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Unfairness in divorce


Moxie
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16 years until your youngest is grown.  That is 31250 per year.  Add in the ss you would get...you really think you couldn't live on that?  

 

I am positive I could.  Not a doubt in my mind.  

 

I couldn't.  COL is everything.  I have no mortgage.  But around here, house median prices are well over $500,000.  So let me do some math.  This is assuming me and my kid at home with dh out of the picture (which he is NOT--but that's the parameter of the discussion)

 

$5000 property taxes

$6000 health insurance

$2000 car insurance

$3000 heat and light

$2500 water sewer garbage

$4000 out of pocket medical

$2000 out of pocket dental

$3000 net, phone, cable, cells  (I know, I know...but it is what it is...)

 

That's $27,500 and I haven't bought clothes, food or gas, nor have I maintained my house or cars or paid the car taxes.  No Netflix, no movies, no dinners out, no charitable giving, no gifts.  I could cut $600 a year by cutting cable and the land line.  

 

So no, I could not live in place at $31,000 per year.

 

Around here a 2br apartment is about $1800 a month.  So I could sell the house and pay that rent out of my proceeds.  I could get a smaller condo and pull out some money.  But just staying in place, nope.  

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I know people, and not just a few, who are living barebones, with one parent working 2 jobs or each working opposite shifts, for whom it is just not that simple. They have already cut the frills and $80 a month is food out of their kids' stomaches and they are already bringing in extra money for medicine and shoes and eyeglasses.

 

While it is nice to say "plan" and "don't have dependents if you can afford insurance", the cold hard truth is that people's financial situations can change rapidly for unforeseeable reasons and that 3/4 of all pregnancies are unplanned. When we had our son for instance, I had not one single hint that meeting his health and educational needs would mean I would be out of the workforce for years at this juncture. The plan was kids in school and 2 working parents with the double income that brings.

 

I'm a planner with a serious, nearly pathological, dread of financial instability so I really do get your rather strident views on this. Absolutely. There are definitely many people who could buy insurance but just do not. Still. I was too poor as a child and have worked too closely with people who are financially struggling (helping with budgets, preparing tax returns, administering emergency charitable aid to families in need etc) to not see that it's just not always so simple as we would like it to be. Life is messy and complicated. The best laid plans and all that.

 

I feel you are putting a lot of words into my mouth so I will try to clarify....

 

Many times when a family decides to have one parent stay home, they run numbers to see if they can afford to have one parent quit their job or not work. When they do, they need to include life insurance premiums as part of that scenario, not just rent, food, utilities, etc. And if they cannot fit that premium into their budget, I think they are not in the category of being able to afford to have one parent stay home, or they need to have the SAH parent at least work 1-2 hours/week to cover that premium. That's the scenario I was thinking of, not one in which children are going without medication, glasses, food, heat, and people re working two jobs, double shifts, or opposite hours.

 

I thought it was about families deciding to keep one parent at home and that parent then gets the shaft because their contribution at home is not valued enough and how the SAH parent could be protected, life insurance being one of those methods. I didn't realize the thread was about the full spectrum of reasons people might not be able to afford insurance and necessities. If it is about that, my apologies.

Edited by idnib
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I couldn't. COL is everything. I have no mortgage. But around here, house median prices are well over $500,000. So let me do some math. This is assuming me and my kid at home with dh out of the picture (which he is NOT--but that's the parameter of the discussion)

 

$5000 property taxes

$6000 health insurance

$2000 car insurance

$3000 heat and light

$2500 water sewer garbage

$4000 out of pocket medical

$2000 out of pocket dental

$3000 net, phone, cable, cells (I know, I know...but it is what it is...)

 

That's $27,500 and I haven't bought clothes, food or gas, nor have I maintained my house or cars or paid the car taxes. No Netflix, no movies, no dinners out, no charitable giving, no gifts. I could cut $600 a year by cutting cable and the land line.

 

So no, I could not live in place at $31,000 per year.

 

Around here a 2br apartment is about $1800 a month. So I could sell the house and pay that rent out of my proceeds. I could get a smaller condo and pull out some money. But just staying in place, nope.

If you had no income you wouldn't have to pay so much in medical. Probably nothing.

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If you had no income you wouldn't have to pay so much in medical. Probably nothing.

I may have this wrong, but I'm pretty sure I would have some income (capital gains, at that) and assets if I were to come into a life insurance policy. Then again, I'm speaking from very, VERY limited knowledge about how that all works.

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I may have this wrong, but I'm pretty sure I would have some income (capital gains, at that) and assets if I were to come into a life insurance policy. Then again, I'm speaking from very, VERY limited knowledge about how that all works.

Life insurance is untaxed. I guess the gains on it would be income but probably not much. But I do t know for sure either.

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If you had no income you wouldn't have to pay so much in medical. Probably nothing.

 

I'll be interested to see what happens to our medical bills when dh goes on Medicare in a few years.  About a year after THAT, my son can start paying his own insurance.  

