Money, money, money

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Storms can descend any time — without warning

 

 

By Caitlin Kelly

There’s an American expression I’d never heard before I moved to the U.S., a “come to Jesus” meeting, defined by one online dictionary as:

 

Any meeting in which a frank, often unpleasant, conversation is held so as to bring to light and/or resolve some issue at hand

 

Few subjects are as fraught with emotion, for many of us anyway, as money.

Here’s a great/long/helpful New York Times column on when, how and why to discuss money effectively.

My husband and I recently had yet another CTJ meeting about our finances, our budget and how — again — we might try to trim our expenses and boost our earnings. We both work full-time freelance, I as a journalist, writing coach and editor, and he as a photographer and photo editor.

And we’re both at an age when no one is likely to offer us a well-paid, full-time job in our industry and we do apply.

Survival is wholly on us.

 

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I love living on the Hudson River

 

Money is a proxy for power, influence, access, status.

It’s how many people — especially in the United States — measure success. If you aren’t flaunting your wealth, you must not have any. Loser!

It also buys food and gas and housing and medical care and clothes and shoes and school tuition and books and music and beer and trips to visit people we love.

We live (in a one bedroom apartment) in a very wealthy area, wealth-adjacent as it were — one man in our small church wrote a personal check for $250,000 to buy the new organ. The women here who stay at home full-time focusing all their Ivy educated energy on their children chirp at me: “Are you still writing?” as if my life’s work, albeit in a poorly-paid creative field, were a hobby, like macrame or raising chickens.

I grew up in a family that had a lot of money, at times. My father and his second wife worked in film and TV, the household income dictated by the whims of whoever they were trying to sell their talents to. We had, as I’ve blogged here before, cotton years and cashmere years.

My maternal grandmother, whose father was a Chicago real estate developer and investor, inherited a massive sum in the 1960s — and spent it as if it were something radioactive to be gotten rid of as fast as possible. Hence, I witnessed, with a mixture of awe and envy, an extraordinary solo life of gold-topped canes, lush furs, raw silk custom-made muumuus with matching turbans, enormous jewels and limousines everywhere. When she died, in 1975, my mother had to sell everything to pay off death duties to the Ontario government and decades of unpaid income tax to the Canadian and U.S. government.

I own only two objects that were Granny’s — a 60’s-era gold ring and an antique pocket watch. Interestingly, Jose’s only family object is also a pocket watch, and a small black native American piece of pottery.

Jose grew up the son of a Baptist minister in Santa Fe, NM, in church housing, and attended four years of state university on a church-supplied scholarship.

I was lucky enough to have a monthly income at 18, thanks to that grandmother, just enough to live alone and pay my own way through four years of university, (plus a lot of freelance work.) I’ve had decades thinking/worrying about money every day and how best to manage it.

I’ve had staff jobs, two of them well-paid,  but knew they would never last. They just don’t, in our industry, especially if you don’t schmooze or flatter those in power.

 

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A cafe table in Montreal, one of our many pleasures…

 

For me, money is a tool: when there’s enough left over, you travel and renovate and buy a decent used car for cash and buy the best clothes and shoes and household goods possible because it can, and will, disappear overnight, and often without warning.

 

So you also save and save and save and save and save!

 

I lost income in 2018 producing two (unsold) non-fiction book proposals, then six months’ dealing with breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

We do have decent savings, some of which — again — we’re going to have to access to survive 2019.

Our single greatest cost?

No surprise here for any American reader: $1,700 a month for our health insurance plus another $2,000 in co-pays (out of pocket payments) for specific medical visits.

It is more than our monthly mortgage payment —- and is non-negotiable. Even if we lived in a hut in the woods, we’d still need it.

 

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Both my parents grew up rich, and each promised to eventually leave me some of their money but one lied for decades and spent every dime on herself.

 

How does money — or the lack of it — play out in your life?

 

 

 

49 thoughts on “Money, money, money

  1. From a family of ten,, eight children and sometimes very poor, others times getting by, learned I did not want to be poor. My husband and I limited our family size, two children and saved. In other words we had a pretty dull life. Today my husband and I are seventy and comfortable unless, the market takes a serious dive or one of us gets really sick and needs assisted care. My husband had pancreatic cancer in 2012 but survived. His co-pays are about ten thousand a year. The cost of health care is challenging. Claudia

    1. Wow. That was some childhood — and I can totally see why you made your choices as you did.

      I was the most broke, scared and without anyone to turn to throughout my 4 years of university — fairly or not, I’ve since hated academia and have very negative associations with those years. I loved some of my classes and experiences but missed a lot of classes and potentially deep and nourishing friendships by always having to chase freelance income instead of just being a serious student.

