The economy - a random discussion - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-05-2009, 04:04 AM
 
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Yes. If nothing else, we're not going to have too many people racking up credit card debt because it's the only way they can pay their medical bills. (I don't know how common that is down there, as I'd tend to think that the people with no health coverage are often going to be the ones who don't have very much credit available, either. I could be way off base on that, though.) I've known a couple people who have had a lot of trouble paying their medical costs, because there are things that aren't covered...but it's not rampant here.
What is more common, here, is people racking up medical bills period. Hospitals and doctors send bills to collections, medical bills go on credit reports, etc.
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:31 AM
 
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for the record: I'm unemployed, but I got fired, so I don't count as one of those seeking unemployment insurance. I'm not even counted in the record numbers.
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:33 AM
 
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Every company is different and severance isn't spelled out as a "benefit" at least not with our company, but they gave none the less.
Must have been working for the wrong companies then. Their idea of severance was: "Hey, we don't have the money in the budget anymore for your position. Your last day is X. Don't let the door hit you on the $# on the way out!"
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:52 AM
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What is more common, here, is people racking up medical bills period. Hospitals and doctors send bills to collections, medical bills go on credit reports, etc.
If one has a payment arrangement the hospital/doctor is not supposed to turn it over to collections or report it as anything other than "pays as agreed". Anything sent directly to collections without being submitted to insurance and/or the responsible party and is listed on a credit report can be disputed.

Fraudulent reports put on credit reports can be very easily disputed with a simple letter sent to the CRAs. I believe Experian and Equifax also allow you to dispute right online.
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:11 PM
 
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I don't feel numb or overwelmed really, but I think that is a very natural response. I have been feeling very cautious and protective of my family. This whole mess has activated major problem-solving thinking in us. We are looking at things in a way we have never looked at them before. I have been needing to feel productive and "in control" of our families finances in a way I have never felt before. We are really watching our spending. I have cut out lots of luxuries and am couponing & stockpiling which has saved us a ton of money. We have always lived pretty simply, but we are taking that to a whole new level. DH and I love to learn about history and international affairs, and I think that knowledge, paired with news, feels like... well... for lack of a better analogy, a fire being lit under our a$$.

This is how I feel. For a few years I felt an urgent need to reduce debt and save money. So now all we have left is a mortgage which are in the process of refinancing for a great rate. I am also stockpiling some food and was able to find a wonderful part-time job. I will just tuck most of that money away for now. When the ground thaws, I will be working on my garden space (put in fence and good soil). And extra money that we have had goes first to projects that will save up money in the long run (insulation, etc.) I am grateful for these boards (and others) that have been giving me information for years. I also am trying to figure out how to give back right now. There are so many places of need. The schools are cutting budgets, the food pantry has empty shelves, etc. So I am trying to donate regularly to local places and spend any money I do spend in local stores. I have been also trying to pay cash as much as possible because they keeps more of my money in the community helping out my neighbors rather than going towards insane bonuses at big corporate banks. And, I am trying hard not to pay too much attention to the doom and gloom news, but just keep plugging away...
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:41 PM
 
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Must have been working for the wrong companies then. Their idea of severance was: "Hey, we don't have the money in the budget anymore for your position. Your last day is X. Don't let the door hit you on the $# on the way out!"
Yep. In my experience, severances only go to white collar jobs in upper management...not to the masses. For example, last night on our local news, they announced that a manufacturing company in town was laying off 70 people and that only 3 of those layoffs were getting severance packages.
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:48 PM
 
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If one has a payment arrangement the hospital/doctor is not supposed to turn it over to collections or report it as anything other than "pays as agreed". Anything sent directly to collections without being submitted to insurance and/or the responsible party and is listed on a credit report can be disputed.