 

I know that if push came to shove, I could live on less than this; I do take your point.  But in place, no.  And it would be a terrible disruption to me, as I am very attached to my friends and parish, if I had to leave the area.  But we *could* get a smaller house and take some of the cash out that way, if we had to.

 

I just wouldn't WANT to have to.  :0)

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I'll be interested to see what happens to our medical bills when dh goes on Medicare in a few years. About a year after THAT, my son can start paying his own insurance.

 

I know that if push came to shove, I could live on less than this; I do take your point. But in place, no. And it would be a terrible disruption to me, as I am very attached to my friends and parish, if I had to leave the area. But we *could* get a smaller house and take some of the cash out that way, if we had to.

 

I just wouldn't WANT to have to. :0)

I wouldn't want to either.

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I have thought about long term disability for a long time, and every year at open enrollment, and i just can't justify it. It feels even more than a racket than car insurance, but the later is required by law. Unlike most life insurance, it is very expensive. In any event, we have the basic that my DH's employer offers and I joke that me being able to go to work is our current disability insurance.

 

Actually, that is a fair consideration when each spouse can earn a good living. In our situation, dh's earning power is at least 4x mine, and even for me to reach that level would take time and effort (that I'd be unlikely to want to spend if meanwhile dealing with a disabled partner!)

 

If you can each earn a good living, and you could jointly live OK on one income, then that is definitely a reasonable consideration. I'd still want at last some disability insurance, to, if nothing else, defray expenses of caring for someone with a disability. 

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I think your definition of providing for ones children is wildly different than mine!

 

LOL, granted. 

 

That said, our life/disability policies aren't intended just to take care of our kids. They are also intended to take care of the surviving spouse without expecting a significant change in work/income. If I could have gone to work and replaced (or near replaced, or even approached) dh's income, then that would be a reasonable option, I suppose. 

 

As it is, our life insurance costs are low relative to our income/budget, so it is a no brainer to have the insurance we have. It protects my and my kids' lifestyle against unexpected early death. Similarly, disability insurance protects our entire family's lifestyle against the risk of unexpected early disability of the breadwinner. 

 

And, as our means/assets/income have increased over the years, so has our expectation for being able to support our children into young adulthood. Our own parents helped us a lot in our educations, co-signing loans, gifts, etc, and we would like to do this for our own kids. So, those expectations also influence our expectations/definitions of for financial security. 

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I agree there should be a plan.  But 500K seems like  A LOT of life insurance to me.  If it is what you feel you need and you can afford it that is great.  I just hate for young struggling families to feel terrified if they don't have the same amount.  

 

 

Term life insurance is usually extremely affordable, especially when you're young.   Many folks are surprised at how inexpensive it is. 

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I'll be interested to see what happens to our medical bills when dh goes on Medicare in a few years.  About a year after THAT, my son can start paying his own insurance.  

 

I know that if push came to shove, I could live on less than this; I do take your point.  But in place, no.  And it would be a terrible disruption to me, as I am very attached to my friends and parish, if I had to leave the area.  But we *could* get a smaller house and take some of the cash out that way, if we had to.

 

I just wouldn't WANT to have to.  :0)

My parents are on medicare.  Their income is less than $30,000 a year and their deductible is $4200.00 per annum plus they pay a couple of hundred a month for prescriptions. It is better for them than a private policy, but still a financial hardship for certain.

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I feel you are putting a lot of words into my mouth so I will try to clarify....

 

Many times when a family decides to have one parent stay home, they run numbers to see if they can afford to have one parent quit their job or not work. When they do, they need to include life insurance premiums as part of that scenario, not just rent, food, utilities, etc. And if they cannot fit that premium into their budget, I think they are not in the category of being able to afford to have one parent stay home, or they need to have the SAH parent at least work 1-2 hours/week to cover that premium. That's the scenario I was thinking of, not one in which children are going without medication, glasses, food, heat, and people re working two jobs, double shifts, or opposite hours.

 

I thought it was about families deciding to keep one parent at home and that parent then gets the shaft because their contribution at home is not valued enough and how the SAH parent could be protected, life insurance being one of those methods. I didn't realize the thread was about the full spectrum of reasons people might not be able to afford insurance and necessities. If it is about that, my apologies.

Women decide to stay home for all sorts of reasons.

 

Statistically, it's actually women who can't afford to work (can't pay for much more than childcare off what they would net working), who are the *most likely* to be stay at home parents. We have an image of the typical SAHM who is from a couple who can well afford it and who "opts out" of a lucrative second income for the family benefits of a stay at home parent but that's not actually the income level of the largest segment of SAHMs. Most single income earner families are living on pretty modest incomes.

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My parents are on medicare. Their income is less than $30,000 a year and their deductible is $4200.00 per annum plus they pay a couple of hundred a month for prescriptions. It is better for them than a private policy, but still a financial hardship for certain.

This will be an enormous economic improvement for us.

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Also, even in well off families a shortage of part time work which pays enough to cover babysitting is a major barrier for many people who are primary caregivers but want to work very PT. I can't easily count the number of women I know who would like to work PT but who find that their working is mostly at odds with their spouse's long or irregular work schedule or their spouse's travel schedule.

