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Topic : 12/21 One Paycheck Away

Number of Replies: 771
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Created on : Thursday, October 05, 2006, 04:42:21 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 10/11/06) Did you know that your financial decisions could land you on the street?  Are you one paycheck away from disaster? Stacey has two children and one on the way, and she says she is close to being homeless and it's the fault of her kids’ deadbeat dads, and her parents who have cut her off. Stacey's ex-husband, Pete, says their son would be better off living with him. So, why does he refuse to pay child support? And, see what Dr. Phil provides for Stacey to help get her life back on track. Then, a hidden camera experiment shows how people really treat the homeless on the streets. And, meet a family who was living paycheck-to-paycheck when the money stopped coming in, leaving them homeless. Manuel and Heather and their four children have been living cramped in their RV for the last year, where they have no electricity and must take showers at public beaches. The difficult circumstances are taking a huge toll on their family, especially the children. How did they end up in this situation? Dr. Phil makes an important, life-changing announcement to the family. Share your thoughts here.

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October 6, 2006, 7:57 am CDT

Please help my family

Dear Dr. Phil and Staff,                                                                                                                   My family needs some advice and help. I had to undergo 2 major surgeries and missed 20 weeks of work and income due to cancer and it snowballed us.We don't know how to get out of this rut.We are scared we could lose everything that we have worked so hard for.My dream would be to find a sponser to help us get out of this mess.We are living paycheck to paycheck.It is so scary.I feel depressed alot because if I wouldn't of gotten sick we wouldn't be in this mess.Please help us.Thanks,Jodee
 
October 7, 2006, 5:57 am CDT

Handouts

Quote From: model26

Dear Dr. Phil and Staff,                                                                                                                   My family needs some advice and help. I had to undergo 2 major surgeries and missed 20 weeks of work and income due to cancer and it snowballed us.We don't know how to get out of this rut.We are scared we could lose everything that we have worked so hard for.My dream would be to find a sponser to help us get out of this mess.We are living paycheck to paycheck.It is so scary.I feel depressed alot because if I wouldn't of gotten sick we wouldn't be in this mess.Please help us.Thanks,Jodee

These cries for help are examples of our sad society.  "My dream would be to find a sponsor..."  SPONSOR????  This society/generation seems to constantly whine and look for handouts. Without a doubt they have sad situations and I don't mean to belittle their hard times.  We've lost touch with the teachings of our elders. Saving for a rainy day, preparing for our future, and money management doesn't seem to be of any importance anymore; instead, everyone seems to be looking for someone else to carry the burden. We are running out of elses!  I've seen time and time again how helping someone out of a hard time doesn't help them in the long run because it's usually their own inadequacies in management that got them there in the first place. Therefore, yet another hard time is in their near future.  For the rare few that work really hard (not their perception of their hard work), I cheer helping them.

 

I dread the showing of how the homeless are treated on the street. I fear the one sidedness. I can say from first hand experience that there is help for the truly homeless. The vast majority have put themselves there and are looking for handouts. Many people are burned out of trying to help others just to see them in the same spot a little further down the road. There are TWO sides to this.

 

If it's not money, it's a relationship that has gone awry.  We don't teach how to deal with either anymore, or we're teaching the wrong lessons.

 
October 7, 2006, 10:07 am CDT

Sponsor not handout

Quote From: foxiblu

These cries for help are examples of our sad society.  "My dream would be to find a sponsor..."  SPONSOR????  This society/generation seems to constantly whine and look for handouts. Without a doubt they have sad situations and I don't mean to belittle their hard times.  We've lost touch with the teachings of our elders. Saving for a rainy day, preparing for our future, and money management doesn't seem to be of any importance anymore; instead, everyone seems to be looking for someone else to carry the burden. We are running out of elses!  I've seen time and time again how helping someone out of a hard time doesn't help them in the long run because it's usually their own inadequacies in management that got them there in the first place. Therefore, yet another hard time is in their near future.  For the rare few that work really hard (not their perception of their hard work), I cheer helping them.

 

I dread the showing of how the homeless are treated on the street. I fear the one sidedness. I can say from first hand experience that there is help for the truly homeless. The vast majority have put themselves there and are looking for handouts. Many people are burned out of trying to help others just to see them in the same spot a little further down the road. There are TWO sides to this.

 

If it's not money, it's a relationship that has gone awry.  We don't teach how to deal with either anymore, or we're teaching the wrong lessons.

REAL Sponsors don't provide handouts, they provide guidance.  A good sponsor can identify opportunities as well as necessary changes to move forward from a poor situation.

