Dear Matzav Editor,
“Frum Man Jumps to His Death Over Finances.”
That headline isn’t a real one – yet. But it may be soon. I am at the verge of either losing my mind or giving up my life as I struggle to support my family. The stress and pressure are unbearable. I earn upwards of $80,000 a year, but with a mishpacha and all the related expenses, there is no way I am able to cover my regular expenses.
Make the calculation: tuition, mortgage payments, car expenses, food bills to the sky, clothes, utilities, camp…
There are another dozen items I can add, and I am sure you can think of some too. What is a person like me supposed to do? How exactly am I supposed to survive while keeping my sanity?
I have a good job, but so what? Am I a Tomchei Shabbos candidate? No one thinks I am.
In the world out there, people say that the middle class always pays the price, because they are ineligible for assistance but don’t make enough money to truly cover their costs. Much of their money goes to taxes, and they struggle maybe even more than those who are classified as “poor.”
In our frum world, the decent-sized mishpacha earning $80,000-$100,000 and paying full tuition, in addition to countless other costs, is in this boat of the middle class. It sounds crazy, but it is true and it’s been said a million times before. The frum breadwinner earning what should be a respectable salary is so far behind balancing his personal budget that it is not even funny. It’s a true crisis.
Just wait till my kids reach shidduchim in a few years. If I didn’t commit suicide by then, that’ll probably be an appropriate time to do so when the bills start hitting my desk.
I am not exaggerating and I am not just writing this to get attention. This is all true.
I know. I know. You’ll tell me to be appreciative for my relatively decent health, healthy children, a wife and all that. But is hard to appreciate the good things in life when you are sitting and staring at a bank account that is emptying out faster than it fills up. It is hard to smile when you have to tell your 12-year-old kid that he can’t go to the dentist this month even though his tooth is hurting because you don’t have the money for it. It is hard to be happy when your wife is frustrated that you are just not making ends meet no matter how hard you are working and how hard you are trying.
When you see me standing on the ledge, at least have the courtesy to wave.
Losing My Mind