 

ETA: In fact, one of the ways I actually earn extra money while we are on a single modest income is to do overnight babysitting for a mom who works nights and whose husband travels for work. I get $60 a night. That is a bargain in my area- but she's a good friend and I'd do it for free if she didn't insist on paying me. She insists on paying me because she knows that me being home cost us more than 1/2 of our income. She makes a fair bit each night she works but she's educated (PhD) and in demand. If she could only make $80 a night or something, she probably just wouldn't work because there would be nothing left after taxes and childcare.

Edited by LucyStoner
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Oh, and another scenario in which well meaning, responsible people can easily end up without any life insurance. Unemployment, especially long term unemployment. You not only lose the benefits from work, it's fairly easy to let that bill go unpaid when your unemployment check isn't enough to cover luxuries like housing AND food. And once you let a term policy lapse, you may find that the price of getting a new one when you have a new job is high. Because you are now pushing 50 instead of 40 and your health and weight may be far different. In some industries, recurrent layoffs have been common, making people that much more vulnerable because their first stint of unemployment may have wholly wiped out their reserves.

Edited by LucyStoner
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I have thought about long term disability for a long time, and every year at open enrollment, and i just can't justify it. It feels even more than a racket than car insurance, but the later is required by law. Unlike most life insurance, it is very expensive. In any event, we have the basic that my DH's employer offers and I joke that me being able to go to work is our current disability insurance.

The other issue is that some disability insurers have just gone belly up. Meaning...you don't get your premiums back and you don't have a policy if/when you need it. It's a fairly volatile market.

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That doesn't really make sense. Each dependent (including sah parent) gets 75% of what the decedent would have got at full retirement age. If those kids were getting $350 that means their father would have only received 466 at his full retirement age? Still it would be $350 times 3 and with a paid for home I dont consider that destitute.

 

$1050 wouldn't even cover our groceries for the month!

 

We are a family of 7 and live off of about $500 a month for groceries :/.

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Just agreeing with Lucy there.

 

Our decision for me to stay home didn't cause me to give up any income.

 

I did it bc it was costing us more even 20 years ago when I only had 1-3 kids to manage childcare and work schedules than I was making and it for sure wasn't getting our family ahead financially or giving better care for my kids. Added to that, it was a genuine struggle for my husband to work around all that too.

Edited by Murphy101
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Women decide to stay home for all sorts of reasons.

 

Statistically, it's actually women who can't afford to work (can't pay for much more than childcare off what they would net working), who are the *most likely* to be stay at home parents. We have an image of the typical SAHM who is from a couple who can well afford it and who "opts out" of a lucrative second income for the family benefits of a stay at home parent but that's not actually the income level of the largest segment of SAHMs. Most single income earner families are living on pretty modest incomes.

 

I agree that this sort of SAHM is more common than the well-off woman, although we'll have to agree to disagree that this woman cannot work enough while home with kids to raise $10-$20/week, which is what I mentioned in my original post. There's a lot of room between working at home with small kids for 2-4 hours/week and working out of the home and paying for childcare, clothing, and transportation.

 

I'm familiar with some of the other scenarios you've mentioned: We had 15 months of unemployment here, a child I unexpectedly needed to stay home for for a few years, and until the Affordable Healthcare Act I was turned down by 8 insurers due to a combination of genetic disease and trauma from giving birth. I was applying to a 9th insurer when the legislation was enacted and I could no longer be declined. I'm not unsympathetic to nor unaware of all of the factors that can come up. 

 

You said upthread is would behoove women to keep their skills and contacts intact if possible, but for a woman who doesn't have those things, a few hours work done at home can pay for premiums and in turn, some protection. And it takes time and money to maintain skills/certifications/contacts as well.

Edited by idnib
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The system here creates a dynamic where it all but is a fulltime job to be on welfare. You don't recieve enough to pay rent so you spend months and or years getting housing. That takes many visits to different places filling out applications and calls and waiting. You don't recieve enough to pay for heat, so you spend time every season waiting in line for an appointment to get energy assistance. You don't recieve enough food stamps to feed everyone for the whole month so you spend hours waiting in line for food bank food. You work under the table to buy your kids school supplies and clothes and someone finds out about it and they reduce your check. And so on and so forth for every.little.need. People then don't have the frigging mental energy left to find a real way out. The education options open to people on cash assistance often don't even lead to jobs that pay enough to get off assistance. The charitable industrial complex is real.

 

There's also the very real dilemma of if working or working more hours or saving money is going to cost someone money or hurt one's family if it causes a loss of housing, medical or other benefits. It's complex. I wish we had a system more like yours, where people can work and not fear their disabled child will lose their darn health benefits.

One suggestion that's been floated to address some of this is replacing the majority of social safety net programs with a greatly increased earned income tax credit program while still having unemployment and social security available for those who aren't working. And of course a single payer healthcare system would also be very beneficial.
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I know people, and not just a few, who are living barebones, with one parent working 2 jobs or each working opposite shifts, for whom it is just not that simple. They have already cut the frills and $80 a month is food out of their kids' stomaches and they are already bringing in extra money for medicine and shoes and eyeglasses.

