If I Don’t Look Down I Can Keep On Running

by Samantha Mee

How are you feeling about your financial future, Samantha Mee?

You know when Wile E. Coyote runs off a cliff when he’s chasing the Road Runner and he keeps running, but as soon as he looks down and realises he’s over the edge, he starts falling? That is how I feel about my financial future; if I don’t look down I can keep on running.

I have been working at the same job for nigh on two years. Despite cuts in my area of employment that could easily have seen my job disappear last year, cuts that saw about 8,000 people in Queensland lose their jobs already, I do have work. But I’m only contracted month to month — and sometimes only week to week, and sometimes I don’t have work at all. I just found out yesterday that I have work for a couple more weeks, then who knows?

I have finally learned to not depend on future money, because it might not come in. If, after this contract, there is no more work for me, I have enough savings to make mortgage repayments for about five months. I’d have some small income from my housemate’s rent, and my parents would continue to fill in the financial gaps. But this year I turn 30, and I’m terrified I still won’t be standing on my own two feet financially.

My parents are looking to retire this year, and I am one of the reasons they have delayed their retirement in the past. The global financial crisis and decreases in property values are the main factors, but I feel like a burden. My emotional link to my finances — knowing I’m not independent, and knowing that I’m affecting my parents plans — weighs on me heavily and upsets me deeply.

I am in financial limbo and it’s really stressful, but I just have to keep carrying on, even though there is no solid ground under me. I know there are plenty of people who are far worse off than me, and I don’t know how they cope. But most of us do find a way to cope, right, a way to keep running?

I have just applied to go full-time at work. I’m trying to stay positive about it, but I can’t rely on my two years experience being enough to get me over the line. The thought that soon I might know how much money is coming in every fortnight, and I might have holiday pay, and that I might be able to take a sick day and not lose money, is like a dream.

But future money is never guaranteed, and the ground under my feet is not solid. I hope as I approach my thirtieth birthday I can be more positive about my financial situation, and finally achieve independence. It’s been such a long time coming.

Samantha Mee lives in Queensland, Australia. On Twitter she’s @delilahfizz. She previously explained Australian student debt.

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