Stereotype would have you believe that as soon as Cody graduates we’ll be driving new SUV’s and living in the nice part of town with all the other doctors and lawyers. We will be going on family vacations to the Bahamas and have matching Ralph Lauren luggage and linen pants. Carefree! Rich! Raking in the dough!

Wrong.

The closer his graduation gets the more I realize that not only are we going to have to be grownups and buy a house with a water bill, a garbage bill, a sewage bill, a gas bill, no landlord to take care of the leaky faucets,  we are going to have loans to repay. Loans that will amount to even more than what a mortgage and two new SUVs would amount to; not that we’re getting SUVs but whatever.

I look forward to having a house after eight years of marriage, while at the same time I want to curl up in a corner and cry because I don’t feel old enough to be dealing with IRAs, stock portfolios, life insurance and mortgages.

Today I had an experience that angered/frustrated/humbled/outraged and opened my eyes all at once. I had to go see a doctor at a new clinic about some issues I’ve been experiencing. It was a low income clinic because we don’t have insurance, and medical tests and procedures are expensive. Because we go to low income clinics, the wait times are longer and getting appointments can be like trying to get a lunch date with the President. But hey, I’ll take what I can get.

After my appointment today I was made to sit down with a “financial counselor.”

I had been “flagged.” Apparently they thought I was trying to “mooch off the system.” They wanted me to prove to them that I was eligible for financial assistance for my medical care. Even though I had a card that said I was eligible for a discount on my medical care through their facility, they thought there had been an oversight and that I was to pay full price for a visit to their clinic. Their clinic was for people with “no insurance” and “strained financial situations.”

When did living off $1500 a month become a “wonderful financial situation”?

This is where I get nervous about writing what I want to write. Trolls? Stay back. I don’t mean this to sound the way you’re going to want to twist it and make it sound.

I’ve never really been put in a situation like this before, but as I sat there trying to explain to this man that my husband was in school and we were living off small amounts of borrowed money that isn’t even ours, I started to feel like I was being accused. Because someday my husband will (hopefully) have a decent income we should find some magical way to have health coverage? Or we should pay full price for our health care now? No, we’re not going to be in this situation forever, it’s only temporary. But I still needed to see a doctor whether my husband was a hobo or an attorney. And I’m still on a tight budget whether my husband is going to school to become a nose picker or a lawyer. Nothing is going to change that. And if there’s an option where I can get medical care for cheaper I’m going to take it. If you’re on a budget and there was a way you could save hundreds, if not thousands on your medical care, even though it meant longer waits and appointments made far in advance, wouldn’t you do it? Assuming you were eligible (on paper) to receive such care?

I’m frustrated. No, we currently don’t pay taxes, but in another year we will enter a tax bracket so ridiculous we’ll be sure to make up for lost time. And honestly after our experiences over the last few years I am grateful for taxes and taxpayers in a way I never was before. A lot of people honestly need a little help sometimes. Yes, there are those who abuse the system, but then there are those who just need a little something to get them on the right track. We are in the latter.

This is one of the reasons this election is so hard for me, and I’ve never really known how to get it into words. By the time the new president gets his policies into effect we will be in a different scenario than we are now; we will be taxpayers with a mortgage and we’ll be hanging out in a high tax bracket. But for now, for this election we are a low income family trying to gain an education without any easily attained health care.

So do I vote for the candidate who will best suit who we are now, or who we’ll be in anther year? I don’t want to forget about all the wonderful people I’ve met while in this situation, the doctors, nurses, social workers and government employees who do all this hard work without enough gratitude or glory for the people who honestly need help to get back on their feet. But at the same time I don’t want to be paying more in taxes than we are able to save or put towards our own loans or mortgage.

So there.

I’m afraid I come off as a whiny baby. Hopefully there’s some of you who have been through the graduate school thing or a rough patch and can understand. I’m not a whiny baby, I’m grateful for the great life I enjoy and the comforts and opportunities I have in this country. I guess the stereotype that comes along with being an attorney’s wife is starting to rub me wrong.

Bah.

Be nice. I will delete on this one.

Comments

  1. Just a little wake-up call. Just because you are going to be “lawyer’s wife” doesn’t mean the money will fall down from the heavens. I am a “business man’s wife” and we have just as much money as you and Cody will have. And trust me there is never enough money to go around.