Fraudulent reports put on credit reports can be very easily disputed with a simple letter sent to the CRAs. I believe Experian and Equifax also allow you to dispute right online.
It's not always as simple as that. My sister has a chronic disease that often requires hospitalization a few times a year. Just a couple day stay in the hospital will cause her to be in many thousands of dollars in debt - and she has insurance. Some hospitals send large bills directly to collections agencies and don't even process them correctly. Someone who is dealing with a chronic illness and a large amount of debt often doesn't have time or energy to "fight" these sorts of things. From what I've seen, credit agencies are reluctant to fix the problem even when you do fight it. In addition to my sisters plight, I've watched several friend's credit be completely destroyed by improperly handled medical bills. It can take years to rebuild from these debacles. It should be an easy thing to fix, but it rarely is in reality.
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:48 PM
 
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We are a large family (7 going on 8) and I just had to go on maternaty (sp?) leave early (for med reasons) but even before that my hours were being cut (I'm a server and they were doing it to everyone not just me- or because I am pg).My dh is a cook at a family owned resturant his job is some what secure- he's been there since it opened and the owner has stated he is the only employee besides his own son that he'll be keeping if/when the time comes to cut back on employees (dh is the hardest worker there- which helps).But if his boss loses it all we'll be done.I am not confident that after lo is born My job will even have hours there for me!

But we're used to living this way.So for me I get scared only when I read threads like this- why do I do it to myself.We're used to living on under 25k a year so if we can continue to make that we'll be ok.We have no savings or investments- we live pay check to pay check and each month we have to pick which bill we'll pay. Our credits is boarderline- but who cares maybe when this is all done everyone(normal low to upper middle class) will be be in the bad. I am trying to take life one day at a time- you never know what is really going to happen anyways. ( this topic gets me really morbid and thinking about end of days, war worlds and revoltionary wars and the fact life may be like the movies of the future and going back to ancient pre-tech life).


As for family my mom is worried about her job as a nurse in a hospital and she's been a nurse for 30 years!If we could all live together and pool our resources if need be but there would be lots of tents and temp houses built in peoples backyards!
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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If we could all live together and pool our resources if need be but there would be lots of tents and temp houses built in peoples backyards!
Yes, this is what we tell ourselves too. We've already talked about this sort of back-up plan with my mom and Dh's parents. We know that we'll always have a place to live, even if the worse happens.
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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We live in a somewhat rural area, so there has never been a thriving job market here. No one among our close family or friends has been in real danger of losing their jobs. It only really hit home for me a couple of weeks ago when a man in our church lost his job. I consider he and his wife casual friends... she is the SAHM to three little girls. His job was eradicated because his company provided products for another company in dire straits. Now the same thing is happening to my cousin. He finally found a local job making pallets, and now he has been whittled down to part-time hours and sometimes is told not to come in to work at all, because their clients are downsizing. It's a mess.

That said, DH and I saw this coming a LONG way off and honestly wonder why other people didn't. Even when we were living on a single minimum wage income, we determined to stay out of debt and put back money. We are living securely in a paid-for (small!) house with a well-stocked pantry and no debt because we were determined to, not because it fell in our lap. I know there are some people -- as previously mentioned in this thread -- who cannot help their financial circumstances, due to chronic health problems or other issues, and my sympathy is with them, but MOST people we know personally can. Or could have, if they had had the foresight to plan for a rainy day rather than buy a new car, a plasma TV, designer clothes, etc.

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Old 02-05-2009, 01:48 PM
 
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A little OT... I had incorrect medical bills on my credit (charged at one of the times that I had insurance, good insurance through my mom, actually), and it took me nearly a year of trying to get them taken off.

The whole oddysey, from treatment to removal of incorrect bills, took five years. There wasn't a @#$% thing simple about it.

Trying to turn hearts and minds toward universal healthcare, one post at a time.
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:57 PM
 
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A little OT... I had incorrect medical bills on my credit (charged at one of the times that I had insurance, good insurance through my mom, actually), and it took me nearly a year of trying to get them taken off.

The whole oddysey, from treatment to removal of incorrect bills, took five years. There wasn't a @#$% thing simple about it.
FWIW... a few years ago I had a collections agency hassling me about SOMEONE ELSE'S ER visit bill. : They happened to have my same name, but apparently lived about 40 miles away. I should probably look into how that affected my credit... It was probably 6 or 7 years ago, now, I guess.

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Old 02-05-2009, 03:03 PM
 
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It sure is scary...I've stopped listening to the news as much. Just can't take it.

My dh just got laid off last week...I'm not freaking as much because we have no (current ) debt and own our (also small lol) house. If we still lived in town, with a mortgage and car payments I'd probably need to be institutionalized at this point. As is, I'm worried but not overly so...

