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It’s no secret that the cost of living is on the rise and, while we all do our best to make ends meet, there are some necessities that should be free for everyone.
From food and housing to transportation, healthcare, and education, there’s an overwhelming list of critical everyday services and resources that can often come with a hefty price tag.
This isn’t just a problem for those with lower incomes either; even people who can afford basic amenities have found themselves struggling more than ever in recent years.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at 14 things you likely need but shouldn’t have to pay for, because they’re basic human rights!
#1. Having A Baby
Having a child is an incredibly joyous occasion, and it should be celebrated by all.
Unfortunately, in many countries around the world, women are forced to cover the cost of giving birth even though they shouldn’t have to pay anything.
A passport is another essential document that you should never have to pay for.
Whether it’s a visa or an entry permit, having your passport in order is necessary before any international travel.
Unfortunately, many countries charge hefty fees for the issuance and renewal of passports.
When people think of healthcare, they often think about issues with the body.
But disorders of the mind can take a toll on the quality of life.
Unfortunately, getting mental health services can be a long and expensive process.
Therapists might not take insurance, cost hundreds of dollars per session, and prescribe expensive medications.
Free services are out there, but they are generally considered subpar.
Those in true crisis might not be able to receive the support they need in time.
If anything should be free, therapy sits at the top of the list.
While it’s often controversial, it’s often believed that housing is a human right.
This comes in the wake of a wide variety of economic developments, including increasingly unaffordable rental prices, houses bought by overseas investors and major institutions like Blackrock, and a stagnant economy that’s putting a lot of pressure on everyone’s finances.
With free housing, people would have a lot more money and time to dedicate to other areas of their lives that need attention.
However, until then, out-of-reach homeownership dreams and high prices for basic apartments will likely continue to be the norm.
#5. Burial And Funeral Costs
The loss of a loved one can be an extremely solemn occasion.
However, many may not realize that losing a loved one isn’t likely the only source of stress you may experience during this time.
Another common source of stress is financial stress.
Losing a loved one and properly memorializing them is an expensive endeavor.
From the costs associated with releasing their bodies to dealing with funeral homes and everything in between, every step of the process costs money.
Many believe that this makes the funeral industry somewhat predatory and that the costs of putting a loved one to rest should be limited to non-existent.
#6. Tax Preparation And Filing
Tax season is rarely a season that people look forward to, unless you’re getting a massive chunk of money back.
It requires you to meticulously track your expenses and do everything twice.
You may even pay someone to do it for you because something has changed in your life, and you don’t know how to approach your taxes.
As tax returns have become more complex, a surprising truth has come to light: the government knows exactly how much you owe.
This has led many to ask if they know how much we owe, why don’t they do away with tax services and send us the invoice?
That’s a great question, indeed.
There’s an argument to be made in favor of water not being as accessible due to it being a limited resource.
However, there can also be an argument against bottled water companies that take water, often even from municipal water stores, that residents need and resell to people.
Like most things on this list, water is something that many believe is a human right.
Making it free would ensure that no one would go thirsty and that available water couldn’t be impacted by companies seeking to take it and flip it for profit.
#8. Ambulance Rides
First responders are there to help us, but this help isn’t always helpful, especially for our bank accounts.
The call you make to save your life or get someone to help you get through an emergency can end up costing you.
It turns out that the average ambulance ride totals around $1,300.
This is a massive chunk of cash to pay for an already dire situation, and it’s why you may come across stories of people who would instead take an Uber or drive themselves to the hospital than pay for a ride on an ambulance.
#9. Sanitary Products
Sanitary products are not a product that women choose to use but that women have to use.
But because they’re designed for women, they’re often accompanied by the dreaded “pink tax.”
There’s also the reality that they have to keep investing in these products even if there’s somewhere else that they need to spend their money on things like food, utilities, or rent.
Free sanitary products have often been a major rallying cry, even though legislation and government have not yet caught up to provide them.
Education is another necessity quickly becoming out of reach for most people.
This is due to the rising tuition costs, the living costs required to stay nearby as younger people attend college, and the student loans often accompanied by high interest rates that make the loans very difficult to pay off.
Pair this with an anticipated recession and a highly competitive job market, and it’s easy to see why many don’t emphasize college as much as they used to.
With free education, everyone would have the tools to boost their incomes and work towards a better life.
Healthcare is known for its ability to save lives, but it has a reputation for being far too expensive for the average person to afford.
Basic visits to the doctor can be expensive, especially when they order tests and labs to figure out what’s wrong.
You are looking at even more money if you need medication or treatment.
Of course, high insurance costs make this problem worse.
If you don’t have insurance, you can expect to cover all high costs out of pocket.
Overall, it’s not a great system that results in many people avoiding care because they simply can’t afford it.
Even though free healthcare would mean paying more taxes, many would rather have this alternative.
Many items on this list so far have been significant issues.
But this item here is more of a minor complaint.
Parking is something that many of us do for free.
Whether at home, on the street when we need to get somewhere quick, or even in front of established businesses, parking for free is relatively commonplace.
However, in areas like major cities, it’s easy to find a host of parking that you have to pay for.
This can be a minor annoyance for those who are just visiting but a significant expense for those who live in these areas.
Free parking should be something that all can access, not something you have to pay for!
#13. Luggage When Flying
This one is a big issue for many people.
If you are taking a plane to fly somewhere, it is only natural that you will need to bring along luggage.
So why charge extra for it?
The issue is mostly the added fee, because if airlines baked the fee into the ticket price, no one would have an issue.
#14. ATM Service
It’s your money, so why should you have to pay to access it?
Banks counter with the convenience of allowing you to get your money whenever and wherever you want costs them money, and they are passing that along to you.
But if you see just how much they earn from fees, you would know this is simply an excuse to pad the bottom line.
Things Money Can’t Buy
When we think of money, we think of all the things we would buy if money weren’t an issue. But it is important to look at the priceless things money can’t buy.
Usually these things lead to far greater happiness, so it is important you remember to be grateful that you have these in your life.
Live A Life Of Unlimited Wealth
It’s important to stop every once in a while and appreciate the things you have in life.
And with a different perspective, you may find you are far wealthier than you ever imagined.
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Best Ted Talks On Personal Finance
Ted Talks are a great way to learn about a new topic in a short amount of time. They can be a springboard to getting better educated in many areas of life.
One great example is money. Here are the best Ted Talks on money that will help you start improving your finances so you can live a better life.
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Saving money can be hard, especially if you are looking to have $100K in the bank.
But while it feels difficult, don’t let this stop you. Here is how you can save $100,000 in nine steps.
This thread inspired this article.
I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.