According to our overlords, you're broke because you eat lunch

Mattie

According to our capitalist overlords, you're broke because you eat lunch

In an article published in USA Today, the newspaper claimed that AmeIricans are indulging in too many ‘nonessential’ expenditures ... like having a midday meal

We live in what feels like permanently lean times. Forty-two per cent of American adults are at risk of retiring broke, a whopping 60% don’t have enough money saved to cover a $1,000 expense and the majority don’t expect their lot to improve in 2019. But fret no more, for the Nobel-worthy economists at LadderLife.com (“we make life insurance simple”) have figured out what’s holding you back from getting ahead, saving for retirement and taking out a lavish life insurance policy: lunch.

According to a study commissioned by the altruistic insurance website and reported by USA Today, the average American spends nearly $1,500 a month on “nonessential items” such as takeout or delivery, gym memberships, rideshares and “buying lunch”. So, food, exercise, transportation and ... um, food. Also on the chopping block: personal grooming (because hiring managers love an unkempt dirtbag), bottled water (think of your thirst as God’s way of punishing you for your poor financial planning) and TV or movie streaming services (forget “Netflix and chill”, it’s time for “stare at the wall and drool”). But who has time to watch movies anyway when you get up at 4am to walk to work because they defunded public transit in your area? Oh well, at least that takes care of exercise. Meeting a friend for drinks or coffee? Whatever you say, Warren Buffett.

oncludes Ladder cofounder Laura Hale said: “Trading off a couple of smaller short-term purchases per month can support a monthly policy payment. It can give you the longer-term satisfaction that comes from making sure your family is protected.” By “family”, I assume she means whatever pets you’re allowed to keep in the pods we will all soon live in, because those are the only kids a person with your budget and grooming habits is having. (Then again, maybe I shouldn’t underestimate the erotic potential of “stare at the wall and drool”.)

While this is obviously well-funded PR designed to shame you into buying insurance from LadderLife.com, legitimate outlets such as USA Today are uncritically presenting “the tendency to splurge consistently on nonessentials” as what’s “causing Americans to neglect their near-term savings” and “skimp on other important items” like – Jesus Christ – “life insurance”. (I hope the paper at least got some money for this.) The embedded ideological message: if you’re broke, it’s your own fault, so suck it up, make some air sandwiches, and whatever you do, don’t blame the system. Bootstraps! John Wayne! Horatio Alger!

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Carro

Um, buying lunch and getting Starbucks everyday is a luxury most shouldn't indulge in if they want to save money. Duh.

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THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

Rep. Katie Porter wrote the textbook.


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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

And she'll send you a copy if you'd like lol.

Love her.

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THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

Last month, during another standout performance, Porter put Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan through the wringer by questioning his bank’s commitment to transparency, given that the institution’s lawyers openly mocked such efforts in court.

“It’s convenient for your lawyers to deflect blame in court, and say your rebranding campaign can be ignored as hyperbolic marketing, but when then you come to Congress, you want us to take you at your word,” she said. “And I think that’s the disconnect, that’s why the American public has trouble trusting Wells Fargo.”

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Carro

Make lunch.

Cut the cord.

Take advantage of your city or county programs. You subsidize them.

Stop buying bottled water! Suddenly the Left wants more plastic in landfills?

Learn to do your own nails.

Go to Hair Cuttery.

Shop at Kohls, not Saks.


Poor babies. So deprived. Here's an idea- go to another country and see if you're better off.

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

Carro I think the point is that what were once easily attainable comforts are now being touted as luxuries that people should cut out to pay for necessities.

And when I see politicians denying the existence of crippling poverty (by saying that NO ONE in America goes to bed worried about how to feed their kids) I wonder how long we can expects state governments to support city or county programs. Most of those depend heavily on state and federal grants.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

You honestly believe that poor people shop at Saks and get their nails groomed by a professional --and that is why they are poor?

Is someone suffering from an impoverished imagination ?

Kate

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

Lol cross posted with you Ziemia.

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THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

If all your info comes from Faux.

The myth of the 'welfare queen' endures, and children pay the price
https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/glanton/ct-met-dahleen-glanton-welfare-queen-20180516-story.html


Chances are they’ve never crossed paths with her in a grocery store,
because they don’t shop in the same neighborhoods. But they’ve heard of
someone who knows someone who has seen her in the checkout line paying
for filet mignon and lobster with her government-issued debit card.

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sunflower_petal(5a)

"Cut the cord."

If you're talking about cell phones, you're out of date. Having a cell phone is now essential, especially if you want to be considered by employers.

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rhoder551 zone 9b-10

A lot of peoples eating at chick-fil-a. I don't think those eating there are the well-off... I'd like to see a thread suggesting we stop eating there so we can save money to retire instead of crowing about how much money a RWC owned company is raking in.

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Carro

Carro I think the point is that what were once easily attainable comforts are now being touted as luxuries that people should cut out to pay for necessities.

Huh? Bagged lunches were the norm! There was no cable, personal devices/screens, cable tv. These are all relatively recent amenities.

I once worked with a guy who at MREs or pb&j every.single.lunch.

For years. He was saving for a house. He bought house.

Choices, people. Choices.

People have been scrimping since forever. It's just not fashionable for the snowflakes, since the believe they deserve everything in a silver platter.

Sorry, pumpkins! Life is hard. You have to make choices and sacrifices!


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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

This article is not about cable tv or personal devices (which are in fact more or less a necessity for working people and students), or nail salons or Saks.

It is about take out and gym membership (both of which used to be attainable comforts even while saving for bigger purchases) and ride shares and buying lunch.

The middle class (the class who are thinking in terms of life insurance and don't have it yet, and who are not frequenting Saks) used to be able to buy occasional lunches out, afford a gym membership, AND still obtain life insurance. While saving for a home or retirement, no less.

I'm fully on board with living frugally and spending within your means.

I'm not on board with what used to be easily attainable comforts being newly defined as things that must be cut out in order to pay for something that also used to be easily attainable.

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Carro

It is about take out and gym membership (both of which used to be attainable comforts even while saving for bigger purchases) and ride shares and buying lunch.

Join a local center. Join a basic gym. Join the YMCA. Join a local exercise group.

Use public transportation.

Make your own lunch.

See how easy that is? It takes a whole lot more energy, and less problem solving, to take the time to whine about it!

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artemis_ma

Back, at least temporarily. I use some other parts of GW anyway.

The title of this is clickbait. At The Guardian.

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

Carro, it isn't that easy.

This article makes no distinction between gyms. Even the Y costs money. The suggestion isn't "join a more basic gym," it's "don't go to the gym." Gym membership used to be an attainable comfort. Not anymore?

Some communities have no public transit. As an example, to get from one boundary of my hometown to the other takes a 25 minute drive. The population is 12,000 and there is no public transit. Many people work in a larger city, again 20-40 minutes away depending on where you start and end. Again, no transit runs there. Cars are an absolute must and a good way to save money is carpooling--one of the things suggested to be eliminated. Car ownership or ridesharing used to be an attainable "comfort" (I would argue necessity). Not anymore?

Packing a lunch is great. That's a high priority in our household for many reasons. But we still have to buy the food. This article doesn't say "pack a lunch" it says "stop buying lunch." Maybe that's poorly worded and the author meant "stop buying lunches out."

Just as there is a moral "slippery slope," there is an economic one. And I see danger when I see politicians denying that crippling poverty exists at the same time that financial institutions start advising that in order to afford their plans, we must give up what was once easily attainable.

**Edited for typos

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JodiK

If the average American can't afford health insurance, how on earth could they afford life insurance?


Some people have what we call "unrealistic expectations".

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katrina_ellen

And this is attributed to capitalism how? Would you rather have your guaranteed income of $10,000 annually and the new green deal? Talk to someone in Venezuela how well socialism is working.

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sunflower_petal(5a)

Capitalism generally puts profits above all things, including the well-being of the employee. That affects wages, benefits, and other ways of treating them (like scheduling hours).

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artemis_ma

Katrina: And this is attributed to capitalism how? Would you rather have your guaranteed income of $10,000 annually and the new green deal? Talk to someone in Venezuela how well socialism is working.

I am NOT a socialist but deciding that discussing the Venezuelan system over the Scandinavian systems doesn't really lead us anywhere.

Oh, most anyone unless they have political necessity I hope has abandoned that New Green Deal nonsense. Even as a talking point.

