Monday, November 30, 2009

Spilling My Guts

So, after not talking to anyone before making the decision to short sale the house - I promptly proceeded to tell nearly anyone who remotely asked how things were going. Ugh. I have GOT to learn to keep my mouth shut. Hopefully, I have, as this guilt settles in.

Of course, I think spilling my guts to my entire family and a few close friends is probably better than Mr. Man's approach - where he has not even told his own father. The dear man heard that we were going to Italy and responded with something to the effect that he was glad he no longer had to worry about us and our financial stability. Hah! Maybe he knows more than Mr. Man discloses...if not it's quite ironic.

While I do think it's appropriate for me to NOT tell the whole world about our situation - besides the Internets of course, there was a moment where I think it became entirely appropriate to spill it.

For Thanksgiving I got to go home and visit my family. Mr. Man couldn't come, which was sad -but worked out in the end because we're using his time off for Italy. Anyway, my cousin and my aunt (who live together - even though Cousin is 27) came down for dinner too. Don't get me wrong, it was great to see them. But they do have a few quirks that I find hard to stomach.

For instance, they firmly believe they are poor. And overtaxed. (these people have gone on 4 vacations this past year, once to Hawaii and 3 times to the Oregon coast, and they do NOT vacation cheaply; they've also renovated their home in multiple ways over the past several years; etc., etc. they are not, by any stretch, poor)

Well, as we were playing cards my cousin was lamenting over her finances and the fact that the government takes so much of her income. "it would be better to just be poor" Those were her words. I couldn't take it any longer. I was 98% sure that she made more than Mr. Man and I combined, and here she was lamenting her wealth because she has to pay taxes (like we ALL do, except, I suppose, the truly poor). So, I spilled my guts. I'm not good at confrontation, but I'm getting better. So to her "it would be better to just be poor" I responded, maybe...but then you might lose your house. LIKE I AM. The thing was like it didn't register. So I went further - I asked her how much she makes. $50k per year, but the government takes $12k of that. Uh huh. So - honey, YOUR NET income is about $2k shy of my GROSS, combined, income with my husband. And let's get more detailed. She pays $300/month for her share of the mortgage on the house she shares with her mother. And they split the bills.

I'm sorry - how is it that you're poor? I don't care if I offend anyone reading this - if you make $50k per year and only have to pay $300 per month for your living expense, be it mortgage or rent, you ARE NOT, at all, poor. Okay? If you think you are, then just stop. Just look at what you spend your money on, and realize that some people don't know how they'll buy their next meal. And we're not talking a meal at Olive Garden...I mean potatoes. Or rice. You know, real poor people food.

The thing is - I don't think I'm that poor, really. Sure, I'm broke. And we have definitely cut back on niceties to try to make things work. But we're not poor. We have lived in a beautiful house for 2.5 years. We drive 2, very nice, one brand-new and one almost new cars. We CAN afford to eat fruits and veggies, even if we can't really afford to eat out. We CAN afford new clothes once in awhile, and we ARE going to Italy, for crying out loud! Oi. So, just know, that I know, despite our situation, I'm still very lucky and even though my bills currently outweigh my income, I'm not truly poor. And that's what I'm thankful for. As dire as our situation may look on paper, we're still living a very nice life. We're still together. And we're not selfish, careless, or foolish enough to believe that we are poor.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sick to Our Stomachs

It's like the past 6 months we've been running around with our eyes closed shouting I can't see you! I can't see you! And if I can't see're not there.

Wednesday, someone opened our eyes.

We met with a HUD approved mortgage counselor on Wednesday. I found them on the HUD website for AZ and contacted them, maybe 6 weeks ago. I was hoping to get help getting a loan modification. I'm pretty sure I've stated this before - but since Mr. Man lost his job and took the new one at less than half his old income - we can't afford our bills. We're in the hole roughly $700 every month. How have we been surviving? By taking out student loans, and closing our eyes to the insanity.