 

While it is nice to say "plan" and "don't have dependents if you can afford insurance", the cold hard truth is that people's financial situations can change rapidly for unforeseeable reasons and that 3/4 of all pregnancies are unplanned. When we had our son for instance, I had not one single hint that meeting his health and educational needs would mean I would be out of the workforce for years at this juncture. The plan was kids in school and 2 working parents with the double income that brings.

 

I'm a planner with a serious, nearly pathological, dread of financial instability so I really do get your rather strident views on this. Absolutely. There are definitely many people who could buy insurance but just do not. Still. I was too poor as a child and have worked too closely with people who are financially struggling (helping with budgets, preparing tax returns, administering emergency charitable aid to families in need etc) to not see that it's just not always so simple as we would like it to be. Life is messy and complicated. The best laid plans and all that.

While I certainly agree that life is messy and complicated and things often don't go as planned, thus not always making it possible to buy life insurance to protect one's dependents, the statistic you mention of 3/4 of pregnancies being unplanned is very surprising to me. Is this for the U.S.? Is it really that high? Do any other countries have significantly lower rates? Lowering that number would seem to be a place to start.
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I agree that this sort of SAHM is more common than the well-off woman, although we'll have to agree to disagree that this woman cannot work enough while home with kids to raise $10-$20/week, which is what I mentioned in my original post. There's a lot of room between working at home with small kids for 2-4 hours/week and working out of the home and paying for childcare, clothing, and transportation.

 

I'm familiar with some of the other scenarios you've mentioned: We had 15 months of unemployment here, a child I unexpectedly needed to stay home for for a few years, and until the Affordable Healthcare Act I was turned down by 8 insurers due to a combination of genetic disease and trauma from giving birth. I was applying to a 9th insurer when the legislation was enacted and I could no longer be declined. I'm not unsympathetic to nor unaware of all of the factors that can come up.

 

You said upthread is would behoove women to keep their skills and contacts intact if possible, but for a woman who doesn't have those things, a few hours work done at home can pay for premiums and in turn, some protection. And it takes time and money to maintain skills/certifications/contacts as well.

If the take away from my posts for you is that caregivers can't work, I think we are misunderstanding each other. I'm a caregiver and I work very PT - babysitting as I mentioned and contracting in my former field as I transition in accounting (also focusing on the field I used to work in FT). I do this while taking care of 2 kids with special needs, homeschooling and working towards obtaining my CPA license. I know it is possible. I also know it is possible for someone to do that and not be able to make the ends meet and thus make difficult choices, like letting life insurance lapse when the car need tires or you lose your job for the third time in a decade. Again, the protection of life insurance is just not affordable for some. It's not the height of irresponsibility to prioritize immediate needs over maybes. While it's definitely not ideal, I see how and why it happens. That is all I am saying. Nothing more. Nothing less.

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While I certainly agree that life is messy and complicated and things often don't go as planned, thus not always making it possible to buy life insurance to protect one's dependents, the statistic you mention of 3/4 of pregnancies being unplanned is very surprising to me. Is this for the U.S.? Is it really that high? Do any other countries have significantly lower rates? Lowering that number would seem to be a place to start.

It's actually 1/2. In the U.S.. I mis-remembered. That figure (~50%) is easily checkable online.

 

I don't think lowering the number of unplanned pregnancies is exactly a cakewalk though. And an untimely and unplanned pregnancy can still lead to a very wanted and loved child. I'm 35 with a child turning 13. That's HIGHLY unusual for educated middle class parents in my area. I was still in college. I was on the pill. We were married but we definitely didn't anticipate a child so soon. We fleetingly considered an abortion. However, neither of us was comfortable with that.

 

Unplanned pregnancy. Untimely pregnancy. But like a lot of life's twists and turns we wouldn't have it any other way.

Edited by LucyStoner
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One suggestion that's been floated to address some of this is replacing the majority of social safety net programs with a greatly increased earned income tax credit program while still having unemployment and social security available for those who aren't working. And of course a single payer healthcare system would also be very beneficial.

I am familiar with a lot of such ideas. Unfortunately bias against the poor, political gridlock and a self protecting welfare and charitable infrastructure means that it's unlikey that any such scheme would come into reality in the US.

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It's actually 1/2. In the U.S.. I mis-remembered. That figure (~50%) is easily checkable online.

 

I don't think lowering the number of unplanned pregnancies is exactly a cakewalk though. And an untimely and unplanned pregnancy can still lead to a very wanted and loved child. I'm 35 with a child turning 13. That's HIGHLY unusual for educated middle class parents in my area. I was still in college. I was on the pill. We were married but we definitely didn't anticipate a child so soon. We fleetingly considered an abortion. However, neither of us was comfortable with that.

 

Unplanned pregnancy. Untimely pregnancy. But like a lot of life's twists and turns we wouldn't have it any other way.

I certainly wasn't suggesting abortion as a way to improve the statistic and 1/2 definitely seems more believable than 3/4. I also wonder exactly how they define unplanned. Off to do some research.

