Cry Me A River – 16 Years At the IRS With NO Emergency Fund

Oh no, she couldn’t weather 35 days without a paycheck. Devastated by one shutdown, IRS worker is dreading a next.

FRESNO, Calif. — The federal government had finally called her back to work after 35 days, but now Vicki Ibarra wondered how she could afford to get there. Her used sedan had been repossessed by the bank a few days earlier. The family minivan had a faulty engine and barely any gas. Her internet connection had been cut off a month into the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, so she used a friend’s to get access her bank account. There was $0.38 in checking and $7.80 in savings, all the 16-year IRS employee had left.

Look I get that she wasn’t making a lot by Fresno standards, but whatever you are making, if you don’t have an emergency fund, if your credit cards are maxed out, if you can’t look at several months without income, you are doing things wrong. Or you have the wrong job.

Ibarra had been told once during an IRS training that about 60 percent of American taxpayers live paycheck to paycheck and that 40 percent are unable to afford a $400 emergency. Her first emergency had been the missed car payment, which forced her lease into default because she was already behind. Next went her cable.

And there it is. Cable. Which I’m sure verges on 100 bucks a month. To watch TV. Now I have had cable and satellite TV in the past, but if you are destitute, living paycheck to paycheck, you should cancel your cable (and your internet connection). You should quit smoking and going out to eat, and you should cut up all but one of your credit cards and pay all of them off. Or at least start to. Then we can talk about your inability to make ends meet. Oh, and there is $190 back charges on her cellphone. (Want to take bets on it being a smart phone?)

This is all a smoke screen. “Orange Man Bad” is the unstated NPC vibe running through the whole thing. I am supposed to feel sorry for a TAX COLLECTOR? Right.

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2 thoughts on “Cry Me A River – 16 Years At the IRS With NO Emergency Fund

  1. OK. This has been bugging me all afternoon…

    A Lease. That means a New Car. (Or it was new at the time.) When I was making 6 figures, I didn’t drive a new car. (That was the only time I had a car payment, and it bothered me so much I paid it off in 6 months.) Need a car? Start making payments to yourself – put the money in a separate account if you have no discipline. In couple of years you will be able to buy a decent car. Don’t buy a new car, or if you do, plan on having it for a VERY long time. I’m driving a 2007, and I am only starting to think I may need to replace it. But I will probably have a few things fixed on it before I give up.

    But don’t lease a car. Leasing a car only makes sense financially if you own your own business, and maybe not even then. “You can get a nicer car for the same payment.” That isn’t the point.

    Cable and Internet. (Bundled? Well over 100 bucks. Not bundled? Even more expensive.) You really watch 100 dollars worth of TV every month? Read a book. (They are free at your local library – which probably also has a bunch of DVDs you can watch.)

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  2. To bad, so sad.
    Sounds like one of those preferred spices of the human race to me.
    I guess I caught me some of that white privilege that is going around so that I planned for the shut down and was able to make it through with out damage.

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