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patriciae_gw(07)

The parameters of this article are the expectations of a middle class lifestyle which was assumed in the past to be attainable by most people in America but alas that isn't true. Lest we forget one working man used to be able to provide that life of home, food, car, ballet and piano lessons and even an at home mother but those days are gone. Working people expected to get lunch at the diner and in cities they even had inexpensive automats where working girls even expected to buy food for lunch. What happened?

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dockside_gw

As an adult for the last 30 years of my working life, I rarely ate lunch out, and only one year had a gym membership (a waste of money. IMO, as the hours I could go there, everyone else did and the machines and pool were heavily in use). I used to run a mile 3 times a week, and in my later years, walked that mile or used a treadmill ($150 on craigslist) at home. And buying water????? NEVER. A huge problem for the environment and expensive. Get a plastic, reusable bottle and fill it from the tap if you need to have water with you all the time.

I guess I am old school and still watch what I spend. Good grooming to me means keeping clean, applying a little makeup, and getting my hair cut at Great Clips every couple of months. And wearing attractive clothes (much of my current wardrobe is from thrift shops as they are fun to shop and I have bought some real bargains and get lots of compliments on my clothing). I have had my nails done once and I wasn't impressed as it wasn't as good a job as what I do myself.

IMO, there are a lot of expenses in that OP that are unnecessary. If one has the money, go ahead (but not buy water as it is terrible for the environment, but I repeat myself). But, if one needs money to save for their retirement, it is possible to put some away if one is presently spending money (that should otherwise be saved) on some of the needless items listed in the article.

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Mattie

Make lunch. Cut the cord. Take advantage of your city or county programs. You subsidize them. Stop buying bottled water! Suddenly the Left wants more plastic in landfills? Learn to do your own nails. Go to Hair Cuttery. Shop at Kohls, not Saks.

LOL

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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23)

Funny how nixing the giving of money to churches and politicians/political parties is never on any of the money saving lists!

As for bottled, or filtered, water, it depends upon where you live. Some tap water is not safe to drink. Some just tastes, smells and sometimes looks, awful. While traveling around the country, sometimes the local water is wonderful, and other times it upsets my stomach to such a degree that I cannot eat for fear of throwing up. Lucky you if you have great tap water where you live. IMO you don't get to be sanctimonious about bottled water, unless you drink water that makes you puke.

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Mattie

Rich white men telling the rest of us how to live our lives.

The privilege of the 1%

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

You're right dockside, but in some places buying bottled water IS a necessity. There are places in the United States with no access to clean drinking water. There are places with so many minerals or chemicals in the water that it is unpleasant to drink, to the point of being impossible. A person who can afford 25¢ for a bottle of water can't necessarily spend $100s/$1000s for a home filtration system to make their tap water palatable. Maybe they can afford $15-$45 for a Brita jug. But if they are needing to scrimp to afford life insurance, maybe not.

Clean, fresh drinking water is the second most fundamental need for sustaining life, right after clean, fresh air. And it used to be attainable.

(I agree that bottled water should be avoided whenever possible.)

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

Crossed with gyr_falcon.

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rhoder551 zone 9b-10

Supposedly my tap water is drinkable but it smells very strongly of something akin to chlorine. The smell is always there but really strong especially when I fill up my watering-can which holds 2 gallons and has a very narrow opening; the fumes waft up... No way am I drinking that water.

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jlhug

We had a counter top distiller that turned tap water into distilled water by the gallon. We used it when we lived in Puerto Rico,where the water was nasty. No need to buy bottled water. My insulated travel mug goes with me every time I leave the house for more than a couple of hours.


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tony jelly

But coalkills, this is what Republicans believe in, winners and losers and this is the bait they take that makes them refuse to help life's losers. The opportunity is there, they say and if you can't take advantage of it you are a loser and therefore not to be considered.

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THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

LOL.

In republo-land people working two jobs have gym memberships.

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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23)

jihuig, do you have one to recommend? The decent quality ones I've looked at are expensive. Along with replacing the filters and paying for the electricity, it does not seem to be a choice many people could make.

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rhoder551 zone 9b-10

My understanding.. most of the chemicals added to municipal drinking water cannot be removed with any of the inexpensive filtering gadgets.

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chase_gw

I have no issues wth people who make enough to plan for their retirements but choose to spend the money on things I might not consider.......their money, not my business.

My concern is for those who are barely making it and have nothing to cut back on.......they are the forgotten ones. They are the ones we depend on for the life style we live , yet we seem to think we owe them nothing. We owe them more than we think.


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Joaniepoanie

Mimi.....again your tone is that only Dems are spending recklessly, not saving, etc. and that only conservatives are sacrificing and making sensible choices. How people choose to spend their money has nothing to do with their political views or which party they belong to.

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jlhug

No filters in a distiller. It is a tank that boils a gallon of water and collects the water vapor which drips into a container. All the gunk is left as residue in the tank which you clean out. It removes many contaminates but dies remove many of them. I’m not sure that bottled water is contaminate free since some is opretty much bottled tap water.

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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23)

Is it only certain distillers? The ones I looked up required filters (usually charcoal); even the $500 distiller had some type of disposable filter.

RE the bottled water info: New York is notorious for having great tasting water. I don't live in NY. That is an extremely cheap tout in the article to compare bottled to NY tap. And no, I don't buy the bottled tap water. I'm aware of the bottled water's regs and quality issues. If distilling is really a viable option for me, I'm interested.

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judeNY_gw

Bagged lunches were the norm in a one-earner family where the wife/mother/homemaker was home and packed lunches for her working husband and school age children. Those days are long over except for the rich who aren't taking bagged lunches.

At a time when a couple easily more than two jobs and childres that just doesn't work.

It is the working poor who are suffering and no, they are not posting on this forum so get over yourself and your martyrdom.

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sableincal

-- If someone can't afford health insurance how on earth will he be able to afford life insurance? --

Life insurance is much less expensive than health insurance. Much less.

DH pays $400 - $500 a year for life insurance. A nice policy which we are about to cash in. He pays thousands of $$$ a year for health insurance.

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Stan Areted


JodiK

If the average American can't afford health insurance, how on earth could they afford life insurance?


Some people have what we call "unrealistic expectations".


sableinca:

Life insurance is much less expensive than health insurance. Much less.



Thanks, sable.

The problem isn't "unrealistic expectations."

The problem is dependency.

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tony jelly

Talk about unrealistic expectations, read the constitution and explain why anyone has to have health insurance and life insurance or chose one or the other in the richest country in the world ever?

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elvis

From the OP:

In an article published in USA Today, the newspaper claimed that AmeIricans [sic] are indulging in too many ‘nonessential’ expenditures ... like having a midday meal...

According to a study commissioned by the altruistic insurance website and reported by USA Today, the average American spends …

The subject article isn't talking about impoverished people, so those of you harping about that can just stop. Do try to stick to the real topic: "average Americans" and unnecessary spending.

Bringing one's lunch from home, exercising without a gym, buying inexpensive clothes (how many do you need, anyhow?), knocking it off with the takeout, cancelling the deluxe plan with your cable (try reading a book, free at the public library), are not hardships.

Suck it up, buttercups!

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chase_gw

"The subject article isn't talking about impoverished people, so those of you harping about that can just stop. Do try to stick to the real topic: "average Americans" and unnecessary spending."


Why should average working Americans have to follow anyone else's version of how they spend their own money ? Isn't it their business how they plan for their own retirement? As long as they aren't tapping your shoulder what do you care if they drink bottled water or buy lunch out ?

None of your business.

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studio10001

You tell em, Elvis. And if you really want to save big, follow the president's example, and stop paying taxes! :)

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Ann

Love, love, love dockside's comment! Exactly right!

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HamiltonGardener

I think this is about what one finds important in life.


For example, the article mentions life insurance, which I personally don’t find important. However, I do find retirement saving to be important. As such, I tend to shift my money toward that. Retirement savings, gardening, and travel, those are my important things.


And yes, I do things mentioned in the article like bagged lunches, (not difficult even in a two income family with a 3 hour a day commute), no gym membership, minimal fast food, inexpensive clothing, etc. This is how I afford the things I find important.


