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Posts tagged with: loss

Walking Away from a Mortgage…

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I’ve know I’ve told the story before, but here’s the Reader’s Digest version about our home. We purchased our home in 2007. Since that time, the value has dropped more than $125,000. After we both lost our jobs and I took a new one making far less money, we shaved our spending and are still able to make the payments and reduce debt.

When people hear how far upside-down we are on our home (a common topic in southern California), a good number of them ask… ‘Why don’t you walk away?’

Sunday night, 60 Minutes aired a segment called ‘Walking Away’ about homeowners who can pay their underwater mortgages but choose not to. Nine states forbid banks from chasing other assets, making this process nearly painless.

According to these homeowners, ‘it’s a logical business decision’, ‘it’s legal’, and ‘it’s the right thing to do’.

In fact, there are companies who help you through the process (for a fee of course). One of them is called Youwalkaway.com who says their greatest challenge is convincing people that this decision is not immoral, it’s a business transaction. Homeowners, who can pay their mortgage, live in their homes for free until foreclosure and store up cash for their next big purchase.

Maybe I’m in left field but…

First, I do believe this is a moral decision. I don’t care if I had a lame bank or made a bad deal, I made the decision to take the deal and as long as I am able, I will hold up my end of this nasty bargain.

Second, this is a selfish decision. Sure, these homeowners will save themselves an instant wad of cash… at the expense of their neighbors, their fellow homeowners, and in the end… themselves. One way or another, you and I have to pay for those losses.

Third, no one learns a lesson when there is no loss. The show talked about people storing up cash and buying more things. If you don’t suffer the loss, you simply can’t learn from the lesson and you will make the same stupid mistakes over and over again.

We’ve learned that when people ask about our underwater status, we smile and say ‘Eh, we’re not concerned. We’re staying for the long term and don’t keep track.’

We made a BAD, BAD decision and it’s a lesson we will pay for 125,000 times but I certainly don’t expect others to foot my bill.


Be Thankful This Christmas…

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For the past few weeks, my family has lamented that we haven’t had a ‘good’ Christmas in a several years. Job loss and financial hardship have seemed to plague our family around the holidays. We have been wading in a giant pool of self pity for a while.

Monday, I was tossed violently from the pool.

I was sitting at my desk typing a report when a co-worker came up and admired the photo of my family – all 26 of us (my parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews). The photo looked normal to me. It was all the people I love, a sea of heads, each of us connected to each other. She counted each family member and carefully looked at each smiling face. She continued to stare for a long time and finally said to me, ‘You have no idea how lucky you are.’ (She lost her mother when she was young and her father passed on over the summer).

She walked away, visibly saddened at reminder of her loss.

I picked up the picture, looked at my family… and felt like the most ungrateful person in the world. How dare we complain about our finances and lack of gifts for each other when we are beyond blessed with something far more valuable than money?

I have an unbreakable bond 25 people who love me, who never judge me, who will laugh at me (um, I mean WITH me), and will fight any battle to protect me. I am more confident, more centered, and happier because of their presence in my life.

We were right in saying we hadn’t had a ‘good’ Christmas in years. We’ve had an amazing, great, unbelievable, wonderful, blessed Christmas every year.

Merry Christmas Everyone!