I Just Don’t Care About My Finances

And expensive! by clspeace on Flickr!It wasn’t all that long ago that I simply didn’t care about my money. It wasn’t something to think about or plan with – it was simply grease for the skids, enabling me to live out a lot of whims. Other than that, it was something largely to avoid – I would just pay the bills and try hard to forget about it.

I hear the same thing over and over again from others. There are a lot of people that I talk to on a regular basis that, when I mention I write a blog that focuses mostly on money issues, their eyes immediately glaze over. Could there possibly be anything less interesting?

And I agree, to a certain extent. For many people, personal finance is just a bunch of boring writing about creating budgets, living cheap, minutiae of investing, and so on. And by themselves, this stuff is boring.

If you find yourself in this group that finds money issues to be extremely boring, I invite you to spend a bit of time thinking about these two things.

Where Do You Want To Be?
Where exactly do you want to be in five years? Just stop for a second and think about where you want to be in five years. What would you like for your life to be like?

As you think about this, be realistic, but don’t worry about whether you can afford the stuff, either. Don’t envision yachts, but don’t sweat whether you can afford the details.

Here are a few things to think about.

Will you be married?
Will you have children? How many? How old?
Will you own a house?
What will your job be like? Or will you own a small business?
Where will you live?
How will you transport yourself around?
What’s the best-case scenario you can imagine about your debt? Your savings?

You can add in as many details to this as you like – actually, the more details you add, the better.

Here, I’ll do the same thing.

In five years, I’ll be married. I’ll have four children – a seven year old, a six year old, a three year old, and a one year old. We’ll still be living in our current home. I will still be a writer, but my wife will have switched to a more local job, enabling us to become a one-car household. This auto, however, will have seating capacity for all six of us – not either of the two cars we currently own. We’ll only owe money on our mortgage and we’ll be heavily into saving for our next home.

Obviously, some of what you envision won’t actually happen. You can’t foresee the unforeseen. However, that’s how I’d predict my own life to be five years from now.

Taste Freedom
The next time you pay your monthly bills, just add up how much you’re paying in debt. What’s the sum total of all of your credit card bills, your mortgage payment, your car payment(s), personal loans, and so on – everything that is a debt to another entity.

How would your life change if you didn’t have to pay that debt? In our case, we pay about $1,500 a month in debt payments – our home mortgage plus my remaining student loan. That’s $18,000 a year.

An extra $18,000 a year would be transformative in our life. It’d only take a decade or so for us to be able to build the house we’ve dreamed about. Or we could do the traveling we’ve always talked about, taking our children on long trips to rural areas of other countries. We could even make some risky career choices to leave us more fulfilled.

What’s the Connection?
The mechanics of personal finance – the budgeting and such – can be quite boring to many, but it’s vital to remember that they’re merely tools to help you live out those dreams.

You don’t do a budget because a budget is fun – you do a budget so you can get rid of that debt that’s keeping you from doing the things you want.

You don’t choose the cheap route because it’s the most enjoyable route (though, surprisingly, it often is) – you choose the cheap because the money you save builds up to the big things you dream about.

Let me put it another way: you probably know a person or two who chooses not to spend much money on any sort of regular basis. You might see them as boring, or you might regularly encourage them to live a little. You probably also wonder why they would choose to live that way when they could live “better.”

The truth is that those people often are looking ahead to a few years down the road. They’d rather forego going out with the boys every weekend to not have any debt in a year or two. They’ll skip the big screen television paid for on the credit card in exchange for a down payment for an amazing house.

Right now, you’ll find them boring. In five years, though, they’ll be the ones living their dreams while you’re still battling debt and wondering how to get ahead.

The day I realized that idea, that my day-to-day extravagances were fun but they were keeping me from the bigger things I wanted out of life, I realized I needed to get down to work and fix the problem. And to fix that problem, I had to pull out the toolbox – things like budgets and frugality and so on. The tools themselves might seem boring, but as I work on fixing the problem, I have a bounce in my step because I know that when I’m done, I’ll have the big things in life I dream of – and I’ll have left those naysayers who say “you only live once” in the dust.

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41 thoughts on “I Just Don’t Care About My Finances

  1. April says:

    Thank you for posting this! I’m working on cutting more and more unnecessary purchases from our budget because we have a lot of big goals. After we pay off the car loan in December, the only debt left will be on the land we bought on which to build a house.

