We Are Deep In the Heart of Texas

Nomadic seasons of farming adventures with nature thrown in to include; a pinch of family, snippets of friends, counting our blessings, paying IT forward, home school, and the spicy things I decide to rant about.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

To Answer Moonqueenfashions

Hello Gentle Readers,

I am hoping all is well after the Christmas holiday season.  We have been busy here and are now just getting back into our homeschool groove.  So this morning, I came to check in on those who I follow during our vacation.  To find a commentator who asked questions.  This to me is a blessing because she allows me to further explain my rationale.  Thanks Moonqueenfashions for allowing me to opportunity to reach a more diverse audience.

"Okay, so I do agree with most of your post. I have two questions. 1) Do you consider people who spend aggregiously without consideration of what they are doing not at fault for their own poverty (i.e. people who run up massive credit card debt on non-essentials, buy a house way bigger than they need in an area they really can't afford, have to have a new car, won't buy used or generic anything, etc)? 2) Were you really complaining about making almost $40k with free housing, $300 a month for food and free medical care..PLUS a second income? Those benefits, based on what I pay for a house payment, utilities and health insurance (alone I might add), would equal almost $14,000 a year. That's a low estimate as I live very frugally, have a low house payment and only pay for one person for medical care (i.e. the benefits you are actually receiving for a family in that area may total to even more than $14k). Which brings your salary to nearly $60k or over. Some career teachers don't make that and they have to have one or two college degrees depending on the state. I have two college degrees and would never make that at my current job without becoming management or working here for 15 to 20 years. So yah, consider the less fortunate indeed. My parents fed, clothed, and housed two kids and themselves on less than $25k a year and we always had a car, tv etc. It's all in how much you are willing to live smart with what you have. I'm not saying there aren't a lot of unforutnate people, particularly people who become poor through forced unemployment or long-term illness, but there are a lot more that think they deserve to live outside of their means. Just because people on the tube have fur and diamonds, drive fancy cars, etc doesn't mean we are suffering if we don't have that life. At some point people forgot about the basics of getting by and started worrying about keeping up with the Jones. by Moonqueenfashions."


1. No Ma'am, I do believe in personally responsibility especially fiscal. I do know from the experience of buying our first home at the ripe age of 39, the process is set up to confuse / bind people who are not ‘educated’ properly in personal finance, budgeting, and legal terminology to fail on their mortgages. For example; when my husband and I set out to buy this house our own lenders told us we could afford a house over 300k or calculate the mortgage payment to equal roughly 35% of our current income -- this made my head spin.

This is just not feasible because there are many factors our lenders did not figure in: we were moving, I was retiring, Hubby was not going to be employed, the lack of jobs in our immediate area we had purchased in, the upkeep of a home, the repairs needed to be done in the home, the repairs needed on the property of our home, and transportation to work when we found a job.

See, this is where lenders do not properly counsel first time buyers; a mortgage should not be anymore than 20-25% of a families' income because of factors such as I mentioned. We bought our home as a foreclosure that had been on the market empty for five years.  Fortunately, I told the lenders to calculate our net income to less than third of what we were earning back in 2005 to get a more accurate picture of our financial ability to meet our obligations.  Also, I knew if all came to worse my retirement check would at least cover the mortgage, insurances, car payment, credit card bill (at the time), and electricity as our basics.  Plus I know how to shop, plan, and use coupons effectively for food. 

2. Secondly, I was not complaining about my salary; I was merely stating numbers. What folks do not realize is at the time, our daughter had suffered a stroke on her 13th birthday and we had accumulated some debt not covered by the military health system. We had to float some debts on a credit just to get through the process of moving her from a remote hospital from Portugal to Germany and then to Washington DC. Then we also had to cover expenses not paid by the military to move our family on such short notice. We were able to emergency housing on base because of our daughter’s medical needs and hubby found a job luckily six months after we relocated.

I am forever grateful to the US Air Force and the medical personnel because without them; she would have died. We were lucky to only be 15K give or take in debt by the time she was able to get stable enough to be in physical, educational rehab, and back to semi-normal. There would have been no way she would have survived in the civilian sector with our limited income because her medical care would have cost us millions with repeated surgeries, air ambulance, rehab, and like.

3. All I am saying is; folks are desperate out there. There are people who spend unwisely or on foolish things. Those folks will always exist because they were not taught better or frankly they don’t give a shit. The world is a different place than when your parents brought your family up and the opportunities are much different for the working poor – middle class. For example, student loans will be the next bubble to hurt the US economy and I am expecting this burst to come in 2012 or 13 just like the housing dive back in 2008 to now. There is no way students will do as well as their families’ did because of accrued debt from student loans. There was a time when education was affordable or nearly free and those days are almost over. Without a degree, job experience, and lots of luck many of those students will be paying on those loans until their death. Student loans are the one area that will follow a person to the grave with accrued interest just rolling over and over.

