About two weeks ago another round of layoffs went down, and again I am still standing. At this point I have survived more layoffs than I can count. "Shit luck" as my father would say. I'm certainly not the most talented, it's mainly that I've worked on the products that have been money makers.
So much of what my company puts it's resources into are complete failures. I sat in a room on Friday with about 20 other engineers talking about the direction they want to take one of our products in. Having worked on the product for the last two years - which is a real piece of shit and has almost no sales, I couldn't help but wonder when the product and team will be scrapped. The company has easily invested $10M, and basically has nothing to show for it.
On Friday I also met with several co-workers that were laid off in November. Three out of four of them have jobs - I'd say my skill set is somewhere in the middle of the pack when compared with my co-workers, so regardless of the future, I think things aren't as bad as I've made them out to be.
Ok, now onto the money front...
Real Estate - The quarterly home value update puts us up modestly. Housing inventory is noticeably tight, so with the Spring season upon us, I can only see values going up in the short term.
401k / Retirement Funds - After some analysis earlier this year, we find ourselves essentially fully funded for retirement at age 62, so we are disengaging our contributions there, taking them down to 8%. Instead we will now focus on after-tax investments, so that we can start taking the retirement age down - with the ultimate goal of retiring around 2026.
Junk Bonds - While we only purchased these a few months ago, the regret continues to ratchet up. We currently have a 3% loss. We may end up shifting out of this fund into equities if the current correction deepens.
LendingClub.com - We've taken a small nibble on this site. We find this site fascinating, essentially becoming the bank for lenders. The investing works in a similar manner to credit default swaps. Essentially you purchase a small portion of many loans, which you pick based on the filters you establish, such as credit score, years employed, etc. We've invested $3,000. The money is locked in for the term of the loans - which in our case is 3 years. Once you invest a the loan you just sit back and collect the interest, with fingers crossed on one hand that none of your loans default.
DRIPs - I'm doing all I can to get our 12 year old daughter engaged in investing at a young age. She currently owns five shares of AAPL and one SPY - I quiz her regularly on the price. We've been reading up on DRIP plans, and she has picked out Kelloggs as her next investment. I find this rewarding both for her and myself. There is nothing better than spending time with your kids and watching them grow.