This inspiring TED talk commentary crossed my path today, so I’m posting it. Along with a few observations of my own.
1) When a credit card company owes YOU money, they take months to pay it. Seriously. I overpaid my balance over 3 months ago and called weekly to follow up on why I had not received the check in the mail. Responses:
a. “Your post office sent it back to us.” Even though the address was correct in your computer, I ask? “Yes.”
b. “We have a new computer system, but I’m getting permission from my boss to print a new check the old way.” Huh???
c. “Call us back in 2 weeks if you do not receive it.” Which I did every 2 weeks for 3 months.
2) I am so ready to go rah-rah with Adam Baker’s motto, but I do have to add one other significant thing that has impacted all our financial realities over the past 20 years besides the pervasive credit debt cycle. It is a little something called exorbitant Health Insurance. If you need to have it for any prescriptions and you have to provide it for a child, and you are one of the many people who earn a hair over the cutoff for state/federal aid programs to cover children, you are screwed. You will spend at least a quarter of each paycheck on premiums. Do you stay underemployed and work less than full-time? Do you choose a job you are overqualified for in order to earn minimum wage in order to qualify? Or do you work 2 jobs so the 1st job can pay for the health care premiums of the 2nd? Call it pride, but I have made the latter choice. I dare say the vast majority of us are familiar with this cycle.
3) I am doing Step 2 – paying off my debt with a vengeance – and it feels better to me than almost anything I can think of. My credit rating has gone up for the first time in 15 years. I, however, am inching toward Step 1. Sell crap. Or at least give it away. I have an entire room of bagged crap to give away, but my daughter would rather charge people money for it, so I will very soon need to have a monster garage sale. If only I can eek out the time from my 2 jobs to sell crap. I am soooooo glad I do not have home ownership and thank my lucky stars I can be mobile as long as I have enough funds to move whenever I choose.
4) Step 3 – Doing what I love I have resigned to taking baby steps toward, because I have not found a way to incorporate it into my life with child. I have made peace with that longer view and am practicing patience while making my current situation as manageable as possible. Like transcribing for a children’s hospital where my mind can be expanded with knowledge I may be able to use someday, somehow in my greater dream of working as an advocate for those facing childhood cancer in some way. Like making sure I get outside each day to connect with what is real on this earth. Like hugging and listening to my daughter every day. Baby steps toward freedom.