Saturday, July 26, 2014

Life is Tough, Isn't it

I'm not writing this out of "sour grapes" because personally I have never been one to try to keep up with the Joneses because I never cared about what they had or didn't have. But there are some things that get to me on occasion.

When I first discovered Freecycle, I thought what a great way of helping preserve our environment especially in our "disposable" society. As many of you have, I've signed up in my local group and get the typical notices of people offering items as well as asking for them. I'm not really looking for anything but find the posts interesting.

But they do "bug" me at times also.

Take for example:

(1) the single mom (or so she says) who's car just broke down and proceeds to ask for a car. The message was sent through her IPhone.  Sure, someone is really going to just give her a car...yeah, right. And if you're a single mom, then why on earth do you have an iPhone? Between the phone and the cost of the service, there's a monthly car payment.

(2) the mother who writes "my hard-working daughter is moving to her own apartment and needs everything." I'm sure this mother has helped where she could but did she also ask other family and friends?  And if the daughter is so hard-working, she's never heard of Big Lots or KMart? Things there are NOT that expensive. Dollar Tree also works for me.

(3) the mother who wrote this morning asking for a Fridge and a stove (she probably lives in Scarsdale, has most expensive cable/internet/phone package and leases a car too), she writes:
 "Hello everyone. I guess Lowes went out if (sic) business for a reason . My kitchen fridge stopped cooling just freezer works :-O and my stove only one burner working?? Both within two weeks please help if anyone getting rid of any gas stoves? Tight budget with my son going into private high school . thank you in advance

Sent from my iPhone

(4) the person who boasts about decorating her whole home from Craigslist and Freecycle and goes on to say she's looking for a bedroom set with specific wood color and exact measurements . . . sheesh!


What are these people thinking? If you can't afford something, then maybe the reason is yourself and the choices you have made? And if you don't have the money, then you don't spend it on private schools or iPhones.

Shame on you; I have no sympathy.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Retirement Community Sites with No Costs

Recently I've been researching retirement communities in North and South Carolina for the sheer possibility that someday I might relocate to be closer to my sister. For most of her life, she and her husband have struggled to live and I figure that she'll someday need a place to live that she can't afford and need to share a place with me.

You can imagine how frustrating it is, however, to do a search and go to the sites only to find no cost information provided or if they do, it reads "starts at $2750 a month", "No Buy-In Fees", or "Low $200s" to "Low $300s". I'm not exactly sure why they won't put pricing up, but for the few that have, they actually believe that everyone in the U.S. spends $3000-$5,000 or more a month just on housing and utilities. (I happen to live just north of NYC and my monthly expenses are currently $817/mo, quite a big difference).

The managers/owners of these communities obviously want to get you to call them or visit so that they can give you the "hard sell", but the truth is that when I go to a site like this with no cost, I automatically assume that I can't afford it. I don't have the time to waste to call them only to find out that I was correct in my assumption or to listen to their speil as to why they think they're affordable and such a bargain. The truth is, they laugh all the way to the bank. And then you have those 47% of us who have spent our lives at a starting salary of $2,300 (yes at one time 4 figure salaries were "in") a year and are barely earning between $24,000 - 50,000 now who will need a place to go and there is nothing available that we can afford. And when by the time we reach our 90s, they want to throw us into a nursing home faster than we can say/spell our name.

For the few communities that do post pricing that is still higher than I'd like to pay but more reasonable, I'm sure there is a waiting list years long. Sure, I could stay where I am or find a place slighly cheaper somewhere, but the retirement or over 55 community offers a social aspect that is not typically found in your traditional apartment complex and that's what I'll be looking for once I leave the workplace. But, I don't think that it justifies an additional $2,183 - $4,183 a month premium.

I'm also smart enough to know that someday I may find myself in need of assisted living services or not want to cook again, but still, I shouldn't have to pay a several thousand dollar monthly premium for them or worse, even before I need them. I should be able to pay only for those services that I truly need.

I often wonder how many of you out there feel the same way I do. I'd like to hear from you.