What we did find was a lot of red tape and loop holes to exempt us from any kind of relief. We did eventually qualify for health insurance through the state, which we would lose the moment we tried to increase our income. Our initial reaction was, "We've busted out butts, we've contributed to the system, and we deserve better than this!" Well, that was partly true. We had worked hard. We did contribute to the system. Where we failed was not having recognized sooner that the system is broken.
Due to the economy, Eddie had been laid off. I could not work due to a high-risk pregnancy. We could not afford COBRA payments at almost $1000/month, and the Department of Unemployment Assistance was jerking us around on benefits for which Eddie was eligible. We weren't looking for a permanent public assistance funded lifestyle. It is not that we ever thought, "Oh, if we fall on hard times, we'll just let the state take care of us." That mindset has always been abhorrent to us.
The reality was that we hadn't thought about falling on hard times at all. We never thought about emergencies. Looking back, that seems very naive. So, from that perspective, we got exactly what we deserved.
Should we have known better? Probably. We learned a lot, however, from having been through this. It probably required such drastic circumstances to bring us to the point we are now. It was as if life grabbed us by the shoulders and shook us until we woke up. Looking at it this way, I'm glad things played out the way they did. We learned hard lessons and are making changes because of them.
We seek to live a life with as much freedom as is possible in the United States. That may sound strange as the USA is often referred to as the "land of the free". When we sat down and discussed how to prepare our family for emergencies, however, it became plain to us that we are anything but free. To us, freedom means:
- Living 100% debt free
- Owning land
- Achieving water independence
- Achieving food independence
- Achieving energy independence
- Health Care, not Sick Care
- Having the ability and means to defend ourselves
- Minimizing any tax liability
- Achieving clothing independence
- Helping others do the same
Put into practice, our expression of freedom includes establishing a homestead where we can produce most of our own needs, and do business locally for the things we cannot produce ouselves. We have made a committment to do something every day that brings us closer to reaching these goals. Every day is a day closer to self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and our vision of freedom.
This blog is to record our journey. It doesn't matter how little money you have, or how big your debts may be. If we can do this, anyone can. I hope that this will inspire someone reading it to say, "Enough... I demand better for myself."
Live better, a little every day.