That said, different people find different things important. Someone with a young family may find life insurance more important than retirement saving. I have grown children so my priorities are different. Maybe avocado toast and dinners out are more important to you than retirement. That’s your choice. What about alcohol? I rarely drink but see many people around me who spend lots of money on nights out at a bar, or drinking at home after work. Or cigarettes. The amount of money spent on cigarettes would make a healthy retirement fund. But these things are up to the individual to decide what is most important to them, and spend their money accordingly. They earned the money, they can decide how to spend it.


So is the the article correct? Yes. I see it all the time. People would have a lot more money to spend on life insurance or retirement if they didn’t spend on lunches or gyms or bars or habits or hobbies.


But really, who’s to say from which they will derive the most happiness?

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Annie Deighnaugh

I've done this calculation before. If you stop at Starbucks for a cup of coffee and a muffin it will cost you at least $5 a day x 5 days a week = $25 x 50 weeks a year = $1250.

If you buy muffins at the grocery and make your coffee at home it will cost you $1.50 a day x 5 days a week = $7.5 x 50 weeks a year = $375. That would save you $875 a year which is substantial....probably a rent or mortgage payment for many.

Do the same thing with making lunch at home vs buying it out and you can build a nice little nest egg. Throw in dinners and it becomes substantial.

Of course, then you have to *save* that money...not spend it on something else along the way.

We were always savers ...heck even in retirement, we are still saving money. It was shocking to me to see how many people were strapped for even food during the govt shutdown. The rule of thumb I was taught was that one should always keep 6 mos. of earnings in liquidity just in case. But for so many, they run their financial system so on the edge that even a brake job on their car is enough to topple it. Not good.

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tony jelly

Beyond its obvious pitch to sell life insurance what can we learn from that OP?

Almost one third of Americans live in, or close to poverty, evidently this is their fault. A few people are extremely wealthy due to them being brilliant and making all the right life decisions and this opportunity is open to everyone. If you fail to make these type of decisions and are not brilliant you will bring the country down if you expect equity. What you must do instead is see your condition as self inflicted and stop whining, cut back and carry on.


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Annie Deighnaugh

tony, I disagree. I think that there are a *lot* of people at all income levels who make unsound financial choices. (Take a look at how trump lost a billion despite being handed hundreds of millions from his father.) Not sure how much is due to personality, knowledge of financial matters especially things like investing and compounding, a lack of discipline, foolishness or whatever.

My brother married his wife the year before I did, they bought a 3-family house, lived on one floor and rented out the other two which paid for his mortgage and taxes. We married, bought a single family house and paid the mortgage and taxes out of our income. The two of them were working and their income together was about the same as our income together. Yet somehow they were short of money. We had savings and lived comfortably.

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Annie Deighnaugh

I think smoking is a huge deal when it comes to savings. If it's 2 packs a day and $13 per pack, it's $9,500 a year! You'd have to make over $12,000 a year pre tax to afford that. A true indulgence!

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tony jelly

There is agreement Annie, I believe, as you do that had Trump not been born into money he would never have had any.

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Ann

Going out to dinner (and/or lunch) often is also a huge deal when it comes to savings!


The one thing I indulge in within the OP list is a gym membership. I'm a big believer in exercise and I've had a very affordable gym membership for nearly 30 years. I have used it 4-5 days a week for all those years and, since he retired, my husband religiously uses it 7 days a week. So, I think it's more than worth its small monthly fee (until Medicare when Silver Sneakers will be part of my Medicare Supplemental and gym memberships will be covered). I also walk, hike, swim, and golf, but an hour or longer visit to the gym gives me the opportunity to incorporate more cardio, weights, and important stretching into the mix. Taking care of one's health is about the nicest gift we can give to ourselves and our families IMO. The ability to remain in one's home, stay mobile, clean your own house, do your own gardening, etc. (all possible and prolonged by good regular exercise) - I think will ultimately lead to some of the best financial savings along with all the other many benefits and enjoyable times spent with spouses, children and grandchildren in family sports. I'm going to a family get together today and if basketball, football or some other idea is suggested as is often the case, these grandparents are in.

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Stan Areted

Life insurance is important to some, of course not everyone with savings, children that don't need money from their parents, or money to pay estate taxes

I know a young mother with three children under the age of five whose husband suddenly died at age 35.

He didn't have life insurance. He could have, just did not.

That one lapse of judgment cost a family a lot of heartache and worry and continues to have repercussions.


The words from LadderLife were a sales pitch as well as good advice.

Nowhere did I read that they contended, "you're broke because you have lunch" but then I don't expect accuracy from a liberal millennial writer with an axe to grind, and an arrogant, defensive millennial at that that complains about people "at the top" at the lunch counter. I wonder how long it took her to come up with some irrelevant statement to work in that cute term she thought of, probably just after putting on that bright red liptick perhaps to emulate AOC. ;)

People can learn from it the advice, actually. If they can afford Starbucks every day (and I don't know why, we can make a much, much better cup of coffee at our own homes) and lunch out and still save, that's their business.

But when people file bankruptcy because they live on the edge, carry too much debt, and still indulge themselves with non essentials and others wind up holding the bill in one way or the other--that's irresponsible and in some cases, morally wrong.


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Ann

Yup, you need to live within your means! If those means change with increased pay over the years, you can up those means within reason. But, many (like several who have commented on this thread) continue with the habit of excellent budgeting and doing without all sorts of unnecessary habits.

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Ann

Life insurance was a sensible must for us at one point in our lives, but when it wasn't anymore, we quit paying for it.

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

Testing

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judeNY_gw

Lots of sanctimony being displayed. Your decision to spend is of course justifiable. Arrogance personified. Just like the cult leader. Ugh.

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chase_gw

"continue with the habit of excellent budgeting and doing without all sorts of unnecessary habits."

Having budgeted, watched what we spent , forgoing things we would have liked to do, or have, for many, many years (not that we we were very hard done by most years, although there were some very tough times early on) I have every intention of enjoying the fruits of all that we worked for and not continue those same frugal ways.

We do what we want. when we want and we don't think about the cost...within our means of course...but things we never would have done and money we never would have spent, per-retirement.

It's either that or leave it to my kids and that's not happening!

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elvis


judeNY_gw

Lots of sanctimony being displayed

Aw c'mon, jude. We have some common ground here, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with a little self-congratulation now and then to reward ourselves for getting something right.

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koyse
“But when people file bankruptcy because they live on the edge, carry too much debt, and still indulge themselves with non essentials and others wind up holding the bill in one way or the other—that’s irresponsible and in some cases, morally wrong.”

^^^This reminds me of a certain someone who currently lives in a big white house in the District of Columbia.
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chase_gw

.........rent free.

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Ann

Chase, why wouldn't you want to leave money to your kids? I sure hope to.

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chase_gw

I didn't say that.......

They will be fine but not at the price of me not doing what I wish while I am healthy and still have a bucket list. No spending decision we make is predicated on how much that leaves for the kids.......none.


Edited

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patriciae_gw(07)

I have been notoriously frugal in my life. I made my lunch and sewed my clothes and thrift shopped before it became popular, never paid full price, did without frills gardened for real, and always had savings but I cant say it made me rich or even well off. I wondered how people with children managed. It seemed impossible. Shoes alone would bankrupt you. I have been the Queen of deals in my indulgences. Not everyone can luck on four looms and a thousand dollars worth of other equipment for$50 at an auction. I sold one of the looms for $650 and gave two away to people who needed one(pay it forward) plus boxes of warp thread. I kept the Baby Wolf. Sigh. Still not rich. I never buy Starbucks or any of the other brands of drive through coffee available here. I do all my own cooking and don't belong to a gym. People like me do not hold up our end of the financial spectrum, the one that floats America. We don't spend. Who is going to buy all the stuff that pays the bills for people who sell stuff is no one can afford to buy it?

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Mattie

Buying ingredients to make lunches is expensive, and can easily cost as much, or more than the price of lunch bought if there is only one person.

How much do you spend on groceries in a week?

And if the ingredient aren't used up quickly, they have to be thrown away.

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Ann

Patriciae, do you weave on those looms now? Many, many years ago, I had a neighbor with a room dedicated to her large loom and she made such beautiful things. I decided to give weaving a try and, based on her advice, purchased a Dorset loom. I never got very good on it, but made some items. I sold that loom after a few years.

I so admire those with good weaving skills!

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Ann

My grocery bill is quite good, but I buy many items at Sprouts and get a good savings that way. Then, at Safeway, I click Just 4 You coupons online each week. I go to both stores each week to take advantage of the best deals each store offers. I'm only cooking for 2 so that helps a lot, but we do very well with grocery costs.