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I didn't read the thread yet, but I wanted to comment before I fall asleep here.

 

My husband has very traditional values and unless I cheat, I can not imagine him ever filing for divorce.  That being said, the ONLY reason I ever got a college degree and a profession that I did so no matter what happens I can find a job anywhere, any time and support myself.

 

I quit my job when I was pregnant with oldest.  I've since gotten a Master's Degree and recently started working PT.  Not only I've always liked what I did and am happy to go back to it, but you just never know what happens in life.  And at the end of the day I think every person needs to know that the can support themselves.

Edited by SereneHome
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If the take away from my posts for you is that caregivers can't work, I think we are misunderstanding each other. I'm a caregiver and I work very PT - babysitting as I mentioned and contracting in my former field as I transition in accounting (also focusing on the field I used to work in FT). I do this while taking care of 2 kids with special needs, homeschooling and working towards obtaining my CPA license. I know it is possible. I also know it is possible for someone to do that and not be able to make the ends meet and thus make difficult choices, like letting life insurance lapse when the car need tires or you lose your job for the third time in a decade. Again, the protection of life insurance is just not affordable for some. It's not the height of irresponsibility to prioritize immediate needs over maybes. While it's definitely not ideal, I see how and why it happens. That is all I am saying. Nothing more. Nothing less.

 

That wasn't my takeaway at all. I was responding directly to what you were saying about people having to offset the costs of working with needing to pay for childcare.

 

I would not consider it the height of irresponsibility for someone to prioritize needs over maybes. I hope that wasn't the take away from my posts.

 

We almost always agree with each other so I'm going to decide my communication is off kilter today and leave it at that. I do believe we are talking past each other.  :grouphug:

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1. Not everyone can access term life insurance for low rates due to a prior medical condition. I have more than one friend who had cancer or a significant health issue in their 20s before they had kids and are now expensive to insure or even just plain uninsurable.

 

2. A sizable number of American families are subsisting on incomes that are too tight for $80 or even $40 a month. The median household income isn't all that high. If someone already making choices between medicine and food or shoes for the kid and gas for the car, insurance can easily fall right out of the budget.

 

I agree insurance is important but I am highlighting some very valid reasons why some don't have it.

 

We bought term insurance when we were *very young* and can thus afford it even on our now temporarily tighter income. But if I were shopping for it now, with a 36 year old husband who takes medication compared to when he was 24 and on no medication, the cost would probably be too high. We do also have coverage via my husband's work which is not costly but it's not a ton. Still, if we didn't have a very low rate on term we wouldn't be able to fit in what it would cost now, at least not until my husband graduates from school. Not everyone can get it via work though and if they do it's not going to be a very large policy, perhaps just 2-3x annual income. Which is still helpful and something but it's not going to cover college for a few kids or anything like that.

I don't have life insurance. I am asthmatic, have a history of depression and the BRACA1 gene. None of the standard policies will touch me and i can't afford the others. I have an accidental death policy through work that expires the day before i turn 70 and ACC (our government system) for injury.

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I couldn't.  COL is everything. 

 

Around here a 2br apartment is about $1800 a month.  So I could sell the house and pay that rent out of my proceeds.  I could get a smaller condo and pull out some money.  But just staying in place, nope.  

 

Same here. We'd have to completely leave our area away from friends, my employment contacts, and our medical specialists if I had only $30,000 to work with.

 

Friends have done it, but like I said earlier, they rent a studio apartment or live in someone's basement. Of course I'd do that if I had to, but our goal has always been to maintain some sense of normalcy.

 

Now it really isn't nearly the issue it was though. We have one in college whose tuition is mostly paid by merit aid, and an 11th grader that is largely schooling herself. I also make enough that we'd be tight if we stayed here, but that would be doable.

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It is unfortunate that many divorces are ugly affairs.

It is also unfortunate that many women don't hire the attorney they need to ensure they get what they should because they want to be nice.

You can't be nice if the other party is insisting on bringing brass knuckles.

 

This! However, lawyers can be very expensive. 

 

I know a woman who played nice and was screwed. She now regrets it a lot. 

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I don't have life insurance. I am asthmatic, have a history of depression and the BRACA1 gene. None of the standard policies will touch me and i can't afford the others. I have an accidental death policy through work that expires the day before i turn 70 and ACC (our government system) for injury.

Totally ignorant here but how would the insurance co know about your gene thing? When DH and I got ours, we did do blood and urine tests, but no genetic testing. If I want genetic testing is have to pay for it myself.
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While I certainly agree that life is messy and complicated and things often don't go as planned, thus not always making it possible to buy life insurance to protect one's dependents, the statistic you mention of 3/4 of pregnancies being unplanned is very surprising to me. Is this for the U.S.? Is it really that high? Do any other countries have significantly lower rates? Lowering that number would seem to be a place to start.

Over a 5 year period of birth control use, the chances are 50-60% the user will still get pregnant at some point within that five years.

