How many times have you heard someone say “It’s just money,” as if money is no more than a way to pay for “stuff” and has no other value to us. We all know it isn’t “just money.” It’s much more than that.

For all the horrible details of the latest disaster, please see SCAMMED AGAIN.

A long time ago — back in 1972 — I had a friend who was earning almost nothing. Everything cost much less back then, but poverty is poverty, whatever the decade. I remember him saying “Self-respect begins at $150 a week.” Self-respect costs much more in 2017. As for us, what we have is what we get from social security plus a minuscule pension. There won’t be more. Never. No raises. Ever. We are poor and we will get poorer.

I have learned to cope with poverty. I count pennies. I buy the least expensive thing I can that might accomplish my purpose — which, I might add, is exactly how I wound up in this current mess. I try not to think what our income will look like in another ten years. It barely covers life now. I shudder to imagine what life will be like in 2027.

Maybe I won’t be here. Right now, that doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

Home again

So, in addition to my anger at being scammed, there is shame and pain. The embarrassment of realizing that — again — I am a moron. To say I feel like a fool doesn’t begin to cover it. To put this in perspective, most people will happily give you full details of their sex life before they will tell you how much money is in their paycheck.

Sex is personal. Money is more personal.

Money is intimate. It gives us status in society. It sets our “cultural” level. Money is rank. Money gives us power to make choices. It lets us make mistakes, but shake them off. If I had “real” money, I could shake this off and move on. I’d be wiser than before and more careful, but it would be just a bump in the road without being a tragedy.

When you have enough money, you really can say “it’s just money.” Instead, I’m left with a hole where money used to be … and a door I will still have to replace. There’s no way around it. No amount of wriggling is going to change the story.

The next time something financially egregious happens to someone you know, before you pat them on the shoulder and say “Hey, its ONLY money,” remember there’s a lot more going on. Ego, self-respect, social acceptance, power, pride, and self-worth. We are all tied to money in highly personal ways. It’s why people who are literally going broke and declaring bankruptcy will often disappear from your life. Without telling you what happened. They are too ashamed to talk about it. They would rather leave town and hide than admit they lost their money.

It’s not just money. Ever.

Categories: Home, Money, Shopping

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35 replies

  1. Marilyn, I will never talk to you, or anyone, about my sex life. Especially not to my wife! But about money? I have no qualms. I declared bankruptcy a long, long time ago and, since then, have not used credit cards. Everything is cash. I had a very nice 401k when I left NY for Las Vegas. Then I got scammed by a woman I knew and lost it all. For awhile I was considering where I would sleep if I had absolutely no money. Nowadays, what is happening with threats against social security and health care scares me no end. We have to watch every penny, too. Lynn bought her house just as the market was peaking here and now is so far upside down that we will probably never be able to sell it and move to a less expensive place. The only thing I am trying to say is that you are not alone. Which doesn’t help at all, I know. It doesn’t make me feel any better that a lot of seniors are in the same position as us. It just pisses me off!


    • We have a very similar history to you guys including bankruptcy. We didn’t buy this house at the top of the market, but during those years when we had zero income and no social security or unemployment, we refinanced it several times just to keep afloat. We are ALMOST back to where we started. Almost. Not quite. $20,000 to breaking even.

      Garry would never tell ANYONE about his sex life, not even me. But you’d be surprised how many people are eager to talk about what is — in my opinion — the most intimate parts of life, but will never reveal where the money comes from — or goes to.

      We have no choice about using at least some credit. The house desperately needs work. The guy who scammed us took the money for the door, but we still have to get a door or we will have a big empty hole in the front of the house after it rots off its hinges. Which will be soon, I think.

      Dogs need vets, we (lord knows!) could really use TEETH. Dentists, omg, cost like rockets to the moon. I’ve got more holes in my mouth than teeth and I don’t see that improving over time.

      As for the whole health care debacle, yeah. I know. I am incredibly lucky I had two kinds of cancer and massive heart issues while we still had coverage. Next stop, find a quiet place in the woods and just die already.

      I’m pretty sure we’ll never move out of this house because as we and it get older, it needs more and more work we can’t do. Its value decreases. We are barely at break-even now, so as time eats one piece of it after another, it will be the kind of house you buy for the land, then flatten with a bulldozer.


  2. I get pretty annoyed by that “Money can’t buy you happiness” thing. Tell that to someone who is homeless or living in a home they can’f afford to fix or who can’t feed their family. A little more money for poor folk would create a lot of happiness. Sure there are some problems money doesn’t fix but having enough to live decently sure would.


  3. I have to agree with you, Marilyn. When you see homeless people, not because they wish to be but because they have no where else to go, they are on their last legs and the chair broke and they landed on the street, cold, hard, alone, and shamed. Their heads hung in shame and self disgust and humiliation. Their faces should you witness them say it all. And yet, they are the first to give the last of what they have to another. I agree with you. It is painful. It’s difficult to hold your head up high when you have nothing. Society has falsely used money as a status symbol and when you can’t even buy your next meal, then what?


    • It turns poverty into a crime.


      • Yes, it’s a quick hop or step, forget the leap.


        • It’s a thing we do in this country and nothing to be proud of where we turn our victims into the culprits. We do it a lot. instead of blaming the criminal, we say “Oh he should have had better security” or “she shouldn’t have dressed that way” or “they should have been better with money.” We are very big on blame.


          • This is unfortunately true. Society makes scapegoats of some victimizing others. I often wonder when we will collectively stand tall against such atrocities.


            • I don’t know. This seems to be a very “american” thing and it isn’t something to feel good about.


