Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More Random Musings

I was watching an episode of 20/20 the other night that showed a family that is about to lose their home to foreclosure because they have not been able to pay their mortgage in more than two years. The gist of the program was to feel sorry for this family, that they lost all their wealth and will now lose their home.

I'm sorry but I did not 'feel' for them. More things started coming to light such as the dad quitting his job 4 years ago to try to start a hedge fund. That did not work so they burned through their $500,000 savings. He had made $750,000 a year before that. Now he is a pizza delivery driver so at first glance you think, wow, what a change! That's too bad!

But more things came to light - he spent about 2 years trying to start his fund, then 2 years looking for a job in his field, then a job as a bartender, and then finally went to the pizza shop. WHAT THE HELL? How can you be out of work by choice for 4 years and then cry about it later and expect others to feel bad for you?

I also did not see the show talking about his wife having a job in that time... the only thing they showed was her working at the concession stand for her daughter's sports team - which was how she was allowed to still play. Mom working off the debt, basically. So what was mom doing in these past 4 years? Was she trying to help keep a roof over their heads or was she sitting around? Their kids are both in school, young teens, so it's not like she was home raising toddlers....

Anyway this showed me that you have to pay attention to what's going on around you. If people are losing their homes left and right, you have to think about WHY. I can see the dad taking 6-12 months to try to get his business off the ground, but when that showed no signs of working out, he could have spent the past 3 years working at something else (even if it was the pizza dude).... but instead he spent 3 years NOT working, and his wife didn't work either. And now we are supposed to feel sorry for them and they got featured on a prime time popular news/documentary TV program? Are you kidding me???? Maybe they would have still had to move from their giant home, but at least they would not have been forced out. Now they are selling all their possessions so they can move into an apartment/condo.

Their children still attend the private school because an anonymous donor is paying the $30,000 a year tuition fee. But they qualify for $500 a month in food stamps. Is it more important to attend private school or could the 30 grand from the donor have been used to save their home?? There were so many issues here I could not believe it.

I think it would make more sense to show a nice normal regular family who lived their lives responsibly, did not pay through the nose for a home and many luxuries (like the 4000 sq feet home, pool, hot tub, Mercedes, closets FULL of expensive clothing, etc etc etc ), but who still lost their home due to no real fault of their own. I would like to learn about those families and learn about how to help them, not learn about a couple who did not work for 4 years and wonder why they are losing their home. I want to see people who worked 2 jobs to keep a decent roof over their kids' heads but medical costs or massive job loss in their area crippled them. They are who I will spend my time feeling bad for and learning about, not the ones featured on 20/20. It was seriously bonkers!

I should add that I am glad he realized that he would have to just try anything and get any job just to at least try to keep food in his children's mouths - but it took a longgggg time to figure that out, which is what bothers me most. But I also keep in mind that THESE are some of the 'bad debts' the govt wants to buy up with their toxic assets plan. So taxpayers will be paying for the mistakes families like the 20/20 one made. Is that where you want your money going? If you were ticked right off about the AIG bonuses, how do you feel about multiple BILLIONS being spent because ofcitizens who grossly over-spent and over-estimated themselves?

If you are American, you are already paying for that family to have food stamps. Meanwhile jet skis, a Mercedes, and many other luxury items are sitting in the garage of that house instead of being sold. And you will be paying even more if the govt buys up the rest of the money owed on their home, which sits on a golf course.

5 comments:

  1. Many people try to hang on to a lifestyle they cannot afford. Its the unexpected that causes you to reassess and examine your priorities. You still have your marriage, your children and a job (maybe not the job you want but you do have work). You are not "poor" just because the material things are gone, your are "poor in spirit" if those are the most important things in your life. Your health is something you can never buy and the love of your family and friends is priceless.

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  2. I too saw that and concur with you.

    I cannot believe the number of people who live beyond their means. I do not know how they sleep at night.

    As i understand it, though, part of the problem is the fact that Americans can deduct their mortgage payments from their income taxes.

    This provides great incentive to maintain high mortgage payments. Because of this many people kept taking paper equity out and remortgaging their homes for higher and higher amounts.

    Now the bubble has burst and those same people are crying foul.

    They have no one but themselves to blame. Cheers.

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  3. I was a single mother struggling to make ends meet on my own. I never owned a house, but always had a home. I had no higher education and I still managed to make it, I was never on food stamps or welfare of any kind. I wish some anonymous donor would have offered me money to send my son to private school. I wouldn't have been whining about anything if that would have happened :)

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  4. Yeah I hear ya! I was a single mom of two, with little child support (sporadic, or very little compared to my output costs). I did live in subsidized housing but I had to pay 30% of my earnings, so it was almost $600 a month by the end- hardly cheap. I worked 45 hours a week, had to take city transit to and from work because I don't drive, and I did not go on welfare either. I did go to the Food Bank about 3 times in 4 years but it sucked so I only did that when realllly desperate. I have had college education but when I first found myself as a single mom, I got a job packing grocery bags at Safeway. I HATED it. It was embarrassing to pack bags and push carts around for people I knew, but I did it cos no one else had the responsibility of feeding my kid but me. It also landed me my next better job because my old daycare boss saw me in there and offered me a job lol. So off I went :)

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  5. Oh and I should add that originally I had found a 3 bedroom apartment and signed a lease and paid my rent and damage deposit, but then Housing called me and said a spot was open with them, so I went that route. Rent in the apartment ended up being less than the housing one, but it was a duplex so I had a yard for the kids. So while I did receive some support for things, I was more interested on breaking that cycle than staying in it for eons.

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*Disclaimer

These are my views and opinions. If you don't agree or think I am sadly misguided, that is your view. Feel free to share your thoughts but I also reserve my right to moderate content (IE foul language, excessive flaming, etc).

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