      So glad your husband is well!!!!

      Those co-pays are insane. We keep debating whether we will retire back to Canada and avoid the endless financial fears of American healthcare. Really stressful.

  2. I don’t have a lot of money but I have enough. If I have to wait for something I want or go without it altogether, I deal with it. I know people whose ambitions are inextricably attached to money. I don’t understand it. They may not have figured out what they want from their lives yet, or they may be fearful for their future well being. Who knows?
    I grew up in a Navy family with four sisters. Life in Navy housing was like living in a commune populated with sailors and Marines. It was very densely populated and everyone had at least two kids. Two or three families would move out of the neighborhood every month, usually on short notice. These families would generally hold a carport sale (No one had a garage) or a full-on potlatch to lighten their load down to the weight the Navy was willing to ship. Up until my teens, this is where most of my clothes came from. After that, I wore my dad’s hand-me-downs (Double-knit slacks, Yabba dabba doo!)
    So yeah, I grew up on the edge of being broke, with rarely more than a couple bucks in my pocket. It taught me something, though. If I couldn’t be happy without a pocketful of money, I was probably never going to be happy.
    Now that I have enough money I get to treat myself from time to time. I’ve owned some world class guitars, but I have also had to sell them when times were tight, as well as other items of value that have come and gone over the years. I remember these things, that beautiful cherry red Gibson ES-335 in particular, but I don’t yearn for them. The friendship and love that have faded away, from time or distance or the introduction of new relationships into the dynamic, bring me a deeper feeling of loss, one beyond the capacity of money to soothe.
    Thanks for another thought-provoking post. I look forward to reading the rest of the comments and replies.

    1. Thanks…

      It is such a rich (pun intended) subject as we all have to face money — the lack of it or, rarely for most, an excess and then what? I have been ashamed of not giving money to charity, and I don’t, but have never felt safe enough to do that beyond $50 here and there. We are very fortunate to now have accumulated good savings, but are also facing some major decisions — whether to acquire a quite-needed second car (yet also a true luxury) and its costs; whether to pay off our mortgage so we can lower our monthly stress about “are we making enough this month?”

      Being freelance is not amusing in that regard — while we do have clients who value our skills, nothing is guaranteed and budgets get cut and I get ghosted ALL THE TIME by people saying they want to work with me….while the bills don’t go away.

      I don’t need a ton of money to be happy but I do need to feel we have options — the ability to travel and to enjoy culture (movies, some Broadway, ballet, etc) — really matters to me more than piles of stuff.

      I think we are all so shaped early on by how we see money affecting our lives, for good and ill.

      In our family, it’s too often a weapon of power, typical of some wealthy folk.

  3. Jan Jasper

    Caitlin,
    Gee, what an interesting family backstory you have. As for health insurance, I’m guessing you’re not close to Medicare age? One of the few good things about turning 65 is the enormous cost savings of going on Medicare. But, you still need to get from now till your 65th birthday.
    Money is an interesting and deep subject. I recently experienced the sad end of a long, wonderful relationship because of my then-boyfriend’s stunning lack of interest in saving for his old age. He earns enough money that he could save much more, but he prefers to over-indulge his adult children, with no apparent thought to his own future survival. I used to think the desire to save money – so you won’t be going to a food pantry when you’re elderly – was hard-wired in all of us. I was wrong. I simply could not put my own survival at risk, so we parted ways.
    I look forward to reading of others’ experiences here. Caitlin, you’ve got a great group of interesting and smart followers!

    1. I’ve got a few years before Medicare so it’s costing us a fortune in the meantime, sorry to say.

      I can totally appreciate (however sad!) parting ways with a sweetheart over un-shared financial values. It really is a breaking point for many…Jose and I are now hashing out some major major decisions about how to use (if at all) some of our hard-won retirement savings….my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment (a cliche) made me much less willing to keep cranking out copy-for-cash and not caring much about the content. It just feels like a waste of time when we have no guarantee how much time any of us is granted….and yet, it means we do not have to touch our savings, even in we can’t add to them.