 

For example, I personally know two women who are pregnant after using an IUD for over 8 years. Very unplanned pregnancy. They are both keeping their babies but it's quite the shock to their lives and finances. One just graduated her youngest. Both are divorced and had no plans to marry or have children again.

 

But it happens all the time to women of any age. Heck. Every girl I knew in high school that got pregnant was on birth control pills. There were some that didn't use anything, but most were on birth control pills.

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Over a 5 year period of birth control use, the chances are 50-60% the user will still get pregnant at some point within that five years.

 

For example, I personally know two women who are pregnant after using an IUD for over 8 years. Very unplanned pregnancy. They are both keeping their babies but it's quite the shock to their lives and finances. One just graduated her youngest. Both are divorced and had no plans to marry or have children again.

 

But it happens all the time to women of any age. Heck. Every girl I knew in high school that got pregnant was on birth control pills. There were some that didn't use anything, but most were on birth control pills.

 

Yeah, I think a lot of people have a very inaccurate idea of how likely they are to get pregnant if the are sexually active using birth control, when they are talking about the long term.  It's one thing to think of the odds in terms of one year, but when you consider re-rolling that die every year for 10 years, it looks a little different.  If you aren't talking about an IUD or hormonal solution, it looks really really different.

Edited by Bluegoat
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For a family of one parent, two kids, this is what a bare bones budget would look like in our area:

 

$2400.00 annually - car insurance, no collision old beater car...no fault insurance is expensive so collision coverage or a newer, reliable car is much more, usually close to double.

 

$5400.00 rent on crappy one bedroom apartment, very crappy, but doable. Parent sleeps on couch, kids get bedroom.

 

$1500-1700 heat

 

$1500-1700 electric

 

$1200 - some sort of limited phone plan. This area has very few options, not much competition so plans are costly.

 

$350 - renter's insurance - required at most establishments

 

$8000 - health insurance with high deductible

 

$4000 - gas for car due to having to commute to the cities to find work, worse when gas prices are higher

 

$1000 - maintenance on beater car if lucky

 

$500 - every two years for tires on said car as Michigan roads are bad, bad, bad and well, winter driving...you just simply for safety's sake have to keep good tires on your car.

 

$150.00 registration and plates on that car

 

That's $25,000 per year without food, prescriptions, or co-pays. It is very difficult, nearly impossible, for an adult to get on state medical insurance though children can more easily get it, so the $8000 is pretty much a given unless one pays the penalties and goes uninsured. That's a pretty big gamble though because with only one parent now, the kids are pretty dependent on that parent attempting to stay healthy.

 

Budgeting to meet deductibles, co-pays, school supplies, clothing, prescriptions, and sports or music fees for the kids - not free any longer at the local PS's, and then some kind of decently nutritious food, the minimum would probably be another $7000 anyway or $32,000 total net income. Around here, anyone making less than that is living in someone's basement or camper unless their shelter is paid off and doesn't require any immediate repairs and has low property taxes.

 

Attorneys are expensive, and yet they are vitally necessary because amicable, and equitably distributed pretty rarely happens in divorce. In the case of death, it can be rather complicated if the deceased did not have a will or trust though attorney fees to set those things up are usually not too awfully priced.

 

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Same here. We'd have to completely leave our area away from friends, my employment contacts, and our medical specialists if I had only $30,000 to work with.

 

Friends have done it, but like I said earlier, they rent a studio apartment or live in someone's basement. Of course I'd do that if I had to, but our goal has always been to maintain some sense of normalcy.

 

Now it really isn't nearly the issue it was though. We have one in college whose tuition is mostly paid by merit aid, and an 11th grader that is largely schooling herself. I also make enough that we'd be tight if we stayed here, but that would be doable.

Just move is crazy simplistic and also presumes that connections don't have monetary value.

 

If I moved, 3 of my kids would immediately have 80% more expenses. But to hell with them I guess, as long as dh is making more money? Bc the chances he will make a LOT more are rather slim. For most people it's an opportunity to stay or get afloat, not some huge financial improvement. And most are going to weigh that against what they have to give up.

 

Sure my kids having to work more hours and accrue debt and possibly sacrifice their college options wouldn't be the worst thing to ever happen, but it also wouldn't be likely to help them build a better future either. I'm not willing to sacrifice that so we can have it easier. And that's not even getting into how beneficial it is to have family who can help nearby. I raised (raising)my kids without family support. THAT was far more damaging to our finances than having kids themselves were. I don't want to do that to my kids. If at all possible, and I know it often won't be, I want to help in the million little ways that having someone who "doesn't work" helping that people really have no comprehension makes all the difference.

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I've seen it. And in fact this family carried no medical insurance, being lower middle class farmers, and the husband ended up injured and in the hospital in a coma for several months before dying. The hospital excused the bills PTL, which were in the multiple millions, but they were still left with nothing to fall back on. Our church and his family helped her and the kids to get by until she found decent employment but it was horrendously lonely and difficult for her and the children.

