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I think this article is in their free section, so you won't have to register or anything. Just thought this group would be interested in the story.

I am in the middle of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, with about two years before my case is closed. The experience has been one of the most humiliating and illuminating of my life. As a tenure-track professor with a stable job, I theoretically should not be in this situation. But I am. And I bet there are many other bankrupt professors out there, too.

http://chronicle.com/jobs/2005/07/2005071201c.htm
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That is a great article, and describes just about 50% of the people that I went through graduate school with. Not that 50% were bankrupt, but that percentage were broke, living on credit, or otherwise in denial about spending.

You don't need to know anything about personal finance to get a Ph.D., and that is really a general failing of the US educational system. In fact financial matters are really almost treated like a "dirty" topic, as the ivory-towered residents of academia feel that they are somehow above such pettiness. It's a misguided bit of snobbery on their part, but just you try to tell them that ...

One of the more interesting tidbits about the author and people like her (and me) is that people who pursue advanced degrees and enter into tenure-track jobs join the workforce later than their less-educated peers, and are that much farther behind the earnings 8-ball. They have lived larger parts of their lives on credit or loans, begin with lower-level, low-paying assistant professor positions, (at age 30+ mind you), and don't hit their peak earning potential for another 5-10 years. They need to learn about fiscal responsibility even more so than other people, so it's ironic that the ostritch syndrome is so prevalent.

~dswing

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Great article. What that professor should do is open up and share her story with the undergrads. Keeping it hidden is understandable; I'd be mortified if I were her.

But I can tell you that if, when I was a sophomore at my fancy undergrad university, my highly admired English prof had run a seminar on the side about credit cards, financial security and bankruptcy, I would have taken it. And hearing it from her would have meant so much - if the topic became less taboo, maybe people would learn something before they find themselves in the hole.

Or maybe she could chair a club on Foolishness. Hmmm.

-CG
(still trying to get out of debt)

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<Snort>

Big woop. 20K in debt.

I came out of graduate school with 62.5K in student loan debt. My best friend at my school came out with 28K on credit cards, 37K in loan debt, and another 10K in cc debt from when she was moving around. I know another professor who has 120K in debt (ok, SHE is in denial.)

We are all, btw, humanities professors--none of us make more than 47K; I started at 35K. I am 7 years out, just recently got tenure, and by the beginning of September, will be down to under 32K in debt--if all goes according to plan, I should be out of debt by the time I am 39--9 years after completing my PhD. I also "own" my own home and paid cash for my car AND contribute 10% to my 403b.

My friend will be done with her 28K cc debt in October and will begin to tackle her student loans. She also puts 10% into her 403b. Neither of us EVER seriously considered bankruptcy.

Dr. Professor is smart--she has a PhD; she knows how to do research; she knows how to educate herself. She should have gotten off her a$$, learned what she could, and started to LBHMs. The academy is all about researching on your own. She should certainly have been able to apply that skill to her financial life.

b
<disgruntled tonight>

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The trouble started the winter after my graduation from college, when I charged six tickets to a New Year's party on my credit card for me and five friends. When they paid me back, I spent the cash instead of putting it toward the credit-card balance. Over the next decade, my credit balances topped $20,000. An illness sent me over the financial edge.

I am not alone. Researchers at Harvard University interviewed more than 1,700 people who had filed for personal bankruptcy in courts across the country. The results showed that half said that illness and/or medical bills led them to bankruptcy court, according to the report released in February.


Definitely an interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

But the professor seems to imply that it was an illness that sent her to bankrupty, when the really it was her lack of financial discipline. If she didn't have the $20,000 in CC debt and she became ill, would she still have had to declare bankruptcy? (I wonder ...)
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The year I finished my dissertation (8 years ago now), this was my total:

$16,100 in credit card debt
$10,000 car loan
$14,000 student loan

My net worth was definitely in the negative territory. Roughly $5,000-$7,000 of the credit card debt was related to paying tuition and other related fees to finish my degree! My salary was $39K, so it took me about 3-5 years to pay off all the debt. I snowballed like crazy and applied all raises to my debt, and paid my car off early. It took me awhile, but I'm doing a whole lot better now with a positive net worth.

-b-
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Big woop. 20K in debt.

I came out of graduate school with 62.5K in student loan debt. My best friend at my school came out with 28K on credit cards, 37K in loan debt, and another 10K in cc debt from when she was moving around. I know another professor who has 120K in debt (ok, SHE is in denial.)

We are all, btw, humanities professors--none of us make more than 47K


This illustrates just how much difference your choice of academic field makes, IMHO.

For the record, the numbers should work out much differently in the sciences.

My Ph.D. was in mathematics and I am currently at the most junior faculty level in a Medical school. Not only did I graduate without any debt (it is, in general, a bad sign if you are paying for your own Ph.D. in a scientific field, IMHO) but the starting salaries for entry-level junior faculty positions in my field are significantly more than $47k.

--B+C
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This illustrates just how much difference your choice of academic field makes, IMHO.

I totally agree B+C. We have beginning Finance professors at my school who started at 80K (our budget is public information).

Unfortunately, if I were in the math and sciences, well. Joseph Conrad comes to mind: "the horror! the horror!"

(I did pick a more pragmatic career path. I am in Technical and Business Writing and hence, can do some consulting.)

b
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The article doesn't surprise me. Some stories from my grad school days (we were all working towards MAs/PhDs in chemistry):

1. Out of 25 people in the group (ages ranged from 22-33), I and one other person had a savings account.

2. Out of 25 people in the group, I and one other person had a IRA or some type of retirement account.

3. Most people in the lab did not understand basic principles/rules/conditions of their car insurance.

4. Out of 25 people in the group, two of us had renter's insurance/homeowner's insurance.

5. I remember when the payroll office screwed up and none of us got our paychecks. My professor ended up floating loans to the 23 people without savings accounts to cover their expenses until the payroll office cleared up the mistake.