 

Yes, some people need money to make the change, but most do not, nor are they looking for a handout, just someone who can spend the time to understand the specific aspects of the situation to make informed comments rather than generic ones.

 

Dr. Phil's information is helpful, but applying it to your life can sometimes require a knowledgeable help rather than just a friend's advice.

 

 

 
October 7, 2006, 10:26 am CDT

Assistance

Having worked in Camden City (one of the poorest areas of the country)

I know for a fact there is so much asssitance out there. Contact your local welfare office.

Your children are entitled to food stamps and medical care.

Start there first.

 
October 7, 2006, 10:56 am CDT

Don't judge until you've walked in their shoes!

It's sad when others state that most of the homeless are looking for handouts, that they are there through their own mistakes.  How untrue this is, and how sad they are viewed that way.  Perhaps it's that thinking that keeps them from getting the help.  Remember, "there but by the grace of God go I"?  There's a lot of truth to that.  I know.

 

I worked hard all my life and survived two of just about every disaster you can imagine.  I had saved, too; had a good little nestegg built up.  I was independent, hard-working, dedicated, and determined that I would live my life on my terms, having plenty to see me into my golden years, which would be spent travelling and living a darn good life.  I had it all planned with the exception of making the reservations.

 

But life doesn't always give us what we want.  My nestegg went into living expenses and doctor bills when a rare neurological condition put me out of the job market for two years.   Insurance runs out when you run out of money.  One disorder caused another, and as hard as I tried, it got to a point I could not work, and I was so close to retirement.  But you do what you have to.  The doctor had given up on me, arthritis had set in over most of my body, and he already had me riding in a wheelchair until I was 6 feet under, which he figured would be soon.  I was without income, and had nowhere to turn.   I ended up in a homeless shelter, and thought my life was over.

 

Turns out it was just beginning.  My life changed when I learned the truth.  Yes, many are addicts, but many are not.  There were mothers with children.  Some had been abandoned, some had lost everything when they lost a job or a spouse.   So many situations, and so many not of their own making.

 

Then I ended up in a setting with incurably mentally ill people, but I wasn't incurably mentally ill.  Good thing, in a way, because I found how abandoned many were.  I was surrounded by paranoid schizophrenics and those with personality disorders and seriously devastating mental illnesses.  They didn't put themselves there.  They had been abandoned by family, by society.  They had nowhere to go.

 

I found my way back, am less well-off financially than I was but am a much better person than I was.  I talk to the street people, and I listen to them.  I help when I can.  I try to connect them with service agencies.  If I see one who's sleeping on the street, I get a warm sweater or blanket for them.  I love myself as never before and sleep better at nights knowing that I'm making a difference, even if it is only one person at a time.

 

We are all here to help each other, and I can state with certainty that any one of us can be there at any time.  We don't need to blame those who are homeless, nor do we need to pity them.  We don't need to feel guilty when we can't do anything.  What we need to do is whatever is necessary to help our fellow man.   We were created with love and compassion, and we owe that to all, not just those who are employed and have a big bank account.

 

I would suggest that you stop and talk to the homeless, it won't hurt and few will bite.  Visit a shelter and listen to them.  You would be amazed at what you learn, and the biggest thing you would learn is there is no room for judgment.  Remember the saying, "You may not always get what you want, but you will always get what you need."  We must always remember that we are in this life together.  I recently read a great saying that goes, roughly,   "It's not the event or circumstance that matters, it's how you respond to it that counts."

 
October 7, 2006, 10:57 am CDT

Cries for help

Quote From: foxiblu

These cries for help are examples of our sad society.  "My dream would be to find a sponsor..."  SPONSOR????  This society/generation seems to constantly whine and look for handouts. Without a doubt they have sad situations and I don't mean to belittle their hard times.  We've lost touch with the teachings of our elders. Saving for a rainy day, preparing for our future, and money management doesn't seem to be of any importance anymore; instead, everyone seems to be looking for someone else to carry the burden. We are running out of elses!  I've seen time and time again how helping someone out of a hard time doesn't help them in the long run because it's usually their own inadequacies in management that got them there in the first place. Therefore, yet another hard time is in their near future.  For the rare few that work really hard (not their perception of their hard work), I cheer helping them.

 

I dread the showing of how the homeless are treated on the street. I fear the one sidedness. I can say from first hand experience that there is help for the truly homeless. The vast majority have put themselves there and are looking for handouts. Many people are burned out of trying to help others just to see them in the same spot a little further down the road. There are TWO sides to this.

 

If it's not money, it's a relationship that has gone awry.  We don't teach how to deal with either anymore, or we're teaching the wrong lessons.

