- How to Dig Out of Debt, Part 2
Have you lived without your credit cards for the last week? Has it seemed rather mid-20th century, or even un-American, to go “cash only” for all of your purchases?
If it feels odd, just remember that your ancestors lived this way for all of history; consumer debt is a recent luxury. You may also feel like a little kid again, carrying your weekly allowance around in your pocket for purchases. Trying anything new is bound to feel strange until it becomes a new habit.
- Reverse Mortgages: The Basics
Federally insured reverse mortgages, also called home equity conversion mortgages, have been available since 1990. Aggressive marketing, the deflation of the housing bubble, and last year’s stock market crash have all contributed to a surge of interest. Applications are expected to exceed 120,000 for 2009.
- Save Money While Cutting Extra Calories!
Think about how much money you spend in a week’s time just on beverages. Do you order soda along with your fast food? Do you stock the refrigerator with soda, bottled teas, and such? Do you order one of those fancy coffee drinks that run you over three bucks a pop? Do you drink alcohol when dining out? Each soda you order in a restaurant is about $2; each glass of wine or cup of coffee is about $3 to $4. If you just cut out two of these a day, you could save $6 a day or $42 a week or $2,184 a year.
And that’s not even considering the savings in calories:
- Make Your Own Frozen Entrees
For a little bit of food and a whole lot of packaging, frozen entrees can run you anywhere from $3 to $5 apiece. But you can make your own frozen meals by using microwave containers that are about the size and shape of typical frozen entrees. This is a big health bonus if you need to limit your sodium, because most frozen dinners are loaded with sodium—some even have as much as 1,500 milligrams (enough for an entire day).
- Does the Buck Stop Here?
Often, an Aging with Grace eldercare specialist will be asked, “If I sign the monthly agreement for my parents’ assisted living community, will I be responsible if they run out of money?” The answer is no. Debt is nontransferable from your parents to you, even if you are the person designated with power of attorney. The exception would be if you co-signed a bank loan, auto loan, or something similar that would list you as co-debtor.
- What Will Happen When the Money Runs Out?
Cordelia Robertson, age 99, was recently given an eviction notice from her assisted living facility in Seattle, after living there for a decade (“Assisted-living facility tries to evict 99-year-old woman on Medicaid,” Seattle Times, June 4, 2008). She had spent all the money she had, almost $400,000, to pay for her care. Out of money and eligible for Medicaid funding, Ms.
- Where Has All the Money Gone?
I thought raising kids was expensive and sending them to college even more so. But those expenses pale compared to the cost of caring for someone who is old and frail. As the “attorney in fact” for my mother, I write checks for thousands of dollars at a time on a regular basis. My mother, a retired social worker, would have a stroke if she saw the amount of money being spent on her care.