    Like everyone has commented, there is still mortgage payments, insurance, loans, high fuel prices, yearly taxs, car payments, etc. Kids want that skateboard that is 100 bucks. Oh and his friends lost his and would like to buy him one too. Yes, life will be a lot more pleasant than the income you have now. But the day Cody is handed his degree doesn’t mean it will be peaches n’ cream from then on out. It’s not the amount of money you make, it is how you use it.

    My biggest piece of advice to you would be: give, give, give. Your life will be blessed beyond your knowledge. When you give, money still won’t fall off trees but it will definently go a long way. And these frustrating days of feeling hopeless and ‘im being picked on’ will be worth it. Try it. Borrowed money or not, it still works. Give it a try.

  2. Kelly from Toronto says:

    I read your blog all of the time, but only comment occasionally… and this is definitely an occasion I feel compelled to. Like many of your readers, I too, have the good fortune to live in the land of socialized healthcare, but like yourself, I have a partner in hella-pricey grad school (MD) and we don’t have two loonies to rub together.

    Anyway, what I wanted to say was in regard to the last part of your post… the politics. (I know, I know, murky territory, and not my country) Yes, it’s hard to vote for a party that will likely guarantee to increase your taxes, just at the time of your life when you can afford what you’ve worked so hard for. But I implore you not to think of just yourselves. Vote for the moosh, so she and her partner will have access to medical care if one day they are cash-strapped students. Vote for all of the other families just like yours. It may be a temporary situation before careers take off, but it’s a damn hard one, and this might make little lives a little easier.

    *steps down from soap box*

    (Sorry if I swore too much in this post…)

  3. I understand that there are people who take advantage of the system, but when you are at a low point in your life and trying to make the best of it; slightly embarrassed to be making use of a clinic’s service (or welfare or unemployment – whatever the case may be) even though YOU in your situation are the one it was created for; to be then accused of trying to cheat the system is criminal. Can you make me feel any lower than I already do? Yes you found a way.

    I’m with Kelly, think of the Moosh and vote for someone who would help her if she were ever in your position.

    Mary Beth’s last blog post..What did I do yesterday? Funny you should ask …

  4. i totally understand your situation. hopefully you didn’t get lots of troll comments. you do what you need to do when you need to do it. we have been there as well. hope you are feeling better.

    natalie’s last blog post..Giving away a little bit of Turkey

  5. This just sucks. No advice, just hugs. :)

    metalia’s last blog post..An Update on my Progress, or Lack Thereof

  6. Ooooh boy, do I understand. We went from a reasonable paycheck to being poorer than dirt (for years!) We’re hoping to come out on the other side with a big income, but there is no place for people like us & it’s been extremely difficult.

    Adria Sha’s last blog post..Photos from our clinic visit

  7. I’m sorry.

    Camille’s last blog post..{I Lost 10 Pounds in Five Hours}

  8. I’ve so been in your situation. I raised two boys on 250. And I’m single. How do I vote now, like I always have: I vote for the party that helps people like I once was. mho your beliefs don’t change just because your financial situation does.

  9. Ok that got all befuddled.

    I raised two boys on less than 1200 mo and gratefully accepted food stamps, etc. Now I make more than 250k yr. And I vote the same as I always have – for the party that helps people.

  10. my advice- vote for the situation you’re in now. You have LOADS of student loans and that isn’t going to go away. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

    the reason why I am forever grateful that I now live in the UK. I don’t ever ever have to worry about healthcare. The hospital might not be fitted out with the newest and shiniest but it works and I don’t have a huge bill at the end.

    Lindy’s last blog post..Flying

  11. Boy, I can really relate to this post. We struggled as a young married family while my hubby finished undergrad and law school. Then, after he graduated, he didn’t get a high paying job and we’ve still struggled and had to repay student loans. Finally things are getting better, but life can be a struggle, that’s for sure.

    Great post.

    Rhea’s last blog post..Yet Another Very Serious Interview with the Little People.