              • No, it’s not, but trust me, I watch Mike Holmes (Homes on Homes) he educates people about this sort of thing and it’s rampant in Ontario, Toronto especially. And from what I’ve seen on his show, it has been life threatening in some instances. Whole families could have been wiped out because the foundation was so terrible the house could have caved in should the wind blow the right direction. Others, the electrical was so horrific it took ripping the entire house apart as a spark could have blown the whole thing sky high. It was an eye opener for me. Since I wouldn’t expect or act in that manner and I think that’s with most of us. We don’t expect people to take liberties with our lives or homes. It’s a nightmare when they do.


                • Well, it certainly did a number on us. AND we still need to get the door replaced, except now the money is gone. These people … how do they get like this? What makes them so awful?


                  • I don’t understand how they can fleece people. The dangers involved, the inconvenience, the threat to innocent lives, mentally emotionally ,mentally. Do they learn by Example? Or do they come by it naturally! I write mysteries, without understanding the mindset at all. Same as prejudice, I can’t wrap my head around it any more than I can fathom their cruelty. If someone treated their loved ones in that fashion, I wonder how they’d respond. Would they care, are they capable of caring or having a conscience? I find I get no results when I ask those questions. If called on the carpet, would they care, or care only that they got Caught! It’s a mystery to me, Marilyn, utterly.


                    • I have always assumed this is how “real” people act. That caring and sympathy is normal and the other stuff is wrong. Certainly the people I care about are caring people. I don’t know where these “others” come from. Maybe they grow up with the mushrooms.


                    • Lmao, Marilyn. As good an explanation as any. They got the defective gene pool. My ppl are caring too, luCkily. Perhaps in our case it’s as much about showing them. Setting an example. But where the others veered off to or why is any bodies guess. It would take an army of ppl asking to find out . I,myself just glad I met you. Your a lovely woman.


                    • I thank you. I am imperfect and frequently snappish and more than a little short tempered. But I mean well and I apologize profusely if I think I haven’t behaved well. Perfection isn’t happening, but I am a very hard trier 😀


                    • Lol. I would hate the burden of perfection, lol, omg x 2. No room for mistakes or errors with no time off for bad well dicey behaviour, in which to have FUN.?.??…. PFFFT DOING THEN THINKING. Oh what an exhilarating time it would be. I was too afraid of my own shadow, but I can dream. I can write about things I might have enjoyed. I like you just as you are. I’m pretty sure your family does too. Under all the bluster and possibly “bad form at trying moments” I’m confident the woman you are is who you were meant to be, and seriously, if anyone doesn’t like it, they can stuff it. 😉did I say that out Loud? Oh of course I did, because this is you. And I can and I’ve learned you read between the lines to what is real and others might be afraid to say with honesty. Yes indeed, another time, another place, I feel we would have been great friends. I treasure that possibility. It brings me great joy to think about it in any event.


                    • Jojo moves, me before you. A moving touching story if ever there was one. I couldn’t put it down. Thought you might enjoy. It’s not something I would have read thinking it beyond my scope, but it was an amazing and in the end, triumphant story. No spoilers. I rented it from the library. If you get a chance take a boo let me know what you think.


                  • What makes it ok to do unto the next guy, what was done to You? When you have been treated badly, the last thing you think of doing is treating someone else the same or worse. I’m hypersensitive to how I treat others. Maybe that’s just me, maybe others have less humanity. I can’t say.


  4. You are no moron and stop beating yourself up about it. You have a big tall, hefty son, does he have any big friends that could accompany him to make an unplanned visit to this contractor? Time to do some muscle moves.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the “it’s just money” sentiment comes from those who like to carry on about the fact that money can’t buy you love, or happiness, or (insert some sappy emotional state here). While it may be true that you can’t acquire certain feelings just by opening your wallet, the amount of money you have sure damn well does INDIRECTLY affect a lot of the things they say money isn’t able to buy. Sure there are happy poor people and sad rich people, but they are the exceptions to the rule….


    • I could be a lot happier if I didn’t have to worry about how much it will cost me to buy medication or visit a specialist. Sometimes, I feel like just giving up. I’ll pull myself together, but this was a very nasty one.


    • I suppose it takes an incident like this to remind me how important money is to our sense of self and our feeling of how we are able to function in our world. A little more money and I’d never have even thought about using a handyman to try and keep the door hanging one season more. I’d have found a known contractor and had the job done. It’s easy when you have the resources to hire the good ones. It also proves — again — that sometimes, trying to save money winds up costing a lot more. I knew this would be no more than a patch. Maybe I could get a year or two out of it. I didn’t expect NO work to be done at all. And losing such a big lump of money in one go … OUCH. It’s gonna be very lean cuisine for a while.


  6. Very profound! Now I kinda understand how money doesn’t just buy stuff, it buys our dignity.


  7. You are so right and it hurts. I can so feel for you. If you had money you could perhaps take a lawyer and make a court case, but that is only an option for those who can say with no problem it is only money.


    • There was a time when we could say that. Funny how retirement changes that. We’ll get over it. It’s just hard taking such a big “hit” for nothing. There are so many things for which I could have used the money … like … buying a new door!

      Liked by 2 people

      • One thing hit me in your comments. We can really no longer expect anything – perhaps a lotto win, but I can no longer afford to do the lotto every week – even that has its price. I discovered that when the pension arrives that’s it. You know what you have and there is not a great regular increase according to the cost of living. A sad aspect is that if you happen to get a little more money, it is because someone has passed away and you are in the line for the next payout. It is tragic, but I suppose that’s the way the cookie crumbles.


        • I got a little money when my dad died. It wasn’t much, but it let me fix the septic system and buy a camera. That was it, though. After that, it was back to desperation again. So even if you have a modest amount on which to retire, you have to be really careful with it. Once gone, it won’t return. That IS scary.

          Liked by 1 person

      • The SHARED anger and embarrassement makes it linger and feel even worse.


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