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patriciae_gw(07)

Yes Ann, I still weave, not just recently as I hadn't been well enough. I have three looms I use, you cant have just one. One weaves 60" and has eight harnesses. Your Dorset is a direct tie so it limits your tie up. I like to weave lace. You can weave lace on four but a direct tie makes treadling a challenge. A Baby wolf is about the same size as yours, studier but still folding with a better jacking system. More expensive. I am self taught. Most people benefit from lessons. I was too cheap to pay for lessons and am mechanically inclined. Weaving can be a very expensive hobby hence bringing it up here. It could blow gym memberships and lunch out of the water if you paid full price. Replacing my "free" loom would cost $1800. My favorite fiber is linen. ouch.

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chase_gw

No idea what my grocery bills is......it is whatever it is.

For years and years I made my weekly menu up based on coupons and flyers, now I make up my weekly menu based on what we want and it's a welcome bonus if the products I want for the week are on sale.

Having said that , I have a good eye for prices so if I see something on sale for a really good price I buy it and stick it in the freezer or alter the menu. I love the 30% off "enjoy tonight" meat specials and always buy those when I see them. As a matter of fact right now I am making a HUGE batch of meatballs as well as spaghetti sauce using ground meats I bought last week.

The kids love it when Mom goes on a cooking binge!!!

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chase_gw

Patriciae, I understand when you say "ouch" to linen. I am a traditional rug hooker ( not latch ) and I prefer linen backings...ouch!

Hope your health issues are passing.....our hobbies are so important to our overall well being.

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HamiltonGardener

I don’t plan on leaving anything to the kids. If I have done my job right, my kids won’t need any money when I die. That leaves me free to enjoy the life I have worked for... and perhaps cover expenses should I live to a ripe old age and need a retirement home.


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patriciae_gw(07)

Thanks, I am considerably better these days, building back the stamina to do anything. It is a continuing issue.

Hobbies and amusements have to be the most dispensable of our expenses. For years I haunted thrifts looking for cones of useful yarns, watched for going out of business sales and for weavers the infamous Dead Weaver sale. I will cut up very well I am sure. I could weave the rest of my life on my stash. I pass good really bargains in fine wools along to others when I find them. I haven't woven wool in years. I am lucky and I like to pass it along. I like the idea of a poor weaver not having to do without lunch so they can weave. I should mention another bonus I got out of that loom deal. One of the looms needed some repairs and I heard about a guy who did some woodworking in his spare time. I contacted him and not only did he fix the loom for free but we are married now. Pay it forward.

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chase_gw

What a lovely story..

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chase_gw

Agree HG, if my kids need , or want, my money I have not done my job. Having said that, they are welcome to what is leftover when I am done.........and I'm nowhere near done.

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HamiltonGardener

Yeah...me neither.

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texanjana(8)

Hamilton Gardener-“If I have done my job right my kids won’t need any money when I die.”

So I guess I must have done everything wrong since one of my three children developed a disabling mental illness at age 19? Unfortunately, he will need our money when we die which is why we set up a special needs trust for him. Not everyone won the lottery with their kids, you know...


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chase_gw

Texan.....totally different situation. If I had a child or grandchild with special needs my choices would be entirely different. They would be financially supported for life , even at the expense of our other children and us.

I can't imagine what you have gone through but I admire your commitment to your child...I would do the same..but thank God I wasn' t dealt that hand.

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Mattie

But when people file bankruptcy because ..........

....they are overwhelmed by medical bills

That is the most common reason for people to file for bankruptcy and it has nothing to do with buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

"Life insurance was a sensible must for us at one point in our lives, but when it wasn't anymore, we quit paying for it."

Ann (or anyone else, of course), when life insurance was a sensible must for you how difficult was it for you to obtain? Did you have to give up basic comforts like meals out and a gym membership to afford it?

I'm asking sincerely, as I am at a point in life that life insurance is a sensible must. We've been fortunate to be able to get it affordably through programs offered by my husband's employer. I don't know what situation others face.

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elvis

....they are overwhelmed by medical bills

That is the most common reason for people to file for bankruptcy and it has nothing to do with buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks

Well, it takes more than just one of those coffees. First off, Obama's 62% number was way too high.

Researchers disagree on how much medical bills cause bankruptcies. The biggest problem in answering the question is that those filing for bankruptcy aren't required to state the reason. As a result, estimates are based on surveys. The methodology differs from study to study. It depends on how the researchers and the survey respondents define medical debt.

Second, a variety of factors cause bankruptcies. Most people with medical debt have other debt. They may also have low income, little savings, and job losses. That makes it difficult to determine whether the bankruptcy was because of medical debt alone. For example, the Kaiser Family Foundation study found that only 3 percent said their bankruptcy was because of medical debt. But another 8 percent said it was because of a combination of medical and other debt.

https://www.thebalance.com/medical-bankruptcy-statistics-4154729

In the end it comes down to having too much money going out, and not enough coming in. There are ways to predict this and protect yourself; by looking at how others have struggled, and building up emergency funds. There are many reasons why taxpayers are forced-or choose-to declare bankruptcy. But many times, common sense, sound financial planning and preparation for the future can head off this problem before it becomes inevitable. Those who are contemplating this possibility should seek a credit counselor or financial planner before choosing this alternative.

https://www.investopedia.com/slide-show/top-5-reasons-why-people-go-bankrupt/?article=1

A big reason so many people wind up in debt over medical issues is that they don't have adequate savings to cover an unexpected cost. According to a recent GoBankingRates survey, 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, while 34% have no money in the bank whatsoever. But there's a reason we're all advised to sock away enough savings to cover three to six months' worth of living expenses. Even those of us with insurance are vulnerable in the face of a costly injury or illness, and without ample savings, collectively, we're taking a pretty big risk.

That said, there are things you can do to ramp up your savings, which can help you avoid medical debt that might ultimately result in bankruptcy. For starters, create a budget so you can accurately track your spending and identify ways to cut corners. Next, reduce your spending for all categories that aren't essential living expenses. These include leisure, restaurant meals, and even cable (you can probably downgrade your current package and still enjoy your share of TV).

If that doesn't do the trick, then you'll need to consider more significant changes, such as downsizing your living space, unloading a vehicle, or working a side job to generate extra income. The key is to save up enough money so you're protected at all times.

https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/05/01/this-is-the-no-1-reason-americans-file-for-bankrup.aspx

Points

  • Two-thirds of people who file for bankruptcy cite medical issues as a key contributor to their financial downfall.
  • While the high cost of health care has historically been a trigger for bankruptcy filings, the research shows that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has not improved things.
  • What most people do not realize, according to one researcher, is that their health insurance may not be enough to protect them.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/11/this-is-the-real-reason-most-americans-file-for-bankruptcy.html


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Ann

Lindsey, we also got it through my husband's employer. It was one of the several deductions from his paycheck. It was very easy to obtain in that it was an option for all employees where he worked. The higher the policy amount, the more the premium, of course. We didn't give up anything to have it, but meals out were rare for us then and still are. We like to eat at home and always have. I enjoy a night a week off from cooking, but for us, that usually consists of Chipotle (my favorite fast food place) or Papa Murphy's pizza we bake at home. We get an inexpensive cheese pizza and while my husband drives the short distance to pick it up, I cut up 6 or 7 different vege toppings in just a few minutes and we turn it into quite a nice vege pie. I've always felt like going out to dinner simply costs a fortune, the serving sizes are sometimes bigger than I like, restaurants can be loud, a glass of inexpensive wine is about $8, and I could go on with a long list of other restaurant annoyances:)

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elvis

Amen, sister!

If we eat out once a month or so, it's a big deal. I'd rather know exactly what I'm eating, thank you very much. Do you think the employees really wash their hands?

Also, as Ann said, portions are too big. We don't want any part of all that waste.

That said, we have a very nice French restaurant so when we do very occasionally eat out, it's there, and it's way too expensive, but at least it's wonderful. Gulp. We're um, very thrifty.

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Cai Ballantyne

So, just a poor millenial here, at the top end of the age range. I hit the age to work in 2006. As the 2008 recession hit keeping my chin above water was not always possible. I have lived rough and in dire housing situations . Keeping a roof over my head let alone eating was a problem. And I was blessed to not have the crippling student debt that most of my peers had. Putting together a nest egg or emergency fund when you are already in crisis is nearly impossible. It's not about cups of coffee. And I put it out there that once in a while a cup of coffee and muffin was my one humanizing act.