    We have a lot of very big goals. We want to build a modest, green home. We want to do more traveling. My husband wants to start culinary school. Eventually, we might need to buy a car (we went to one car when his was wrecked and used the insurance money to pay off the last of our cc debt).

    With such big goals, it’s easy to forget that the $200 boots I’m drooling over would actually keep us a little further from Europe…a little further from building our home. My husband could start culinary school, and we could wait to pay off the student loans, or we could get started NOW, saving a little each month even before he enrolls. I’m 27, and I’d like to have a child when I’m around 30, and I’m not sure if I’ll want to return to an office. I think I’d rather not depend on my salary, and maybe work a side business from home. If we spent like there was no tomorrow, built our house, and my husband went to school, I would never have the option to stay at home.

    To remember these goals, I opened subaccounts at ING for each one. As soon as the car is paid, more money will go into the house, vacation, and school funds. This makes me look at these goals at least once a week (when I reconcile our accounts in Quicken), and it feels so great to see the accounts grow…slowly but surely, we’re moving toward our big goals.

    The boots don’t seem so important when I’m dreaming about our house or thinking about how wonderful it will be when my husband is in the career he wants to be in.

  2. Troy says:

    Nice post.

    Goes with your position of paying attention to your future self, and not placing undue burden on him.

    That mixes well with the “will this matter in a year” decision process.

    Think about all your financial decisions 5 years ago. How many of them still matter. Likely not many.

    If the future you could talk to the current you, how would the conversation go, and would current you listen. I have always wondered. I think I already know what the future me would say. So, I’ll take his advice.

  3. Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy says:

    Great post! The two things that turned the tide for me were my decision to start a small business and the fact that everytime I got a raise in salary at work, I’d still be living paycheck to pay check every month.

    Once I realized I really needed to buckle down and organize my finances I immediately became interested in the subject.

    People need to find value in something to be interested in it, so the challenge is convincing people of the value of personal finance tools.

  4. Great post. It is sad that so many people don’t care about thier finances. Your ideas about figuring out what we want out of life seem like gerat ways to get people to pay attention to their personal finances.

  5. I’ve been one of those boring people for a long time now…but I’d rather be “boring” and have no CC debt, two paid-off cars, and a house. Being in poor financial shape is exciting in all the wrong ways!

  6. Jules says:

    Thanks for making me remember why I’m sacking 1/3 of my take-home pay towards student loans!

    I just paid off one whole loan last month, in its entirety. Now…$40k to go. I keep thinking that I’d rather be a little less well-to-do than I’d like now that I’m young, than worry overly much about finances in our 40s and 50s. Or rather, I’d prefer to have my share of near-broke experiences now that I’m young and have the energy and health to do something about it, rather than later, when I’m older and have things like major medical bills to think about.

  7. jake says:

    It is sad for me to say this but I have lots of friends who have this attitude, “I am going to die any day, so who cares,” towards finance. They go out and party almost every night buying things left and right on things I know for a fact they cannot afford.

    Here’s the sad part, they whine and cry about it everytime the bill comes. They call up the credit card companies and try to argue things they know they cant win.

    It’s a vicious cycle.

  8. typome says:

    Wonderful article! I can relate, and it is sooo easy to get tempted too. Just browsing in a mall and seeing all the trendy people will for an hour or so make me feel insufficient. But then I realize that I do still have cool looking clothes, and that trends are designed to make you feel otherwise, and I go right back to saving! But it’s definitely important to stay away from those temptations, or not let others sway you too much away from your goals.

    Great article, I like this style of articles, Trent!

  9. Lola says:

    I think there might be something wrong with me, because I actually think budgeting is fun.

    One question for you, Trent: I heard the other day that, if universal health care were adopted in the U.S., millions of people would just stop working (because, according to some, people only work to pay off their debts). Do you agree with this concept?
    http://www.escrevalolaescreva.blogspot.com

  10. cv says:

    On a side note, it strikes me as funny that yachts and sailing are so often held up as the pinnacle of luxurious and excessive spending. My family has owned a smallish (20-25′) sailboat of one type or another for my entire life, and we’ve belonged to a local yacht club during that time, too. Sailing is my father’s passion, and he spends a lot of time on the boat, or on the internet discussing boats, or reading about boat design. He’s always had a boat that cost less than many late model used cars and spent another couple thousand dollars a year on maintenance, equipment, insurance, etc. All told, it’s pretty comparable to what many people spend on travel, motorcycles, fishing trips, or any number of other hobbies. No, it’s not exactly cheap, but if it’s truly a priority it’s certainly within reach for many more people than you’d think.