      It’s easier for us not having kids’ needs to worry about, or parents’ — my mother is now in a charity nursing home and my father has plenty of money and still excellent health, the golden combination.

      To me, not having lots of savings makes me feel ill and scared. I used to break into a terrible sweat (!) when I was in a store and considering buying anything non-essential. I really think it made me so anxious that there could be no compensatory pleasure in whatever I DID buy.

      But when times are a little better (as they are right now for us), hell, yes, I will treat myself. I am loving my three new sweaters!

  4. Oh you KNOW I have thoughts on this!

    I feel like so much of what we do and think about lately is money, but we want to get out from under our remaining debt. This is a big joint priority for us this year. We are a well-educated, two income family, and while we have retirement and pension plans we pay into, much about our lives is scarily close to paycheck to paycheck. That terrifies me. Almost every pound we make is spoken for. I cannot fathom life if we didn’t have the NHS and it’s absolutely in our top reasons as to why moving back to the States doesn’t even feel like an option right now!

    We want to start saving and that is really motivating this too. If we didn’t make such large payments every month, what else could we be doing with that money instead!

    Growing up my parents never struggled and always had a nice home. We even had some perks due to our military postings! But I had two conflicting views of money. My father is CHEAP and has a hard time spending money, is extremely libertarian in his views, and always made it clear that self-reliance had to be my future. I have never once asked my parents for money as a result, started working at 16 and even worked two jobs in college at one point! On the other hand my mother is more willing to spend money and believes in buying better quality. This has led to more than one argument as you can imagine.

    But one of the realizations I’ve had to come to is that because I was raised in a home free of financial struggles and always had money available to me as I always worked…I never really learned how to properly budget. I never overspent, but I didn’t know how to PLAN my spending. That’s been the biggest lesson I’ve had to teach myself in adulthood. Just because I can afford something and want is is not nearly good enough reason to buy it. It needs to serve a purpose, be good value for money, etc.

    We’re making progress but money is truly a Sisyphean struggle, it never ends.

    1. It is always so complicated!!!

      We want stuff. We like stuff. We love good food or travel or pretty shoes or a new rug or….

      I was never taught how to manage money per se but was fortunate, at 14, to be given a 2x year clothing allowance that was wholly mine to manage; then $400 each time. I still (!) remember the clothes and shoes I bought and loved. I really enjoyed having such agency over money and making my own decisions.

      Then at 19 I was living on my own and had to handle all my own income/expense and was SO broke in 2nd yr university it took me months to save the $30 I needed to buy ballet leotard/tights/slippers. I really knew the value of every dollar and am SO impatient with people who don’t.

      Super high living costs (London, NY) do make it much tougher; the last fight (sigh) with my father over $$$$ and our struggles with it had him insisting we move to rural Nova Scotia where (true) we could buy a house for $100,000.

      Yeah, in a place with no jobs, no racial diversity, no religious diversity and no culture. (And I checked!)

      Every choice we make comes with its own costs!

      1. But seriously, dude, because you’re Jewish? Do you have issues with Mel Brooks? I don’t see the sense of it.
        Certainly there are metaphors as illustrative as “Come to Jesus”, but “I’ve got your head in a vise, so give it up” leaves so little room for a positive outcome.

      2. Mel Brooks is Jewish, so is Jesus. That’s why it makes no sense that your religion/ cultural background would give you, as the writer, cause to take exception to a term that draws such an accurate portrayal of this circumstance. Perhaps there is another reason. Oh, and I’m a writer, not a Christian.

      3. Maybe it’s the last time someone told me to “come to Jesus,” it was at a pride parade and it was a preacher with a megaphone looking right at me with so much contempt in his eyes for me (I’m openly bisexual and have many LGBT friends and family). That might have something to do with it.

      4. I can dig that. Your circumstance reflects the reason I don’t like very many Christians, or other groups of chosen people, and it certainly makes for a better reason than your Jewish heritage. Thanks for helping me to understand.

      5. I’m not on the spectrum but it does get lonely out here on my wavelength. I’ve been married for thirty two years and I still have to explain myself all the time, so I sympathize with your position.
        I’ve never been in a church that wasn’t jammed full of sinners. The problem with most of them is that they focus on everyone else’s sin and not their own. They think the grace of God absolves them of any responsibility to live in an upright manner. Feet of clay, man, I pity them.