4. I came from the back ground of a single parent struggling to make ends meet in south California and she worked two jobs. I later helped her by turning over my own paycheck when I turned 15 -- yep I started early.  There were many times we had nearly bare cupboards. I am one of the fortunate ones who had a mother drill into me about not spending what you don’t have. Yet, she got into financial disarray over my sister’s medical bills by the time I left to be on my own. Because I had seen her worry; I made it a point to learn about budgeting once I joined the Air Force.

I currently do not own any diamonds or furs (it is way too hot for them here) but, I have multiple degrees which do not matter. Why do the degrees not matter? Simple, there are no jobs around here for 100 miles that pay more than $10 an hour and we have decided to use my talents to home school our sons. So, that is a win – win situation and outcome in my book.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to answer your questions. Mal

So how are ya'lls slices of heaven?


Sharon said...

Hi Mal!
Haven't seen you for a bit. I hope you had a pleasant Christmas and are doing ok starting out the new year.
A good post today! My DH made more this past year than any other, yet we are still in the lower middle class. We don't do debt, beside our mortgage and we are hoping to get rid of that this year if we can. We aren't getting any younger. I do worry about those just starting out in life and don't have a clue about finances and the idea of saving for what they want, instead of instant gratification. Times are hard, I don't see a change coming.

moonqueenfashions said...

Thanks for the feedback. My "diamonds & furs" comment was not directed at you but at people I see in my low-income neighborhood who are on welfare or work VERY little, then own loads of bling, expensive car while their children run around with no winter coat. These people make it hard for me to feel for them. I have friends who utilized welfare benefits because they had no choice - they struggled to provide for themselves & were not frivolous with what was given to them. I don't see them as the majority. Loads of people take advantage of unemployment too past the point when they could have had a job - they don't even bother to look or sabotage opportunities so they can sit on their arse a little longer. The days are gone when people would get two or three jobs to get by. Now if they can't find that one dream job that does it all they'd rather not work. I'm not down on the lower-class either; frankly most of my life I've been that economically (some would say I'm low class in general *wink nudge*). Mid-class people tend to live beyond their means too racking up debt, then are "shocked" when something happens to their job, the economy, or housing market. I can't feel sorry for them. Once the middle class are broke, lose their homes (which sit vacant for years) then local businesses fail, then they can't pay their suppliers, who can't pay the factories who make their stuff, who can't pay their workers. A lot of people are plain not taught ANYTHING, but there are a lot of resources out there (the internet is accessible for free at any public library)to learn how to shop wisely, research purchases, etc. I went into buying a house with no knowledge. I researched on the internet & asked a million questions. If the bank couldn't give me a firm answer about something no papers were signed until they could & I did all the math of what I could afford myself. I researched special interest rate programs they don't advertise and harassed them until they got me information. I think a lot of people KNOW what they need to do, they just choose not to because they don't want to put the effort into saving - clipping coupons, doing research instead of impulse buying, setting up a savings account instead of living check to check, having a budget, etc. I'm 28 -I agree the job market is crap but I'm not that old that the money was a way bigger difference when my parents were raising me than now (maybe $16k then would be $22k, still POOR, lol). My parents still live on less than $25k after farm expenses are paid (feed for the animals, farm utilities - not including house utilities, parts for equipment, vet bills) plus help my brother with his young family (lazy wife & three small children). He is a classic example of someone being poor because he refuses to keep a full time job or budget & thinks it is the duty of my parents to provide for him. What I'm saying, in all this ranting, is a lot of people are in tough shape economically because they don't think before they act and they expect someone else to fix their problems. I have grown up poor & been surrounded by poor people my entire life and frankly, even though we don't like to see it, almost all of them either put themselves or keep themselves in that situation through laziness or poor choices. The common idea of that poor person who works super hard and just can't get ahead (like my dad) is a rare person, not the norm. I am very sorry to hear about your tough situation with your daughter. I had a great aunt go through multiple strokes. I hope your daughter's health has improved. Thanks again for the discourse. P.S. I love the chicken feet with rings pic, that is too awesome!

Nekkid Chicken said...


I worry about hubby's older children. I was not allowed to teach them about personal finances because I was too harsh as the evil step monster. All is good though for them at the time being. They are living in a world where loyalty is no longer rewarded with a living wage. I just shake me head, put it down and forge forward whilst teaching our sons about the issues and skills they need for the future.

"EDUCATION IS NEVER A WASTE." a movie quote from Dangerous Liasons.

We had a super fantastic Christmas season with hubby home for two weeks. It was awesome to focus just on us and our home. We are lining things up now so if hubby gets laid off; we will be finally secure.

I just don't see that happening for those who are not independently wealthy in the future.

HUGS and Love,

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