[this is a ymoyl update.]

i’ve read john le carré’s novels over the last few years, and a phrase from a perfect spy keeps coming back to my ears lately. whenever the shyster father explained why he couldn’t (and never would) pay what he owed, he blamed “a temporary problem of liquidity”.

last summer, i took a break from investing. like many people, i assumed that we were in the closing months of the halliburton administration, that less violent criminals would be coming into office, and that by the middle of 2005, the u.s. would have started the return to its standing as a highly suspect but occasionally reasonable member of the world community, and the economy would slowly recover. so, i stopped even trying to invest, and thought i’d wait it out, paying down my debt in the meantime.

but the mandate was given, and here we are, wondering how long it will be before a mushroom cloud blossoms over one of our cities and which country we’ll randomly pick to annihilate in retaliation.

on the personal side, the end of 2004 saw my complete removal from my house to glenn’s. my tenants asked that the monthly rent amount become fixed, so we moved from a month-to-month tenancy to a one-year lease. at the same time, where i’m living, i face the problem of all gay men who live in their partner’s houses. if glenn should be hospitalized or die, my next step can be taken from my hands and given to relatives he hasn’t seen in 20 years and i’ve never met.

i’ve signed away my right to live in my house for the next year, and have no legal right to be where i am.

i always like to plan for the worst-case scenario so i can be pleasantly surprised. at the moment, that means imagining that glenn dies and i lose my job in the coming weeks. where would that leave me? i would have to find a place to live for eleven months. in addition to paying rent there, i would have to continue paying on the house. the mortgage, insurance, and taxes come to just over $1,000, so i’d have to be coughing up $500 each month after applying the $600/month rent.

this will run through my unemployment emergency fund and start eating into my bonds pretty quickly while i’m looking for work. “liquid” has become the watchword of the new year for me. putting money into the equity of my home where i can’t touch it is going to be unwise this year, and i don’t expect the rates of long-term investments to improve while the country continues spiraling into madness. i’m going to move into building small cd ladders so my liquidity problems remain always as temporary as possible.

i hope you’re able to adapt to whatever changes 2004 brought you and that the next year will treat you well.

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