07 December 2011

Sorry for Not Feeling the Outrage.

News flash:  people are SURPRISED AND AMAZED that a childless lesbian might give "don't have another baby now" type advice.

SHOCKED, I tell you.

Quite a few people have been posting on facebook and on the blogs that Suze Orman is way off base in her recent advice to a young couple considering another child.  I don't think her advice was crazy in any way because the couple was behind on payments, in debt, didn't make any changes and I presume has no real large savings account tucked away from Mumsie.  What's crazy?  What's nuts?  The whole situation is, and that was never addressed.

It should have been.

They earn a bit over $60,000 and have one child.  Gross income per capita, this family earns well over twice what mine does (maybe even three or four times but I haven't bothered to do the calculations, and plus?  I don't want to tell you our annual income thank youuu)... so I don't see how it could possibly be true that they do not have an extravagant lifestyle.  Were they stupid with debt in the past?  Do they live in a mansion?  Have regular extortion payments due to "Tiny?"  What is going on that they can't make all their payments on time?  Something else is up that has not been shared with the TV audience.  And that drives me nuts.  I'm all for privacy, but if you're going on the air and boo-hooing about not having enough money when you earn over 60 freaking THOUSAND dollars a year and have only ONE child, the people in TV Land deserve an explanation.

Ok, so anyway.

Orman told them, look.  Y'all can't make it on the income you have, and you are asking ME, a financial planner, if it's a great okie-dokie idea financially to quit the higher-paying job with all the insurance, decrease your family income by more than half,  and then go have another baby?  Um, NO.  Duh. Next question.

Folks in Christian blogdom just went flipping nuts and decided to focus on Orman's comment that one should estimate $700/month in new expenses for a baby.  Crazy high price, that is, I grant you.

"My husband earns $10,000 a year and we manage to feed our 14 children quite well and take vacations on that sum.  These people need to plan better!" were the sorts of comments I read.  I think the truth is somewhere in the middle.  The kid is not going to cost $700 monthly, but these people don't strike me as being the crunchy cloth diapering and grow a garden in your backyard-type folks either.  Gimme a break.

I believe babies are a blessing and I also think moms ought to stay home.  I also think that some of the "God provides" type comments are stupid.  YES, He provides.  He is ALREADY providing $60,000 a year to this couple and if they can't make it on that income now, maybe it's not such a good idea to keep spending over that amount AND add to the family at the same time.

Hello, people!  It is the spending, not the baby, that is the problem!

My advice would be honestly, go for it.  Prepare for what you're going to do budget-wise, though.  Be realistic.  Maybe work for one more year, sock away mega-savings, chip at that debt and downsize the mansion or whatever is holding you down.  Money is just a means to an end.  Follow your heart!  But use good sense in planning your family budget because even if that baby doesn't cost $700 a month (ha!), he's going to cost something.  :)



18 comments:

  1. You could ask ten different financial planners the same question and get ten different answers.And I think you are right, there are definitely other things going on if they can't manage one kid on 60k.

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  2. Exactly. One comment I read was that Dave Ramsey would give a different response. Well, maybe. But I think he also would jump on the "you aren't even making expenses NOW" idea. Maybe he wouldn't advise against a second child, but I can't see him telling them she should quit her job BEFORE there is a concrete plan in place to live on the lower amount?

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  3. I'd say that the reason the planner told them $700 a month might be for health insurance and medical expenses budgeted, probably some clothing expenses, and things like that. Also, you didn't mention what city they live in. In some cities, you can't live in a one-bedroom apartment with three people, it has to be two-bedroom. That would be an additional expense that would be pro-rated monthly (if they are apartment dwellers, for example).

    -Lynne Diligent

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  4. $60,000? That's almost what my husband made when we had five kids before his career changed. I thought we were doing REALLY WELL! They are worried about the one kid they have with that pay? Good grief. Me thinks parents spend way too much on their kid. I have 6 and I'm not spending that much money. Well, I can't anymore. Ha! Anyway,I never did.

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  5. I'm sure you are right, Lynne. But here's the thing: they need to move if it's that important to them and it would have been nice if "you can't expect better in Manhattan" were explained to the viewing audience. I have a feeling there are past mistakes/debt going on but of course cannot be certain in a short clip. :)

    Virginia, $60,000 is not an extravagant sum for having seven people to support on that money. It actually sounds about right, what a family would need to be comfortable without huuuuge stress financially, but not so much money that you're throwing it out the car window b/c you don't know what to do with it all.

    The people who claim to have ten children on a social worker salary or whatever are NOT average families and neither are people who have $700 in cash every month to spend on an infant. :)

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  6. I never said $60,000 was a ton of money but I also live VERY frugally and don't waste money on unnecessary items. We used our money to spend together as a family and get out more. We had tons of fun with our family, vacationed, ate out. So I think "a lot of money" is just different in each person's view. I have a 4 bedroom beautiful home for a ridiculously low mortgage. We buy our vehicles with cash and we buy our clothes used. So, it really depends on how you live.

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  7. Ok, here's where I disagree! Because if you're poor you get slapped with high interest, and never get enough cash together to make the payments. ALL it would take is one root canal or one car breakdown and there is no way to dig out of the hole, you're always borrowing from one place to pay the last off.

    At least, that's what I've SEEN in families that ARE really really poor by American standards. Maybe this is chicken and egg stuff too, what do you think?

