There's always something to spoil one's plans

JudithApril 9, 2003

I was hoping to retire by the end of this year and have been working so hard for the past 4 years to pay down my credit card debt. I finally have my last card down to a little over $500 and was feeling such relief. Then, whamo, one of my teeth that is holding my bottom bridge somehow decays under the crown and the whole bridge has to be removed and re-done. This involves 6 teeth and I spent two horrific hours in the dentist chair Monday morning. This new bridge is going to cost right around $3,500. There goes my plans for getting out of debt. I didn't expect this and sure didn't need it. I will have to just about wipe out my entire savings to pay for this new bridge, but I am determined not to put in on my credit card. That's how my cards got up so high to begin with, large dental bills, auto repairs, and a very big plumbing bill and the plumbing problem isn't completely fixed but the company refuses to come back out.

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I am SOO sorry to hear this. With such high out-of-pocket, save all the receipts so if you itemize taxes next year, you may be at the right % to itemize medical costs and get a good refund. That's about the only helpful advice I have!

Medical costs could hit any of us hard, and is the one thing that can cause debt without so-called money mismanagement. I'll keep you in my thoughts. Maybe a windfall will come your way!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2003 at 11:00AM
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Wait! Have you tried applying for a 0%/1 year term credit card? I call it "reverse layaway". Allows you to hold on to and build your savings a little longer and pay off month to month with no interest. Go to to find 0% deals. If you get the card, be diligent, don't miss payments, don't pay late, and pay it off (or get rid of it) in 11 months - not 12.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2003 at 11:49PM
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Also -- someone posted on the Money Saving forum that when they were underinsured, they negotiated rates down.

I actually did a similar thing when my daughter got sick on a trip out of state and we had to take her to urgent care. They did not take my insurance. When I politely asked what else I could do, they offered me the "negotiated" price, which was the price they do services for their insurance companies. It was 30% less than the 'street price'.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2003 at 7:46AM
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Argh! I'm with you! It seems that everytime I get a bit ahead, my demon car finds out, and then something else goes wrong on it. I ran my CC up with dental bills, a new transmission, etc... :(:(:( -- things that were a necessity, but I hadn't recovered cash-wise from the last mishap to pay cash for the newest problem.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2003 at 9:19AM
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Perhaps there is a consumer protection agency in your area where you can lodge a complaint against the plumbing company? Not just the Better Business Bureau, but perhaps a county consumer advocate, etc? Maybe if you find this out, and send a certified letter to the plumbing company stating this is what you will do if they will not address the problem by a certain date you will get some action. This way you have taken every possible step to try to get cooperation-?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2003 at 10:26AM
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often dentists are willing to arrange a "pay over time" arrangement--they're quite accustomed to having patients who are financially "surprised" by the size of the bill.

Be sure you let them know about the financial difficulties, and the state of your dental insurance, in case there's anything they can do to help!

(I'd have thought , since I have know the kind of organization you work for, that *your* employer would have dental insurance! I guess I'm overestimating them)

And I still wanna come knock the heads of all the idiots who live in your part of the world, like plumbers, etc.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2003 at 12:09PM
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Also if you have a dental school nearby they often do the work for much less. If you haven't had it done already.

I know exactly how you feel. We had been doing relatively well saving $4000 for our dog's surgery, then Dave's engine blew up- cost $3600. So now we are starting all over again. Thankfully, she's not an emergency situation, not in pain. The vets said she could live the way she is and just manage any arthritic problems as they come up, but I just don't think that's right. She'll have much less arthritis with the surgery.

Anyway, I know how you feel and sorry I don't have any way to help. Life can be quite frustrating, can't it?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2003 at 9:25AM
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I second the dental school idea, if that's an option. My 1st job out of college didn't have dental insurance and I had a filling fall out. I went to Ohio State University dental school and it was only $11 to get a new filling. I went to them until I got a job with dental insurance, and the only reason I go to a regular dentist is the hours - neighborhood dentist who stays open until 7 2 days a week. The dental school closed at 5 so I had to take time off work.

Good luck, Judith!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2003 at 9:02PM
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My dentist will set it up on payments interest free! Ask your dentist before you use your CC.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2003 at 1:41PM
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Judith, not knowing your age or potential future earnings or pension plan... if $3500 would wipe out your savings, are you sure you're ready to retire? One "trip of a lifetime" to anywhere sounds like it would wipe out your savings, (but I am familiar with country life, and that is the ultimate "trip of a lifetime".)

Would your pension benefits include medical and dental? Suppose this happened after you retired??

Just something to think about


    Bookmark   August 2, 2003 at 1:20AM
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No, my pension benefits won't include medical and dental. I will have Medicare and also I will have to get a supplemental insurance. I am afraid that I will have dental problems after I retire. I have had to have a lot of dental work in my lifetime and it is very expensive. I have about 10 crowns, 4 root canals and a bridge and a filling or two in every tooth that isn't crowned. I have very not strong teeth that can break with no warning. All I will have when I retire is SS and about $435 per month from my work pension. SS should be around $1,000, I think. Out of that will come the Medicare and health insurance and my prescription drugs. I am currently taking 4 drugs and two of them are very expensive. currently, my co-pay per prescription is $30.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2003 at 1:16PM
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OK, so your teeth are rotten from the get-go. Your car is falling apart around you. ... You want to retire soon.

How about this: go and buy a new, inexpensive car with a 100K, 10 year warranty. Tell dentist to 'pull them all and gimme dentures'. Spend next 4 years paying all that off and maybe u can retire in 6 or so??

Just another thought.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2003 at 4:12AM
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