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Old 08-30-2018, 10:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jobster View Post
Debra Poppelaars of Nashville, Tennessee, underwent spinal fusion surgery last fall and was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly thereafter. Although she is insured, she owes roughly $19,000 for her portion of the medical bills.

Between disability, a job change and the mounting debt, she hasnít been able to make ends meet and is now facing bankruptcy.

How does owing medical bills prevent you from making ends meet? You pay your rent, buy your groceries, fill the gas tank, THEN anything left over can go towards a medical bill. You don't make a big payment on a medical bill then be short on paying the rent.
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Old 08-30-2018, 10:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mysticaltyger View Post
How much money do people spend on these non-necessities?

Drugs
Alcohol
Tattoos
Pets
Kids (especially kids outside marriage).

Show me 100 dirt-poor people and I'll bet over 90 of them are saddled by more than one of those.
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Old 08-30-2018, 10:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by oceangaia View Post
Show me 100 dirt-poor people and I'll bet over 90 of them are saddled by more than one of those.
I donít think dirt poor people are the subject, they have always struggled. This is about the increasing numbers of working and middle class families struggling to make it. The middle class is rapidly disappearing.
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Old 08-30-2018, 10:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by oceangaia View Post
Show me 100 dirt-poor people and I'll bet over 90 of them are saddled by more than one of those.
Probably 90% of the entire population has had at least one of those.
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Old 08-30-2018, 11:03 PM
 
848 posts, read 293,286 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eeko156 View Post
In the originally posted case, the main problem is her age. I can't imagine looking for work after 60. I started noticing ageism around 45.
... and the fact that she could not cover less than $20k of co-pays.
How do you live a full working life and have pretty much nothing in savings?
That's the main problem.
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Old 08-30-2018, 11:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocnjgirl View Post
Probably 90% of the entire population has had at least one of those.

Which is fine if one can afford it.



And what the middle-class in this country calls "struggling to make it" exceeds the aspirations of about 5 billion people on this planet. It's called "life".
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Old 08-30-2018, 11:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShampooBanana View Post
I agree with mysticaltyger's assertion but with one caveat:

1. Must be able bodied and working

Obviously a stay at home mom is not going to be building up a retirement savings of her own if her husband is the one working. If they divorce or he passes on but was not good with money and has nothing to pay in alimony, division of assets, or in a will or trust, then she's SOL. At the same time, it was likely her choice to be a SAHM, so there's that.
Yes, that's a reasonable clarification.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShampooBanana View Post
If someone has the mental and physical capacity to work, however, it should such that people are educated in school at some point in time as to financial responsibility and how to ensure that they at least know how to save for the future, or even invest. Not likely to happen anytime really soon as there is a huge vested interest in our society for the rich who thrive off capitalism to ensure people spend all their money on what they are selling and that they remain wage slaves to them for as long as possible. I mean, that's how they became and continue to get richer, right?
Very true. The capitalists, however, aren't the only ones with a huge vested interest in keeping people financially ignorant and spending everything they make. The government also wants as many people broke and dependent on it as possible. It's how certain politicians stay in power. It's just one of many examples of how oppression functions across the political spectrum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShampooBanana View Post
But in this day and age, having the entirety of human knowledge essentially at your fingertips through the internet, it is very possible to easily learn in a short time how to properly save and invest so that you CAN achieve financial independence long before typical retirement ages. The info is out there. It's just a matter of choosing to believe it and having the desire to use it to achieve that goal.
Correct. Unfortunately, many people stick with the familiar and trust their broke and indebted friends and relatives more than all the research and knowledge that's out there.
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Old 08-31-2018, 12:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocnjgirl View Post
Investing assumes people make enough to pay all their bills and then have money left over. This is the problem and why it is so hard for so many. My mother worked full time while raising us alone after my father got sick, and my grandfather still had to subsidize our rent. My brother was an auto mechanic whose wife left him causing him to spend his working years paying for two households. There wasn’t a cent left to save let alone invest. He doesn’t have a big tv or even cable.

