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Americans Getting By On $24,000 A Year

Saturday, July 13, 2013 - 5:46 PM
Thought it is barely above the poverty line, many Americans believe that they can live on $24,000 a year. The number is implausibly low, but perhaps a sign that many people have set their financial aims downward since the start of the Great Recession.

Americans Getting By on $24,000 a Year - 24/7 Wall St.
9
ShorebreakShorebreak2,367 posts since
Apr 6, 2010
Rep Points: 12,619
1. Saturday, July 13, 2013 - 6:47 PM
I live on $1,000 a month. I am retired. I have a house paid for. I have low utilities in a new house. I do not want for anything. I save $1,500 a month and it is there if I need it for property taxes and extras. I used the savings to buy a new car to replace my 14 year old one.  I have lived on this since 2008. So far I am not going without. I have purchased a new stove, refrigerator and dishwasher, a grill and dining room table on the $1,000 a month.  But the issue is I don't have to live on this. I have a choice. I don't have the stress to worry about anything like a family would have living on so little. I am able to live on sale items only. I am healthy. To have to pay for transportation to go to work daily, to have to purchase work clothes, to feed and clothe children, make rent or a house payment it would be, I think, impossible. 
6
AllyAlly774 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,258
2. Saturday, July 13, 2013 - 6:56 PM
Re: rosie43 @ 1. Saturday, July 13, 2013 - 6:47 PM

"I am healthy."

Consider yourself lucky. Nearly two out of three bankruptcies stem from medical bills, and even people with health insurance face financial disaster if they experience a serious illness. If one gets hit with a serious medical condition living on the cheap evaporates into thin air rather quickly.
14
ShorebreakShorebreak2,367 posts since
Apr 6, 2010
Rep Points: 12,619
3. Saturday, July 13, 2013 - 7:59 PM
"About seven in 10 Americans, including a majority of those making more than $24,000 a year, say they have enough money to do what they need to do. However, it is not until Americans reach $48,000 a year in annual income that a majority say they can handle a substantial purchase or unexpected major expense."

What gentlemen say and what they do are two different things.  If the surveyers are smart enough to ask those people how they are working out with their practical livings; e.g., how much they earn, how much they spend, and how much they are in various debts; they will find out the truth of whether they can get by with $24K a year or even $50K a year.

I have to respectfully say that Rosie43 is an exception (and a model) for frugal living; i.e., most Americans, including myself, can not do what Rosie43 has accomplished:-)
4
51hh51hh1,460 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 6,348
4. Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 1:40 PM
I must agree with Shorebreak here concerning "Being healthy".  Even if one is healthy but has a family member or others who have a chronic medical problem, even with healthcare insurance, the extra bills can be tremendous.  One would have to bring in over $24,000.00 or have extra CDs to cash in for those bills to be able to survive financially.  I am happy Rosie is fortunate to have her health and the dedication to living frugally.   Under her circumstances, I think she can do very well living on $1,000.00 per month especially since her home is paid for.   Saving money is not just about getting the best paying CDs but also about how we handle the money we do have coming in.
4
MariMari2 posts since
May 3, 2012
Rep Points: 9
5. Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 4:10 PM
Re: Mari @ 4. Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 1:40 PM:

Considering myself the proverbial recipient of bad luck I elected to purchase a long term care (LTC) insurance policy a number of years back. It contains an inflation rider and covers at a minimum what the daily cost of a nursing home in my state is, for a lifetime. The company I purchased the policy from is a very large insurer but no longer writes LTC policies due to complications of the low interest rate policies of the Federal Reserve. Unless the company decides to raise the premiums of all of it's policy holders by a ridiculous amount I will continue to pay the monthly premium, which is less than the daily cost of long term care. Hopefully this will cover the eventuality of a serious medical condition.

Unfortunately, fewer companies are writing LTC policies these days and the premiums have gone skyward rapidly. This does not bode well for the future if one is depending on Medicaid to be around or fully funded for long term care down the road. Just look for your savings to evaporate rather quickly. Solution: Get a good CPA or tax lawyer and dispose of your funds to family or charities prior to the look-back period.
6
ShorebreakShorebreak2,367 posts since
Apr 6, 2010
Rep Points: 12,619
6. Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 4:37 PM
Re:  Shorebreak

" Solution: Get a good CPA or tax lawyer and dispose of your funds to family or charities prior to the look-back period."