 

We were already prepared when that happened, but it just drove the point home. Our insurance agent has also told me many stories of families who have come to him after a death begging for help and he cannot do anything because they didn't have a policy in place prior to the death. His own sister died and left three small children, very unexpectedly after a car accident, and her husband had to collect her policy to get by - he tells all of us how grateful they were that they didn't *just* insure his brother in law, because replacing a SAHM takes time AND money to when you consider the cost of daycare or after school programs, meals, activities and transit time, etc.

 

I have a friend who used to be partner in one of the big consulting companies as an HR expert.  Within a short-time span one of his employee's died with a generous company-paid life insurance, and another employee's SAH wife died without life insurance.  After watching the result, he recommended that the company add spouse life insurance to the benefits package.  The widower employee became an unreliable flake.   He was in mourning, his kids were in mourning, AND his kids life was turned upside down because now they were in daycare all day.  He kept having to leave work unexpectedly because of the kids, he couldn't travel, and he basically got zero work done for a year.  Of course, he couldn't be fired.  But, if he'd had a company-paid spouse life policy, the boss could have said, "Get a Nanny and get back to work".  

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Yeah, I think a lot of people have a very inaccurate idea of how likely they are to get pregnant if the are sexually active using birth control, when they are talking about the long term. It's one thing to think of the odds in terms of one year, but when you consider re-rolling that die every year for 10 years, it looks a little different. If you aren't talking about an IUD or hormonal solution, it looks really really different.

And then there is always user error. Being a statistician, I was never willing to trust just one method, even an IUD.

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Over a 5 year period of birth control use, the chances are 50-60% the user will still get pregnant at some point within that five years.

 

For example, I personally know two women who are pregnant after using an IUD for over 8 years. Very unplanned pregnancy. They are both keeping their babies but it's quite the shock to their lives and finances. One just graduated her youngest. Both are divorced and had no plans to marry or have children again.

 

But it happens all the time to women of any age. Heck. Every girl I knew in high school that got pregnant was on birth control pills. There were some that didn't use anything, but most were on birth control pills.

I have a hard time believing this statistic, do you have a source? If it were true, then the unplanned pregnancy rate would have to be much higher than 50% to account for those not using contraception at all.
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I have a hard time believing this statistic, do you have a source? If it were true, then the unplanned pregnancy rate would have to be much higher than 50% to account for those not using contraception at all.

 

Wouldn't that assume that most carry on with the unwanted pregnancy?  I believe about 40% are aborted.

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I haven't read all the replies but as a former divorce attorney I thought I would weigh in.

 

Yes, for the most part a spouse who was not working outside of the home during the marriage (for whatever reason) is going to be in a worse position financially than the spouse who spent the last 10-20 years building up a career.

 

The state I practiced in had ways to address that.

 

First, it is a requirement that the contributions of the homemaker be considered equal to the contributions of the working party.  Unless the working party could prove that the person not-working did NOTHING at home....the contribution would be seen as equal.  Therefore, for the most part, all assets are equally the property of both parties.

 

My state also still has spousal support (alimony) and the amount and duration could very depending on a wide variety of factors.  We have three types - a short term alimony just until the spouse can finish some education or job training.  A compensatory alimony to make up for contributions to the other parties education/income that the stay at home spouse made.  And long term alimony given usually at the end of long marriages that should try to alieate the disparity in the standard of living of the parties before and after the divorce.

 

My state also allows, in the end, for the court to make a division of assets and awards that is equitable/fair to both the parties.

 

In my time as a divorce attorney I rarely had clients who felt they won a jackpot.  I also rarely had clients who really had been mistreated by the court.  Everyone is unhappy after a divorce and everyone thinks they should have gotten more and the other party should have received nothing.

 

I don't think the family court system is perfect - FAR from it.  I do think that the courts, when faced with really horrible situations and two people who can't reach an agreement on their own assets, for the most part do an ok job.

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The other problem with moving is visitation. If someone lives in a high COL area, divorces, and receives half the proceeds from the sale of an expensive home, they could have a decent quality of life in a lower COL area. But if there are visitation agreements or one spouse wants to stop the other from moving with the children, it's a lot more difficult.

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The other problem with moving is visitation. If someone lives in a high COL area, divorces, and receives half the proceeds from the sale of an expensive home, they could have a decent quality of life in a lower COL area. But if there are visitation agreements or one spouse wants to stop the other from moving with the children, it's a lot more difficult.

Good point, and believe it or not, a family court can absolutely dictate to you where you live. I know of a judge that awarded the house to the kids, and made each parent take turns living in it for six months at a time until the youngest turned 18. It was a nightmare. The house wasn't paid off so they had to share the payments on the house, and maintain a residence elsewhere for the six months each year that they didn't live in the house. It was crazy. Eventually, there were enough complaints about that judge that he was not re-elected, but it is a reminder that one loses a lot of control over your life when divorces are not amenable and financial and custody arrangements are reached outside of court involvement.

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Good point, and believe it or not, a family court can absolutely dictate to you where you live. I know of a judge that awarded the house to the kids, and made each parent take turns living in it for six months at a time until the youngest turned 18. It was a nightmare. The house wasn't paid off so they had to share the payments on the house, and maintain a residence elsewhere for the six months each year that they didn't live in the house. It was crazy. Eventually, there were enough complaints about that judge that he was not re-elected, but it is a reminder that one loses a lot of control over your life when divorces are not amenable and financial and custody arrangements are reached outside of court involvement.