6. Many in the group got student loans to pay for non-educational things like engagement rings or trips to Europe. They would run up their CCs and then get a student loan to pay it off.

The thing was, as chemistry grad students at my school, everything was paid for by the taxpayers of NC: tuition, health insurance, stipends averaging $18,500 (rents for one bedrooms ranged from $350-sky's the limit for a luxury apt). You could live comfortably as a young student (most were not married and none had kids). Many students left with student loan loads as high as $50,000-75,000. All of it had gone to paying off CC bills.

I remember one idiot that I had to work with---one day, out of the blue, he pulled out his wallet and proceeded to tell me all the limits on his CCs. Truly, I was sitting there talking about sports or something and this guy walks up and starts bragging about his credit limits--which weren't even that high. He ended up saying, "I count CCs credit lines as part of my yearly income." Yes, you read that correctly---his credit cards were "income."

ARR






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Wow, for educated people, they sure are stupid.
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LOL, I wanted to view this story but Norton Internet Security blocked it! Category: Job Search..Hmmmmm

hwkncat
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6. Many in the group got student loans to pay for non-educational things like engagement rings or trips to Europe. They would run up their CCs and then get a student loan to pay it off.

I think this is a real problem for many, many students. The fact that you can get a student loan up to $x amount, doesn't mean you should take out the max. I know so many people at law school who took out the max in student loans and are now complaining about their debt load. I lived solely on personal savings and my summer salary during my three years of law school - and because it was my money, I was a lot more careful with it than many of my peers. Student loans aren't free money, but a lot of people treat them as such, and end up saddling themselves with a great amount of debt for years to come.

My $0.02.

Fi
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I started at 35K. I am 7 years out, just recently got tenure, and by the beginning of September, will be down to under 32K in debt--if all goes according to plan, I should be out of debt by the time I am 39--9 years after completing my PhD. I also "own" my own home and paid cash for my car AND contribute 10% to my 403b..

------------


OK, I'll bite.

How did you do it? What state do you live in? Rural, urban, suburban? Do you have a spouse and kids? How did you get a down payment for a house paying off $30K in student loans on 35K?



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I started at 35K. I am 7 years out, just recently got tenure, and by the beginning of September, will be down to under 32K in debt--if all goes according to plan, I should be out of debt by the time I am 39--9 years after completing my PhD. I also "own" my own home and paid cash for my car AND contribute 10% to my 403b..

------------


OK, I'll bite.

How did you do it? What state do you live in? Rural, urban, suburban? Do you have a spouse and kids? How did you get a down payment for a house paying off $30K in student loans on 35K?
-----------------------

I live below my means.

No seriously.

I determined early on that I would contribute to the max with my retirement--I buy two for one tuna when it's on sale--why wouldn't I do the same for my retirement benefits? Retirement has always been a priority for me. I am single, no kids (neither partner nor kids in the future), I live in Little Rock with three dogs (Phew! those bills alone!)

I take undergraduate classes which put me at 0% interest on the student loans. Obviously this helps A LOT, but that isn't what gives me the money to actually throw at the loans. What does that are the following things.

I bought a cheap, starter house with no downpayment; my house purchase price was less than 2X my income. (First time home owner--FHA loan) My house is in a good neighborhood, but it is 30+ years old, doesn't have all the new and fancy geehaws (no granite countertops!) and is only 1200 square feet. It's *all* I need and I knew I couldn't afford more with my loan debt without feeling crazy.

I don't drive a new car. I bought a used Honda for 4500 bucks and I will (god willing) put another 130K on it before I turn it over. I repair it when it needs repairing.

I don't buy STUFF. I don't go to Walmart and drop 100$. I don't eat out a lot. I don't buy Starbucks. I don't gamble. I don't go on expensive vacations. I don't buy expensive clothes. I don't buy fiction books; I don't buy lingerie. I don't impulse buy. I don't, I don't, I don't. I DON'T do a lot of things.

If I do buy something adn it's a big ticket item (pretty much anything over 50 bucks in my book), I save for it. I am saving for a big screen tv. 5 bucks a paycheck and the 20 bucks from the cancelled netflicks subscription. So, I am saving 30 bucks a month. People laugh at me, but you know what? By the time my loans are paid off, the price of big screen tvs and the balance of my savings account will be close enough together that I will be able to buy one without a worry or a blink of regret--and it will be in cash.

I budget my money, and track it, and worry about it. I take my extra paychecks for summer teaching and throw them at my loans; I take my tax returns and throw them at my student loans; I snowball my raises (all 3% of them) to my loans. Eventually it adds up. I have my set bills and then my left over money. Set bills include retirement, SallieMae, House, utilities, Dog money, summer savings, efund, emergency fund, medical. Leftovers is everthing else: food, entertainment, gas, clothes, hobbies, etc. It's not a lot of money.

I figured out that approximately 1/3 of my income goes to pre-tax stuff (taxes, 403b, insurance, etc etc), 1/3rd goes to debt repayment, and 1/3rd to living expenses. The debt portion will go to savings as soon as I am non-mortgage debt free.

The bottom line is that it's really not that hard. You just need to find other ways of doing things that you want to do: I love books--they know me well at the library (first name basis). I love to sew--I buy a lot of clearance fabric and patterns on sale.

I look around and I have so much crap. And I have a lot less crap than most people I know. I don't have room for more stuff.

b

(except an iPod. I definately have room for an iPod. Just not the budget for it right now.)
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I definately have room for an iPod. Just not the budget for it right now


Here's how to get 10% off that iPod if the deal's still going when you have the money saved up:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=22774217
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I am single, no kids

This says it all
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I am single, no kids
=========
This says it all
==========

You know what? I really resent that. Actually, I can not tell you how MUCH I resent that.