I am in what is considered better finacial standing now. Nearly middle class, but security for most in my bracket myself included is tenuous.

Cost or child care, healthcare, rent/mortgages and actual daily living are exorbitant.

You can live in austerity.( Right now I'm putting years of practice back to use so I can afford a house. ) But having to forgo all the small luxuries of life, in my prime, while raising children seems a cruel way to guarentee my middle and old age.

Weaving for the win.

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elvis

I imagine it would be. We didn't even have a dog, couldn't afford it--much less children. Good luck to you.

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

Thanks for answering Ann.

I think your story juxtaposed with Cai's illustrates why there are danger signs in my brain.

We live in an incredibly affluent time, in a country (whether Canada or US) that should be so easy to succeed in.

Why are people having to forego cups of coffee (still less than $3 at my local Starbucks) and lunches out in order to afford something as mundane as life insurance?

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HamiltonGardener

Texanjana,

Not sure why you took such offence to my comment, but some people are just looking for something to take offence. My answer is roughly the same as Chase.


Of course there is the possibility of an extenuating circumstance. If your child ends up with a crippling illness or injury, of course it doesn’t mean that you “haven’t done your job right”. That should be evident to anyone.


Maybe my child will pass away early and I will have nobody but charity to leave money to. Maybe I will get hit by a bus tomorrow and my kid will inherit everything, including my retirement savings. Or maybe we will both live on, capable of working. In that likely case, if he wants or needs my retirement money, then I have failed at my job.


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HamiltonGardener

Ann,

I agree about noisy restaurants. Not just the patrons, but why have restaurants started to play the music so loud it’s like being in a bar?


I know, I sound like a grumpy old person, but turn the darn music down! I want to talk to y dinner companions, not yell at them.

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Ann

I actually enjoy budgeting very much. It was an absolute necessity when we were young parents, and now it's a leftover, but firmly instilled habit. I can't (and don't want to) shake it. I recently learned that Walgreens has a senior's day (for people 60 and older) on the first Tuesday of every month. I LOVE it! I have an ongoing list of things like toothpaste and floss, birthday cards, sunscreen, sticky notes, etc. My husband laughs at the enjoyment I get from saving on necessities on senior's day.

I want my kids to inherit money from me when I die. Not because they'll need it (they won't as they took all the right steps and have done just great in managing their own lives), but because I just think it will be nice for them (who wouldn't like and appreciate extra money?) and they bring such tremendous joy to my life. I don't want to forego things to accomplish that, but I also don't feel any need to live bigger myself.

I do have one indulgence (and it's not a gym membership because that's very inexpensive). Like HG has mentioned on a previous thread, it's travel. I didn't get my first passport until after age 60 and I'm thoroughly enjoying seeing amazing places in this world. So, I'll continue doing some nice travel (but not too often because I love home so much) while I'm healthy and young (lol, but I'm still very healthy and don't feel old yet, so yeah, young).

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jlhug

Mattie, if one spends $5 on lunch five days a week, that is $25 a week. For less than half that, I can buy a loaf of bread, meat, cheese, a big bag of chips or a bunch of carrots and have lunches for a week. I usually take a salad with fresh veggies and use leftover protein from dinner the night before. I don’t think my home made lunches have ever cost me $25 a week. I don’t throw away much food.


Portion size in restaurants is a problem for us. DH and I usually split a meal if we are together (tips are increased so the server is compensated as if there were two meals purchased).

We always used the “spend a third, save a third and invest a third” theory for any increases in take home pay.

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Ann

For all the years I worked, I always packed a lunch. It saved a ton of money and allowed me to use the majority of the lunch hour for exercise, which was important when life was very busy with kids and full time work. It was hard to fit in enough exercise during what was already limited family time.

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Mattie

For less than half that, I can buy a loaf of bread, meat, cheese, a big bag of chips or a bunch of carrots and have lunches for a week.


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Mattie


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tryingtounderstand

Hold on to your wallets if you dare or desire to cross into the 49th ):




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patriciae_gw(07)

Medical bankruptcies.

How many of you could forgo an income for a year or more as you deal with a major medical incident? That would be some savings and remember you have some serious medical expenses at the same time if you have crappy insurance, heaven forbid no medical insurance. too many Americans face this parameter. How about having to do it when you are young, have very little savings and children to raise.

I agree that too many people take short term pleasures instead of putting aside for long term security. Part of the problem is never seeing a day coming when you get to have some extras over and above survival mode. I feel fortunate that I have never been a wanty person, nor do I feel the need to treat myself in order to feel good but as I said before it is people spending superfluous money that floats our economy. If people don't buy those fancy sheets or that decorative doohickey how are the sheet and doohickey sellers to make enough money to pay taxes.

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HamiltonGardener

Ann,

We seem to agree that it’s everyone’s personal preferences to decide how to spend their money. You choose to save and give it to your kids. Awesome.


And travel. I understand you there. In fact, I wrote my last post on this thread this morning from England. Now I sit here on the GO bus from the airport in Toronto. A week of travel over and I feel it is well spent money. Rather spend it on this than takeout food or gym memberships. I would rather pack a lunch or go outdoors to get my exercise.

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marquest(PA zone 6)

Hamilton so true . How other's spend their money just does not work.


Some can plan meals to have left overs to take for lunch, they bake and always have a desert, fruit is always in their fridge, can workout at home in the garden without a gym, etc, etc. There is no way anyone can walk in another person's shoes and make a flat statement that they can give up______fill in the blank.


It can be suggested but it may be impossible to do. Some people cannot cook, some need a gym to motivate them to exercise, do not garden, do not have the time nor do they want to make the time to plan meals around lunch/dinner, want to save for their children, don't want to save for their children. It is all choice.

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elvis

Yes, choices. Some choose to take chances and may suffer the consequences. As long as it's on them, I don't mind.

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Ann

I agree Elvis. I'm very supportive of people making their own choices, but not supportive of turning into the backstop for those who chose to not be cautious and sensible. That's a very different situation than those truly in need.

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Embothrium(Sunset Climate Zone 5, USDA Hardiness Zone 8)

After my mother died Medicare sent me a statement that said her last two months (in and out of hospitals, the rest of the time in a nursing facility) cost $150,000. That was in 2011.

I wonder how many of the right wingers here are watching the PBS Les Miserables and cheering for Javert.

Any American cheese that is made from hydrogenated oils should absolutely never be eaten. Preserved meats are about the worst thing one can eat also.

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maifleur01

Having just returned from eleven days in Hawaii and while there receiving a call from my SSon where he was crying like someone had died. His problem was the court told him he had to pay for things that he had agreed to pay for when he divorced his first wife. He wanted his inheritance now. I had already told him his inheritance was small. Not even certain that there will be anything legally his other than the small amount remaining in the personal account that had to be set up for his father's income to go to. The rest I was named as beneficiary. I will send him what his father and I agreed to from a small family insurance plan but there is no way he is getting more than he is legally entitled to until I am dead. If I die broke that is fine with me.

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marquest(PA zone 6)

Maybe because I had a small family I always had left over dinner for lunch. Bake Chicken, stuffed Cabbage, Stuffed peppers, ham, lasanga, speghetti, Make a roast you can slice and make a sandwich. There are so many things you can take for lunch. Pop it in the microwave eat and have time to walk around or sit in a corner and relax.


I want my daughter to have more than I have. I think of it as leaving her something to add to what she has accumulated. So she will get the property, jewelry and whatever is left of my savings. I do not have to sacrifice anything I want now and still leave her something. I told her she better not bury any diamonds or gold. I do not have British Royal volt collection but I have a good bit that she can sale if she wants to add to her cash stash.

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Ann

Me too marquest - I want my children to have more than I have.

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maifleur01

I have always thought the real idea of having children was to raise them so that they could do better than you were able to, not to guarantee them something after you are gone. Leaving something is nice but if like many do you deny yourself things that would make your life better has never made much sense to me. I have seen too many deny themselves so much to leave their children something the children do not want. Things like staying in a house that you are unable to repair or living without heat or ac to build that bank account. The only thing most responsible children would think was why didn't their parents use the money to make their lives more enjoyable.