I guess I'm more worried about friends and family right now...

And as far as the layoff issues, my dh got laid off and was not a "regular" employee, so even though their company laid off over 200 people it's not reported as such because they're not "regular employees"...they've closed down assembly lines, stopped plans to introduce new vehicles, have merged some plants...but you don't hear about it from this particular company. So there are some "bad" stories out there NOT getting publicized. This experience has made me think it's actually worse than we think

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Old 02-05-2009, 03:04 PM
 
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Yep, one of my incorrect bills was from treatment I recv'd, but they never billed the ins. properly.

(Then five years later, when I was an adult and my mom had changed jobs, they tried to send the bill through to the insurance and then tried to say I had to pay it 'cause the ins. wouldn't. Uh, yeah, I have to pay for your screw up? I think not.)

The other one was from someone I don't even know, and when they improperly billed my ins., the ins. rejected it, and so they stuck it on MY credit. Niiice.

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Old 02-05-2009, 03:08 PM
 
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That said, DH and I saw this coming a LONG way off and honestly wonder why other people didn't. Even when we were living on a single minimum wage income, we determined to stay out of debt and put back money. We are living securely in a paid-for (small!) house with a well-stocked pantry and no debt because we were determined to, not because it fell in our lap. I know there are some people -- as previously mentioned in this thread -- who cannot help their financial circumstances, due to chronic health problems or other issues, and my sympathy is with them, but MOST people we know personally can. Or could have, if they had had the foresight to plan for a rainy day rather than buy a new car, a plasma TV, designer clothes, etc.
Yes, I'm in this situation too. We've been expecting a serious financial fallout for years, and have been preparing for it steadily. I have a hard time understanding how people could live on credit for years and NOT see this coming. It just seems like such an obviously impossible situation, you know?

While I do know a lot of people I would genuinely classify as really hard-luck cases (they saved, they scrimped, and they still got laid off and are struggling), I also know some who are struggling now but who bought new cars every two years, new boats, a big McMansion they couldn't afford, etc., everything all on credit. It's hard for me to muster up my sympathy for them, although I do have a lot of sympathy for their poor kids whose lives are now being turned upside down. I know more people I would say are genuinely hurting, though.

I've mentioned somewhere else here that the only people I know personally with resetting ARMs are people who were trying to scam the system outright and who are now looking forward to TARP funds to try to scam the system some more, so although I do feel like everybody has to help fix the situation with the mortgages because otherwise we will all sink, on a personal level my experience has not been that the ARM borrowers were victims in any way.
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:16 PM
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A little OT... I had incorrect medical bills on my credit (charged at one of the times that I had insurance, good insurance through my mom, actually), and it took me nearly a year of trying to get them taken off.

The whole oddysey, from treatment to removal of incorrect bills, took five years. There wasn't a @#$% thing simple about it.
Really? Because whenever I have had a problem with incorrect information on my credit report, all I had to do was sent a CRRR letter to the CRA's, and then the burden was on the collector to provide proof of the debt. Of all the times I've needed to correct my credit report, I've only ever had to follow up once, and that was with Bally's, and I won that dispute handily.
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:17 PM
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Yep, one of my incorrect bills was from treatment I recv'd, but they never billed the ins. properly.

(Then five years later, when I was an adult and my mom had changed jobs, they tried to send the bill through to the insurance and then tried to say I had to pay it 'cause the ins. wouldn't. Uh, yeah, I have to pay for your screw up? I think not.)

The other one was from someone I don't even know, and when they improperly billed my ins., the ins. rejected it, and so they stuck it on MY credit. Niiice.
Both of those are disputable items. I would dispute them if they are still on your credit report.
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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Really? Because whenever I have had a problem with incorrect information on my credit report, all I had to do was sent a CRRR letter to the CRA's, and then the burden was on the collector to provide proof of the debt. Of all the times I've needed to correct my credit report, I've only ever had to follow up once, and that was with Bally's, and I won that dispute handily.
I have had lots of trouble correcting my credit report, a few times. Needed to send and re-send and re-send letters. Since you have been doing so much better than average with credit disputes, it would be a service to your country (and I mean this) to publish some sort of blog or e-book with sample letters for credit disputes. Especially in the case of medical bills, when one is heavily sedated or has had a stroke or otherwise has impaired mental functioning, words do not always come easily.
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:32 PM
 
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No not numb, but I do feel empathy for those folks going thru hard times. However, on the other hand I almost feel that this is a good thing. America was leading the charge in over consumption, living on the edge of credit use and outrageous home prices compared to all historical numbers.

