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I've had a programmable thermostat since I moved into this house some 22 years ago. It's helped me save money on my heating and cooling bills. Everyday when I left for work, my furnace or A/C turned off and didn't come on again until about a half hour before I got home from work. The house stayed warm/cool until I went to bed, then let the house cool off until about 30 minutes before I generally got up.

It's a great system. I recommend a programmable thermostat for anyone who spends a good deal of their time away from home.

Today, I reprogrammed it to keep the house warm from the time I get up until I go to bed. Why?

I don't go to work anymore.

I got laid off, and while I'm looking for a new job, I'll be very surprised (and pleased with myself) if I get one. I'm 61 years old and my skills are centered on a dying industry. I'm applying for a lot of things I believe I can adapt my skills for, but frankly, if I was hiring and had a choice between me at my age, with my skills, and someone 25 or 30 with skills tailored to the new industry -- I think you can guess who I'd hire.

I'm not panicking. In fact, I'm sort of warming to the idea of retirement -- even though it's a few years early according to my plan. I've got plenty of time now to get to all the projects that have been piling up around my house. No more commute. I'm reducing my carbon footprint by the amount of gas it took to get me to work five days a week. No more packing a lunch. No more racing to get out of the house to beat the traffic so I won't be late to work. No more laundry in the middle of the night to be sure I have something clean to wear tomorrow.

Funny thing, though. I'm going to miss the work. I actually liked my job.

I had a sneaking feeling that my job might not last until full retirement age. So, I've been making preparations to support myself without my regular full-time job. All my preparations weren't in place. If I'd had a couple more years, I could have been much better off than I am today. But I'm not about to descend into poverty. I'm simply going to have to be very careful about my finances.

But this is my point: Anybody who says we should raise the age for full retirement with Social Security, and raise the eligibility age for Medicare is either out of his friggin' mind or just doesn't care about how older people are going to survive.

I'm not alone. More and more people over 50 are being pushed out of the workplace by corporations that want younger, cheaper workers. Fewer and fewer older workers are being rehired in new positions.

Right now, I'd be dancing a jig rather than working the numbers to see how I'm going to make it if only one thing were different: If I was eligible for Medicare. As it is, I have another 3-1/2 years to pay for my health insurance out of my pocket. I can get into one of the exchanges under the ACA next year, but I haven't seen any firm predictions of what that's going to cost. I'll have COBRA for a while, but that's going to cost me an arm, if not an arm and a leg. I got a "buyout" package, but that lump sum is going to go almost exclusively to pay for health insurance until I'm old enough for Medicare. (That is, I'm going to set it aside as my insurance fund. I have no way of knowing whether it will last until I'm 65).

The ACA is better than nothing. But it's not really good enough -- not by half.

We should have Medicare for all. We should have single payer. We should have a guarantee that nobody has to stay in a job they hate because they will lose their health insurance if they quit.

The savings overall from having every American covered, cradle to grave, would far exceed the cost of covering everybody. Our industries would get a boost from not having to cover their worker's health insurance.

I just don't understand why this is so impossible!

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's Impossible Because Our Owners Oppose it. (8+ / 0-)

    In a democratic oligarchy, the country's run for the oligarchs.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:08:56 PM PDT

    •  Oops, Meant to Add, Sorry About Your Job Loss. (8+ / 0-)

      I lost mine younger, some years ago, and ended up a self employed artisan. Good luck patching together a health care plan till you're old enough for Medicare.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:10:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sorry also to hear about your job loss (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elsaf, llywrch, cassandracarolina, chimene
        I can get into one of the exchanges under the ACA next year, but I haven't seen any firm predictions of what that's going to cost.
        For some people and hopefully you - it will be affordable.

        My son and his wife did the calculations that were out at first and it would cost them around 1400. month. They live in Europe and pay about 1/3 of that for full coverage now, hospital, doctors, medications - everything.

        We are all hoping for a lot when the ACA comes in but  the premiums are going to have to be within reach for middle class people to be able to afford.

         

        "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

        by allenjo on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 02:06:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  i love programmable thermostats (6+ / 0-)

    my new one is connected to the internet and i can control it through my ipad.

    from anywhere.

    oh and they do save you money!  everybody should have one in their home.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:18:16 PM PDT

    •  Love mine too, and just reprogrammed (4+ / 0-)

      to reflect the fact that we like to open up the windows wide to let in the spring air, even when it's cooler than we would normally shoot for.    Right now the getting-ready-for-work hour and the getting-home-for-a-late-dinner hour are the ONLY times of day when our house is set to get warm.  That means delicious, cool breezy nights of hearing the windchime, without having to try to bring the great outdoors to 58 degrees.  

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:23:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Which one do you have? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elsaf, cassandracarolina

      I was looking at various thermostats on Amazon last night because I'm thinking about replacing my dumb thermostat and it would be nice to have a unit that would connect via wifi to my Internet router. It would also be very nice if it had an app that I could use on my ipod touch.

      The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

      by Mr Robert on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 01:32:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it depends on your heat source, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mr Robert

        whether you have a furnace or a heat pump (as I do), or other. Different thermostats for different heats. Read the packaging where you shop for those things, ask the people working there.

        There is no question that there is an unseen world. The problem is, how far is it from Midtown and how late is it open? -- Woody Allen

        by Mnemosyne on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:25:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah, because you have a programmable (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elsaf, cassandracarolina

    thermometer:

    In fact, I'm sort of warming to the idea of retirement
    and you can easily do that type of thing!!

    Anyways, if Ebay is still around, maybe you can make a living sell stuff over the internet.  John McCain, at least, thinks that that is a viable way to make a living . ..

  •  Hope all of this resolves (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elsaf, cassandracarolina

    in the best way for you. (((elsaf))) You are so right about the need for Medicare for all. Besides the basic morality of having healthcare available for everyone,such a fix would allow some to retire and many more to branch out and pursue other options. Enormous waste of human capital is our current system.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 12:28:45 PM PDT

    •  Thanks (5+ / 0-)

      As I said, I've been preparing for this for a while. I'm sort of waffling back and forth between missing my job (and my co-workers, many of whom were laid off with me) and feeling free because I'm no longer tethered to a job.

      I can't take it personally, because they shut down and outsourced my whole department. I was in no way singled out. But I can also see that my department (because it was a good job and people seldom left) had one of the highest average ages in the company. I think that may have factored in in some way.

      I may have some leaner times coming, but I'm going to be well off compared to some of my co-workers who were sole breadwinners for families (I'm single) and have kids in college and such. I feel really bad for some of them.

      Wealth doesn't trickle down -- it rises up.

      by elsaf on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 02:15:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know that feeling, elsaf (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mnemosyne, tardis10

        having been laid off at age 59 last summer. Even though I was one of hundred laid off that month, it's hard not to take it personally knowing the job market for people our age. It's also disheartening to see that my former employer has over 100 open personnel requisitions in my city. Clearly, they were trying to offload "seasoned" workers and replace them with more affordable people.

        I admire your attitude and resilience. Oh, and programmable thermostats are also very helpful in warmer climates like Texas, where air conditioning bills can be significant. Between good insulation, a couple of ceiling fans, and frugal programming, I've been able to divert much of my utility money into my retirement savings.

        Best of luck to you, and thank you for an excellent diary.

        Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

        by cassandracarolina on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:17:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I only "program" mine if it's really cold (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina

    during the day (generally < 54 inside).  Otherwise heat stays off, and I adjust the temperature by putting on warmer clothes.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 02:39:28 PM PDT

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