I just came across a definition of volatile vs. stable household income. Apparently if your income increases or decreases more than 25% year over a year, it's considered volatile.
I've known that our income has been all over the place since the partial lay-off at my old job in 2013, but I never really analyzed it.
No wonder I've felt uneasy, and unsure about how we can afford to live. I looked at our tax returns, and our adjusted gross income in 2017 was only about 55% of what it was in 2012. And in-between, it's gone down and up and down again. In two out of five years, the changes in income would qualify for "volatile."
I found a study where 92% of the people surveyed would prefer a more stable financial life over being a little richer. I guess I'm part of the 92%. I look forward to taking my Social Security at 62 even though the payout will be lower than it could be. The alternative is planning to use up savings and investments between now and my full retirement age, not knowing things like how the stock market will do and what emergencies might come up.