Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Recession Shakes Up Childcare for Families - CNN
Amanda Mezyk had developed a close bond with her employers' children as their live-in nanny, which is why it was so painful when her bosses told her she was being laid off.

"I started crying and they kept repeating, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry,'" Mezyk, 20, said about the day last November when her employers -- a Miami, Florida, plastic surgeon and a part-time dermatologist -- delivered the bad news.

As Mezyk began to realize that life as a virtual member of her employers' family was ending, she thought about the little girl and boy -- Delaney, 6, and Landon, 4 -- with whom she had grown so close during the past 2½ years.

Her job as a live-in nanny at a lavish home in an upper-class, upscale private community came with many perks that suddenly had disappeared. The insured car provided by her employers for personal and professional use was gone. Without a steady income, Mezyk wondered how she would pay her mounting $8,000 credit card debt. (continued)

How are you surviving in this bad Economy as a Nanny or an Employer?
~ Special thanks to nc for Submitting this Article.


macaroniandcheese said...

She has an $8000 credit card bill before she has even lost her job??

Lousy money management skills, imho.

Debt filled nation said...

Huh? We're the nation with the largest amount of personal unsecured debt. The fact that this woman only has 8000 in debt is pretty low when you consider the average share is over 10,000 a year.

OP-call your creditor and work something out with them. My guess is the company would rather get some back than none.

Not a Happy Mommy said...

One third of my department was laid off two months ago. I am one of the "lucky" survivors who now get to do the work five people used to do. I am on conference calls at 7am as I'm try to juggle getting the kids up and moving (thank goodness for the mute button). I drive into work as soon as the nanny arrives at 8, work until 6, drive home, and I'm lucky if I get an hour to spend with my kids before they go to bed and I have to get onto conference calls with Asia or catch up on all the work I couldn't finish while in the office. My boss and co-workers grumble when I tell them I am unavailable from 6 to 8:30pm every night and I refuse to give up more than 5 hours of my weekend for work (the after kids are in bed hours). I don't ever get to have dinner with the kids during the week and end up grabbing something to eat in front of the computer around 9pm.

My nanny's job is not as easy as it once was. She is picking up everything with the kids (I used to do homework, give them baths, make them dinner, take care of things they need for school, brownies etc.) and the house is messier than it used to be when I used to spend the time after the kids are in bed running around straightening up toys and doing anything the nanny didn't get to during the day. She's not being asked to do things outside her original job description, but I used to do many of these things for my kids myself simply because I enjoy doing them and we had a different pattern before. I even had to hire a supplemental hourly sitter so that the nanny can be guaranteed of leaving on time.

If it was an option, I would stop working (as my husband and I were talking about only a year ago), but we're afraid of going down to one income in this environment--even though he's as busy as I am at work, he's not guaranteed he will have a job and I'm not as confident that I could get another if I give this one up. And now, as a nice reward for working our butts off to make sure we can stay in our home and keep saving money so our kids to go to college one day (our 529s have been decimated down to 30% of their value), we get to pay a "millionaire's" tax because our combined income is over $250K (kind of a given if you own a home and pay real estate taxes in the NY area) to support people who ran up debt living beyond their means rather than saving and investing their money. (Like this nanny--how did she run up $8K in credit card debt with no real living expenses and a free car?)

mom said...

I see there is little sympathy for this nanny. I do feel bad for people who are in debt in this economy...even though many people are in a bad position because their eyes were simply bigger than their wallets. I think this will be a wake up call for us all...SAVE for a rainy day!

After all, how valuable are that flat screen TV and pool table going to be when you're living in your car to pay for them? And if you had to have a Mercedes when you could really only realistically afford a Hyundai...well, you won't even have that. I wonder if our generation will now become more like th epeople who lived through the depression are...saving, being financially practical, and not wasting anything...just in case hard times hit. I don't think any of us truly believed this day would come again...but it's here.

Others, though, were just at a vulnerable stage in life when this all hit...doing "all the right and responsible things" that one is supposed to do to responsibly start a life and get ahead...and for those I am truly, truly sympathetic.

macaroniandcheese said...

i am not completely heartless;) I do feel sorry for her as she's currently unemployed but perhaps if she hadn't overspent, she might've had some savings (or at least, no debts to pay off!). most times, people just don't think if they need something...