You are basically saying that it doesn't matter what *you* do and the scarifices you made--only reason you can pay stuff off is because you don't have kids.

Yeah, I might not have kids, but I also don't have the option of having the "spouse" go out and get a job to help out. I don't have anyone else who can and will "take care" of stuff while I work or go on my consulting jobs. I don't have anyone for support or back up or ANYTHING like that. There's no one pulling for me, or working to help me, or anything like that. Bottom line--it's all me. Everything, bills, debts, house payments, retirement, utilities, savings, you name it, is all on me.

*I* am doing this--I am paying this massive debt off. It's not because I don't have kids, as your snarky response implies. It's because of the decisions and sacrifices I am making, the used car I drive, the used clothing I wear, the vacations I don't take, the cheap food I eat.

And I do have dependents--4 legged ones that cost me an extra 200 bucks a month when there are NO health issues. They might not be as expensive as kids, but there are still additional costs involved.

Your snarky comment devalues all of my hard work, my worry, and my sacrifice.

b





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I am single, no kids

------------------------------------------------

This says it all


That's crap and you must know it. Does having kids condemn one to a life of debt and LAYM? No, of course not. That's just plain excuse making at its finest--I have kids, therefore debt is inevitable.

And the fact that bleplatt is single and has no kids does not make getting out of debt some sort of easy little My-Little-Pony type fantasy land ride. There are no little animatronic kids singing "It's an Inexpensive World After All," here. bleplatt is working darn hard, against a very large load of student loans, and against several large setbacks that have been no fault of her own but can be filed under "Sh!t happens, even to single childless people."

The fact is, everyone has stuff that happens in their life that makes getting out of debt difficult, and just dismissing her because she doesn't have kids is really shortsighted and illogical. It's insulting to people with no kids and it's also insulting to people with kids, like "Don't even try to get out of debt, you just can't once you've reproduced."


--Booa
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The fact is, everyone has stuff that happens in their life that makes getting out of debt difficult, and just dismissing her because she doesn't have kids is really shortsighted and illogical.

I didn't write the "that explains it all" comment, but I'll admit to thinking the same thing when I read bleplatt's response to my "how do you do it?" question. Just as all childfree people are not stockpiling cash with a shovel, all people with children are not tripping off to Disneyworld every weekend or blowing 100 bucks at Walmart on Saturday morning buying "stuff".

Bleplatt wrote that she doesn't eat out, doesn't go to Starbucks, go on expensive vacations, buy expensive clothes, buy lingerie, buy fiction books, and that she 's cancelled Netflix to save up for a big screen TV. Those are standard "take control of your financial life!" recommendations. I'd love to have those kinds of choices to make, but I made the same ones 14 years ago before my first child was born. I traded those things to have her to begin with, and that was before I knew my ex husband would become disabled and I'd get minimal child support. Raise my own car insurance deductible? Done. Shop for groceries with a price book in hand? Done. Make our own clothes? Done.

No offense to Bleplatt, she's doing a hell of a job and I admire her. What I want to know is how somebody could accomplish that making the choices a parent makes. Not, "no, honey, you can't have a cell phone." I'm thinking, "no, honey, you can't have health insurance, because it is costing me a thousand bucks a month to keep you on the plan at work and that means I am bringing home the same dollar amount I did in 1999, not adjusted for inflation."
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They might not be as expensive as kids,

I have kids, therefore debt is inevitable.

The replies make my case. It's easier to get out of debt, live below your means safe for the future without kids. Not saying that your accomplishment of debt freedom is not good, just alot easier without the burdens, obligations and fullfilment of children.

And I do have dependents--4 legged ones Anyone who compares having a pet with raising children can't be taken too seriously. Shows he/she has no idea what raising children is all about.

Congrats on becoming debt free. Come see me when you re raising a family.
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"Don't even try to get out of debt, you just can't once you've reproduced."


Not true, and not what I said. It is just a lot easier to do so without children. You can live with minimal debt with children, it's just more difficult.

Just ask an "empty nester" how their personal economy has changed once the kids moved out.
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bleplatt added to your Favorite Fools list

I'm with Booa. It's crap to say that having no kids says it all. How many people out there don't have kids but still have debt? Why is that? How many people have kids and don't have debt? (I'm sure there are some and I hope to be one someday!)

I'm 29. I have 3 kids (9, 6 & 3). We got into debt because we spent more money than we had, plain and simple. We're getting out of debt by budgeting, not spending money when we don't have it, cutting back on things we don't need. We took out student loans to supplement the loss of income when I went back to school. We used it as spending money. What a waste! If I knew now what I knew then....



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I'm thinking, "no, honey, you can't have health insurance, because it is costing me a thousand bucks a month to keep you on the plan at work and that means I am bringing home the same dollar amount I did in 1999, not adjusted for inflation."

I have to admit the family health insurance plan is a lot higher than the one for myself only! Still, have to have the family plan.

It's all the small things as well. The kids go off to school at the start of the school year and you have to get them 20 yellow pencils, 2 erasers, a pot of glue, and a packet of gummed stars to take with them. The fat-free milk is on sale, but you have to buy the full-fat because medical advice is for kids under 5 to drink full-fat. The kids grow, while an adult doesn't, so they HAVE to have new clothes from Goodwill. And they have to have new shoes because medical advice again is to not put kids in second-hand shoes that could deform soft growing bones. So it's all the little things that cost $5 here and $5 there that you could send to the cards, that also delay getting out of debt.
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..delay getting out of debt.

There's the key--it is not impossible, just adds one more hurdle.
Kids slow it down, and dogs are not the same as kids.(I live with both dogs and kids)

The biggest hurdle though, is getting started clearing away the debt. Debt mounted up during school years can haunt you for decades.