I know many people working two jobs and still struggling to pay normal bills.
As has been said so many times. The typical broke mindset is "I'll save/invest when I have money left over". That never works.

I know someone who makes around 20K a year, but she how has over 10k invested in a stock fund (plus 1k in savings), most of which was all saved in 2 years' time. It took me 20 years to convince here that you invest first and rightsize your bills later. Another friend of mine essentially told her the same thing in different words (as well as telling her to up her game in terms of work ethic) before it finally clicked.

Of course, the other thing the leaves people broke is poor choices in relationships. And not establishing boundaries with friends/family members who think they are entitled to what you have.

It's like Suze Orman used to say. First people, then money, then things. Most people put money last and then complain about the rich, or insist that there was no other way their situation could be different, etc. The people thing is tricky....It's good to put people first, but enabling other people's bad behavior isn't good for them or for you.

People who are serious about turning their financial lives around write down everything they spend for a month. Everyone insists that they don't waste money--but it's almost never true. After a month of writing down everything they've spent, they almost always see areas where they're blowing money and not getting much satisfaction for what they've spent. I don't even have to tell them. The see it for themselves.
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Old 08-31-2018, 12:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eeko156 View Post
Well, yes, I do agree with that. Unfortunately, for those of us that did not achieve this, it is REALLY hard job-hunting in your 50's and age is a huge barrier at that point.
Yes, it sucks.