  12. Lisa in TX says:

    Ten years and three majors later, my husband is finally getting his BA, this year. We’ve got two kids (another on the way) and the only insurance either of us has had since we got married (he got laid off two weeks after our wedding) has been my Medicaid when I’ve been pregnant. The kids have children’s health insurance through the state and I don’t know what I would do without it. Even so, it’s truly humiliating to prove, in excruciating detail, just how poor you are every six months. Even worse, I’m pretty sure that the only reason they’ve asked for proof that my kids are citizens is because I have a hispanic last name. The look on one lady’s face when she called my name and realized I was white was just priceless.

    I’ve never had a problem with people treating me badly, in person, though, only when the mindless bureaucracy gets involved. But then, I’ve made it my policy to be as sweet and polite as possible because I know they don’t get that from everyone they deal with.

    Big hugs, girl–even if it doesn’t get instantly better it will get better.

  13. I understand how you feel. We technically qualify for WIC, but we don’t take it yet. If the economy keeps tanking, though, we may have to eventually look for some help for basic needs.

    My old degree (BA History) got me nothing in terms of a good paying job. Once I finish nursing school, we’ll be in a much higher tax bracket, too, and my husband will be able to stop working and get his masters degree.

    In the meantime, my husband suffers through a job he hates only because it gives us the health insurance we so badly need. He’s been offered a dream job, but he can’t take it because no benefits come with it, and with our daughter’s autism and my history of depression, we’re not eligible for individual health insurance.

    So for now he works his underpaid job, along with a part-time writing job, while I go to school full time and collect as many blog jobs as possible to bring in extra income, and we look forward to a year from now when I graduate and we won’t worry about money so much.

    And when things are better, we plan to give back to repay any help we’ve taken. I hope that national health care will become a reality.

    Things will get better for you, and I’m sure you’ll continue to do what you can to help others when they need it, too.

    Christina’s last blog post..Haiku Friday: Yummy Flashbacks

  14. I’ve not yet commented because I’m so overwhelmed with it all; your situation and mine, while different, are strikingly similar. But, our conversations and this post did prompt me to write my own ‘tell all’ today on my site. Thanks for that push.

    I’ve two thoughts, reading this:

    1. I’d be really interested in hearing the process involved in flagging people at the clinic. Is it a set procedure, or is it open to individual discretion? Because I find it interesting that you, someone who clearly qualifies for assistance (and has the paperwork to prove it) were flagged. . . I’m curious whether it was potentially because you don’t fit the so-called stereotype of who is it that qualifies for assistance.

    2. I’m a raging liberal, so I implore you to vote Obama :) (though the above comments about thinking about the moosh’s future and that your experiences now will always be with you, no matter your future situation. . . those were much more eloquent.)

    the prologue of my life’s last blog post..Resigned

  15. After reading your post and all the comments I feel very lucky to be living the life I do. Mind you, it’s not “grand” by any means. I’m very luck to be able to stay at home with my kids and have a very hard working and loving husband.

    Kristin’s last blog post..What, me? Organized?!

  16. My feelings are that although we are in a higher tax bracket, I would never, ever assume we will be here forever. Things happen, life changes, and sometimes people need a little help. I could not therefore vote for a candidate who helps the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

    Sorry you got grilled at the clinic. Not fun or fair.

    Fairly Odd Mother’s last blog post..Where I Completely Blow the Mother of the Year Award

  17. Wow.

    I understand, even though I have never been in your exact situation, I have lived in several “financial” brackets and have experienced the treatment of the stereotypes. You SHOULD not have to prove yourself to anyone, but this does not mean you won’t have to.

    Also, I do not vote. For the sole reason that the world will come to an end and I will go home to heaven regardless of who is president. When there is a candidate that I can get behind 100% I will vote.

    Reese’s last blog post..Day Four, Hurricane Season blah blah blah

  18. I also have found the system helpful. And because much of our income now comes from Google/”self-employment,” I’ve helped fund the system. Tax season hurts, no doubt about it, but it would be selfish and hypocritical of me to resent giving back to those who still need it. So I say vote for the situation you’re in now; because other good people like you will always need help. (Try not to think too hard about the people who abuse the system and waste your money. Not even we Democrats approve of that.)