85
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What I want to know is how somebody could accomplish that making the choices a parent makes. Not, "no, honey, you can't have a cell phone." I'm thinking, "no, honey, you can't have health insurance, because it is costing me a thousand bucks a month to keep you on the plan at work and that means I am bringing home the same dollar amount I did in 1999, not adjusted for inflation."

When people throw this out, my first thought is, "Isn't that part of planning for a family?"

I think that because FOR ME, it is. And beyond not having a huge desire to have kids, I've never felt I was in the position to be able to provide for a child the way one should be provided for: the safety net that should be in place, the resources to provide for most foreseeable contingencies (health care seems to be a pretty basic one, disability insurance for the breadwinner, safe home, etc). A career path (or options) that can support having 1, 2 or 3 kids, if that is what someone wants.

It all goes back to choices: career path, education level, standard of living (for those of you with kids and debt, how many TVs does your household have?), and how many kids and when they have them. Each person's life circumstances are different so consequences vary person to person.

I know this doesn't apply to all people with kids and debt anymore than anyone single automatically has loads of cash.

For both groups it is all about choices.

RC
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It all goes back to choices: career path, education level, standard of living (for those of you with kids and debt, how many TVs does your household have?), and how many kids and when they have them. Each person's life circumstances are different so consequences vary person to person.

Yes, but it is not a case of "you can have kids and debt or you can have no kids and no debt." The point is, if a family (whether it is a family of 1 adult, or a couple, or a couple with kids) runs up debt for whatever reason, and then wakes up and decides that they don't want to live like this any more, and determine to get OUT of debt... that family will get out of debt quicker the more income they have and the less expenses they have. And there is no denying that a family with children has more expenses than a family without children. Or how about a family with no children, but they are caring for an aged parent who can't live independantly any more?

It's all about expenses, you trim them to the bone to send more money to the debt, and the less expenses you have the more money you can send to the debt.

I don't think anyone is saying "oh you can get out of debt if you have no kids". They are saying "you can get out of debt QUICKER when you have no kids". In fact, for me, that statement should really be rephrased to "you can get out of debt quicker the less expenses you HAVE to cover."

And on that subject, bleplatt will get out of debt slower than a person with no pets, because the $5 here and the $5 there that a person with no pets could scrape up to send to the debt, will in bleplatt's case be going to her pet's food and medical care.

Yes, life is all about choices. But that isn't really the point. The point is, a LOT of people in all different kinds of families are out there, running up the debt, thinking nothing of it because that is the "normal" way to live. Some of them will one day decide that they can't live that way any more, they must dig out and stay dug out. And for EVERY family of every shape and size, digging out will be quicker if they have less expenses they MUST cover. I daresay bleplatt won't give up her pets - so, she'll dig out slower than someone without pets. I won't give up my kids, so I'll dig out slower than someone without kids. That's all there is to it - it's just horse-sense.
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When people throw this out, my first thought is, "Isn't that part of planning for a family?"

Yeah, it would have been - had it been common at any point since World War II for people with full time jobs to shoulder 100% of the health insurance premium for their families. Not to mention that health insurance probably costs 300% more than it did 15 years ago, and employers are pushing the cost onto employees, which is a pay cut in anybody's book. This is the story of the middle class now, folks. They have moved the goal posts way out of the end zone.

It all goes back to choices: career path, education level, standard of living (for those of you with kids and debt, how many TVs does your household have?), and how many kids and when they have them.

Funny thing is, I did all of this right. I graduated from college debt free, got a full time job, continued school while working full time. (I didn't sleep much in my 20s.) I have a post graduate degree and a professional license in two states. My career path has been pretty good. Not ideal, but considering what has happened in my field, I've done better than many. And I put off having kids until my career was established.

I guess the bad choice I made was my ex husband, who after 15 years of marriage developed late onset schizophrenia, got fired and hasn't been able to work since. He was on both our health insurance policies, and still, 10 years ago, we got stuck with about $60K in uninsured hospital bills that weren't covered because he had a mental illness, not a physical illness. That's illegal in our state now, but back then, it was our ticket straight into bankruptcy. Of course, filing bankruptcy over medical bills is about to become illegal too because everybody wanted to gang up on the overspending yuppies who file bankruptcy to avoid their credit card bills. (I'm just waiting until they can't pay their smartass negative amortization mortgages, can't go bankrupt then either and end up mailing the keys back to the bank.)

My point is, I did choose a career path that allows me to support the kids. I gave up other things I would like to have done - possibly much better - to ensure their financial future. I lost the marriage and the house and the car anyway.

On the other hand, maybe it is the two TV's that did us in. If I hadn't bought that Sony back in 1981, maybe everything would have turned out differently.






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No offense to Bleplatt, she's doing a hell of a job and I admire her. What I want to know is how somebody could accomplish that making the choices a parent makes. Not, "no, honey, you can't have a cell phone." I'm thinking, "no, honey, you can't have health insurance, because it is costing me a thousand bucks a month to keep you on the plan at work and that means I am bringing home the same dollar amount I did in 1999, not adjusted for inflation."

I think Aranknitter put it best, "Whoever has the least expenses will get out of debt fastest." Yes, kids are expensive, but they're not the only expensive things (though yeah, they're expensive. :-)). I think Patzer and joelcorley would take their kids' expenses over those of their former spendy spouses. I think Aranknitter probably spends less on the kids than her spouse formerly did on reading material alone--what was it, $500 a month? Some people, despite being young, may have very expensive prescriptions. Some people fly back to Europe or Australia to see family. Some people are fine one day with 2 million dollar homes, and then there's a landslide and they have house insurance that does not cover the cost of rebuilding, and they still have a mortgage to pay but no house (it still amazes me where people in California will build homes).

