You’ve got bills. I know you do. And if somehow you don’t, then you’ve led a life about 98 percent of us couldn’t begin to comprehend.
We’ve all got common bills. Electricity, water, rent/mortgage, phone, cable/satellite (or maybe you’ve gone the streaming route, but it’s still a bill). Most of us have credit card bills. Maybe you’ve got one of those $5,000 loans that you’ll pay $9,500 back over seven years and by year three you’re scratching your head and wondering what it was you took that loan out for?
A lot of us have car payments. Sure, you might be one of those people who drive a car into the ground but somewhere along the line you bought it and you probably financed it.
And with most of these things comes some kind of insurance costs.
If you’re like me you’ve got a lot of medical bills, some stretching back years. Like an emergency room visit from five years ago where the insurance paid $3,800 for a grand total of five minutes of the doctor’s time and then the hospital demanded another $1,500.
The wife recently had major routine surgery (certainly an oxymoron) and while it wasn’t dangerous surgery, it still required a couple of nights in the hospital. All told, the experience cost right around $45,000, of which the insurance paid $41,000, though it was probably less after negotiations.
Don’t get me wrong. The insurance was the only thing that allowed this to be done, but after getting paid $41,000, the hospital then turned to us and asked for another $4,000. $41,000 wasn’t enough? Those are mob/loan shark terms.
So, if you’re like us in some way, you pay the ones that have to be paid (electric, water, etc.) and then look at the $4,000 medical bill and say, “Well, let’s give them $100 and see what happens.” What happens, of course, is they send another bill and you wash, rinse and repeat
But the bills can start to weigh on your mind. The American Psychiatric Association recently took a poll of 1,004 people and 66 percent said they were so anxious and worried about bills that they needed medicine to function, giving them another #$!#& bill to worry about!
For those who might not pay that much attention to polls, 66 percent is an insanely high number for any poll other than one asking “Do you want to die in a horrible way?”
The main reason people worry about bills is because what we make has come to a screeching stop. It’s officially called stagnant wages, but most of us know it as the “everything’s going up but my paycheck” syndrome.
When you live in a low-cost of living area like we have here, you can lead a pretty decent life on $50,000 a year. If there’s just two of you. And you don’t mind having a 17-year-old vehicle in the driveway. And you don’t put your nose in the air when people mention doublewides.
Now, you’d be broke in Atlanta and homeless in New York, but $50,000 a year will keep you comfortable around here.
But you still have bills.
Consumer debt hit a record high last year, and you might not be totally wrong to think most of that falls on you. Housing prices are the cause of a lot of that. If you’re paying a mortgage, I can’t stress enough to somehow get the lowest interest rate you can. We learned the hard way the difference between an 11.5 interest rate and one of 3.74.
If you rent, well, things appear to have gotten totally out of hand. Even the tiniest place will run you $700 a month, not to mention the $1,500-$2,000 you’ll need just to get in the door.
You could cut out the loan debts by just waiting and saving to buy stuff instead of handing over a card to get it right then. But let’s be honest. None of us want to do that. We could get run over by a truck tomorrow! What good would having money saved up do then?
A legitimate question. You can’t take it with you. But what if you take on all that debt and the truck just misses you? I guess you better hope your anxiety pill comes in generic.