  5. for me, money has always come and gone. i’ve had money and had no money and i find myself in somewhat of a middle ground at present. i’d like to have enough money to pay my bills without worrying, reduce my expenses, prepare for the future (to a point), and have a bit leftover to help my children when needed, for charities i am interested in helping to support, or to use for my own experiences – travel, entertainment, special things, etc.

  6. I came from a family where there wasn’t too much extra going on and I did not inherit any money or assets (nor expected to). I put myself through uni by joining the military. My first husband came from a very wealthy family but the issues around that were almost worse than being poor. When we divorced, I was basically at square one again; had to start all over – mortgage, furnishing a home, paying lawyer’s fees, etc, etc. Contemplating that when I was 45 was scary, but I was building a pension and had RRSPs.

    Right now I’m at the top of my career and am very well paid, and I’m looking at retirement in three or four years (or something like that). We’ve just found our “perfect” retirement home (we have a home there now but it wasn’t a good match and we’re selling it) in the Okanagan and want to pay that down and save money for travel before I call it a day. We were torn by the possibility of retiring to Calgary or possibly Vancouver but in the end, the 45 min flight to Calgary and 2 hr drive to Van made the Okanagan very attractive. Wine! Great restos! Great walking! Beautiful countryside! Mild winters! Culture a short flight or drive away! We finally decided. The upshot is that I’ve worked all my life at pretty good jobs for the most part, and even so, have experienced hard times. My education has saved my butt.

    Btw, what are co-pays??? Sounds terrifying.

    1. So glad it has worked out so well! We keep discussing if/where to move for retirement…and might stay in Tarrytown (45 minutes to Manhattan.) I def. want to live part-time either in Canada or France; SICK to death of the toxicity of U.S. politics, racism and income inequality.

      Toronto has become impossibly expensive (where many oy my friends live) as have many surrounding decent cities and towns…There are places much more affordable (rural Nova Scotia) but I want to have ready access to culture and racial diversity — and that seems in very short supply even with super affordable housing.

      Co-pays are the health insurance industry’s form of ransom —- not only do we have to pay a fortune for our monthly costs but an ADDITIONAL fee for the privilege of actually seeing a physician. They can be extremely high; one plan (with a lower monthly cost) charges $1,500 (!!!????)) for an in-patient admission. Typically they are $25 or $30 — and when I needed physical therapy 3x week at $25/visit, you can imagine.,…

      American are absolutely screwed by this system — unless they have Medicaid, (for low income), Medicare (over 65), the VA (veterans or a full-time job that heavily subsidizes these costs and passes the to the employer as a cost of doing business (so they screw us with low wages.) It is an insane scam — and only those like me who have lived in a single-payer nation really see what a shit show it is.

      The great mythology of American “liberty” and “freedom” is that only the securely employed or wealthy are safe from this bullshit.

  7. Thank you. It’s a work in progress still, but my hope is that all will go smoothly.

    I know from some of your other posts that you have better work possibilities in the US simply because of its size and that you find Canada plodding or dull (?). Having lived in the US (and enjoyed it) I was happy to come back because I found it frenetic (and my job by nature IS frenetic). Perception is interesting.

    Toronto is really expensive. It’s insane. Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but measures to regulate it (and other cities in BC, including in the Okanagan) are starting to work. I somehow don’t see you moving to NS – have you considered BC? In our decision we really looked at ease of flying or driving to larger centres.

    Quality of life (and your blood pressure) is important.Thanks for explaining – this co-paying would have me scared shitless. I have to say that our social safety net is invaluable, in more ways than one.

    Good luck with your decision-making process. It’s never easy and there’s always a certain amount of guess-work involved.

    1. The secret is out!

      I do find Canada…slow. I love my friends dearly, we come back a lot for vacations and I certainly DO miss not ever worrying about my damn health care and its costs. But I have also become a soft-bellied Yankee when it comes to that healthcare as well — our local hospital looks more like a hotel (since renovations.) When my father had hip replacement at a regional Ontario hospital in 2015 and we went up to care for him for 3 weeks I was a bit stunned at how stark and cold it felt — long bare hallways, taking a number for service like a deli. No follow-up. And some real problems with a metal-on-metal replacement (NO ONE here uses them and I knew that.) As I age and now have more health issues, a good regional care center is also more of an issue for me. We like our medical teams here.

