Myth # 3: Pet Insurance is Not Worth it

So, here is a little video I found that explains, kind of in story form, how important it is to get pet insurance.

I have personally had this experience with three different pets– I always get the insurance, and I have never once been sorry that I did. I think alot of people think of this as one of those “extra expenses” that they can’t justify, and I agree with that in the case of those “Wellness Care” packages that cover things like shots and routine visits like physicals (if those are required by your state to renew your pet’s license).  For those, you’re going to be better off just going out of pocket.  I do think it is always worth it to carry an “accident and illness” policy on your pet, though, and here is why I think it makes sense:

Vets are expensive.   Medications for pets are expensive.  Hospital stays for pets are SUPER expensive (especially if your pet is diagnosed with a serious illness or is involved in an accident).    Pet insurance, for me, has always been an expense that has paid for itself during the lifespan of the pet (and that is three times out of three).    In the case of the first dog I ever had, we had insurance on him because we were just out of college and had almost no “margin for error” in terms of expenses, meaning– one wrong move that resulted in a big expense and we would have had to give up the dog.   Think about that– that gives you no margin for mistakes, because all it takes to send you dog to the vet is, like, they eat something bad when you’re not looking, and they might end up needing thousands of dollars worth of surgery.  I have known more than one person who has gotten a pet, then ends up holding a “GoFundMe” fundraising campaign when that pet gets sick or falls wrong and needs surgery.   A vet hospital does not have a “charity” wing, so basically they exist to make money.  They are not going to help you if you can’t pay your bill– they are going to force you into a payment plan or make you use a credit card, which might become an even bigger nightmare for you if you can’t pay it off right away, because then you’re out the thousands for the vet bill/ hospital stay/ surgery, PLUS the fees from the credit card, and you probably know very well that the credit card companies LIVE for you to pay your bill late (or to not pay the whole balance) so they can charge you that 25% interest.

The dog from the example above lived to be 13, and I had insurance on him his whole life.   He ended up getting cancer (as many big dogs do when they get old), and with ONE SURGERY, the insurance ended up paying over $2,000, which pretty much reimbursed me for those 13 years of paying the monthly premiums.   Before that surgery, though, I had used the insurance several other times (like when a dog bit him at the dog park or when he caught a stomach bug and got dehydrated), so all in all, I might have been cashflow positive on the life of the policy.  I know, that is a weird thing to say about your beloved (now departed) dog, but I really do want to emphasize the fact that I think pet insurance is actually really essential.   I think there is a commonly-held belief that pet insurance is stupid and that it’s just an unnecessary, frivolous expense, but I think people only really think this UNTIL something goes very wrong with their pet and they get that first huge bill, and by then it’s too late.      Ideally you would start the insurance policy WAY before you ever need to use it, although with my most recent dog, we got her when she was a tiny baby puppy, so I got the “full coverage” insurance and started using it as soon as it went into effect.   In the case of a puppy, I would say you should absolutely, most definitely get the “all the bells and whistles” policy, because you have NO IDEA how much puppies need to go to the vet.   With the vaccinations (which have to be spaced out, just like in babies), the vet visits, the cost of the spaying, and the general “Puppy ailments” like diarrhea and getting stung by a bee because she was chasing a bee, I would easily have gone out of pocket $1,000 the first year alone if it hadn’t been for the insurance.

Again, I would never NOT have enough insurance, for myself or for my pets, so it always kind of baffles me when families are willing to “roll the dice.”  My neighbors have a really beautiful Australian Shepherd, for example, who is always running off (because they do not watch her properly).   I keep waiting to hear that she is dead because she got hit by a car while being out on the loose, and I am 99% sure they do not have insurance on her, so they would for sure have to have her put to sleep if she needed surgery or like, any treatment that exceeded probably a few hundred dollars.   I also believe that this is why so many older pets end up being surrendered to animal shelters and pounds, which I think is just crazy and tragic– I think people just do not plan ahead for the inevitable medical bills that come with having another living thing in your house (in this case, an animal).  That animal needs proper healthcare and access to doctors sometimes in order to stay healthy, and it just seems like a gamble that you are going to lose if you choose to have that animal but don’t carry any insurance on it.  Just my opinion, but like I said, an opinion that is based in almost two decades of pet ownership, three long-term pet insurance policies, and always at least breaking even on the total costs.

Also, oh my God, I don’t know about you, but if I had to have one of my pets put to sleep because I couldn’t afford the cost of a treatment or surgery, I would think about that every day for the rest of my life and the guilt would eat me alive.   The cost of pet insurance is for sure worth at least that, right?

 

Myth #2: There’s Nothing to Do in Palm Springs

OK, this is one that I can definitely dispel (even though I hear it quite frequently)– there is actually ALOT to do in the Palm Springs/ Palm Desert/ La Quinta area.    I grew up there, so I am constantly making “good things to do” lists and recommending hotels, so I thought I would put some of the good choices in one place so I could refer people back here.   I would recommend avoiding the desert area between

  1. Here is one of my absolute favorite things to do in Palm Desert:  the Sky-Watcher tour.   This awesome company basically takes you out in the middle of the desert with telescopes and a tour guide.  There is very little “city light” that can block out the stars, so you get a totally clear view of the sky.
  2. The Red Barn:   Oh yeah, this place has been around the longest, and you can usually find one or more members of the “desert rock” scene hanging out here.   Yes, the floor is sticky.  Get past it.   The drinks are cheap and the jukebox is awesome.
  3. Beer Hunter La Quinta:  This is the biggest of the Beer Hunter franchises (which have also been around for a long long time), and it has the biggest TVs and the best food.   Fun atmosphere, good happy hour, nice people (both patrons and servers)– this one gets my endorsement!
  4. Las Casuelas restaurants (any)– I super love the food at this restaurant, and I went to high school with the owners (it’s a multi-generational ownership).   Get the guacamole and chips and wash them down with some margaritas!
  5. The Living Desert Reserve—  this is a nature preserve and a super-interesting tour to take.   It’s quiet and peaceful, and you’ll see some interesting animals (and flora and fauna).
  6. For hotels, I really like the Residence Inn on Cook Street, and I have also had alot of friends stay at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa.  They have a water park built in to their pool area, so kids love it.

 

Myth # 1: It’s Not Worth it to Become a Doctor Anymore

Today we are checking out how long it takes to become a doctor in the US, and whether it’s even worth the time investment, given the current political climate and its ramifications on healthcare.  First off, it’s important that you know that becoming a doctor takes possibly the longest amount of schooling of any profession you could undertake (at least in the United States).  This is the best video we’ve found on how to become a doctor.   It’s true, becoming a doctor takes a really long time (like, 13 years) and you will go into debt doing it.  Some doctors are saying that under Obamacare, they get paid less than ever, especially if they are part of major healthcare systems.   Still, if you’re looking for just the bare facts on becoming a doctor, start with this summary and decide how much you really like medicine and healing people.   Frankly, it seems like if you are just becoming a doctor for the money, eventually it will occur to you that there is not enough money in the world to do something you don’t enjoy.   That is alot of dedication to put into a career that you get no pleasure out of or that your parents wanted you to pursue because they thought it would be good job security.

With that said, specialty doctors (like plastic surgeons and sports doctors) seem to still be doing just fine, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm).

So, we’re going to call this myth “not true,” in case you didn’t want to be a doctor to begin with.  Doctor, surgeon, specialist– it’s still worth it to pursue this profession if you are passionate about medicine and helping people.  If you’re in it for a quick buck or job security, then try another profession, like voiceover actor, maybe?