We saw all this coming a few years back and thus prepared by getting rid of our debt, lowering expenses and expectations as well as learning new skills. We are far from done on this quest, but we did start.

I really have no control over my job, I feel pretty insulated as I am now the only person in my department, but even that is not a gaurentee of anything. I try to only worry about the things I can control and influence myself.

So while I do have real empathy for those losing jobs and are now facing tough personal situations, I almost feel at times that it's the greater good for Americans, the world really, and the collective "we" has finally had a bit of a wake up call.

Personally, I think it's going to get worse, a lot worse before it gets any better. And in all honsetly what I worry more about these days is the monetary system. Our dollar has long since been anything more that pretty painted paper and the last stimulus as well as the new stimulus in the works only compounds the problems. When I see our government doing the same things that have failed time and time again in history, but expecting different results.....
Completely agree!
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:40 PM
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I have had lots of trouble correcting my credit report, a few times. Needed to send and re-send and re-send letters. Since you have been doing so much better than average with credit disputes, it would be a service to your country (and I mean this) to publish some sort of blog or e-book with sample letters for credit disputes. Especially in the case of medical bills, when one is heavily sedated or has had a stroke or otherwise has impaired mental functioning, words do not always come easily.
I use the letters that others on TMF have recommended.

You really shouldn't have to send multiple letters about the same item. The creditor has 30 days to affirm the debt, providing proof of the debt, and if they don't, the CRA is required to remove it. Period.
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:50 PM
 
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I feel guilty. For the time being we are well insulated from the effects on the economy. I can't do anything to help. I worry about family but I wouldn't even be able to open my house to them if it came to it.
yeah, i feel pretty much like this. Thankfully dh's job is pretty secure for at least the next year. After that though, it really depends on how many companies are still paying their construction bills. I know that his industry is starting to feel the pinch in several other companies around here as we have several friends that have had to travel to find work. Luckily dh has several family members in the higher up areas of managment in the company that he works for, so if the ship does start sinking, we would be some of the first to know.

As for opening up my house to family if it was needed, i guess really we am probably one of the more secure families in our extended family as we are the only ones i believe with absolutely no mortgage. If the worst was to happen, we would probably be the only logical place for most of them to go since we live on a farm, and will probably be the only ones who can keep their house with no income, and have enough land between us and dh's family to grow enough food to feed us all, plus our livestock. The economy is kind of scary, but it really makes me feel better to know that we are almost in a position to be able to stay warm and fed no matter what comes crashing down around us. If dh was to lose his job next fall and my mom's whole family moved in with us, we would be very crowded and EVERYONE would definitely have their work cut out for them, but we would have a wood heater and plenty of fuel, enough food to last till spring and plenty of milk and eggs to go around. Now i just need some sheep.:

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Personally, I think it's going to get worse, a lot worse before it gets any better. And in all honsetly what I worry more about these days is the monetary system. Our dollar has long since been anything more that pretty painted paper and the last stimulus as well as the new stimulus in the works only compounds the problems. When I see our government doing the same things that have failed time and time again in history, but expecting different results.....
I SO agree with this! I know conventional wisdom says to save during times like these, but honestly I don't really think the dollar is a safe investment right now!

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The biggest shocker for me in the past few months was when I was talking to a friend who works in the banking industry. His bank has had to lay off employees, and the executives who were in charge of making the layoff decisions were getting death threats.
OMG! that is awful!
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:55 PM
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The biggest shocker for me in the past few months was when I was talking to a friend who works in the banking industry. His bank has had to lay off employees, and the executives who were in charge of making the layoff decisions were getting death threats.

Well, that's certainly no way to get a good letter of recommendation!
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:35 PM
 
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I don't know anyone personally that has lost their job or their house. So for me it just seems like I'm watching a movie about someone else. Sure I feel sorry for the people who are truly hurting, but I have no sympathy for those people who knowingly entered into arms for houses they knew they could not afford.