As a cancer survivor who is sole support of the household (hubby refuses to work), I feel I am sort-of qualified to speak here. 

 

The cries for help are genuine and a dream is but a dream.  You obviously have never had something totally beyond your control happen, threaten your very life and make you realize how short your life could be cut.  Yes, it would be nice if everyone had some sort of emergency fund or rich uncle or whatever it takes to get them through a crisis but we're not all that fortunate. I live on a VERY small income but I've learned to live within my means on a monthly basis.  When cancer struck I was panicked but did a closing 6 days after surgery (I'm a real estate agent among other jobs).  Through chemotherapy and radiation treatments I learned when I'd feel better and when I wouldn't.  Someone with a regular job would not have the luxury of being able to set their own schedule and only work when they feel up to it.  Lots of people lose jobs in this situation. Along with heavy medical expenses and little income through the sometimes year or more of treatments, debt and bare survival become heavy burdens that most will never know.  Debt that they can't escape from without losing everything they've built up and even the roof over their heads

 

You have to understand one thing here, cancer treatments affect different people different ways.  Some can go through with very little problems, others are almost totally unable to function and it's a matter of how their individual bodies react to the treatments.  I was in the middle.  The gal that wrote the original post may be one of the less fortunate ones.  One of the side effects of treatments and the nature of this horrible disease is depression.  It sounds as though she may be a victim of that, also.

 

Yes, in a Utopia, I would have a real job at a resonable wage, medical insurance and be able to manage a few bumps in the road but we don't all have that luxury either.  Have any idea how much insurance costs the self employed?  Believe me, you don't want to live in that situation.  I played the odds and lost.  Cancer trumped me.  My "standard" cancer treatments have already cost almost $150,000.  A fortune to someone in my situation.  Now Medicaid rules my life.

 

As to the comment, "For the rare few that work really hard..."  you say you cheer helping but they don't need your help which lets you off the hook.  Yes, there IS help, of sorts,  for the truly homeless but is that where you want this gal?  I would like to see her get her head together and be able to do whatever it takes to get her life back on track.  Preaching, as a backward slap, is not going to help either.  The first thing I would recommend our gal do is sit down, write down all the bills and start calling creditors to explain the situation.  Some will work with her others will not.  Pare expenses to the bone.  Maybe, as a last resort, talk to a lawyer about filing bankruptsy.  Any horrible disease can devastate people financially, mentally, emotionally.  It's not something that can be budgeted into the monthly paycheck although some who have plenty think that's the way it should be.  Things will never be the same after a debilitating disease.  You get shoved over a bridge into another type of life and the bridge disintegrates behind you.  Pick up the scraps you brought with you and begin anew.

 

Call the agencies that are there to help, check with the hospital on debt reduction plans, call the American Cancer Society, talk to people that have been through the same thing and ask what help there is available then don't be afraid to put a plan together for survival.  Shift the focus to volunteering to help other people in the same situation.  That helps ones own attitude so very much.  Take full responsibility for your own life and get on with it. 

 

I do agree that we're not teaching the proper lessons but even with knowledge things like cancer, and a multitude of other life threatening things, happen.  Helping in that situation is so different than helping someone who simply makes wrong choices that are bound to happen again.  Spend a few hours in a chemotheray or radiation treatment center talking to the people and you'll find out that things are not always as they seem from your present perspective.

 
October 7, 2006, 11:12 am CDT

10/11 One Paycheck Away

Quote From: model26

Dear Dr. Phil and Staff,                                                                                                                   My family needs some advice and help. I had to undergo 2 major surgeries and missed 20 weeks of work and income due to cancer and it snowballed us.We don't know how to get out of this rut.We are scared we could lose everything that we have worked so hard for.My dream would be to find a sponser to help us get out of this mess.We are living paycheck to paycheck.It is so scary.I feel depressed alot because if I wouldn't of gotten sick we wouldn't be in this mess.Please help us.Thanks,Jodee
 I am very upset with the previous message to this person's cry for help. It doesn't matter how much you've saved or how well you've planned, when a major illness strikes, you and your family can be financially destroyed. (Instead of blaming people who have gotten sick, we need to blame the real culprits - our fat cat government. All those congresspeople and senators have just about the greatest health care benefits and pension plans on the planet. The rest of us, even us hard workers, find our company health plans being cut, pensions diminished, etc., etc.) People who have never faced a devastating illness have NO idea of the financial AND emotional costs a family can face. My husband and I have been through this. We are no longer young and have come to the sad realization that we are never going to be able to retire. Never. I survived a serious illness, our daughter has a serious illness for which there is no cure (neither she nor we can afford her prescriptions), and my husband was downsized from his job and it took him two years to find another - at one-third the pay. All our savings, investments, everything, are gone. We live from our paychecks to our next paychecks. Our son is putting himself through college - three part-time jobs, scholarships and loans and grants. (Sometimes he can't afford to eat for a day. Don't say anything against the younger generation!)