  11. Jess says:

    Trent, I have to say, since you started working from home you just keep hammering out these spectacular articles, one after another. Seriously I noticed a really big increase in the quality of the article that you write now.

    This one is no exception!

  12. doctor S says:

    I will fill out the survey like I am talking outloud to myself!

    In 5 years, I will be married without any kids. I will own a house and hopefully have my own IT/Strategy Consulting business. Also by then I will have a book writing gig in the works. My wife will be working on her own business, some sort of marketing/pr/advertising firm. Most of her work will be traveling round throughout the regions and bringing home the bacon! I am hoping to be living on the east coast. By then the only debts I will have are my mortgage on my home (which I have yet to purchase) and a little bit left on my heft private student loan consolidation (currently 84k). More than anything I hope that my parents are stable and I able to take care of them as they will be 5 years older by then. Looking ahead is a scary thing but it is a huge reality check. Amazing post! Keep churning out that good stuff!

  13. Shevy says:

    This is for Lola and her question about whether millions of Americans would stop working if universal health care came into effect in the US.

    That`s a truly bizarre idea. There are over 25 countries worldwide with some type of universal health care program including Canada (where I live) and the UK. I think right now the unemployment rate in Canada (where we also have a national unemployment insurance program, which would be more directly connectable to the question) is slightly *lower* than the US rate.

    What you`ll see when the US finally gets a decent health care plan is a huge reduction in the number of bankruptcies and a vast improvement in the health of the poor and minority groups, which will result in other societal costs dropping.

  14. Melinda says:

    You only live once – so why spend it struggling with debt? Since we only do live once we need to get it right the first time!

  15. Lurker Carl says:

    A timely topic, considering the current state of affairs in the banking industry along with today’s stock market plummet. The folks drowning in their interest-only adjustable-rate no-money-down mortgages, where is the happiness? All because so many folks are so focused on bigger stuff and better stuff and more stuff, right now, at any cost. Even if it costs them their future. We won’t live forever but, until then, we live with the results of our actions.

  16. I recently became the boring (and dare I say TEDIOUS) person you are talking about. I NEVER thought I would squabble over 66 cents. I was doing my budget (I use mvelopes) and trying to figure out where to allocate 66 cents. Even six months ago I would have spent, spent, and spent what I didn’t even have.

    My advice? Budget yourself money to blow with the boys on the weekends. That way you can still have fun and live within your means.

    http://www.goingCarless.com

  17. Battra92 says:

    Well, the way I see it you can be a fun and exciting guy and still have money left over at the end of the day.

  18. Lola says:

    Shevy, hey, I’m all in favor of universal health care everywhere. Here in Brazil we have this, and though our system might not be great (for after all, we are still a poor country), it is still much better than the American system. I don’t agree at all with this idea that people would stop working, but I would like to hear Trent’s view. Here in Brazil, the government has been giving some money to poor families who keep their kids in school. Some conservatives don’t like this, and say exactly the same thing conservatives say in the U.S.: that this encourages people not to work.
    http://www.escrevalolaescreva.blogspot.com

  19. cv says:

    I don’t know that a lot of people would just quit their jobs if universal health insurance were adopted in the U.S., but I think that gradually it would change the shape of many people’s jobs and career choices. People would feel freer to start their own businesses, retire early, work part time, spend a couple of years volunteering after college, stay home with kids for a while, etc. Many people who are currently interested in these options don’t pursue them mainly because of health insurance, which is not available to many people who have chosen options other than full time employment.

  20. Lurker Carl says:

    Universal health care, how do you intend to finance it? Doctors don’t work for free, building hospitals are quite pricy. Good personnel and excellent facilities are expensive to keep. Medicine is one industry where you get what you pay for. Government adherance to low bid contracts does not bode well for excellence. Cheap is a high price to pay for your health.

    Wealthy people around the world do not crawl into their local universal healthcare clinics when they have critical illnesses, they travel to the US for state-of-the-art treatment. And these state-of-the-art procedures quickly migrate throughout the medical system.

    Total governmental regulation of the medical community would work well to stifle innovation and acceptance of new procedures. The current government programs – Medicaid, Veteran’s Administration and TriCare – few folks are clammering to join those universal programs for mediocre care.