You're right, kids are expensive, and they're more expensive than pets, usually. I'm sorry to hear you're struggling so much with health insurance--just an aside, I have health insurance on my son, and since it's just on him, it's $78 a month for a PPO with Blue Cross. Is the thousand bucks for your husband, or for your kids? I'm just concerned for you--that sounds like a horribly stressful situation. :-( Does your state have some kind of emergency coverage for kids? Though I know people with middle-class incomes don't usually qualify...it really is a catch-22. Anyway, I wish you luck with the insurance, that something change so that you're not so stretched.

{{{{{onesizefitsnone}}}}}


--Booa
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Your snarky comment devalues all of my hard work, my worry, and my sacrifice.

Right on bleplatt.

Back when I was making about 15 grand a year, a brother of mine was making over 150 grand (yep, more than ten times what I was). He asked if he could borrow several thousands of dollars from me to buy "usual stuff." When I asked him how he could justify asking for money from his little brother making 1/10th the income, he said it's different because he has a family. Oh, that is so belittling. And dumb. A wife and two kids doesn't justify needing more than a ten-fold increase in spending just to buy "usual stuff". That usual stuff is unusual stuff most people (married or not, kids or not) have to choose to go without just to get by.

He may have well just patted me on the head and said, "There there little brother, just because you don't have kids doesn't mean you're completely worthless."
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"Don't even try to get out of debt, you just can't once you've reproduced."

------------------------------------------------------

Not true, and not what I said. It is just a lot easier to do so without children. You can live with minimal debt with children, it's just more difficult.


That's true, it's not what you said, it's just what I felt like you said. Sorry for interpreting your words, and thanks for clarifying.

Just ask an "empty nester" how their personal economy has changed once the kids moved out.

It would depend, I think, on whether or not the kids were contributing to the household economy. I used to volunteer as a mentor with a group of Hispanic middle school girls in Orange County, and all those girls *worked*. They would help their moms clean houses, or babysit their brothers and sisters while their parents worked, or help their grandmas clean houses on the weekend, or help their parents deliver papers, and their older siblings were very often working a fast food or waitressing job to help out with the rent on the family apartment. It's not every family, but there are families where the kids are contributing from a very early age, and continue to do so after they move out.

Heck, one of my friends from high school, when she was in college, would send half her paycheck home from the jobs she worked in the summer and at least some during the school year. One of my friends here in grad school sends money to her mom in Russia every chance she gets. My dad pretty much supports his mom, his sister's family, and put his sister's kids through college and med school.

Of course, in the later cases, the people have moved out, so maybe what they still contribute is less than they cost while they were living at home. :-) Anyway, just another point of view.


--Booa

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That's true, it's not what you said, it's just what I felt like you said. Sorry for interpreting your words, and thanks for clarifying.


No problem. Thank you for getting back. My point is that children, and the proper rearing of them, are an expense on a personal economy. This expense is not discreationary. Dr. visits (well baby and, God forbid, the accident or illness), prescriptions,dentist (who will need braces? seems they all do now a days) clothes/shoes that are outgrown before they wear out (hand me downs are nice for a while but answer- "Mommy/Daddy why don't I ever get anything new?"), the extra room to house the children (rooming with an infant gets tired in a hurry, rooming with the children as they get older-more so), food, the extras that the schools now "request", dance lessions, football camp, entertainment for the child from educational to just plain fun. Why can't I have a play station/I-pod/walkman/books/whateverelse is in vogue? College savings plans, car payments, insurance for the new drivers, dorm fees, activity fees, meal plan... I'm sure other parents can continue this list.

Absent those costs, reducing debt/staying out of debt is MUCH easier. With those expenses, keeping debt to managable levels is more than possible- it is do-able.


I may have been glib. Didn't mean to start a firestorm.

Just my thoughts:
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re: children, no children. I have three of them, and all three of them (and me) still run short of $$$$.

One works for the Audubon Society locally--Audubon can't afford to pay much, as donations are down and they are busy trying to preserve sensitive bits of land.. Theyoungest, a twenty year old is drifting, not a student but a nice kid and a hard worker--but at the moment he is back home. I have my own business --a picture framing shop. I think getting in to debt today is easiest if one just doesn't earn that much. Paying debt off is much easier if one has a decent salary.

I could pay off all my debts in a few months if I business were like it was in the 90's; my oldest could pay off student loans if the company in NYC who has hired him would hire him as an employer and not abuse the "consultant" category; my Audubon son would be even on his bills if he was paid fairly for the time and effort and skill and dedication he puts out. (The twenty year old??? He needs to get snowboarding out of his system, I don't blame his problems on anything but his age and temperment.)

I think a whole lot of us are caught in the net of working hard for substandard pay and poor benefits; Getting out of debt and having kids would not be so much of a problem if there were some kind of wage/pay equity/national health care.

I guess I could have had "career" and sat at a desk and made more money---but I kind of got the kids and the business when the exDH left (though he was no money maker, rather more of a spender.). I know I spend little beyond the bare necessities---I don't blame my situation on my children---but my choices have been affected by my children and my single parenthood.

CTKaren
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I find it frightening how many people feel that saying no to their children is a crime. Most of us were told no, as children. Many of our parents managed to raise children on one income and a strict budget, and they stayed out of debt. And no one can possibly tell me that they don't know anyone who is supporting more people on less money than they have, and not going in debt to do it.

Saying it's easier to get out of debt if you don't have children is like saying it's easier to get out of debt if you make more money. (Um - ya think?) And, since I'm guessing that our child-free teacher STILL makes less money than most of us do, I think it's a fair analogy.

She worked hard. She scrimped. She paid off a ton of debt. "Come back when you have a family" you said?!? Come back when you have an ability to tell your children "NO". Come back when you've removed the TV from junior's room, sold his Disney DVD's, fed your children on simple, wholesome, homemade meals, taught your child that whining about wanting things is a no-no...