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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

I almost always have left overs from the weekend meals to cover at least a couple lunches early in the week. Right now my lettuce harvest is coming in fast and heavy so I'll be bringing salads every day for lunch for the next few weeks.

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elvis

He wanted his inheritance now.

That's just sad. I am sorry. I'd cut that little sucker out completely, after that!

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Carro

A parent should keep their wealth and assetts until they pass. I can't imagine asking for money from a parent, when you just never know if they'll need assisted living or a nursing home. I'd want my parent in the best place possible, and that's expensive.

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Ann

I'd be quite annoyed if one of my children asked for inheritance too! But, that won't ever happen so I won't experience that.

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Ann

Maifleur, I'm sorry that happened to you also. I haven't had that experience, but I had a family member who had a similar, but worse, experience and had an even stronger reaction than you did. I thought their strong reaction was very appropriate.

ETA: I hope you had a wonderful vacation in Hawaii!

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Stan Areted

malifleur01, I hope you stay strong and enjoy yourself with YOUR money.

I hope that you had a fantastic time in Hawaii.

I'm astounded by the adults that begin thinking about how to move mom's money around to get their grubby hands on it--in laws, children, grandchildren, taking things before they even die.

In the event of my death my issue will inherit what I have.

My decisions are not made at all on how much will be left.

The worst thing, in my opinion, is for grown people to be thinking and planning to inherit someone else's money. I've seen it before--gifts for down payments on houses, college paid for grandchildren, paying the entire family's expenses on family vacations, some I know even paid 40+ year old's credit card debt down. Then they start to think what the can afford it mom/dad/ are gone. There are those that start taking assets before the parents are even dead.

UNBELIEVABLE.

Often, parents indulge these childish adults and put themselves in precarious financial positions later in life.

It's one more reason parents should do their job and make children understand how money works, involve them in allowances, jobs and earning money, saving, charity, and purchasing their needs and then if anything is left over after that, their wants.

Do it early enough, talk with them about it and their decisions, pros and cons, and they'll be good. My grown children have NEVER asked me for a dime. Doesn't mean I don't give gifts now and then--but not necessities. They should pay for their necessities and do. They know how to be very frugal because I taught them. They know how to make a good decision about whether to splurge or not and what to splurge on.

Mediocrity from parents not doing their job is hurting everyone now.

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elvis

For those of us who can say we raised them right, and the children are good people, it's wonderful. In all fairness though, it's important to know that no matter what "a good job" we've done, sometimes the children are simply not good people. We love them, but may not actually like or respect them simply as the people they are.

It is sad, but not as unusual as we would all like and hope for. Such is life. Once the children are adults, you have to take care of you.

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Ann

Stan, my children aren't nearly as frugal as I was. I think it's a generational thing. Many kids and young adults these days think they need nearly every gadget available on the market.

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Carro

Ann, hence the message to make your own coffee and lunch. Little things add up.

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marquest(PA zone 6)

I do not think it is bad if you can do the things you want/need and leaving your kids something IMO is not harmful. I was lucky and blessed that I was able to do things along the way as I was growing older vs working and saving to do things in old age. I saw to many people say I will do that when I retire and die soon after retirement. That is the worst,


Forty yrs of sacrifice and you get a few yrs to try to run through your money is what I do not understand. I lived life balance.

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Stan Areted

One thing for certain--outcomes are not guaranteed.

Three children reared in the same household pretty much with the same values and experiences can make vastly different decisions and have different outcomes, even after accounting for unforeseen illness, mental illness, trauma, physical illness, and problems in childhood and adolescence.

I happen to believe that although outcomes are not guaranteed, and that less than desirable lives do not necessarily mean a parent did not do the right things or try, we wouldn't have nearly the amount of people making poor decisions in relationships, having children, saving money, and making financial and other important decisions if more parents made it a priority. It is not the occasional aberration that is the problem, it is a trend that I believe is a problem.

Marquest, you probably have it right,

I know several people who saved and saved and lived below their means and died just before or after retirement.

You can't take it with you

Unless you get gold teeth.

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Embothrium(Sunset Climate Zone 5, USDA Hardiness Zone 8)

When a cousin moved on to other things after being a real estate agent for some years it had gotten to the point that many, if not most of her clients were elderly people selling homes they had originally planned to die in.

Why?

Huge medical bills.

There really is a problem with things being structured in this country so as to feed boundless corporate appetites, at the expense of the general welfare. With everything flowing to a few at the top, just like it was a dictatorship or corrupt monarchy.

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Ann

Embothrium, most elderly people are on Medicare and, if not, on Medicaid. so I don't get the logic of the real estate agent. Why huge medical bills for Medicare recipients. Possibly nursing home expenses? Is that what you mean?

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JodiK

"There really is a problem with things being structured in this country so as to feed huge corporate appetites, at the expense of the general welfare."

Absolutely. The bigger picture is one of an unquenchable thirst for wealth, power... or both... at the expense of the general public. We are, at this point, looking more and more like a police state with an unsupportable economy of consumerism. Such an economy has an expiration date.


Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect that most people have the ability to put themselves in the shoes of others, empathetic to the idea that hard work does not always place one in the life they dreamed of, the life they deserve, or worked so hard to attain.


It only takes one patch of poor luck, one illness or one accident, one tight financial spot to throw everything off center, spiraling toward poverty, toward losing one's home, etc. We are not all born into old money, or even new money. We are not all born with the capacity to reach that 1%. Some of us have had to do more than sacrifice a little, and have found we have no control where illness takes us... we manage, and luckily for us, we don't need or want very much out of what is a very materialistic world.


The obvious priorities of our American culture seem to be skewed...

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HamiltonGardener

Well medical expenses can add up here as well (Canada) though admittedly not like in the USA.


But, from what I understand, your Social Security provides better coverage than our CPP / OAS

CPP was meant to provide approximately 1/4 of your working income, to a maximum.

The maximum CPP/OAS is approx $1,756 per month, but that depends on what you earned in your working life.


Social Security is better, correct?

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sunflower_petal(5a)



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sunflower_petal(5a)

Hamilton, if by better you mean can Social Security pay more than that ... then yes. But there are different levels of benefit depending on when you choose to start drawing Social Security. If you can wait all the way until age 70 to start, then your payment is the highest it could be (still based on your income). If you can't wait that long (and many people can't because they don't have savings or don't want to work until they are 70), then you make do with less ... forever. The earliest you can start is age 62, the next level is 66 (or 67 depending your age, I think). If you start at 65 then you get the same check as if you started at 62. Some people use a financial planner to help them figure it out!

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Stan Areted


Because one is a failure of planning and management.

The other is not a failure, it is what the market will bear.


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sunflower_petal(5a)

" The other is not a failure, it is what the market will bear. "

Absolutely, it is perfectly legal to pay your employees as little as you can get away with. We know that. That's why we have minimum wage, unions, and lawyers.


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HamiltonGardener

Sunflower,

It’s the same for us here. If you wait until 70 you can collect more, and if you collect early, as early as 60, then you get less. It’s prorated up and down per month before or after 65. My numbers use the baseline of 65. We pay CPP premiums on amounts up to $57,400 in income for this year. After that no premium is collected.

To collect our maximum is pretty much the same for CPP, except that we get to “drop out” our lowest income years (about 8 years) and primary caregivers of children (usually mothers) can drop out the years raising children (7 years after each child is born) so only the highest income years are used in the calculation.

The OAS portion is based on how many years you lived in Canada after age 18. This portion is given to everyone who qualifies even if they have never worked.


There is is also a supplemental amount given to the lowest income people to make sure they at least receive a minimum amount.


But it was never meant to cover your full retirement. It was meant to supplement your personal savings or company pension.

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elvis

sunflower_petal(5a)

" The other is not a failure, it is what the market will bear. "

Absolutely, it is perfectly legal to pay your employees as little as you can get away with. We know that.

Isn't that why many hypocrites want open borders?

HG wrote: But it was never meant to cover your full retirement. It was meant to supplement your personal savings or company pension.

Same with SS.

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sunflower_petal(5a)

That's why some people are fine with employing illegal people because they know they can pay them less. And that's why I am for imposing huge penalties on employers who employ illegals and have repeated used the dairy and meatpacking farms as industries who knowingly have illegals but who are not busted by feds. https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a23471864/devin-nunes-family-farm-iowa-california/


We have some people who say they are against illegal immigration but like the wage savings that using them brings. We even had one poster (j4) who said he was ok with not figuring out if someone he hired was legal, as long as the price was good. That sounds like a hypocrite to me.