  21. Sarah says:

    Actually, Lurker Carl, while the U.S. ranks up near the top for its health care expenditures, most measures of health care quality rank the U.S. relatively low. Sure, the Saudis may come to Sloan-Kettering when they develop cancer, but if you think *you’ll* have access to that standard of care, you’re kidding yourself. We’re spending a hell of a lot with relatively little to show for it.

  22. Nola says:

    Fantastic post, thanks so much!

  23. Jason says:

    Trent,

    I love the “One Year Ago…”, it’s an excellent way to refresh. Boy, we’ve all grown a lot through this blog.

    That said, I was reading the “Rock you like a hurricane” post and wanted to e-mail it to my fiancee and my mom. Unfortunately, there’s no obvious “Email this” for these older columns. Any chance for this functionality to be added site-wide?

    Keep up the great work.

  24. Debbie says:

    Here, here! I’m one of those people that chose not to live “better” and now beginning to reap the rewards.

  25. Sandy says:

    I so wish that the US would have Universal care for all….like so many other countries around the globe. If you are a business owner, imagine taking the health care costs out of the money you have to come up with every month.
    I’ve mentioned this in other places, but I had one of my daughters in Florida and one in Belgium. The only thing that I can say nice about my Florida daughter’s birth was that the wallpaper was prettier and newer than the hospital in Belgium. The CARE was FAR superior in Belgium. Remarkably so. And when it came time for us to leave Belgium, the one “thing” I knew I’d miss was the Pediatrition…and having to come back to the wretched care we get in the US. UGH!
    Europeans are lucky, too, as many places still offer house calls. When we lived in Paris, I never went out with sick kids in the middle of the night..I called a Dr. service, and they were at my door in 20 minutes. Sorry….I had too many wonderful health care experiences in Europe, and too many horrible ones in the US. No comparison.
    I’ve also had friends who have had to make career choices based on which partner had the health insurance…the mom was the ne with ins and she HAD to go back to work rather than staying home with her babe. Europeans don’t have to make that choice. And don’t get me started about pre-existing conditions, and the fact that if you’ve ever had a medical condition (sorry…who hasn’t?) you can’t easily or inexpensively get insurance in the US…I knew someone who was 1 month pregnant when her husband got approved for health ins from his company, but sadly, that didn’t cover the pregnancy…tsk, tsk…pregnant too soon. This country has a lot of work ahead, or at some point, we’ll all have a bank-breaking issue from health care.

  26. tiphaine says:

    I agree with Jason in comment #20
    Your blog help me a lot in everyday life. I know I’m not alone to take responsibilities, to plan and to grow up with everyday little struggles..
    Just started blogging too, I wrote a post about marriage and freedom http://amphibianfroggie.blogspot.com/2008/09/marriage-is-freedom.html

    thanks!

  27. April says:

    @Lurker Carl–Exactly. Not to mention the waiting times to see doctors, the lotto systems in some areas (You win! You get to see a doctor now!), and being denied surgery because you aren’t likely to make it (sorry, you’re too old).

    I don’t love our health care system, but I think there are better options than government-regulated health care. Do you like what our government officials have done with your retirement? Really want to trust them with your health care, too?

  28. Kevin says:

    This would be a great post as an intro into a personal finance class for teens and people in their early 20s. Instead of going through all the definitions and minutiae, base the discussion on now vs. later and the cost of debt. Great post, Trent.

  29. Kevin says:

    April –

    Actually I don’t mind what the government has done with my retirement. Giving me multiple investing options such as IRAs, 401(k), etc. It’s up to us to actually use those programs, which many Americans fail to do.

    If you are referring to social security, is not and was never meant to be a retirement program for the general public. It was meant as a type of nationwide insurance against old age, disability, etc. for those that cannot provide for themselves.

  30. Sweetypuffs says:

    Shevy, I think some might quit their jobs. The elderly for instance who might actually only be working for health insurance. And I’m just scanning posts, but yeah, if I didn’t need to work…I wouldn’t. Someone touched on that. I only work to pay bills. That may be sad, but that’s how it is. I don’t have a career and to be honest don’t actually have any interest in one. But life doesn’t work that way. I have to suffer the tedium of a job to get some cash and avoid sleeping over a sewer grate for heat.

