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Fri Jul 19, 2019, 02:49 PM

Money Trauma

I had to file for bankruptcy back in 2015. Since then money has still been tight even though the only debt I have now is the house and school loans. I get paid every two weeks, and for the past few years by the end of the second week we have usually been down to just a couple of hundred dollars, sometimes less, in my bank account. It's not all been bad. I have been saving for retirement in that time so it's not as if we have no savings. Ten percent of my income goes to my 401k and my employer kicks in another 5%.

I had a small 401k plan with a previous employer. I couldn't touch it for three years after termination of employment there. The required amount of time has passed and I went ahead and got that money. After taxes, it was about $12,000. For the first time in about 9 years, I feel a sense of relief with our financial situation. That money is not going to be spent on anything special. I'm not going to go out and blow it all of some high dollar item. I'm going to try to hang onto that cushion.

I realized last night that living right on the financial edge like that and almost losing everything at one point has been traumatic. I've been living with the stress of financial uncertainty for so long that I had forgotten what it feels like to not have it. Here's the kicker. Probably about half of the American population lives like that. No wonder our society is so restless and angry.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Fri Jul 19, 2019, 03:33 PM

1. yup. i have had it pretty easy for a long time, but

 

my ex lost his job, and my maintenance has been slashed. i'll be fine, but i wont be able to keep investing in my farm.
he knew for almost 2 years that his job would be ending. he prolly would have liked to retire. his new wife just retired. he is 58, and would probably be okay.

he did get another job, tho he didnt stick it out for the severance they promised him. they screwed a few others out of theirs by offering them a new contract.
so, he got another job at less than half pay.

it has been really hard to sit on the outside, waiting to see what is gonna happen.

i have been in a slump for a while, and i sorta blame all this.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Fri Jul 19, 2019, 03:49 PM

2. Yes and Thank you, and Congrats.

You are so right, 'No wonder our society is so restless and angry.'

I've been fortunate, worked as a federal employee for 20+ years so had reliable pension to count on, AND opted to contribute to 401-k-ish plan as did my husband, and upon his death I inherited from his similar plan and as Social Security 'survivor,' so relieved to not have to worry (as I did, when agency I'd worked for shrank and before official retirement available.)

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Fri Jul 19, 2019, 03:55 PM

3. Yep, a major car repair or the fridge going out or medical bill can...

totally derail people. We are so screwed with this you're-on-your-own, dog-eat-dog capitalism. If we just had single-payer healthcare a lot of stress would be relieved.

Dems actually should start stressing how even corps and medium and small businesses would benefit from single-payer as they wouldn't have to contribute to employees' healthcare thus saving big bucks on admin. costs and of course their products would become more competitive as those costs would not be factored into their price. It was reported a few years back that auto companies would save $1500 per vehicle if they didn't have to provide healthcare to workers.

Sure taxes will go up but that cost woulld be offset by all the other benefits—no premium payments, no healthcare payroll deductions, no co-pays, no out-of-pocket costs before employer-funrnised healthcare kicks in when you need to use it.

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Response to brush (Reply #3)

Fri Jul 19, 2019, 06:16 PM

6. I agree with your first paragraph, brush.

However, don't be naive enough to think Medicare-for-all, single-payer, healthcare would vastly contribute to stress relief or lower costs. It costs a senior about 100 a month for Medicare in my state taken from one's SS check which is totally taxable as in many states and still it only delivers on 80% of costs. It's the 20% not covered that will put a senior into medical bankruptcy, previous conditions notwithstanding, on the costs to keep their supplementals in force and drug plans that cover higher cost pharmaceuticals at home with a co-pay that shatters the food budget. It's shameful that even a new-born can be assessed higher costs for care by reason of a previous condition for the rest of their lives. Way back when, 1975, it cost us nothing out-of-pocket to normally birth another taxpayer under insurance. Now young families go into debt to take their baby home even with uncomplicated deliveries and reduced stays. As a senior who pays federal, state, and local taxes toward schools and services, I no longer should need to pay to cover their births as well. Can't afford them; don't have them. I guess I should have used a crystal ball regarding the explosion of college costs. After fully-covered basic Medicare coverage that includes mental health issues, I'd prefer cafeteria choices of supplemental programs so one could obtain what each individual needed at less cost: pediatrics, women's, men's, additional geriatric coverages above the basics. That way insurance employees would still have jobs as well.

TPTB would have to invent other forms of "expenses of doing business" to gain their tax advantages on top of cuts, and you can bet they will. As for lowering the costs of products, I don't see that ever happening no matter how much the company may save on their costs for group employer-based healthcare. I don't get refunds, because in their great wisdom, they laid-off workers over and over again who were granted school loans based on a totally unrealistic employment future let alone the loans their kids incurred. Nope, not dischargeable. In addition, I think the Federal poverty level should be revised so more seniors bludgeoned by this last Great Recession could take advantage of housing and food programs as it destroyed their savings, took their homes, and crashed their prime working years which lowered their SS. In many cases, it took an instant to lay-off and then often took years to be hired again. Remember those ads that refused to hire if one was out-of-work? My spouse served proudly during the Viet Nam conflict, but not even the government contractors would bring him on-board but expected him to hurry out-of-town at his own expense to attend their budget-burning training even before being paid a single day. He "worked" three days that time before THEIR plans changed.

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Response to Backseat Driver (Reply #6)

Fri Jul 19, 2019, 06:44 PM

7. Who's naive? I purposely said single-payer and not Medicare for All as I know...

Last edited Sat Jul 20, 2019, 01:28 AM - Edit history (3)

Medicare only pays 80%. Single-payer as done in countries with enough sense to have solved healthcare for its people many decades ago doesn't require any 20% costs being borne by citizens, be they seniors or toddlers.

Medicare for All is not the only way to do it, and if Medicare for All is instituted it will have to undergo changes so major it won't look anything like what Medicare is today. The big one being how do you pay for it since seniors who have it now paid into it during their working careers to be able to get in on turning 65.

That will be a monumental fix.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)


Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Fri Jul 19, 2019, 04:46 PM

5. Best wishes for your continued recovery. Financial complex PTSD

is a daily terrifying experience for me and DH. We've stood in those bankrupt shoes, but at this late stage of chronological existence, I have no doubt that that financial stress will eventually kill us both. Been more than a decade that I've tried to wrap my head around just what went wrong or by what criteria we've been "selected out." I suppose there's enough blame that could be tossed around, even without the hugely irresponsible policies of the GOP's corruption that sucked so many dry of decent jobs, wages, ability to pay for advanced education, and expensive decisions an "only child" need make for the care of their own Depression-era parent(s) who failed to take advantage of educational and investment opportunities. We tried to do our best and miserably failed to live up to the standards of our faux fundamentalist families or origin. Please know that I will be forever grateful if you choose candidates in the Democratic Party who have policies that can assist boomers, now seniors, and/or their kids in Gen X and Millenial groups, and even those more youthful, i.e., our grandchildren, whose parents did not benefit from corporate America's advancement into the Age of Information we embraced too strongly, leaning all the while on American values that were pitched but not acted upon or completely obstructed by the GOP in so many ways. Please don't say to get some professional help - they push expensive pills we can't afford and call us out for having hubris as if we ever thought ourselves elite or privileged - yep, we never accomplished anything worthwhile while claiming life, liberty, and responsible pursuit of happiness one actually said. My energy and mojo is tapped out. Plans for the future are laughable as we slide down the slippery slope of aging. I am counting on you to make it work now and in the future! Here's to your abundant financial security, growth, and good fortune!

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