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Ann

"But it was never meant to cover your full retirement. It was meant to supplement your personal savings or company pension."


Yes, SS is meant to perform that same role. People who planned and saved often have 401ks or IRAs from their working years and, if they're lucky, pensions too (but these are being done away with by many employers - still in play for many seniors but often not available to younger workers).

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Ann

Sunflower, I agree with you about employer penalties..

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Ziemia(6a)

'What the market will bear' brings

children working in sweatshops

polluting of air and drinking water

dangerous transportation vehicles

& more

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palisades_

"But it was never meant to cover your full retirement. It was meant to supplement your personal savings or company pension."

Yes, SS is meant to perform that same role. People who planned and saved often have 401ks or IRAs from their working years and, if they're lucky, pensions too (but these are being done away with by many employers - still in play for many seniors but often not available to younger workers).

Nowaday, few if any employers offer pensions, other than Uncle Sam. SS is meant as a supplement income but sadly for many seniors that would be their primary income. I’ve worked and paid taxes to Uncle Sam since I was 16 and already met the minimum contribution years, but I won’t be able to collect SS until 65. The SS monthly check will not increase much even if I continue to work and contribute into the system until I reach 65. It’s an incentive to retire early then draw on my 401k/IRA.

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JodiK

Sunflower said it well. And let's not forget that a portion of persons around 70 or more years of age may want to work, but are unable due to a variety of reasons... some health related, etc.


I'm only 60, but if you told me I had to work a 9 to 5 job that required scheduling and/or movement my body is unable to perform, how exactly would I manage to pull that off?


And in too many cases, the amount of Social Security allowed is not enough to survive on without other income streams added.


And it's true... some people enjoy the services they receive by illegal hires that are not American citizens, thrilled that immigration status gives them permission to pay less than a living wage... while at the same time, they rail about illegal immigrants, using all the stereotypes we've heard a million times. Instead of going after the actual immigrant, it would be better to go after those who use and abuse the situation by hiring persons without valid citizenship. Throw the book at those who employ illegal immigrants, and we may actually make a dent in the issue.

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maifleur01

In reply to Ann's comment of "most elderly people are on Medicare and, if not, on Medicaid. so I don't get the logic of the real estate agent. Why huge medical bills for Medicare recipients." There are many things that Medicare and the required additional insurance that is required even after receiving Medicare that are expensive. Medicine can be very expensive if like many older people who have multiple health problems that require multiple drugs. Although I kept my regular insurance the copays are $10, $45, $65, and 25% of cost for specialty drugs, many times this last are for cancer, lung, or heart conditions. With from various sources the average older person takes 5-7 drugs that means a couple would take 10-14, Even with copays that adds up. Then there are any hospital or emergency room charges where people have a crisis. Are stabilized then sent home. When many pensions are pegged at 1 to 2% times years of service and now rather than just the last 3-5 years your average earnings over the life of the position retirees pensions unless they worked in a high income position are small.

Even with Medicaid the amount of savings that a person or couple are allowed to have may not cover the cost of home repairs and maintenance. People tend to stay in their homes until they have a crisis.

On a personal note I did enjoy Hawaii but disliked the long flights now that you can not recline your seat more than a few inches.

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HamiltonGardener

Airlines have become more affordable at the expense of comfort.


All in all, I will take the cheaper rates. But that doesn’t mean it’s fun.

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JodiK

For the most part, Medicare and Medicaid only pay for certain items and services, and often have spend downs that patients can not afford.


Only those with the means can access the kinds of health care that may be actually needed, or preferred... often for quality of life.


For example, we have to cash pay for certain, and very expensive medications because Medicaid won't cover the type we prefer... the type that actually works. It's neither here nor there, but how many people are forced to accept less than they need or want because Medicare or Medicaid won't pay? Too many, would be my guess.


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HamiltonGardener

You’re right. Few employers offer pension these days. I think that’s why it’s more important than ever to prioritize retirement savings.

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chase_gw

We were both lucky enough to work for an employer who offered an excellent pension and unbelievably one that we did not have to contribute to.. 100% employer funded.......now long gone in that same company.

I recall my Mom saying to me when I first landed the job ..." you don't know how lucky you are to get that job. Be thankful" . She was right I didn't know, but I sure do now !!!

My daughter has a pretty good plan wth her company, they double her contribution to a third party retirenent plan. She also max's her TFSA and RRSP

My son is self employed so he has a harder row to hoe.....


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Stan Areted

Pensions are nice, but I wouldn't know had to save on our own.

They're not so nice when they are government funded pensions requiring bailouts or higher taxes.



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chase_gw

I worked at a publicly traded company......no government funding of our pension plan.

I am very vocal in my opposition to the lucrative pension plans and benefit plans offered government employees. People basically paid by the taxpayer should not enjoy benefits better than those who pay their salary.


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HamiltonGardener

Chase,

Regarding government pensions, it is quite maddening to see what they receive for their pension.

Especially when they are entitled not only that full pension, but an early retirement at full pension to boot.

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chase_gw

I know HG ..makes me a crazy person to see how lucrative the benefits and pensions are...never mind the job security!!!

Don't get me wrong I don't begrudge anyone good pensions plans and benefits...it just galls me that those working conditions aren't available to the tax paying public as well...and yes I know they pay taxes too...not the point.

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HU9999

But when people file bankruptcy because they live on the edge, carry too much debt, and still indulge themselves with non essentials and others wind up holding the bill in one way or the other--that's irresponsible and in some cases, morally wrong.

And yet, you still support Trump. All those small companies left holding the bills, but you're totally good with that. Is it only when it's actual working poor that have to file bankruptcy that you have a problem with it?

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elvis

chase_gw

Why the constant need to try and put people down or embarrass them wth no end of petty comments , jabs and attempted gotchas......sad life.

I don't recall sunflower making a false claim before this one.

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judeNY_gw

Generous pensions for govt employees evolved way back when the govt did not have the money to pay salaries that were competitive with the private sector. To attract workers, instead they gave more perks (such as early retirement) and funded better pensions than the private sector. Private did have pensions, just not as good as govt jobs but they were paying higher salaries.

The problem is not that govt employees get pensions. The problem is that pensions were virtually abolished by private industry, often retroactively. We should be supporting pensions as a benefit. While I personally love self directed accounts, the majority of the population does not have the skill, knowledge, time or interest in managing investments and we are failing the majority.

I know for the past several years, in NYC govt those pensions are being reduced and requirements increased for new employees. I can't imagine that NYC is a leader in pension reform so I assume it it happening in other govts as well.

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elvis

Most municipal workers, state employees and teachers in the Wisconsin Retirement System must work until they are 65 years old to collect full benefits, but they can retire at age 55 with reduced pensions. You may not opt out of the WRS. The Wisconsin Retirement System does not provide for any cost of living adjustments unlike the other retirement systems for public employees in the United States. The annuity adjustments are dependent mainly on the calculations done by the actuaries and the investment returns.

The Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) is the 9th largest public pension fund in the US and the 24th* largest public or private pension fund in the world.

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maifleur01

When people talk about the high US federal pension I immediately know that they have never looked at it. It is currently 1% for each year of service times your highest three salaries if you are below 62 or have less than 20 years of service. If you are 62 or above with 20 years or more it is 1.1%. There are special rates for law enforcement, judges, congress but those are not the normal federal employees. Under the older system where SS was not paid into you could earn 2% per year.

I could not find it but there was a cap of 65% at one time. I did work with two people who started in high school and could reach that percentage but between 20-28% was average.

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Jenn "My kingdom for a nap!" Mom(5)

My parents both taught for 40 years, in California. They bought only one home and remained there until each had retired (my dad is one year older than my mom and they planned very carefully so they could retire at age 62 while having enough to be quite comfortable.), my brother and I grew up with a few extras - AYSO soccer, ballet/dance, piano lessons - the kinds of activities that would enrich our lives and look good on college applications. One pair of new shoes and a few clothes to replace what had been grown out of; my brother was the oldest so hand me downs within the extended family weren‘t possible, and I was the only girl. Priorities were education and enrichment related, if we had a vacation at all it was one that packed us into the family station wagon or mini van for a drive to see family friends or my dad’s side of the family up in Washington - except for the year when my brother‘s soccer team made the top level playoffs that were held in Hawaii. Weekend soccer tournaments too far away to feasibly drive out same day and back for a second one, we stayed in cheap chain motels and I recall sleeping on the floor most of those times except for the time I somehow made a blanket bed on the top of the dresser in the motel room (I have always been on the petite side).