In short, come back when you quit making excuses about why it's harder for YOU than <fill in blank here>.

Frydaze1
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I think a whole lot of us are caught in the net of working hard for substandard pay and poor benefits; Getting out of debt and having kids would not be so much of a problem if there were some kind of wage/pay equity/national health care.

Hear! Hear! CTKaren gets it!

Boaa asked if the one thousand a month covers my ex; no, it doesn't. He's on Medicare. At 50. It comes with his Social Security Disability, and since it doesn't cover his prescriptions, he doesn't always take them, so he continues to have psychotic episodes. (Please don't point out he'll have prescription drug coverage soon on Medicare; if he had enough brainpower left to figure out that law and those benefits, he'd be able to work.) Anyway, my full health insurance bill is $1200 per month, and it covers me and the 13 and 11 year olds.

As for this, from Frydaze:

Many of our parents managed to raise children on one income and a strict budget, and they stayed out of debt.

and

Come back when you have an ability to tell your children "NO". Come back when you've removed the TV from junior's room, sold his Disney DVD's, fed your children on simple, wholesome, homemade meals, taught your child that whining about wanting things is a no-no...

What our parents did in the 1950's and the 1960's was possible not (just) because of scrimping and saving, but because they lived in a time when one income paid the bills and allowed a family to live in a home they owned, have a car, take vacations and send their kids to college. The second paragraph, implying that the problem here is that we aren't telling our kids "no" enough, chastises those of us who think that it still ought to be able to do that in this country, certainly with two incomes.

We aren't in debt because we want too much. We're in debt because we want what our parents had, and some of us, because we just want to get by.





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<<<Come back when you have an ability to tell your children "NO". Come back when you've removed the TV from junior's room, sold his Disney DVD's, fed your children on simple, wholesome, homemade meals, taught your child that whining about wanting things is a no-no...>>>

What our parents did in the 1950's and the 1960's was possible not (just) because of scrimping and saving, but because they lived in a time when one income paid the bills and allowed a family to live in a home they owned, have a car, take vacations and send their kids to college. The second paragraph, implying that the problem here is that we aren't telling our kids "no" enough, chastises those of us who think that it still ought to be able to do that in this country, certainly with two incomes.

We aren't in debt because we want too much. We're in debt because we want what our parents had, and some of us, because we just want to get by.


But this IS how your parents lived. You didn't get every toy you wanted, did you? Yes, your parents probably had one income in a time when that was more common. But they also did without a lot of things. And taught you to accept that you would NOT get the things you asked for and you would NOT be crying to them about it or they'd give you something to cry about... didn't they? That's what most parents did back then. Unfortunatly, we all "want what our parents had" but frequently glorify exactly what that was.

A vacation? Were you all heading to Europe? Or was it the more common drive-across-the-state, camp in state parks, eat sandwiches mom made on top of the cooler, BUDGET vacation? You can afford to do that now. I don't even know you but I DO know how much it costs to do that.

A car? Yes. Usually ONE car. And it was used when they got it. And it better last a long time, because they're not buying a new one ever.

And mom cooked healthy, budget meals. They weren't exciting, but she could feed a family of 4 for less per week (even relative to household income) than most people spend on fast-food in one day.

And how many of us had an elderly relative or even TWO living with us, being waited on by mom and financially supported by dad?

Income/Expense ratio wasn't really that different back then. But we often wear rose-colored glasses when viewing those "good old days."


We aren't in debt because we want too much. We're in debt because we want what our parents had, and some of us, because we just want to get by.

If you want what your parents had (and have a realistic picture of what that was) then you can dedicate 40 years to the same company, work your way up the ladder, put in tons of overtime and never see your kids, eat leftovers for lunch every day, just like the breadwinner (dad) did to support that lifestyle.

Just want to "get by"? What is getting by? Is it cable? Cell phone? Subscription to TMF? Oh, yeah, computer, computer desk, internet access? Hair and nail appointments? A new outfit a few times a year? A meal out because it's late and you worked hard and you don't feel like cooking tonight and junior doesn't like tacos and that's all you have groceries to make and you can't go to the store right now and YES-I'll-feed-you-in-a-second-just-please-be-quiet-for-a-few-minutes-honey-while-mommy-drives?

You are in debt because you live above your means. Whatever those means are and whatever life you decided to have.


Frydaze1

P.S. Yes, I am also in debt. I do NOT criticise you or anyone else for being in debt. I just refuse to blame anyone else for the choices I make, or criticise another person for making wiser ones.
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The second paragraph, implying that the problem here is that we aren't telling our kids "no" enough, chastises those of us who think that it still ought to be able to do that in this country, certainly with two incomes.

I agree that college costs have increased astronomically, but few of us are willing to live in the size houses that our grandparents raised our parents in. We've decided that children are entitled to each have a bedroom, for example.

- Megan
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You are in debt because you live above your means. Whatever those means are and whatever life you decided to have.

I doubt that Onesize chose a schizophrenic husband.

Let's face it: a major health problem is not something people choose to have, and one such emergency is often enough to ruin a person financially for years to come, if not forever.

Now imagine that it is not spouse, but a child who has a health problem. Let's say, a child is a schozophrenic or autistic and won't be ever able to work full time and is uninsurable.

Now what? Please don't tell me that LBYM will save the day. Living like it's 1950th won't help either. No amount of hearty budget-minded meals are going offset the cost of extended hospital stays and medicines.

2195501y








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I doubt that Onesize chose a schizophrenic husband.

Let's face it: a major health problem is not something people choose to have, and one such emergency is often enough to ruin a person financially for years to come, if not forever.

