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The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Hard Financial Decisions in Hard Times

JRI's picture

I'm the 75-year old BM & SM of 5 who reads the blogs & forums & flashes back.  I've been thinking about the young step-parents out there.

This is such a rough financial time for many people.  You might be making difficult decisions: should I pay this or that first? What happens if I don't pay this at all? Can i substitute this for that? What will (somebody) think if i do this? Will this have a lasting effect?  You'll be making hundreds of these decisions, large & small.

Each of these decisions is like a tool.  You substitute x for y and its fine.  Or, it's not.  Either way, you learned something, it's a tool.  You pay this but put that off.  Whatever happens, you learned something for the future. It's a tool.  All these tools are part of your toolbox.

This pandemic will end at some point.  You will go back to reality, probably a new reality.  Things will get better financially.  It is so tempting to think thst a degree, a job, a wealthy spouse or something else will protect us from ever having to make these decisions again.  But over a long life, things happen: recessions occur, people lose jobs, get divorced, develop drug problems, die unexpectedly, endure foreclosures & bankruptcies, the list goes on & on.  My point is that over your life, you'll encounter other periods of financial strain.  When you do, you'll be able to pull out your toolbox of skills to help you cope.  It will give you confidence.  That toolbox will be like an old friend.

I'd like to believe thst our 5 kids absorbed this from us but they were about as receptive as when my mom talked about the Depression (yawn).  Plus, they all made it clear that we are both helpless, pitiful losers.  Lol.

Hang in there, young step-parents.  You will survive this.


SMto2's picture

I also get a lot of flashbacks reading posts here. Lol. Our last CS payment was 6 years ago this month, so I'm close enough that I remember what those 15 long years of payments were like. The worst was about 12 years ago, when DH was paying $1200 a month in CS, plus $150 a month for BOTH SSs to be in braces simultaneously (of course, BM decided this without consulting DH), plus 60% of what wasn't covered by health insurance (which we also provided & still do for SS24) and SSs were always going to the dr.!  At that time, our bios were under 1 and 7,  so we had our own hefty child care expenses (yes, that was on us and not BM's problem) but that created a crushing weight on us as two lawyers still fairly early in their careers also paying off law school debt. While I knew one day it would end, somehow knowing that was little consolation. Now that we're on the other side of that by 6 years and every one of those payments are gone, plus our salaries have each increased dramatically, I can look back and say I wish I wouldn't have been so stressed over it. It still bothers me that BM never seemed to have any money problems, always drove a new Cadillac or Mercedes, went to Europe & other extravagant places numerous times a year, while we could hardly afford any vacation. Perhaps it's like childbirth and the memory of the agony will fade with time. Lol. I will admit that it's wonderful now knowing my DH & I make SO much more and BM has to fend for herself without her grubby paws in our money ever again. 

JRI's picture

Wow!  $1200 + $150 is a LOT!  And, between you & me, does it really cost thst much to support 2 kids?  I'm sure you are relieved & thrilled that it's over.  Greedy BMs, i had one, too.