  31. Sarah says:

    Thank you for this post. I need to pass this along to my friends and family members who tell me to “stop stressing about little bills.” I think this was a wonderful well thought out post. Your blog and posts like these keep me grounded in my belief that short-term sacrifices are truly worth it and that I’m on the right path with my financial goals.

    Keep up the great work!

  32. Lurker Carl says:

    Sarah #21 – “Sure, the Saudis may come to Sloan-Kettering when they develop cancer, but if you think *you’ll* have access to that standard of care, you’re kidding yourself.”

    Please explain why I would not have the same access to the best medical care. It’s odd that you chose cancer as the disease.

    Having more than a few month’s living expenses in your emergency fund buys more than a car repair, it also buys access to the best doctors when your world implodes. Our emergency fund bought 18 years (and counting) of cancer-free living for my wife from the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center in Baltimore. That level of health care made the difference between surviving after cancer versus thriving after cancer. You get what you pay for and it’s why you should care about your finances, she’s thriving.

  33. lj says:

    I really enjoyed this article. I am hoping that in the spring my husband and I can purchase our first home. We have enough saved and are very close to this goal. He did throw me off earlier this month by announcing that for Christmas he was buying a flat screen tv. Our tv is fine, we do not have cable, and we do not watch a large amount of tv. I am disappointed in this decision on his part, I see this as a step backward and as waste. Any suggestions for me?

  34. Christian says:

    I agree with Ryan, you need to budget a small amount for leisure. In doing so, the leisure budget can ultimately be cut down, citing a recent post from Trent. Being 28 and thinking about having children with my wife, I find myself looking at my past mistakes with money and regretting every wasteful dime. I have truly come to value the advice of my mentors as of late, seeing that the position they predicted for me has become my reality. I hope my actions in the next five will build a solid foundation for the kind of father I want to be for my children.

    Thank you for challenging me to think about the emotions tied to my money. Reading your posts daily have helped me realize that the money I save today puts a roof over my unborn child’s head, pays for medication if my wife falls ill, and ultimately relieves future stress.

  35. Christian says:

    To LJ:
    Remind your husband of your goals. Make sure that you put the effect that this purchase will have in black and white. it will make it more relevant to the both of you…if it delays you a year or two put your foot down.

    Sometimes though…just sometimes, you do have to look at your spouse and make them happy. That is the trade off.

    If you decide to buy, shop around, decide on the right size, this in itself could save you hundreds. The difference between a 32 and a 42 is huge. Don’t buy name brand…try Insignia at Best Buy.

  36. AJ says:

    I remember a few months back looking into polling data regarding satisfaction with health care. Americans were mostly (90%) either satisfied or very satisfied with the health care they themselves received, but less satisfied with the “system.” Canadians, on the other hand, were more satisfied with their “system” but less satisfied with the care they themselves received. Only 70% were satisfied or very satisfied.

    Another way to put that more starkly is that three times as many Canadians were dissatisfied with their own care, compared to Americans.

    So I guess whether you are for or against universal health care depends on whether you care more about theoretical/ideological satisfaction or personal/practical satisfaction.

    I have (key word there: HAVE, not had) a sister whose chest x-ray 10 years ago showed a lung lesion and whose CT scan, pulmonolist consult, oncologist consult, surgical consult and actual lung cancer surgery were all completed ten days later. In Canada, the GOAL is to get the wait time down to six weeks from the first specialist consult to the surgery for 90% of patients.

    Theory is nice, but it’s not as nice as staying alive.

  37. Sandy says:

    I think that if you asked those who have no health insurance if they are satisified with their level of health care in the US, you would get a different answer than “satisified”. 47 million have NO health insurance, and likely, any basic plan would be a step up. If you think you have the possibility of getting a disease, there would be nothing to stop you from getting insurance so the process is speedd up for difficult diagnosis. But nobody would go bankrupt paying for the bills.
    I think we can really learn from the French in this issue.

  38. Anne says:

    I must respond to Lurker Carl, post #31. In my case I was debt free with the exception of my mortgage when I was hit by a car at age 39. I didn’t work for 14 months. My frugal lifestyle, savings and the necessity of selling my home kept me from going under but left me broke. I got cancer for the first time just two short years later. There is NO WAY I could have saved enough money to have paid for Sloan-Kettering/Johns Hopkins out of pocket. The insurance I’ve had for the last three years is private, individual insurance because my employer does not have access to “group” insurance. This 80/20 plan, which by the way was the very best and most expensive health insurance available privately, has a very specific network and specific procedures etc. they will pay for. So, even with health insurance I would still have to pay out of pocket for someplace like Sloan-Kettering or Johns Hopkins. Yes Carl, you’ve made some wise financial choices but you’ve also been lucky. I made wise financial choices but was not so lucky. You need to count your blessings and remember that.