      Yes, an American FT job here (depending on job/industry/seniority) can be insane — anything here paying $100k+ is sure to be crazy-making.

      But, boy, I just can’t abide the endless ghosting and hand-wringing I have seen in my Canadian business dealings. I fact check this with friends there about what they also see….In the States (as maybe you saw), some people are fine making quick/snap decisions about whether you can add value professionally — and MOVE. I see an intolerable (to me) indecisiveness in Canadians and, literally, it costs me money as someone self-employed. I just picked up a very good monthly gig from someone (also in NY) I have never even met and who has only seen me (!?) writing on Twitter. I can’t imagine many Canadians hiring me with such confidence…so often when I think I have a deal going with a Canadian they later back out of it. NOT COOL. That risk aversion makes me really frustrated.
      I’ve watched this with two Toronto pals as they have tried (one more successfully, the other still trying) to launch smart businesses. I have been stunned at how sloooooooowwwwwly the wheels there turn because, OMG, what if it doesn’t work out? Here there’s always another job, another gig, another person willing to give you (from what I have seen) a chance. I do not see this in Canada.

      I had a deep insight in 1996 after getting fired from a NYC magazine editing job (an insight shared by the head-hunter who got me the job); Canadians don’t hire/fire as fast and so getting fired feels (and is) shameful. Not here. It’s just business and you get on with it. I like that attitude.

      I also do find a nation of 37 m people and all its tedious regional hatreds, a bit much. Rob Ford is doing some mighty serious damage in Ontario right now!

      I was always (?!) mistaken in Canada for an American even when I lived there: too direct, too openly ambitious, etc. I thought…OK, I’ll go to the States! No, to NY…Not Oklahoma.

      BC doesn’t feel like a choice right now when our closest pals are in Ontario and Quebec. My life’s dream has been to retire in France, at least part of the year….we’ll see.

      1. Thank you for your insights.

        I think that one of the major cultural differences between US and Canada (and also a very overlooked difference) is that many Canadians work to live, whereas I think many Americans live to work. That’s perhaps why you find Canadians unambitious (because we kind of are) and I (and I believe many of my compatriots would agree) find Americans far too driven. I have described myself that way, too: I love my job and don’t want a different one, but it doesn’t define me. It’s my work, not my life. Even so, there is a lot of turnover and movement in my profession and as a result we tend to be a little more hardened than most.

        Since health care in Canada is a provincial responsibility there are a lot of differences from province to province. I had hip replacement surgery seven years ago (the result of an accident) in Calgary – in that dept. it was very far ahead of Ontario at that time, so I am not surprised to hear of your father’s experience. But as you say, your friends are there – why would you live somewhere else?

        It’s interesting to me that in Canada I am often taken for an American as well (I am French-Canadian; my mother was from England and my father’s English was heavily accented) but in the US I am asked where I’m from – apparently not immediately recognisable as Canadian. I know that my accent is somewhat difficult to place.

        Thanks for this very interesting comment-chat. 🙂

      2. This is a great cross-cultural conversation I rarely get to have — Americans are socialized to be American (and very incurious about other ways of living) and Canadians who have never lived and worked in the U.S. HAVE NO CLUE how crazy it is.

        It’s also a reinforcing cycle premised NOT of American ambition/lack of same (maybe some but not all) but a complete shitshow of there being no U.S. social safety nets. Working in the U.S. means time-traveling back to Dickensian era mindsets — the poor are only to be shunned, shamed and punished for their indolence (regardless of illness, etc) and if they would, wealthy right-wing Americans would be delighted to bring back the poorhouse. (look at how the refugee children have been treated!)

        So when there are: 1) no unions; 2) you work “at will” (can be fired any time for NO reason at all; 3) severance is rare and you need to find afford a lawyer to get you any; 3) unemployment benefits are a joke — $1600/month in NY state, less than most rents; 4) they routinely ask for year of college graduation (easy and invisible way to discriminate on basis of age); 5) terror of losing affordable health care provided by employer….HEY, work is the God all must worship.

        Even if they prefer not to.

        So I do not think every American is driven per se; I do think that corporate-owned America, yoked to capitalism and neo-liberalism and the fantasy that every failure MUST be individual (as is every success), you get no collective agreements on anything.

