Chronicle of a personal financial crisisAugust 20, 2009Jon Brooks 1 Comment »
The prolonged recession has made the potential loss of a home a painful reality for millions of formerly comfortable owners. Today, the Mortgage Bankers Association released more unwelcome news on that front: A record-high 13% of mortgage holders are either behind on their payments or in foreclosure. That’s a scary number of people facing an extremely stressful situation. What, exactly, is it like to go through something like that?
Love in the Time of Foreclosure is the chronicle of Stephanie and Bob Walker’s experience navigating the rocky waters of financial collapse after Bob’s high-paying work as a computer consultant dried up—after the couple had bought an $800,000 Los Angeles home. Written with a deep sense of hope, the blog is sub-titled “Two people deep in debt, working our way out and happier than we ever have been. What? Yes. In debt. Still happy. Happier, in fact. Strange? Not really. Follow us on our journey as we share our secrets with the world.”That might sound off-puttingly Pollyanish, but Stephanie’s posts are so unflinchingly candid and full of practical information, they should provide a tonic for anyone feeling buffeted by the emotional ups-and-downs of hard times. “How we avoided foreclosure” details the nail-biting process of selling their place in the middle of an historic real estate crash while under threat from their bank.
A less sanguine post appeared just a few days ago, when Stephanie wrote that she and Bob had gone bankrupt:
At this moment in time, these are the facts:
-WE are ‘camping out’ in my mom and stepdad’s walk-out basement.
-WE are moving in October to the San Juan Islands where we will live for 2 years rent-free taking care of someone else’s house (that story is here.)
-WE are no longer homeowners.
-OUR credit score is 511
-WE have just filed bankruptcy
There it is. Ouch.
Did you miss it? Should I say it again?
We have just filed bankruptcy.
We are insolvent.
We are bankrupt. Lacking in a particular desirable attribute (money.)
The letter of the day is B. And B is for Bankruptcy.
I know. Please don’t look at me like that. Like that! Oh, you’re not? You just had something in your eye? Well, the thing is that I am making an effort to relate to these facts as just facts and nothing more, but I’m not there yet.
Well, I guess because I’m afraid of what you will think. I’m embarrassed! It’s hard to confront the overwhelming extent of our debt and how we got there let alone how everyone else will now categorize us.
Let me be clear:
This is NOT where we thought we’d end up.
This is not where we wanted to end up.
This IS where we have ended up.
As it does for millions in the same situation, the story continues…