  39. spidey says:

    One more step to Socialism! If we bailout the banks and wallstreet, it is another step as the government will run the economy. Then we do the universal health care. Our Republic is doomed!

  40. Georgia says:

    As Thomas Sowell has said (he’s a top notch economist who teaches at Stanford), the reason for high hospital/doctor bills is insurance and the reason for high college costs is guaranteed student loans.

    Whenever you add a third party to a mix you get a mess. Hospitals/doctors know that if they ask for more money, they will get “some” of it. The same with colleges. Thanks to student loans, they can raise prices and know many will spend the extra to get loans to pay for it.

    I think the government should stay out of almost all things. They should keep our infrastructure (roads, etc.) working and see that jobs are welcome. There are a few others I might feel okay with, but very few.

    I am quite old and have seen so much go wrong with a paternalistic Uncle Sam. We lived for some time without insurance when our kids were growing up. We did our part to keep them healthy and did not have to pay exorbitant prices when they were sick.

    I went to college for two years before student loans started. I worked one year before going and while going. I did not owe a cent when I got out. Now, the cost per credit hour is as much or more than I paid for a full semester load.

    As Ronald Reagan once said, “The 10 most dangerous words in the English language – ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.’”

  41. Shevy says:

    @Lurker Carl

    What if you *hadn’t* had the money to pay for your wife’s health care (she should live and be well to 120)? Would her life have been of no value? Do you think going to County would have benefitted her to the extent that the care she actually received did?

    I’ve known many people here in Canada who have or who have had cancer. Everybody gets the same excellent care, rich or poor. A friend of mine died recently of cancer. He’d been living without kidneys for the past *3* years (when he lost the 2nd one). Three days per week he spent the day (all day) in dialysis but he continued to work (although he moved his printing/design business into his home). The cancer metastasized and he had 3 stays in Palliative Care over the past year, ending in the decision to terminate dialysis.

    I visited him several times in Palliative Care and I’ve never been in a nicer hospital ward. Private rooms with baths, a kitchen so you can cook the things your family member really wants (lots of ethnic cooking happening there every day), a gorgeous common room with a panoramic view of English Bay, downtown Vancouver, etc. (perfect for watching the fireworks), an incredible rooftop garden just for the Palliative Care ward, the ability to visit literally 24/7 (I once went at 10:30 pm and wasn’t his only visitor!), great staff, etc. etc. They even encouraged me to bring my dog to see my friend because he loved dogs (and his specialist brought hers!!)

    The cost to him for all the care he received? He paid Medical Services Premiums of $96 per month for him and his wife (my family pays $108, the highest rate, because we are a family of 3 or more). No extra cost. It’s all covered.

    Waiting times? I’ve never experienced them. I’ve mentioned in a couple of places about the time I went to emergency with what turned out to be pneumonia and was given an MRI because the doctor on duty was concerned that the xray might have shown a blood clot instead. Waiting time for the MRI? 2 or 3 hours.

    The next day we spent a couple of hours at Childrens with my then 1 year old. Yes, she had pneumonia too. Total costs for both visits? Nothing, we pay our MSP, that’s it. Well, I had to pay for the antibiotics for both of us but my hubby’s extended medical plan (paid for by his employer) covered almost all of it. And the super dose of intramuscular antibiotics they gave my daughter at Childrens was totally covered under MSP.

    Plus nobody tells me what doctor I have to see or limits my ability to get a 2nd opinion or see a specialist (or tells me that I have a pre-existing condition that isn’t covered). Yes, if you just call to see a specialist you might wait 3 months. But if you have a critical issue you’ll probably see one in a few days or even later today (like the time I was pregnant and saw black spots in front of my eyes and got into an opthamalogist as fast as I could be driven the half hour to his office).

    The current US “system” is a sick joke. You need a real plan, created by people who have looked at all the other countries with universal health care and who put together the best of the best. Done right, it will be far cheaper than the hundreds and hundreds of dollars per month those with private insurance currently pay. And tens of thousands of people will stop going massively into debt, even losing their homes or going bankrupt just trying to keep a loved one alive for a little longer.

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