No One's Happy These Days, Mommy said...

Um, I'm sorry you are stressed, NAHM, but the tax is only on the income over $250K, so unless you really are a millionnaire it is not going to significantly affect your total tax burden. At any rate, I'd think you'd be more concerned with the banksters who essentially stole your investment earnings rather than the poor schmucks at the bottom of the economic ladder who may or may NOT have been irresponsible with consumer debt. (Your taxes are not paying for them, by the way - they are being shoveled into the maws of AIG at a lightning fast pace! Your anger, as I said above, is seriously misdirected.)

Everyone has problems but your post comes off as incredibly whiny and entitled when you consider how many people are *really* suffering right now in this economy...and yes, many of them are suffering through no fault of their own, convenient as it may be for you to imagine that they are all irresponsible spendthrifts.


No One's Happy These Days, Mommy said...

I do want to say, though, that I feel for you with such a stressful job. Perhaps you do not realize that many folks have jobs with the same hours and just as much stress but who do not have reliable child care and who live paycheck to paycheck.

Your employers are taking advantage of you, for sure. I'm a SAHM now (and we live very frugally to be able to do this, and I'm not always sure it is the right thing to do) but I was in the workforce during the 2001 recession and was in a similar position to you, and believe me, I know it sucks.

So, again, I am not at all unsympathetic, but you might be a little more sensitive about how your complaints sound to people who are not as fortunate as you are.

We are all kind of screwed right now, but trust me, the poor are the ones getting screwed worse than anyone. There are irresponsible people at all income levels but somehow the poorer someone is the more acceptable it is to assume they are irresponsible. Poverty is only partly related to personal choice, much as our theoretically meritocratic society would prefer to believe otherwise.

And if you want a portrait of irresponsibility, take a look at the financial services sector, full of people with scandalously large incomes and little to no regard for either personal or societal responsibility.

No One's Happy These Days, Mommy said...

(sorry, that should read 'the financial sector', not 'the financial services sector')

mom said...

I don't think NAHM was saying anything like that. She is frustrated. And an income of $250,00.00 in New York is not all that much...especially when oyu consider that more than half of that goes right off the top to taxes, property taxes, etc. Then take off the health insurance SSI etc, and I can see why she is feeling a little bit miffed at being forced to then pay a millionaires tax on what is left. At $250,000.00 she's right in that middle ground where her income sounds monumental, but it doesn't go nearly as far as people might imagine. She makes too much to get any kind of assistance, but probably lives on a fairly tight budget if she's near NYC. Things are EXPENSIVE there!It gets frustrating sometimse. I pay enough in income taxes alone to pay for my house outright. yet, here we are with a mortgage paying it off bit by bit. It does get frustrating form time to time when you watch how money gets wasted by our government hand over fist and watch who does and does not get assistance.

mom said...

Oops..I meant we could pay for it outright every three years...not a new house year after year!
And No One's Happy, I agree more with your latest post.
I just think you read more into a flip comment made by a frustrated person than she probably meant when you thought NAHM was blaming the poor for their plight.

fox in socks said...

I agree with mom. I think that "not a happy mommy" was trying to explain that it's not a bed of roses, as many people think, even when a family has two incomes and make a decent salary. I didn't take her to be complaining exactly, but instead explaining that things are tough for her although it may appear to outsiders as if all is well.

Thanks for sharing, "not a happy mommy."

Walk in someone elses shoes said...

My guess is there isn't a single person who has posted on here that doesn't have unsecured debt. That makes everyone here pretty much hypocritical of this womans debt. We assume her debt is frivolous yet we don't really know.

mom said...

I'm debt free, except for my house. So don't call me a hypocrite please. My husband and I have had a no debt policy from the day we were married, and we have stuck to it pretty well all along, even though it meant we didn't have all of the "things" our peers had in the beginning.