        I do not live to work. Quite the opposite. I just hide it here.

      3. I understand your point – Americans are frequently driven into being driven. That’s insane, Caitlin; the lack of job protection and heath care and then the age discrimination (and no doubt other types as well) on top of it is just … exploitative.

        I hope that your dream to retire in France comes through for you. 🙂

      4. It is!

        I’m also driven in some ways, so that bit doesn’t bother me and I am quite able to compete effectively with those here who are as well. I don’t see work as my only value in this world, though, and the relentless BE MORE PRODUCTIVE thing is mindless and really destructive — and very very American. They feel brainwashed…the poor are desperate, the middle class terrified and the wealthy playing status games with one another.

        Being highly competitive meant that Canadian journalism was going to be too small for me and, with deep American roots, I was also very curious about that side of my family; several were really interesting and accomplished people. I was able to get a green card thanks to my mother (NYC born.) And, to be honest, I just couldn’t see coming back to Canada — I didn’t like Toronto; Mon treal was too cold, too small for many good jobs and then…? I didn’t want to move West or to the Maritimes or Ottawa….I REALLY wanted to (and love living in) live in NY.

        Thanks! We’ll see what happens.

    1. Lynette is right — the 2 countries really have very different value systems, reinforced by/expressed by their public policies. I do prefer Canada’s more humane approach, without question, but the professional opportunities (for me anyway) are very limited, even compared to highly competitive NYC.

  8. Ashley

    Savings is important no matter who you are. I find it perhaps more important in creative fields. My first real experience is when I left a decent job in NY for a promised job down south. It seemed too good to be true: I had a gorgeous apartment with cheap reap rent compared to NY standards, fantastic weather, and had locked in a writing job paying more than my NY salary.

    Then, two weeks into training and after receiving comments of “a job well done,” the company called me after work. “Ashley?” My manager said. “I’m calling to inform you that your position with us has been terminated.” I spoke with the VP of the company the next morning. I was angry. He told me the company had “developing communications issues” and may not have had communicated that I wasn’t “a good fit for the position.” It seemed crazy since I had passed three interviews, had three executives recommend me as an employee, and passed their writing test. Not to mention, the glowing reviews I had those two weeks in office.

    I was forced to freelance my way here and there to survive for the first time. It wasn’t easy. Not having health insurance and losing the job so quickly right after the big move hit me hard. Along with my savings, might I add.

    Eventually, I returned to NY after not finding gainful employment. Home has treated me well, but I’m still saving. A backup financial plan, or “rainy day fund” as it’s often called, is needed. Because yes, it will rain and often hard.

    1. What a horrible experience!!!

      It’s one reason I haven;t budged since moving to NYC/area in 1989; I was given a job intervew in the 90s at a VERY hot San Francisco website, and you should have seen the office! The place was gorgeous.

      But I feared losing a job in a (then) much smaller city where I know no one…and sure enough the dotctom boom busted and they were soon gone.

      One of the nastiest elements of job loss in the U.S. (versus Canada where i grew up, or France where I lived at 25) is this loss of health insurance — it makes unemployment absurdly expensive, even with COBRA (for Non-Americans, it means you are able to keep your job’s health insurance for a while — at 100% MORE than it cost with your job. Such a deal!)

      SAVE!!!!!!! You are so wise to have even had savings.

  9. I wouldn’t have a viable household if I had to pay medical insurance – we’re lucky here in the UK. With two self employed people, we’re in a similar situation to you, but this one factor changes everything.

    1. It’s a huge burden — and as Ashley pointed out, especially for creative folk like you, her and us. That monthly cost is a terrible burden but without it….wait for it…Jose’s insulin (per month) would cost $800. It is a very very very very ugly cost of living in the United States — and yet everyone SHRIEKS about socialism when the idea of single-payer healthcare is discussed.

      So pay now through the nose or pay later because of medical costs; my breast cancer bills came to $55,000 (insurance covered it) — but imagine if it had not?

  10. The story in my family goes that Dad’s family had money. But then his father died when Dad was only 10. His mother took up with a man that drained the bank accounts. She was awful with money and hadn’t kept things up. I often wonder what the fallout would have been had she invested wisely and preserved for future generations. But we’ll never know . . .

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