Yes, there is help for homeless people but in no way is there enough help. At one point we were afraid we would be on the street. We found out we could not stay in a shelter together. My daughter and I, if there was room, could be in one place, my husband - if there was space - could be in another and our son, at 18, would have no where to go. He'd be out there, alone, on the street, all night. Do you think I could've slept? We decided the woods would be safer and we could be together. Thankfully, we squeaked through and it didn't happen. I never dreamed that at 60 years old, after a life of saving and planning, we'd be facing such an option! I am afraid. If I had the money, I'd help this family. I'm sure Jodee didn't ask to get sick. My daughter didn't ask for her condition. I didn't ask to get sick.


 
October 7, 2006, 11:16 am CDT

School Teacher's Salary

    We have a daughter who teaches kindergarden and lives from pay check to pay check. She is loved by her students, their parents, and staff. I wonder why when we trust our children to the school we don't worry about paying them. Her Supterindent left for a higher paying job and he was doing great things. Some schools seat back and make offers to obtain the better people.
 
October 7, 2006, 11:19 am CDT

Sometimes everything is not enough

Please don't be so quick to judge people for ending up in desperate financial situations.  It happens faster and easier than you can imagine. 

I have always been a very good money manager, putting myself through college, saving from my salary, etc.  My divorce from my ex-husband put me back many, many steps in financial terms.  I am now very happily remarried, but my husband has to pay $400/week in child support (for one child!!) to his ex-wife.  He only earns $65,000 a year!  This is not a bad salary by any means, but by the time we've paid for health insurance for ourselves and our four children (my two, his by his first wife, and our one together), his ex wife gets HALF of his take-home pay!  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for child support (and wish I could get some from my ex), but this is ridiculous. His ex-wife doesn't even need it, but saves every single penny we give her.  That's great for her, but we have a family of five that also needs to survive.  We have taken this to the courts (and spent way more than we can afford on an attorney), but there's nothing we can do to change this because my husband agreed to it in the beginning.  (He did that because he wanted to do the right thing, and he didn't want his ex to have to work and  put the kid in daycare.  But now the kid is in school all day and my husband's ex DOES work because she chooses to.) 

Because of this, we are sinking further and further into debt.  We are both doing everything we can to bring in extra money, but it's never enough.  We are desperate and there doesn't seem to be anything we can do about it.  If we don't pay the child support, my husband will be thrown in jail.  If we DO pay the child support, we can't afford the basics for the rest of us. 

Put yourself in a situation like this first.  Then see if you're so quick to judge.

 
October 7, 2006, 12:52 pm CDT

Sponsorship

 Hi, (Given that no one can know the particulars of everyone's situation)
If you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck first you must pull yourself /thoughts together on paper  and see what your own resources are.  List out everything you own, how much goods you have, furniture, cars, homes, savings, clothes, etc.  There is no toothfairy and you have slim odds of winning in the lottery.  Put that $1 in a jar instead of buying lottery tickets.  You will be $1 ahead and the lottery will have lost a dollar :) .

You must also list your bills and all money's owed on paper.. Look at exactly what you spend your money on  weekly  and determine what you need to have all of your family's needs met and some of their wants..$savings and no debt.  =Freedom.  Having enough in the bank makes you safer and freer. You need to  have enough money that you can live a reduced, but not impoversished life for a year at least. should your income (job) go away for some reason.  Then you need to save for your  own future /old age before you save for a child's college.  They can always take out and pay back student loans.  You may not have that kind of time.
 
You must look at the personal decisions you have made--what  has helped, what you can do differently or better --or not repeat. Discuss wht is appropriate w/ your kids and tell them you would like to learn to make different and more well thought thru choices.

Finally, you must take your family plan and look at what is going on in the outside world.  You live as part of your community, state and country and as a global citizen.  The outside world has changed in 30 years.  Education that would have been ok in  1964 or even 1974,  may not be enough to even bring you to a table where a lot of people are looking for good jobs that pay well. I have a friend w/ a genetics Ph.d who is looking for work---everyone will be in your shoes unless they open their eyes, look around, do what it takes to compete.

Still no guarantees--if you need to get more education--get more.  Go to your local communtiy college and let them help you w/ fainacial aid. You need to get skilled work. We need folks that can plumb our house as well as college grads.  Tradespeople even need school and formal training now.  If you fail to get the education you need you will never bring home a living wage. There is school money (and healthcare for the very poor or very wealthy, but you have to go mostly with student loans if you are middle calss.)