Now imagine that it is not spouse, but a child who has a health problem. Let's say, a child is a schozophrenic or autistic and won't be ever able to work full time and is uninsurable.

Now what? Please don't tell me that LBYM will save the day. Living like it's 1950th won't help either. No amount of hearty budget-minded meals are going offset the cost of extended hospital stays and medicines.

2195501y



Please stay in context. The context was saying that being child free is why the teacher is out of debt.

And the more recent context was that OneSize wanted to live like her parents did, NOT that she had unexpected medical expenses.

Sympathy is a wonderful thing. I have sympathy for her having to deal with her husband's medical issues. Chit happens to many people. This was an ugly one. But that doesn't mean the world has mistreated her by failing to provide a government healthcare program. Or that the childfree teacher is out of debt because she is childfree.


Frydaze1
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I doubt that Onesize chose a schizophrenic husband.
2195501y



And my post that you're quoting, btw, was to Pondee, not OneSize.

Frydaze1

Context, context, context...
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Apologies, it wasn't. My mistake.

Frydaze1
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Please stay in context. The context was saying that being child free is why the teacher is out of debt.

If you wish to stay in context, then it would be fair to add that Bleplatt is not out of debt by any means.

If 32k (mortgage notwithstanding) is not a sizeable debt to you, please accept my apologies.

2195501y


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What our parents did in the 1950's and the 1960's was possible not (just) because of scrimping and saving, but because they lived in a time when one income paid the bills and allowed a family to live in a home they owned, have a car, take vacations and send their kids to college.

Not for my grandparents. My mom's told me many times how poor they were while she was growing up. I know my grandfather did construction work in addition to farming and my grandmother got a job as a waitress to help make ends meet. They never took vacations and my mom and her sisters had to get scholarships and work in college. 40+ years later my mother is still bitter about the way the nuns at her college treated her and the other young women who had to work in the kitchen.



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If you wish to stay in context, then it would be fair to add that Bleplatt is not out of debt by any means.

If 32k (mortgage notwithstanding) is not a sizeable debt to you, please accept my apologies.

2195501y


You're correct. She's not out of debt. Anything else you want to argue about?
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Lettssseeeeee... 1968-1972
My parents had one income. My dad worked at a bank. Our house in the suburbs cost $20,000 so they basically had to come up with $2,000 down payment. We had sold our house in L.I. so they had the payment. Of course taxes were much lower back then too.

I think Dad's weekly pay was $75 a week and then he got a raise. He took a job at Westinghouse and got a company car. Mom had her VW Beetle she owned when she met Dad.

We had no cable, just a TV antenna and 3 channels. Us kids were the remote. We went to be early.

Buying stuff: One time we were at Woolworth's in a new inside mall and I saw a record album/storybook like my teacher had. I begged my mother for it and she said "No" and offered me a 45rpm similar item. I pitched a fit because only the album size would do. She took my by the arm and pulled me out of the store, I had to sit outside the door until she was done shopping and got me. I cried and the lady in the doughnut stand across the mall felt sorry for me and offered me a doughnut. I refused the doughnut because I knew I didn't deserve it (I was bad). I didn't want to get in trouble accepting a sweet when I was being punished. Back then we didn't worry about children getting stolen (especially tantrum-throwing children). We didn't go out to stores often though, except the grocery store once a week.

Vacations: We went to Grandma's in Long Island. I would sleep on a cot in my Grandparent's room (they had twin beds just like on tv), my brother would sleep on a cot in the room my parent's were staying in (my Uncle's room), my Uncle would stay in "the sun room" that wasn't heated but would use some extra blankets. My brother and I would take baths in the same water (not at the same time) every night and it was only like 5 inches deep and lukewarm. My grandparents were very thrifty.

One week in the summer we would go to the "beach house". My great-Uncle George had a beach house on Fire Island, it was little more than a shack that eventually got electricity. They made a shower you had to get to by going outside around the back, a tank was set up so the sun would heat the water (there was no hot water there). Eventually the government knocked it down and we couldn't go there anymore (I think I was 13 at the time). Uncle George would take us there, we would load up the pick-up truck with a week's provisions, all the kids would sit in the back. After going over the bay, he would let some air out of his tires for the drive down the beach.

Mom cooked, we rarely went out to eat. Once in a great while we would go to McDonald's or Carroll's (later became Burger King) for a "treat". The whole family except Dad would eat a cheeseburger, fries and a coke (kids would get a small). Dad would get a "Big Mac". Those were considered normal serving sizes. Fries came in one size, the paper pocket size. I don't remember going out to eat anywhere else except for weddings.

On birthdays, Mom baked us a cake and we had a party in the backyard. The neighborhood kids would be invited and a best friend from school if she didn't live near us. It was a special day and we dressed up. Long distance calls were rarely made and only on weekends and late at night. "Say Hi to Grandpa--Hi Grandpa, I'm fine, thank you, I love you bye".

On Christmas Dad would go nuts. We would get lots of presents. The most technologically advanced gift I received (it was probably the most expensive) was a "See and Say" record player. You would insert a filmstrip (bordered in cardboard) in the slot, put the 45 record on the turntable and as the record progress, the film strip would advance one frame at a time along with the story. It may have come with a booklet. Oh, I also got a junior Touch-n-Sew one year but it didn't work for beans. Our (me and my friends) favorite items were Barbies, Barbie clothes and I had a doll I carried around a lot that I named "Cindy". That was the only time of year my Dad spent money.

Every year, we would have company visit us for about 2 weeks at a time. Sometimes it was my Dad's grandma, or my Mom's parents, or her brother. My brother would be moved into my room for the duration and our company would use his room. We didn't have a guest room, guest house, or ever think of asking them to get a hotel.

One year, my parents bought a stereo. It was a console and had a radio and turntable, a place to hold records and it was a piece of furniture. It matched our TV. The next year 1972, my sister was born, two months later, my parents got a divorce.

