|01/02/2009 - A new year... Lets hope it's better than the last one. Time will tell I guess.
Because I have a strong feeling that there will be a sizable layoff at my company in the month of January I have forgone signing up for my usual 30% 401k deduction. If I have a job in February I will jump back in. In the mean time, I'll have a little extra cash on my hands.
As far as I can tell I'm going to need the extra cash to pay for a large tax bill this year. We sold our second house late last year, and because we've been renting it, the sale will be a taxable event. My best estimate is that we owe about $12k to the federal government.
In keeping with my new accounting, I have tweaked my home's value to reflect the current market price based on Zillow.com. As I had predicted, the price slid from 250k down to $230. Personally, I feel like the house is worth more, but there have been so many foreclosures around us (my zip code has the most in the region) that I am probably just in denial about things.
All that aside, I do feel like the bottom is pretty close. I'd be surprised if the value of our house slips below $210k in 2009.
01/06/2009 - Well, after taking a few days off, I returned to back to work, where the talk of the day was what day the layoff would be on. There was total agreement that it would happen in the next several weeks, and that the cut would be somewhere between 10 - 15% of the headcount.
I've been through five layoffs now, and January seems to be the traditional month. The deepest cut I've seen has been about 10%, but this recession seems pretty ugly, so I'm leaning towards a cut of 15% this time.
Late in the day I got pinged by my boss to come into his office. The news was good. My boss has been promoted, and I will be assuming part of his old role. The role involves a leadership responsibility involving our divisions biggest revenue generator. It looks like I'm safe.
Time to bump my 401k back up to 30% and take my wife and daughter out for pizza. ;-)
01/16/2009 - The layoff happened on Tuesday, eight people in my building were let go, but really there were probably thousands across the company as a whole. I work for one the largest companies in the world. They are not big on making the numbers public when it comes to letting people go.
So I am safe for now. I would guess I am safe for at least six months, but probably longer. On Tuesday night I started my 401k back up - 30%.
I took my wife out for nachos and a diet coke to celebrate.
As a side note, it appears that Bob Brinker issued a buy signal this week. I can only hope that Bob is right, I could really go for a nice rally.
One more side note - Moving forward I plan to update our home's value more frequently - once every three months. I will continue using Zillow.com as the source of this valuation.