spent most of the summer i was 6 digging. i ended up with an 18″ diameter hole about 2 feet deep. i’ll admit, i preferred reading to digging, but my parents insisted on me doing something outside.
i’m working from home for the first time in forever and hating it. i virtual in, there is a significant lag time, some of the software doesn’t work, and there are still phone calls and mail to be sent.
while filing of 1040s has been auto-extended, the REALLY big penalties are in corporate tax filing. there is NO auto-extension on that. so my office is working overtime in a non-essential field, just as we do every year, january to april.
surprisingly, many of the IRS agents i speak to work remote, and have for the past 4-5 years. that is how they keep the old pros on the payroll.
being a tax professional is still one of the funnest things i do.
Lazy Man says
Things were simpler when we were kids. I would have loved to dig a hole for hours. Nowadays kids and the environment are different. Fortunately, we have all the streaming services, so on one level, there's easy access to more entertainment that we can almost ever experience. Of course, we can't just watch TV forever.
I should ask what you charge for corporate taxes, LOL. I have two small companies (this blog and a real estate company) and taxes cost us $2000+ every year (with personal) to complete. It's up there with what we pay for our cable bill. I certainly see more value out of the later – unless you consider staying out of jail – "value" – which I do.