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  8. Well, when you live under your means, this is how it's possible to handle emergencies. It is hard but I don't borrow money. I do whatever it takes and have even sold stuff on Ebay if ever needed. However, in the past this has happened to us to have to get loans to take care of things and they majorly take advantage of the poor. I know exactly what you mean. It's just that we've had to majorly adjust in order to afford our family but it is possible. Hence, the reason I put ads on my blog. I didn't want to but needed to because it brings in a couple extra hundred a month. I used to raise and sell chickens. There are just different ways of being creative. However, I know there are just some that absolutely can't survive. I just think it's dumb for a family to say they can't afford more than one kid on $60,000 a year. I have an idea they want the expensive house and cars so yeah, they are gonna have high payments.

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  9. I guess maybe I feel spoiled because I was raised poor for a part of my childhood and my husband even more poor than me. I've SEEN poor. Poor is when you have to share one box of macaroni between 5 people and go to bed hungry. Poor is owning only 3 outfits that you have to rotate all week long. Or so poor that you can't afford a house better than one that leaks when it rains all over. I remember having pots all over the house because we couldn't afford to fix our roof. We just got used to emptying pots in the middle of the night. Or on the streets like my husband's family. So I get frustrated when these spoiled people go so overboard.

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  10. Meaning, I feel spoiled now in comparison to how my husband and I were raised.

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  11. You are, and that's nothing to feel guilty about. Did you read about the mom who killed herself after shooting her kids b/c she was denied food stamps for months?

    I've had to apply for all kinds of stuff I DO NOT QUALIFY FOR in order to get help from our Regional Center. As in, I went in trying to get a rejection letter so that we would qualify for other help for a special-needs child when funding became available (long story). It was still an intimidating and grueling process for me, and I am a college graduate. To track down what to do and who to speak to and which documents and bla bla bla... it was a lot. I was a REPORTER, too. It should have been a piece of cake and it wasn't.

    I don't excuse people for snapping but I do see where that could happen to someone mentally ill, or drug addicted or just plain not very intelligent and unable to figure out what to do. The businesses really take advantage of people who don't know better and the state agencies are even more unhelpful because it gives the appearance of help but if you try to ask questions or whatever you are treated coldly as though you are trying to bilk the system.

    Like I said, I went in for the rejection letter and I still felt like a major class SCUM. It has to suck being truly poor.

    $60,000 ain't it with one kid and I'm glad I am seeing others agree. :)

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  12. I've been there, Happy Elf Mom. It's tough. When Charles lost his job for over a year we HAD to apply for stuff just to hold us over. We finally figured out that he just isn't going to find engineering work. I even applied places and couldn't get accepted anymore. I used to work for software companies and had went to college. For about it. I've been homemaking and so now I couldn't even get a Walmart job. It was ridiculous. So, we just sucked it up and took a major pay cut in a different field. It was really, really hard till he finally started getting more hours and higher pay. I know how hard it is being treated like scum. People thought and even accused me of having kids on the system. They didn't care that we already had 5 kids before we needed that help. I lost friends and family over it. Good riddance. Now, my heart is MUCH MORE soft to the poor and also that not every person is taking advantage of the system. Especially since economy dropped, many family are having to look for some extra help. I used to look down on it. Whoa, after what we went through, my heart is so much softer.

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  13. I don't doubt that there are people, plenty of them, who take advantage of the system. Maybe raised in the system and know how to work it. Most people would rather earn their own way. Food stamps are $150 a month. It's just not worth NOT working for that. Same thing with Section 8 housing. WHO really wants to live there? People who haven't had better, or who have major problems, or who are very down on their luck. Why would anyone want to move their kids into that.

    ((hug))

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  14. My friend gets $1,000 a month in food stamps and I have another friend that lives on Section 8 in a beautiful 2 story in a good neighborhood. Maybe it's state by state how they do it.

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  15. I completely agree with you. There isn't really any reason why they couldn't do it on one income, however they would have to drastically change their lifestyle. They definitely strike me as "have it all" types. I also wondered why their location wasn't mentioned, as it would affect their cost of living incredibly. If having a second child or being a SAHM is a priority, they could use that year you suggested to relocate to a more affordable area. I don't think anybody should ever stop having children because of money, but they can be wise about it, hold off and financially plan for their second child and consequent loss of income.

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  16. I wasn't shocked at Suze advice. "You can't afford to have kids" is rather common advice. But bugs me though is that this authoritative person--an "expert"--fed the myth that children are soooo expensive, that having them is a luxury that many people can't afford. I would have much preferred her to tell them that they could certainly afford all the children they desire if they rearrange their priorities. But, as long as they are living selfishly, children will remain a luxury. Of course she wouldn't say that, because she doesn't believe that. But, I wish someone in the media would, rather than all this reporting on how expensive children are.

    Someone recently told me that it would cost me a million dollars to raise each of my children according to some crazy estimator.

    Oh....OK.

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  17. Yep yep yep yep yep. And really... they expected *what* from asking financial advice in a secular fashion from a childless lesbian who is out of the closet? I mean... really. Sort of a losing battle because her priorities are out in the open already. You know what you are getting into by asking. :)

    I wish it were like the People's Court where they interview the people after the case, yk? WHAT did the couple think?

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)