You must also look at the  forces running "for and against " you in our American type of society. Your own life choices are not made in a bubble, but your choice interact with the choices our society has made every day.  If you want change--get involved politically and vote.

  Beginning with the Reagan years, Americans  have voted to build for themselves a "starved out gov't"/ low tax /low wage society. 

Because we are a low tax nation that has removed most of it's safety nets , you have to prepare you and your kids for a world where you provide your own safety net

 My parents' generation bootstraps were often pulled up by, the GI Bill, Federal Student Loan programs, FHA/VA housing, etc --the programs helped them upgrade their skills/education and  helped them get ownership of a modest home, and helped them move them from the working class to the middle class.  My parents and their cohorts still had to do the "heavy llifting" of going back to school, learning a trade etc, but the U.S. citizenery thought this was how you built a middle class society. All that changed beginningin the Reagon years.  The least skilled of of U.S. citizens took the hit first, and now even middle class families are going broke.


  Every choice you make (and teach your kids to make by example)  is essential to how you will get along in the world because if you are going to eat and live indoors you must make good and careful choices.  Bad luck happens to everyone. It has happened to me.  You have to be very careful  and act thoughtfully and teach your kids thru your example.
Commit not to repeat (teach your kids) your mistakes.  Write down what you want for yourself and kid in the future and then make an action plan as to how to get there. Talk to local friends family you admire and ask them how they became successful.  success doesn't equal being a millionaire, but equals being financially secure enough that the worries day-today are cared for and you can focus on doing the things you and your family like to do.  Also, remember, to lend a hand if you take a hand.  I have had to do that--we all have something to give that makes us unique and useful in this world.

 A plan for financial/job may be (for example)---"in the outside world today, there is a shortage of healthcare provders like nurses, therefore I am going to apply to a 1 yr practical nursing program.to upgrade my skills  Once I get a job, I will move towards getting and R.N. while working. to increase my skills and my paycheck. How: ( this is your sponsor)-- I will go to the campus or hospital nursing school and talk with the admissions office, then the student grant and loan programs and see about services/grants that will help me support my family while I go to school.
A  budget plan may be: Cable television (even basic) is not a necessity in our home.  This one bill I can do away with and save the $t to start my savings account. This will make my family more secure. How(sponsor) Call the cable co. then use the library check to out music / DVDs and use public parks/rec  and family acitivitie that involve  etc instead of leisure that costs $$ but a higher time committment together.

Watch OUt!  In the U.S. we have loansharks in the form of payday lenders at the local  shopping center who charge astronomical interest.  There are banks in countires like India (Grammen Bank) that  do "microlending"  for useful and worthy customers.Even if we could get microlending in this country, money should not be handed over until the family builds a " family living and spending and economic health" plan  to the bank or lender just like businesses do when they need a business loan. T

hese loans of up to several thousand $ could be used to stabilize a family and help it reaestablish firm footing.  To me, this would be a good process (microlending) for wealthy peole to health poor people get back ont heir feet and get the skills they need.  Middle and upper class children borrow or are given "grants" by their parents.  That is microlending too--just informal  We don't all have wealthy families..  Why not take i"small lending" out of the hands of storefront payday lenders, couple it w/creditunions  seervices  for real public service . Help  families in formingo  basic family financial fitness/stability.

IIf I were a "microlender"  I would have you look at your life like it was a business and determine the good things you have done with your  familiy finances and the plan you will follow to help your family get back on firm footing financially.   Those  agreed upon actions would be put in a contract given to the lender who would require you  to use the borrowed money and pay it back at  very low interest so it canbe used when the next family needs help.

 Life in the U.S. is inherently risky enough where we live in a nation of have's and have-not's.  The day is definitely gone where someone could pay for a househould and plan for old age if you only have a high school diploma or GED.  Every job that pays requires skills. That gap is growing wider --not closing---with housing unaffordable, for many,  lack of a baseline national health insurance , jobs being offshored,... I is important that you look and see what the real situation is in America and then understand that even if you do everything "right"--anything can go wrong.  Several things can go wrong at the same time..
 

If someone simply sponsored you without helping you "go to school" to learn how to handle the "the business of YOUR FAMILY" the bailout would work. one  time and the creditors for now would be off your back  .

But, down the road you will once again find yourself in a financial mess if you keep the mentality of a "paycheck to paycheck" as the only possible way to live.  It's your family--you need to be active and willing to change and grow.  Best of luck.
 
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