Two weeks ago I was feeling pretty good about my finances. Actually, I was feeling good about my limited spending. You see, I grew up in the middle class. My parents didn’t go on extravagant trips to Europe or buy expensive clothes, but we also never worried about having enough food or even toys. They earned decent livings and also saved a lot, and it worked out. I always assumed I’d be the same way.
And I was. I thought about money, but I was fortunate to never stress out about it. I didn’t earn a great living, but it was enough, and I kept my spending down, so I was on track to afford retirement at around the normal age. In the last year I’ve cut my spending way down because of my precarious income predicament, and I’ve done well with that, but the thing is, I still have expenses. There’s rent, utilities, healthcare, food…. I simply need to have some income, and now I have none. I was saving for retirement, and I can spend that now, but it won’t last terribly long, and then what?
Technically, nothing has changed in the past two weeks except my perception, but boy has my perception changed. As I’m getting farther into the LTD appeal process, I’m realizing that I could lose. Yes, the odds are in my favor that I’ll win, but not by a huge margin, and I’m nervous. If I lose, then what? I’ll have a big gap before social security kicks in, and even then, SSDI won’t be enough to live off of. What will I do? I’m a bit panicked.
I know that my only option would be to move in with my parents, but I just can’t imagine how that would work. The timing would be that I’d move in with them just as they put their house on the market. That feels impossible. And what about my furniture? If I get rid of it, I won’t be able to afford to replace it if I move out on my own again. But will I ever live on my own again? And food could be really tough, with all of my restrictions; they’d have to rearrange their kitchen. More than that, they’d have to rearrange their lives. I don’t want to do that to them or to me.
And what would happen in the long term?
If I win the appeal, LTD would cover me until spring of 2014. That isn’t long enough, really, but by then at least I’d know more definitively if I’ll ever be able to go back to work. And it will give me more time to make a plan. And if I lose, I need a plan yesterday. I just wish I had one that I felt ok with.