A Personal Story: Weighing Priorities – Rob, Thetford

Rob is a self-employed builder and painter in Thetford, Vermont. A few years ago he needed a crown done but couldn’t afford it. He was able to work out a deal with his dentist where they exchanged services: the dentist put on the crown, and Rob did work for the dentist.

Rob is trying hard not to take on debt and is careful about deciding to get dental work done: “There’s no way I can afford to come in and spend a couple thousand dollars on my teeth right away. So I have to weigh things and decide how pertinent (the dental work) is at the time. Is it an emergency? Do I need to have it done?”

Rob’s daughter needed braces and was at the age where she had to have the work done. Unfortunately, he had to take on debt for that work and now pays a set amount each month: “Can I afford it? It’s really hard-everything’s hard right now because of the economy being the way that it is. But somehow, money seems to get there for it.” In the summer the payments are easier because that’s the season where Rob tends to have more work, in the winter it’s hard to predict what will happen. “You have to make priorities, and priorities are food, shelter, stuff like that. There’s a lot of people that have to look at that piece right now.”

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