As an adult, my brother has had a very different financial attitude and spending habits compared to myself. Being older he married earlier but still in his 30s at the time - they have had four kids and the costs of hospital births, infant through the present time expenses, and Nebraskan levels for earnings/COLA the entire way. The inheritance he received from our dad’s mother was likely spent on these things, but because I was single with no kids for a long time, I bought a townhouse in SoCal and used mine on a down payment. i married in late 2016, and the mister and I always planned to be foster parents/adopt, which we did after moving to Nebraska. The state provides all active placement foster parent(s), whether they indicate it’s needed or not, with EBT food stamp benefits, and parents who adopt from their foster system get the same for a period of 18-36 months depending on various criteria. Also provided is health coverage, though the mister‘s employer provided plan is the one we rely on since I do full time legal consultancy with a nonprofit and the kids‘ state coverage is less generous (we feel that because we have other insurance, it‘s better to leave government healthcare funding that we might use for those families that are less fortunate than we are). Being used to grocery shopping for two adults and then going to shopping for two kids and for a while a total of four kids plus two adults...let’s just say that the leftovers the mister and I were used to having, disappeared. We were lucky to have sold the SoCal townhouse I owned outright for a sum that allowed for the purchase of our current home, paid in full; my 11 year old car was sold a couple of days before we got on the plane for the one way trip to where we moved. After landing and dropping off our bags and the dog, we went to pick up my new car at the dealership handling the online sale transaction (the mister has a work provided SUV) and funded by money received from the townhouse sale not used by the new house purchase or set aside for taxes related to that. Did we temporarily stop contributing to our retirement fund? Yes. We phased in how much we put in each month, starting with the mister‘s share at 6 months post-relocation and mine at the year mark. We adopted the two girls who were our starting placements as licensed foster parents just after the new year in 2018, then, after learning that circumstances had made it possible, we moved ahead with the process to make the adoptions official in December 2018. If not for an unexpected change of situation, we weren’t planning to adopt quite so soon, but the universe has its own timeline and planned something different.


Being able to work from home and having kids aged 8 and 10, relieves us from the expense of childcare - right now my mom is already handling that for my three nephews and one niece while my brother and SIL have long commutes and their work schedules are such that they need a lot of help in order to continue working at the jobs they have now. I can imagine the stress of the financial challenges that my brother faces and has been dealing with since starting a family; even with retirement funding/healthcare/job security through the corrections union at his job and the teachers union at my SIL‘s, they barely have enough emergency savings for about a month of expenses. They have a used Honda van and bought the rav4 my parents were leasing from them when the lease contract was up. Unless one lives in downtown Omaha or the ’midtown’ suburb that surrounds it, there’s no public transportation to speak of. Once the first snow comes each year, it’s more or less impossible to walk to work or to the grocery store, and forget about relying on going outside to exercise in a way besides shoveling snow. By June, only the earliest and latest hours of the day are cool enough to spend much time outdoors without fearing sunstroke, the humidity is stifling 24/7. The mister and I wouldn't be as fortunate financially if not for having different circumstances at the start of our adult years and how things were structured in our relationship that relate to the major milestones of long term commitments as a couple. Our kids eat lunches packed at home, and we may eat dinner as a family but sometimes that means a pizza from little caesars. Deprivation of little ‘luxuries’, in my experience, will lead to spending frivolously on an expensive thing and justified as being a reward for going without day to day. That may not be the case for everyone, but it is for me (like my mom, I keep the books balanced and monitor the household budget). Little treats that are less costly prevent uncontrolled bouts of spending - I’m a big advocate of financial behaviors/attitudes that work for YOU, even if they make no sense for someone else. Ideally, everyone would be able to pay for everything they need from their own earnings. Unfortunately that’s not always feasible. Stating that there‘s equality of opportunity is always from the mouths of those ignorant of the realities around the country they don‘t have actual experience living in. Funding public schools varies, with poor communities not only stuck with less in the classrooms, but the students who go through their system are deprived of the education quality necessary for attending college and doing well. There’s no escaping poverty without getting full access to all aspects of the foundation for success. Healthcare, food, a safe place to live and quality schools to educate you k-12. For every one outlier success story there are thousands and thousands who will never and could never achieve on that level, without major systemic reforms.

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JodiK

No matter what we're talking about, whether healthcare, retirement funds, insurance, wages/benefits, education costs, etc... it's not that tricky to follow the flow of money. Somehow, it always flows upward, and into fewer hands in large amounts.

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Stan Areted

That is a general statement.

Please give an example, because entitlements are around 70% of spending.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/miltonezrati/2018/02/09/entitlements-threaten-the-entire-federal-budget/#65de05085892

There are pie charts that vary from year to year, proposed budgets, defense spending is a major player, but entitlements is our biggest problem.

Exactly what "money" flows upward that should otherwise flow downward?

And why, specifically, should that "money" flow "downward" and to whom?

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sunflower_petal(5a)

" Entitlements --- Social Security plus Medicaid and Medicare plus unemployment insurance and, for the time being, Obamacare --- already absorb 70% of all federal spending "

Social Security and Medicare are funds that people pay into expressly for the purpose of withdrawing from them later. Those two should not be considered spending that is reducible. Unemployment insurance might also be included, but I'm not sure.

Safety net programs are another story (Medicaid and ACA funding).

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Stan Areted

I know people pay into them--but they are still often considered to be in the entitlements category for budget purposes.

I agree with you, they are not an entitlement when you pay into them and another category should be made.

In fact, we should get to choose whether we pay into that program or not, but then that would mess up plans for people to depend on others when they don't plan. They need others to put their money in the pot.

I have yet to see an explanation for the general "money flows upward" canard with absolutely no specifics, and if it does, why should it flow downward.



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chase_gw

The word is a misnomer.

I see it the other way around......something you pay into is an entitlement...ie something you are entitled to receive.

I don't see anything that one does not contribute to as being something they are "entitled" to receive.

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Stan Areted

That's nomenclature and the media and government have taken that over to the point that if not used in the manner in which they use it, thoughts are misunderstood.

I agree actually with the definition you proffered, Chase.

But back to the question--what "money" is flowing up, and to whom, and by what mechanism, when it should be flowing "down," and to whom, and why, and by what mechanism?

It's a cliche that I think should be examined instead of repeated without explanation--this is one reason young people are brainwashed one way or the other--lazy acceptance of cliches that appeal to emotions and it's not fair someone has more than I do.

I say let's drag it out of cliche world and examine the statements, accusations, whatever they are and however they are meant.

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

Since we are discussing money as "flowing" a metaphor suggests itself to me.

In my metaphor, flowing money is represented by flowing water. The assets of the wealthiest few people are represented by a reservoir at the top of a mountain. The assets of the rest of us are represented by bodies of water along the mountain. Lakes, ponds, etc. Most people in my metaphor are storing their assets in the sea.

Water will naturally seek its own level. Ultimately it wants to be in the sea, at sea level. Sometimes it pools at higher elevations in lakes and ponds. Sometimes it pools at elevations below sea level and if it isn't replenished it quickly evaporates or gets used up. Most of the time, it wants to flow downward until it reaches sea level.

We can bring water up the mountain to the reservoir. That requires employing artificial means like pumps, siphoning, lifts. We have to build dams to keep the water where we want it and barriers to prevent it from evaporating away. This has a dramatic and often detrimental effect on the water system below the reservoir.

In the same way, in order for money to flow "upward" we have to rely on measures like artificially low wages, tax breaks and incentives, and even moral failings like wars to keep money flowing into very few reservoirs instead of seeking a degree of equality.

Application question: Can we begin to see more equality between the financial assets of all humans if we stop thinking about monetary flow in terms of "upward" or "downward" and instead imagine it as flowing side to side in order to find a level of equality.

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chase_gw

I'm going to backtrack on my previous post.

Entitlements are anything that the government and / or the Constitution says someone is entitled to under the law. It doesn't necessarily have to be " paid" for.

For example a public education is an entitlement regardless of whether you paid municipal taxes or not,

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chase_gw

HG....the federal government must be getting the Ontario Teachers union to provide investment advice LOL !

Good to see how well managed it is...


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