What do you do, if I may ask?
I was enlisted in the military, then I got out and have been working as a contractor / civilian (I got out after 8 years, so, no retirement check or anything). Before that I waited tables and managed a restaurant, which then went under after the owner turned out to be a fraudulent thief who absconded with two months of our pay.
We spent 3 years as an E3 because the Marine Corps Would. Not. Promote. Grunts. (yeesh). Now I make pretty good money (baseline isn't six figures, but I can get there if I work a bunch of overtime over the course of the year), but some of those early years we were pinching some pennies :p.
And even then ($1,692 a month
) we were living pretty well off, compared to others, who were also getting by. I worked with tons
of other people at and around that income level - 99% of the time it's not a matter of "Oh We Can't Make It On This Income
", it's a matter of "I don't have a budget and so I have no idea where my money is going, or where it went, and so I live on credit cards and this nice $30,000 new truck that is guaranteed to go down in value
I've sat down with people who were so vastly outweighed by their debts that their minimum monthly payments were greater than their monthly take home pay, I've sat down with newly-divorced single mothers without jobs and facing poverty, I've sat down with low income couples, mid income couples, high income couples, military, government, regular employee, self-employed....
...and I've never yet come across a hopeless case.
America is an incredible, beautiful land.
Heck, many times, with the low income couples, when you added in the extra costs of daycare, gasoline, clothing, food, etc., they were either just breaking even or losing
money by having the wife work.
Thing is, the only real hard goods debts Karen and I have are one car payment and the mortgage.
Everything else, literally EVERYTHING ELSE, is medical.
Medical medical medical...it's always BEEN medical with us.
Being disabled is expensive. Being disabled and raising a disabled son is even more expensive.
I asked what you do that you can afford being a one income family for a specific reason, to compare notes with my own experiences.
In the 1980's/1990's I wasn't yet married to "THE GIRL I SHOULD HAVE MARRIED IN THE FIRST PLACE - KAREN"
I was married to Linda, the former Mrs. Barry Beckerman (Barry produced the 1984 hit film "Red Dawn") and we were also a single income family, no kids...Hollywood dream couple. (that became a nightmare, but I digress)
I was an IATSE Union Local 776 Motion Picture and Videotape Editor
A Z-1 On Call Picture Editor to be specific, and I was making $2495 a week - - in 1980's dollars.
So you see, I know what it is like to make good money. I made "more money than God" for a good long while.
And even then when we racked up debt, we budgeted everything.
It all worked smoothly. So I also know about staying within a budget.
That's how I was able to own my own post production facility.
The issues we face today aren't much different than a lot of working American families. While you may have sat down and worked out budget woes for a lot of families saddled by debt, I wonder if you've ever faced a family that has the kind of debt we have.
We do have one of those "nice $30,000 new truck[s] that is guaranteed to go down in value"
by the way, only it's an eighty thousand dollar truck guaranteed to go down in value.
Handicap accessible vans ain't cheap.
The reason we bought it is because the PAID OFF 2004 Dodge Caravan we used to own simply could not go another mile and be worth saving.
She gave us almost 300 thousand faithful miles.
We didn't have a choice.
The VA paid for the handicap conversion so that's about 35,000 out of the eighty we don't have to worry about.
But in order to carry Karen anywhere, we have to have a ramp van.
And we did not want to face a rolling series of repairs and the VA only converts new vehicles...you can't very well blame them.
When we first moved back to SoCal we were renting a 1300 SF 3BR house in Downey for 2700 a month. Now we're paying 2400 a month for a 2230 SF 4BR house in Whittier, so we got a better deal by OWNING than we would by renting.
We are not spendthrifts, CP. We don't "live beyond our means".
We don't run up the plastic to the max. We just have a house and car, that's all.
Of course, thanks to the pandemic, we will probably once again face the possibility of being underwater on our home, just like back in TX when Bush screwed up the economy in 2007.
In Texas, in 2006, we bought in at $172K and watched in horror as the value of our brand new home went down to 94K. When we sold it in 2013, we got almost 200K...thanks Obama.
We bought in Whittier for $475K in 2012 and last time I checked, just before COVID-19 hit, our home value was $699K.
We have not failed at being capitalists. Capitalism seems to keep failing us, because a few capitalists are just too damn greedy and keep trying to game the system, and when it blows up in their faces, normal working American families like ours get hit by the mess.
The good news is, just like in the 1930's, it looks like socialism, or at least - SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, (closer to the truth)
is probably going to rush in and save capitalism one more time.
Because if it doesn't...welcome to the civilization that didn't go out with a bang, but with a whimper.