Even so, I admit that there was a time period...even though we had bought our first house in a sensible price range that we could afford, blah, blah, blah...that if he had suddenly lost his job, as so many unsuspecting people are today, we may have had a difficult time staying in the house unless he/I was able to get a similarly paying job pretty quickly. So I understand perfectly that there is a "danger period" in everybody's starting out years that is pretty unavoidable...but after a while (barring unavoidable circumstances that sometimes wipe people medical emergencies or lingering illnesses, etc.)that period should get less tenuous, as people try to budget and live withing their means. Even though I know its not always fun to do that...believe me.
A young girl with virtually no living expenses and $8000.00 of debt that is not health or education related can most likely be assumed to have overspent somewhere. She's young. Kids sometimes do that without thinking ahead. She's not a horrible person. She's just a kid who is learning a really hard lesson. Actually I really feel for her because I have kids just on both sides of her age and I would feel bad to see them in this position. I wouldn't help them...because I think it's a good thing to learn (and mine have been amply warned that their screw ups are theirs to undo...especially financially), even if it is the hard way...but I'd still feel bad for them.

mom said...

I should clarify that it was more like a "No frivolous debt" policy. I had some medical issues...which you can't always foresee of save ahead for. And the fridge konked out...stuff like that...but we paid it off asap every time. Young people have a harder time than the rest, that's for sure.

Not a Happy Mommy said...

No One's Happy: Sorry if I over-vented but as you can tell, like most now a days I'm feeling frustrated by circumstances beyond my control. I miss my family time. I just wanted to point out even those who have not lost jobs (my husband and I and our nanny) don't really have it as good as we did--The question asked was how are you being affected by the economy.

I never said I blame the poor for the current situation. But I do blame an atmosphere that living beyond your means is accptable and people of all walks of life are guilty of that. Anyone who is carrying so much credit card debt that it would take ALL of their take home pay for more than 4 months to pay off (assuming the nanny's net after taxes is in the $500/wk range) is living beyond their means. And yes, I realize there are some companies that have profited from the debt so many have run up, but they wouldn't have been able to if there wasn't so much debt that there was a market for it. Like Mom, we are very fiscally conservative family and do not carry unsecured debt. We have done without many of the luxury items that our neighbors buy on credit because our philosophy has always been that if you can't afford to pay for it now, you can't afford it. However, we do have a mortgage, steep property taxes and like everyone else our dollar is not going anywhere near as far as it used to and I resent being assessed yet another tax (if it's a millionaire's tax, tax millionaire's only) as a reward for working hard to tread water against the economic undertow.

Nanny Taxi said...

I think I would be more upset about trying to find a new place to live without $$$.

Our family is doing the best we can. I am shopping smarter, lots of coupons and house brands. We're doing 1 meatless meal a week. Remember to shut of lights, tv, radio, whatever when not in use.

I will say however, after I got my tax refunds, we paid off some bills, and since our entertainment budget was the first to go, we bought a nice 32" flat screen TV.
So now we just stay home. We try not to use the credit cards, I always ask myself if I had to pay cash, would I buy it?
My son had his school pictures done, I bought the 8X10 only ($14.00) and made copies at Wal-greens for a fraction of the price of buying the whole package. Instant Xmas gifts for friends and family. You do what you got to do.
Tonight's dinner?
5lb Turkey Breast(on sale 69 cents a pound) tossed into the crock pot with seasoning and wine.
Mashed Po.
Store brand Stove Top and a veggie. I have enough turkey for 2 meals. It can be done!

patrice said...

Nanny Taxi,
In your quest to save money, you have comitted a crime. You cannot make copies of the school photos without a photographer's release and no way would they give you one, that's how they make their $

seattle said...

it's a bit of a read, but i remember reading this essay in my honors english class years ago. it might tug at some heartstrings, and it might not be *totally* relevant but i think some of you might appreciate it. i really like it.

it's called "What is poverty?"

hope you enjoy it.

macaroniandcheese said...

Like Mom, I am not a hypocrite and have no debts. I try to keep a certain amount in my bank account for emergencies.

People should be just be responsible for themselves. I won't deny that we do have a flat-screen TV which we perhaps do not need (the boyfriend bought it!) but we paid it outright- no debts. When we were younger, the washing machine konked out and we didn't have enough money for another one immediately. We washed our clothes in the sink for 2 weeks before buying a new machine.

Nanny Taxi said...

I am aware of the laws involving the photographs. If they want to come and try me for copyright infringement so be it.

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