Yet it has been this way for people in their 50s for something like 25 or more years now. It's time for people like yourself to send younger people the memo "Don't be like me". They won't listen to the better off people (It's always some version of "You had some special advantage most people don't have" or some other excuse).
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Old 08-31-2018, 12:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocnjgirl View Post
The thing is, you were born intelligent and with good financial sense, and in most cases, with parents and people around you having stocks, investing, etc. If you grow up in a lower income rural farm community, or blue collar or a lot of areas with less college educated people, and no one you've ever known personally has ever said a word about stocks and investing, and they take you to the mall to spend your birthday money, it wouldn't even occur to you that investing was something regular people did.
I don't disagree with that. Yet at the same time, the conversation needs to be "How do we turn this situation around?" But most of the time, these conversations have a very defeatist/fatalistic tone of "It's impossible. The rich are getting richer and screwing the little guy and nothing we can do about it". It's usually not true. Like I said, I know a guy from Latin America who works a low level retail job who saves. He doesn't know crap about money but he always put money in his 401k. He's not stupid, but he's also no genius; and he's certainly not well educated. Yet he figured it out to at least some degree. My own sister has probably had more than 2X the lifetime earnings I've had. Grew up in the same household as I did. Like me, no kids, divorces, no major life setbacks. Yet she has a fraction of the net worth I do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocnjgirl View Post
Neither my mother or my brother drink, have tattoos, pets (my brother had a dog when he was married though) or kids outside marriage. As I said, he was an auto mechanic paying for two households after his wife left, and my mom was forced into the workforce with 2 kids in 1967 when my father suffered a brain injury. Neither had a cent left over to put in the stock market nor had either had someone who taught them about money.
Well here's the thing. We can come up with endless anecdotes all day long. But do you really think we couldn't be doing better, collectively speaking, than we are in this regard? Are we really, as a country, giving it our reasonable best shot? I don't think we are. I. Just. Don't. Like Shampoo Banana said, the information is out there. Lots of people like to thumb their noses up at people like Dave Ramsey, and sometimes I agree with them. But people like Dave Ramsey are out there to serve people like the folks you describe. That's why he has stuff like Financial Peace University, for people to go and get social support. The support is out there, but you have to want it. You have to be willing to be the oddball.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocnjgirl View Post
I'm not saying it's not possible for people from poor areas to succeed, I know many, many will. My point was that cycles are hard to break and it's not as easy as "just do this". If it were easy to control our minds no one would be overweight or have any other controllable problem in this country. Just saying "Just eat less" is not enough, and this to me is the same. The issues are ingrained and internally programmed.
I certainly agree it's not easy. Yet it all goes back to that sense of fatalism and hopelessness. It seems like Americans used to have more of a "can do" spirit about them. Now, it's become very fatalistic, hopeless, helpless. I just don't remember it always being that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocnjgirl View Post
I don't think at it's core it's by choice, I think it's how we were designed.
This is our fundamental disagreement. I am the first to agree that changing our programming is hard. But I will never ever say it's not a choice at it's core. I just don't think we're mad enough, collectively speaking, to want to make the necessary changes to make positive things happen. Whether that be saving money, or throwing out the elite that we love to complain about. All of these things take sustained discipline over a long period of time. History and personal experience have shown that when people get tired of moving out of their personal comfort zones, they move. Unfortunately, things usually have to get really, really, bad before enough people are willing to make the necessary changes to better their lives. We're a crisis oriented species. But we don't have to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocnjgirl View Post
My brother still drives a car he bought in 1989. He doesn't have cable and he buys his clothes at Walmart. He doesn't go out, drink, smoke or gamble. But he spent his entire adult life living paycheck to paycheck and not even making it. Many of the CNA's in the nursing homes I work in work double shifts several times a week. I cannot even imagine coming in at 7am and not leaving until 11pm. And doing back-breaking work as well. I feel drained when I have to work 9 hours.
Here we go with the anecdotes again. We don't have a record of everyone's spending/life choices. So it all goes back to cherry picking the examples that support our pre-existing points of view.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocnjgirl View Post
When you start out at that point, it is hard to get out. You try to save a little, $25 a paycheck, then in the 3rd week the carborator goes on your car or you get a letter saying your share of the health insurance going up by $30 a check next year. You can't even open a bank account because you can't maintain $100 after you pay your bills. It is not going to occur to that person that the answer to all their problems is to invest in the stock market. They are just trying to get through another day.
I lived that life for 6-8 years. I'm not a stranger to it. What happened to me is I said "Enough. I'm not ever going to live like this again". You have to be mad as hell about it and then marry that with a willingness to do whatever it takes to get out. If you're fatalistic/complacent about it, forget it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocnjgirl View Post
I just feel like telling them to simply invest is a bit too "let them eat cake"
....And I feel like people who feel as you do often seem to think that everyone who isn't in a bad financial situation somehow magically got there because of special advantages. I don't deny such advantages exist. Yet at the same time, we have plenty of examples of people who had few advantages who are in a good place financially. People who want something different for themselves look for those examples of people with few advantages who broke the cycle....then they copied what those people did. All of this stuff is well documented these days. The information is out there, but you have to want it and you have to want to take action, to be different from the crowd.

I also wonder...does it ever occur to you that maybe people like me have tried to help some of the sorts of people you mention? I can tell you that it's personally very frustrating. I've tried to help people 'til I was blue in the face...but you know the old saying "You can lead a horse to water, but can't make 'em drink". The New Agey version of that goes something like "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear". I agree with both of those sayings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocnjgirl View Post
Life is not that simplistic, and it often does seem like life is stacked against you from that place.
Well, of course, things are stacked against us. That has been a constant throughout human history. But there are billions of us and there's a tiny elite running the show. At some point, we have to start questioning how that happens. You don't make any progress if you don't question the standard way things are done. And you have to start believing you aren't helpless. That's the biggest weapon the elite have against us...the idea that we're helpless and can't do anything about the systems of oppression they've set up for us. I refuse to believe that and never will. Saving money is only one piece of a much larger puzzle. But it all starts with believing that your actions matter. People who are conscientious and who have a lot of self control are much harder to manipulate than weak, undisciplined, fatalistic people. There's no way out of our predicament without self control and a strong desire to move out of our collective comfort zone.

Last edited by mysticaltyger; 08-31-2018 at 01:06 AM..
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