I think that was the most expensive thing they ever bought. My dad griped about the child support he had to pay to my mother ($25/per kid per week). She never got that raised, even after the energy crisis.

We really felt no deprivations until after the divorce. Even after that, I never felt I was poor and looking back I know money was tight. The only reason I thought of deprivation after the divorce was my Dad who would say stuff about not having this or that because my mother divorced him. But he was never deprived of his Scotch, so all that was pretty much sour grapes. Later on, when real estate went through the bottom, we were really broke and I remember eating spaghetti a few times a week. But that is another post.

LuceLu








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What our parents did in the 1950's and the 1960's was possible not (just) because of scrimping and saving, but because they lived in a time when one income paid the bills and allowed a family to live in a home they owned, have a car, take vacations and send their kids to college.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Not for my grandparents. My mom's told me many times how poor they were while she was growing up. I know my grandfather did construction work in addition to farming and my grandmother got a job as a waitress to help make ends meet. They never took vacations and my mom and her sisters had to get scholarships and work in college. 40+ years later my mother is still bitter about the way the nuns at her college treated her and the other young women who had to work in the kitchen.


I think this is a very interesting topic, 'cause I think that we can attribute a lot of our debt to our kids when it doesn't lay there. (I'm not talking about the poster with $1K in medical insurance bills every month, but the more average situation.)

I know that if I look at what I spend on my kid versus what I spend on myself, or what we as a family spend on my DH, that my kid is the least spendy of us. He's delighted with a happy meal toy, or a container of play-doh. My DH buys instruments, at a pretty fast clip these days (he is making more money at work, and well...I'm trying not to look too closely.) And I know that my son outgrows clothes and I buy him new ones, and maybe it's different for parents of girls, or parents of kids whose grandparents have more grandchildren, but I'm sure I've spent less on my son's clothes and shoes every year since he's been born than on mine. Heck, for three years, my neighbors gave me so much clothing I don't think I bought him anything at all.

I just know that I've gone through a big series of excuses for debt, from blaming my husband, to realizing I was really spendy, to seeing my husband blame my son, to convincing him that it was really the grown-ups in the house that were too self-indulgent and not our boy that was the reason for much of our spending. He's happy to eat peanut butter and jelly for lunch, but if I'm feeling lazy or running late, I'll send him to school with money for lunch. And it would be easy to say, I need a new car to tote my kid around, which is maybe an issue with multiple kids, but we just have the one, so that would be silly. And my husband has actually tried the "Our son needs an Xbox," when it was just my DH that wanted an Xbox.

I'm not saying kids don't bring extra expenses, they do. I just think that it can be an easy out, saying, "I'm in debt 'cause of my kids," when we make choices that we say are for our kids, but are 'cause we want the big SUV, or a nice vacation "for the kids," when they'd be happy visiting grandma, or we throw a big birthday party with a mad scientist and a bounce house (I'm totally guilty of this) when you could make a mix cake and invite some kids over. Or if you're not spending that much on your kids, but you think you are...my DH tends to be guilty of that one. He says, "We're spending too much on <whatever> for the boy!" and then I crunch the numbers and go, "We spend more on your guitar strings and nail care products, honey (classical guitarists go through a lot of Sally Hansen products)."

Anyway, I've gone on too long, I just know that for my family, my household, I'll take the kid related spending over the electronic gadget and guitar spending, or the Payless shoe store TJ Maxx mommy clothes spending any day. And this is a good reminder for me to be better about it. It's funny how your spending rises right along with your income. We need to pay more attention and reign ourselves in.


--Booa

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If you want what your parents had (and have a realistic picture of what that was) then you can dedicate 40 years to the same company, work your way up the ladder...


Hey, how's the weather back there in 1962????
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Hey, how's the weather back there in 1962????

That was my point. Times have changed. You can't have it both ways. Don't say you want what they had but aren't willing to live like they lived.

Frydaze1

How's the reading comprehension there on the little bus?
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Don't say you want what they had but aren't willing to live like they lived.

I'm willing to live like they lived. I would love to work for a company where I could spend 40 years, knowing that as long as I worked hard and did my best job, I'd have secure benefits, a secure job, a pension to look forward to and the two weeks off every summer to take the kids camping and cook them pork roll on an open fire. Just remind me again where I send my resume.

Last time I looked, corporations were buying each other up like mad and then firing half of the merged workforce because who needs all those people anyway. And all those people whose high tech jobs have been outsourced to foreign countries? How many people here are scraping it out as self employed consultants? How many long term unemployed are perfectly qualified professionals in their 40s and 50s who would take less money, less benefits, less everything just to be back in the game?

And while all of this is going on, we're told that the problem is that the work force needs to be more flexible. We need to bend. We can't depend on that old economy where jobs were stable, much less plentiful.

How's the reading comprehension there on the little bus?

I'm taking it there is nobody in your family or in your circle of friends who has a child with a disability?

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I'm taking it there is nobody in your family or in your circle of friends who has a child with a disability?

You attack, I attack in exchange. Cope. Oh, yeah, that's the point of this whole thread! Coping!



Let's get back to the point:

Some people (like the teacher without children) are willing to do what it takes to get out of debt.

Some people say they can't get out of debt because they have children, or bills, or something.

Some people take charge of their lives. Some people make excuses.

It's really hard to accept that our lives really ARE under our own control. Not completely. But enough that we really CAN improve things if we want. But it's easier sometimes to whine about the cards we were dealt.

Life sucks. Get a helmet.

Frydaze1

Totally done with the stupid, petty, snarky arguments from people who won't let their excuses go. Enjoy the rest of your day, and this thread. I'm back to earning more money for my debt reduction. You go back to... whatever.
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