I live in a economically depressed area anyway so nothing seems out of the ordinary around here.
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:09 PM
 
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I don't know anyone personally that has lost their job or their house. So for me it just seems like I'm watching a movie about someone else. Sure I feel sorry for the people who are truly hurting, but I have no sympathy for those people who knowingly entered into arms for houses they knew they could not afford.
The problem with that is that it depresses home values for people who bought more responsibly. When it comes time for them to move, they might lose money on their houses when they didn't do anything wrong in the first place.
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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As for opening up my house to family if it was needed, i guess really we am probably one of the more secure families in our extended family as we are the only ones i believe with absolutely no mortgage. If the worst was to happen, we would probably be the only logical place for most of them to go since we live on a farm, and will probably be the only ones who can keep their house with no income, and have enough land between us and dh's family to grow enough food to feed us all, plus our livestock. . . .we would be very crowded and EVERYONE would definitely have their work cut out for them, but we would have a wood heater and plenty of fuel, enough food to last till spring and plenty of milk and eggs to go around. Now i just need some sheep.:
That's awesome! I wish somebody in our family was in that position. We've offered our house anyway-- just in case-- at least for folks in the family in short term need even though there really isn't room at all (it would be very crowded), we have no land whatsoever (not even a yard really), and we definitely have a mortgage.

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Old 02-05-2009, 05:49 PM
 
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The problem with that is that it depresses home values for people who bought more responsibly. When it comes time for them to move, they might lose money on their houses when they didn't do anything wrong in the first place.
Yes, this is what happened DH and I. We waited 7.5 years to buy a house. We bought a small house that we could afford, only to have the value of it plummet practically overnight. We now owe more than it's worth...there is no way we could move without loosing our shirts.
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
What is more common, here, is people racking up medical bills period. Hospitals and doctors send bills to collections, medical bills go on credit reports, etc.
I'm sure that happens, but I think I was posting originally (I have to leave the PC in a minute, so I can't doublecheck my post right this second) about credit card debt. I recently read that the average Canadian credit card debt is $3,200, and the average American credit card debt is $8,100. When I saw that, I assumed it was all over-consumption stuff...but forgot that at least some of it is probably health/medicine related.

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Old 02-05-2009, 06:13 PM
 
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I see what you mean. You are probably right.
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:40 PM
 
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I'm in such panic mode that I can't even read this whole thread. My heart is pounding just from skimming the first couple pages.

I've had a bad feeling about the economy the past couple of years, so we've been crash-saving. We had an Emergency Fund that should see us through 6-9 months of unemployment. My employer went bankrupt at Thanksgiving, so I became unemployed with no severance. In 2 1/2 months, I've had TWO interviews. I send out resumes for jobs that are perfect for me, but I never hear back - I know I'm competing with hundreds of other applicants.

I am in such panic mode that I can't calm down to even think straight. I'm ashamed of my panic, because there are people who have it much worse than us. If we lose our house, we can at least move in with family. But honestly, this was not the plan.

So no, I'm certainly not numb. In addition to my constant gut-churning, heart-pounding anxiety, I feel enormous killing rage toward the Wall Street execs whose greed brought down the economy. I know there are people who took out mortgages they couldn't afford, but honestly, if those loans weren't leveraged, our economy wouldn't have collapsed when they went bad.

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Old 02-05-2009, 07:25 PM
 
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Concerned? Yes. Worried? Not so much. I'm a nurse and even though I'm one of the first to go (part-time and I've only been there a little over a year) I'm not too worried about my job since we have mandated nurse patient ratios. They can't fire a bunch of nurses and increase an RN's load to compensate. Even if I lost my position there are still RN jobs available, not in places I'd prefer to work but I'd do it if I had to. The hospital is opening a new tower this summer which means more patient rooms and a greater need for RN's.

The man's job is pretty dang secure. Along with being a favored employee among the MD's he's been there a while and it's an ER job. The ER's are full. Along with that he also has a second (part-time) at a federally funded clinic working pediatrics.

We are still saving money, I shop smart for food, we are planting a huge veggie/fruit garden this year, and putting our entire tax return into our mortgage.
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