    Amber’s last blog post..Ye Olde Stone Temple Pilots

  19. I totally understand your feeling about the stereotypes that, just because you are/going to be a lawyer or lawyer’s wife, that you have no financial worries. My husband and myself are both in law school (one year left!!), which means a massive student loan burden. And, contrary to popular belief, most lawyers don’t start their careers making $130K, even if they go to good schools (I go to a top 20 school) and have good grades (top 1/3). Thank god for income-contingent federal loan repayment; otherwise, our monthly repayment would be around $2,000, which, with our expected salaries (assuming we get jobs in the current market) would wipe out any chance of buying a house, having kids, or being able to afford my working part-time to take care of said kids.
    Anyway, hang in there! BTW, I would say vote on your principles, rather than which party appears to best suit your particular situation at a given time, and take whatever help you can get – that’s why it’s there.

  20. You are the kind of person “the system” was designed for! Someone who needs some temporary help until they can start making money and, well, contributing to the system. I’d much rather have tax dollars go to people like you than people who are perpetually draining them.

    You probably know this already, but having a mortgage gives you a huge tax break because you are able to deduct your mortgage interest, property taxes, and lots of other stuff.

  21. I don’t ever really comment, but this one is too tempting.

    I am sorry that you were questioned about the validity of your current situation. I am glad that you are able to access medical care at the moment, even though it is slow to come by. My biggest annoyance with people who are in your situation has to do with when they do finally make enough money that puts them in a higher tax bracket and able to access good medical care, is that they seem to develop amnesia about their former situations and how they needed other people’s tax dollars for a bit to meet their needs while they were struggling in school.

    When you are making more money, just don’t forget about those with needs, who need the services that your tax dollars provides. Be generous, please. I’m sure you will be.

    Amy

    Amy’s last blog post..Finally Getting Around to Posting This

  22. I totally hear you. When Mike was in law school, we gave birth to a special needs little girl. I couldn’t get medical coverage because of the amount of money in my savings account. I showed them proof that it was all borrowed, we’d be living off of it for the next YEAR and we hadn’t even paid tuition!!!
    It didn’t matter and we’re still paying off the debt for therapy services I had to put on my credit card. It’s sad.

  23. Ugh, what sucks is that as a student in the United States you’re not eligible for jacksh*t. It sucks. Someone else said it, but college is EXPENSIVE. They encourage us to go and finish college, etc, but then the government won’t let us have cheap healthcare. I am in a program through Planned Parenthood for my birth control/lady reproductive needs through Michigan but it is HARD to get into. I was eligible for the year because when I signed up, I was jobless. As soon as I re-up for this next year (come fall. ugh). They are going to say, oh! You’re a student. Meaning you can afford more. Instead of free, you now are responsible for 50% of the costs. @#$@^&@$ Um, yeah, ok, because now I have to spend money on books. And this fee. And that fee. So that MUST mean I’m rich now. Freaking A.

    Mel’s last blog post..Mom’s Choice!

  24. I have a friend whose hubby is in Ph.D. school (seminary). He will never be a millionaire, but one day he will be doing okay. Right now though, not so much. For her last pregnancy, she went on Passport (Kentucky’s version of medicaid). She had to. And the thing is – that is exactly what those systems were designed for – for temporary support for people who are trying to get out of their current situation. You aren’t going to be poor and living off loans forever. Yay! But for right now, the system needs to support you, because one day, like you said, your taxes are going to be so high, you’re going to be supporting everyone else…

    Hang in there.

    Kim’s last blog post..P.P.S.

  25. Oh please, please vote for the candidate you think will do more to provide for those with lower incomes. For the sake of remembering where you’ve been when you’re out of there. For the sake of folks like me who have years to go, if we *ever* get to that point. For the sake of *not* being the “stereotypical lawyer’s wife.” For the love I’ve seen that you have when it comes to caring for others.

    Not to mention in case (may God forbid it!) you *were* to wind up in a situation without money in the future and needed some safety nets again. Times are really uncertain; you never know. And you’d sure as hell be glad it’s there.

    I’m not even going to go into the myriad other political reasons I’m voting for the OMGLIBERAL candidate (again).

    Midgetqueen’s last blog post..unhealthy mind, unhealthy body

  26. Politics aside, I can assure you that if your life is anything like ours, you won’t be making any “expendable” income for a while.

    We pay $1,500 a month in law school loans.

    Yeah.

    We are still short every month. By about $1,500. Oh and health insurance? Husband’s firm just dropped it. Sweet.

    Velveteen Mind – Megan’s last blog post..Blog Nosh Magazine Editors are Good Enough to Eat.