For the second time this year, my wife and I have been furloughed! We signed our furlough letters on the morning of October 1st. As federal employees – Department of the Army Civilians – we lost six days of work and pay earlier this year due to the sequestration, and now we will lose more work and pay – undetermined at this time – because our elected leaders have failed to do their job. While I could write multiple, lengthy, posts on my feelings about the politics behind it all and whom I feel is most to blame, that will not really solve anything, does not improve my retirement portfolio, or provide value to the readers of this blog.
Moreover, I am not interested in wading through numerous comments where readers hurl insults at those that may disagree with them and are only interested in communicating their point of view and have no interest in trying to understand that others might have different experiences or a different point of view. It is one of the reasons I largely avoid the comments section of most articles I read online.
The only thing I will say is that I am often disappointed in the attitudes about federal employees – that seems to have taken hold the last few years – by the general population. To listen to some of our politicians and to read through some of the commentary online, it would appear that we are the lowest form of scum, sucking the very life out of this economy and our country. Of course, I would disagree. Like most of the people I work directly with (approximately 18 people) in my office, I am prior service. In fact, I believe outside of two people, everyone in the office is a veteran, either serving 5,6,7+ years or retired after 20+ years of active duty service. In short, we have all been serving our military, in different capacities, for 20+ years total in most cases. Don’t underestimate the number of civilians behind the scenes that support the active duty military – that everyone rightly supports – in accomplishing our nation’s missions. Off of my soapbox now.
How will this furlough impact me and Mrs. SavvyJames? It really depends on the length of the furlough. Obviously, the longer the furlough, the greater the impact. Fortunately, we do have an established emergency fund, something I address on a regular basis on this blog, and I do receive an active duty pension…not enough in my humble opinion, but it is nice to have a source of passive income.
The bottom line for Mr. and Mrs. SavvyJames? We are going to be fine. We may need to make some adjustments to our expenses, particularly the longer the shutdown and furlough remain in place, but ultimately we will be okay. However, I know that there are federal employees out there, at lower pay grades (that don’t make a lot of money), perhaps single parents (reliant on one income), that will be severely impacted, even if it is a short period of time. These are good people doing important work for our country.
So SavvyReaders, will this shutdown and furlough impact you? If so, is your emergency fund in place? Do you know anyone that it does impact?