And yet as the kid shuttled back and forth for years on end I admit that kind of solution makes me smirk - if they want to split why should *my* home be uprooted?

 

As an adult I can see what a headache that would be, but it seems more fair than swapping the kid around since they aren't the one ending any relationships.

 

Hm.

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And yet as the kid shuttled back and forth for years on end I admit that kind of solution makes me smirk - if they want to split why should *my* home be uprooted?

 

As an adult I can see what a headache that would be, but it seems more fair than swapping the kid around since they aren't the one ending any relationships.

 

Hm.

 

My childhood was a bit like that - the house was big and they divided it up, so at various stages my mother or my father lived in the main house or the basement with their respective partners.  I always lived mostly in the main house but visited whoever was in the basement.

 

In a way it was great - I stayed put and everyone was still around.  In another way it gave me nowhere to hide from the emotions of the adults.  Even though everyone was outwardly civilised, the atmosphere was there around me and I was expected to be good.  Perhaps I just expected that of myself though.

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And yet as the kid shuttled back and forth for years on end I admit that kind of solution makes me smirk - if they want to split why should *my* home be uprooted?

 

As an adult I can see what a headache that would be, but it seems more fair than swapping the kid around since they aren't the one ending any relationships.

 

Hm.

 

I agree, that totally makes sense.   Each parent can get a 6 month lease on a small place since it is just for one person.  No need to keep kid's bedrooms at two places that are unused for half the year.  

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I agree there should be a plan.  But 500K seems like  A LOT of life insurance to me.  If it is what you feel you need and you can afford it that is great.  I just hate for young struggling families to feel terrified if they don't have the same amount.  

 

LOL. We have nearly 2 million dollars in life insurance on dh at the current time. As you say, everything is relative. We only *need* about 1 million right now, but due to the nature of life insurance not always being available later when you need more, we have that amount now. :) It's complicated. To me, 500k would be very small potatoes. Our life is complicated . . .

 

I look at our life insurance right now as essentially "high end of retirement goal + kid/college money". So, if I think I need 1 million dollars to support me in retirement (for the rest of my life, that is a modest goal, IMHO), plus 500k to take 3 kids through our commitment towards college/grad school . . . That's 1.5 million. However much I don't yet have in cash-out-able assets (i.e., not our house), I need in insurance. Say I have only 300k in assets, that means I'd need 1.2 million in insurance. 

 

If you're only looking at insurance as "get me by for a few years so I'm not eating cat food until the kids are in college" that's a whole different thing. We're looking at it as "totally support my survivors for life" perspective . . . We'll need less insurance as our retirement assets grow, so we'll be scaling back over the next couple decades. By age 65+, we should be fine without any insurance, although we'll have a little (500k) until age 70.

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I have a friend who used to be partner in one of the big consulting companies as an HR expert.  Within a short-time span one of his employee's died with a generous company-paid life insurance, and another employee's SAH wife died without life insurance.  After watching the result, he recommended that the company add spouse life insurance to the benefits package.  The widower employee became an unreliable flake.   He was in mourning, his kids were in mourning, AND his kids life was turned upside down because now they were in daycare all day.  He kept having to leave work unexpectedly because of the kids, he couldn't travel, and he basically got zero work done for a year.  Of course, he couldn't be fired.  But, if he'd had a company-paid spouse life policy, the boss could have said, "Get a Nanny and get back to work".  

 

Yup. This is why we have had a modest but significant (125k IIRC) life insurance policy on me since the first kid was born. Mostly, dh would have always been fine without me long term, as he wouldn't have needed to support two of us in retirement, and anyway, I'm high maintenance, lol. BUT, when the kids are young, he'd have been up shit's creek without me taking care of them. Some $$ to easily hire a nanny for a few years as his life settled and he got a longer term child care plan in place would be critical. Now that the kids are past the age of needing a FT nanny and we have some liquid assets, we could drop my insurance, and we would if it weren't so cheap. 

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It's really important to remember that it's far more likely for a woman with dependent children to need to support herself following divorce than it is following death. We can buy insurance for life and even disability. We can not buy divorce insurance. No one would write such a policy. Besides a high divorce rate, with no one to kill, collusion fraud would make it impossible.

 

The primary and strongest protection a woman has is to have a good education and a viable way to support herself and her family above the the poverty level. Many women receive zip in child support if dad just disappears or goes all deadbeat. To say nothing of the rarity of alimony these days after divorce. Secondary to that it is a good idea to, if your family income makes it possible, make sure that you contribute to your own IRA while home as a caregiver. Finally, make sure assets are jointly owned and maintain some credit in your own name. It's not foolproof- many a spouse finds that their ex intentionally closes accounts or trashes their joint credit prior to divorce. But assuming you aren't married to a total asshole, it will leave you in better shape than you otherwise would be if the marriage ends unexpectedly.

Edited by LucyStoner
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