Good Advice and the same that we got from several eldercare lawyers who specialize in this type planning.  However, it's the "five year look-back" that is the killer.  Unless one is psychic, how do you know when or if your health may decrease and  you may have to go into a nursing home?  Disposing of the funds too early means one has less in their own control.  I just don't know if I could have the will to do that.  But it does seem to be the basic advice they give.  
3
MariMari2 posts since
May 3, 2012
Rep Points: 9
7. Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 5:06 PM
Re: Mari @ 6. Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 4:37 PM

"I just don't know if I could have the will to do that."

Aha! The dilemna of life going forward. Good luck in making that decision. I really don't think anyone has found the right answer yet.
6
ShorebreakShorebreak2,367 posts since
Apr 6, 2010
Rep Points: 12,619
8. Monday, July 15, 2013 - 7:18 AM
Reading an article on the PBS website.

PBS NewsHour: New Adventures for Older Workers 

It states that in 1973 85% of private sector employees had pensions and in 2013 35% of private sector employees have pensions. 

In another article it state that most countries have universal healthcare. 
Country Start Date of Universal Health Care System Type
Click links for more source material on each country’s health care system.
Norway 1912 Single Payer
New Zealand 1938 Two Tier
Japan 1938 Single Payer
Germany 1941 Insurance Mandate
Belgium 1945 Insurance Mandate
United Kingdom 1948 Single Payer
Kuwait 1950 Single Payer
Sweden 1955 Single Payer
Bahrain 1957 Single Payer
Brunei 1958 Single Payer
Canada 1966 Single Payer
Netherlands 1966 Two-Tier
Austria 1967 Insurance Mandate
United Arab Emirates 1971 Single Payer
Finland 1972 Single Payer
Slovenia 1972 Single Payer
Denmark 1973 Two-Tier
Luxembourg 1973 Insurance Mandate
France 1974 Two-Tier
Australia 1975 Two Tier
Ireland 1977 Two-Tier
Italy 1978 Single Payer
Portugal 1979 Single Payer
Cyprus 1980 Single Payer
Greece 1983 Insurance Mandate
Spain 1986 Single Payer
South Korea 1988 Insurance Mandate
Iceland 1990 Single Payer
Hong Kong 1993 Two-Tier
Singapore 1993 Two-Tier
Switzerland 1994 Insurance Mandate
Israel 1995 Two-Tier
United States 2014? Insurance Mandate





4
AllyAlly774 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,258
9. Monday, July 15, 2013 - 7:52 AM
I noticed Single Payer seems to be the leader on the list.  I don't particularly like that one because it means much higher taxes paid by all to support the high healthcare costs which our tax dollars are actually paying for.  I would prefer to see a system where "all" citizens are offered affordable healthcare and those of us who can, will pay our premiums, coinsurance etc.  Those who can't should always have Medicaid and the elderly Medicare.  It's those in the middle who really need affordable healthcare.  I have suggested to my senators a system to catch those in the middle by allowing them to buy into Medicaid or Medicare according to their income and/or age.  It would have to be less expensive than what the Affordable Care Act seems to be bringing upon the country and it would not have the horrendous affect on employers that the Affordable Care Act mandates.  Since employers can buy healthcare for "group" prices, this should not be hindered in any way. 

So as I see it, if we already have Medicaid, Medicare, Employer Healthcare, then the main thing Washington has to do is find a way to insure those caught in the middle.  We should not turn our system upside down with Obamacare when the help can be done in a more affordable way.
1
paoli2paoli21,140 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 5,087
10. Monday, July 15, 2013 - 8:34 AM
I think what you described is Obamacare. 
4
AllyAlly774 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,258
11. Monday, July 15, 2013 - 9:48 AM
If what I am describing is really Obamacare, why is it supposed to be so financially destructive to our country?  In other countries people seem to be willing to pay higher taxes to have universal healthcare and they have the numbers they need to do it.  Americans don't like to be forced to do anything, it seems.  It will be interesting to see if all those state insurance agencies ever get set up.
3
paoli2paoli21,140 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 5,087
12. Monday, July 15, 2013 - 9:48 AM
I note to those talking of giving away their money in advance, before the look-back period. I advise, if you can't pay cash going in, which will include a very large deposit (some of these places require a $200,000 deposit in order to be accepted), then you can't get into the better places. If you want to get into a place you find acceptable, you need to pay all those up front costs in cash, and pay at least your early "rent" in cash (figure at the tune of at least $50,000 a year, maybe pushing $100,000 or more a year) -- or you will only be able to get into the places where you don't want to go, because you will only be able to get into the places that are satisfied with the very low payments provided by Medicaid. If your plan is to shuffle your money so you can qualify for a welfare program (Medicaid), then you need to realize you will get a welfare facility.
2
me1004me1004343 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,357
13. Monday, July 15, 2013 - 10:02 AM
me1004:  This is the first time I am hearing about this large cash advance.  None of the attorneys we spoke to mentioned it.  All we were advised was that "if" one had savings, one should go in as private pay and make sure the facility has Medicaid beds so when your money ran out, you could be switched to Medicaid pay.  If you go in paying privately at first, it seems you do have a better choice of facilities and getting into the one you want.  Thanks for sharing the additional info.  I hope we will never need it but I like to be prepared for anything when it comes to our finances.
2
paoli2paoli21,140 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 5,087
14. Monday, July 15, 2013 - 10:35 AM
Believe he may be referring to a for profit facility that has an apartment, assisted living, and a nursing home. But when your money and insurance runs out you still get kicked out. It happened to my brother-in-laws step father. Also when you are admitted to any nursing home do not allow your family to sign anything without having your lawyer read it or understanding it. Many papers state in legalese that the person signing will be responsible for costs when insurance no longer pays. 
3
AllyAlly774 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,258
15. Monday, July 15, 2013 - 11:22 AM
"Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members."~Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), My Several Worlds [1954].

