Financial Panic Attacks at 6am

Yes, even a financial planner can get them.

I woke up at 6am and started to buzz about a lot of things. I’m sure I’m not alone with this, but whatever cosmic shift is happening in December this year is making its presence known pretty well right now. Personally, my relationships are all going through growing pains, my body is experiencing a bit of empathy twinges, and my career is on the verge of something. It’s all very tumultuous and a little unnerving to those of us who are slightly more tapped into the cosmos (which I think I am).

So, it wasn’t surprising, just obnoxious, that at 6am I woke up in a tizzy about my personal finances. I knew I wasn’t going back to bed until I solved this particular mystery so I got up and did the unthinkable and turned on my computer. Andy can testify to how much I rail against blue light when you’re trying to sleep, so this was obviously a pretty big bug in my head.

I did some calculations and checked our personal budget sheets and realized everything was fine. The whole exercise took a half an hour, but it resulted in my exasperation over the state of pay in the arts in the United States.

I work my butt off. The average US workweek is 40 hours, but anyone in the arts knows stage managers easily work 50 hour weeks and sometimes upwards of 70 or 80. And still I can barely pay my own bills, let alone afford the occasional fun outing or two.

Andy is protected by one of the strongest unions in the country and for that we are grateful. His reasonable paycheck is what allows up to take nicer vacations, live in our beautiful apartment, keep our cat insured and afford a movie now and again (who am I kidding, it all goes towards froyo).

But I have the federal government protecting me and they are a little messed up right now. Most employers treat me pretty well, but at the end of the day I can barely subsist on the $1600 a month I bring home. No, I am not ashamed or embarrassed to talk about salary. I think it’s a way to equalize the playing field a little bit. But after rent, car insurance, utilities, groceries, my pet’s insurance, prescriptions, saving for retirement (ha!), saving for a house, gas and the few “discretionary” expenses (yeah, right) like Internet and a gym membership, I am left with a mere $150 to stretch through the month for other unexpected expenses (two words: printer ink) and eating out.

I know I have it way better than most. I have health insurance thanks to B. Obama’s health care plan and I don’t have any serious medical conditions. Save for the desire to regulate my hormones to avoid migraines, which, according to certain Republicans, makes me a whore.

But is it so hard for those of us on the bottom to get a little more help? I have to say, thank God for people like me (hahaha) who are helping people like me understand our finances. I know it’s important to save for retirement and the house is the ultimate goal with Andy, so I make sacrifices. In our instant gratification society, it is difficult to remember that a goal like a house is worth the 7 year wait to earn a down payment.

Whew. I don’t do that very often. Thanks for reading that rant. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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5 Responses to Financial Panic Attacks at 6am

  1. Our first major financial panic hit during Spring of last year when the govt' threw their hissy fit and the question of federal employee pay became an ACTUAL question. As a military family those 2 pay checks are essential. It was during that time that helped us determine to come to you 🙂 as Chief Billpayer I sure didn't get a lot of sleep as I began to develope a script of " I'm sorry the payment on X is late, but we're military and well, you know…" in summary, yes I have had those moments and still do. Do you think with financial security those sleepless days will go away or just manifest themselves in some other facet of life?

  2. Sunshine99 says:

    I've never know anyone who insured their cat before, but I know a couple who has an English bulldog and they have found that their pet insurance has more than paid off since Bulldogs have a lot of health issues. Do you find that it pays off with your cat? I've had several cats and I haven't really had to spend much except for regular vet visits and the basics but maybe I just got lucky. What does the cat insurance run you? -Rhea

  3. Verhanika says:

    What a valid point, Danielle. I think sleepless nights will happen, we just try and mitigate how often they happen for particular reasons. My best friend has a great approach to life that it's made up of 4 parts: friends, career, family, relationship. One will always be inadequate so you could always lose sleep over something, I just think it rotates and is cyclical how bad the sleeplessness is and in what area.

  4. Verhanika says:

    Hi Rhea! I pay for my cat to be insured because I got a quote for a kidney panel that was $500 that would have been free if he was insured. Fortunately we never had to go through with it, but it scared me into insurance for him. Now I pay $25 a month through PetSmart's Banfield Wellness Plans for the most basic coverage and he gets 2 free comprehensive exams a year, plus free dental care, plus free emergency doctor's visits and all of his vaccinations are paid for. We only pay out of pocket for other tests (he got an ear swab a few months ago), but even those are at a reduced rate. If it's something you're looking into you can find out more about Banfield's plans at Or if you want private insurance, the ASPCA has great pet insurance for a minimal cost.

  5. I find it reassuring that another person wakes up and can only think, "I need to redo my budget." Gabe will testify to the many occasions I have said and done just that (and cannot focus on much else until that is done). Today was one such morning. 🙂 Like you, everything is just fine, and I know that going in, but I can't help myself…and take great pleasure in it.

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