Here is a good site for resource material:

National Care Planning Council
-Long Term Care Link

Long Term Care and Eldercare Resources - National Care Planning Council

Cheers,

SB
5
ShorebreakShorebreak2,367 posts since
Apr 6, 2010
Rep Points: 12,619
16. Monday, July 15, 2013 - 11:25 AM
Rosie: " Many papers state in legalese that the person signing will be responsible for costs when insurance no longer pays. "

You hit that one on the head.  They told me not to pay attention to that when it was for a relative that all they wanted was someone to call incase of emergencies.  It was supposed to have nothing to do with payments. 

Like the EWPs on our CDs, these clauses can also mean whatever they want them to mean.  There is a way around this because most facilities I know won't take a patient without "someone" to call.  BTW, a patient snubbing their toe at 3 AM in the morning is considered a necessary call.  They called me so often my nerves almost cracked from lack of sleep!  "We have to follow the rules" was their excuse.   It didn't matter I had serious medical injuries and was doing the best I could to be there for my relative.  Like Rosie posted, becareful of what you sign. 
2
paoli2paoli21,140 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 5,087
17. Monday, July 15, 2013 - 1:24 PM
SB:  Thanks for the link. I truly believe in that theory and feel I practiced it with my own parents.  However, I do not want my DD to have to do that for me.  All I hope to receive from her is her continued love, respect, and to help me anyway she can, when she can.  You see I was raised in a different economy and under different circumstances.  How can we expect our children who may not have jobs or decent health insurance to do for us what they can't do for themselves.  That's a beautiful saying but life does not always make it possible for our children to do for us what we may have done for our parents.   Your post reminded me of how many days I spent sitting beside the beds of crying parents and visiting with them (while I was visiting my own mom) because no one ever came to see them.  Now there is no excuse for this type of abandonment.  Nursing homes definitely need a loved one to oversee what is going on and to visit their loved ones.  I hope never to be in one but if it happens, I don't think my beloved DD would forsake me.   BTW, the nursing home would tell me which ones did not get visitors.  It had nothing to do with the parent forgetting they came.  This I could never understand about humans.
2
paoli2paoli21,140 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 5,087
18. Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 4:13 PM
Hope to have enough with savings, SS, IRA's and 401K's to take care of my needs. Have a walk out basement also that is partially finished and could easily have a bath and bedroom and den added for an apartment for extra income if needed. Plumbing is already put in under the basement floor and hooked up. Also have a 3 car garage. Might be able to remove the ramp in the garage to have a basement entrance put in to the apartment.

We have links in Michigan to help us with all kinds of information if needed. Was able to care for my husband from 1995 to 2008 and had to retire in 2008 to care for him around the clock for his last 5 years. We were very lucky to be able to do this at home. The last 5 days I did need help. Here are some sites that is full of information. One agency in town had nurses to stay with my husband so that I could to to my son's wedding. This was the only time I needed help except for his last 5 days. 

http://www.elderlawofmi.org/legal_hotline/legal_information.html

I would assume that all states have something similar. 

For widows or widowers I would check out the Lady Bird Deed.

Also for those that need the information check out 

http://www.elderlawanswers.com/key-medicaid-information-for-michigan-for-2013-12197 do a google for your states infomation. 
1
AllyAlly774 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,258
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