So, shortly after contacting the HUD agency and filling out their initial paperwork, I got word from my bank that they were (finally!) starting us down the path for a Making Home Affordable Modification. This is a fun story...(but this post is already too long, so I'll sum it up - basically, the bank keeps dicking with me. Yay!) The major points are these:

Starting from when I lost MY job in September 2008 I've been contacting our lender to see if we can get some sort of refinance or something (I had no idea about loan modification yet). At the time, there was nothing. I quickly found other employment and then went back to school in January of 2009. While not ideal financially, it put us back to roughly where we were when we first purchased the home. I make about $2k less per year than I did, but $2k per year is a very manageable deficit, so we were fine. And I stopped worrying over a refinance or modification.

Then, in May Mr. Man lost his job. So starting May 2009 I've been calling our lender at least once a week trying to get some work out. By then, I'd heard of Making Home Affordable and had been on the website and determined we were eligible! Great! Well, the Bank kept saying that they didn't know anything about the program. And because we continued to pay our mortgage, because that's what you're supposed to do, they really had no options for us.

Which brought us to August 2009, where I took out a LOT of student loans and Mr. Man got his new job. Our new combined income is less than his old income was. We're now making about 2/3's combined what we had when we purchased the house. And, are in the hole each month. So what do we do?

Normally, I'd sell the house. But the house is worth about $95k and we owe $182. Can't really sell when can't break even.

In September/October we decided, we'll just take out the loans and make it work until I graduate. I mean, at least we have that option, so we should take it. I'm pretty sure I wrote a post stating that. By doing that, we keep our credit in tact, our pride unharmed, and our heads held high.

Which brings us to November 2009. When we met with the HUD counselor. Who pointed out that our plan of taking out what will ultimately be about $80k in loans by the time I graduate, to stay in a house that we owe $182k on, that is only worth $95k, is not a financially sound plan. Further, we will need to move in 3-4 years for me to get a job upon graduation. Not, I will want to we will have to if I want to be a professor and to use my PhD (I do). This complicates things because he said that, conservatively, we're looking at 15 years in the house before the value goes back to what we owe. Just to break even. But that's the $182k. Not counting the additional $80k. I feel like most people say houses are always a good idea because they always have equity. NO THEY DO NOT!

So, what do we do? Do we "transition" now? Which means attempting a short sale. That's risky, because if we can't find a buyer or the bank doesn't agree to it, then our next option is a deed-in-lieu, and if they won't accept that, then we've backed ourselves into a corner and have to foreclose. We both have excellent credit. Are we willing to accept foreclosure?

If we choose to continue to attempt a modification - hoping that this HUD agency will actually accomplish it since I've been unable to on my own for over a year - then we have to hope and pray that something happens so that in four years we can actually sell the house. I mean, if it's not worth what we owe in four years, we'll be in the exact same situation of looking at a short sale. But without the government legislation that is around right now to help people in our shoes.

Truthfully, I want a short sell. It's the least harmful to our credit, we can feel "good" about ourselves trying to do the best thing for ourselves and not just "walking away". But, if we attempt it, it's not guaranteed. It's up to the bank.

And then after making up my mind on that I look at friends and family. I know everyone's lives seem perfect from the outside...but some of our friends and family really have great things going on. I'm happy for them, but then feel jealous and sad for me. Lame, I know. They're settled in their careers and making their houses into homes that they will live in for a long time. We're not in that position, but I kind of want to be. The truth is, we should never have bought the house in the first place. But when we bought it, we as people were very different. And the direction we had planned for our lives was very different. Shit happens. Plans change. So what do we do now?

I don't know what we'll do yet. Mr. Man is really stressed out by all of this. I think he's taking it harder than I am. Probably because this is coming at the same time that he's feeling dissatisfied with his new job and feeling like he needs a "career". But he's not sure what career interests him. He doesn't feel a passion for anything but police work - and the departments are not hiring right now. So what do we do?

I might add - that we feel 100% ridiculous that we bought a new car in September, and we're going to Rome in December. And then talking about possibly foreclosing. The fact of the matter is neither of those purchases (foolish as they may or may not be) are why we're considering a foreclosure. It is not that we made these purchases and now find ourselves without recourse. It's that we realized we may be sinking ourselves for the rest of our lives for a house. When instead, we could transition now, take advantage of the legislation set up to help us, and repair our credit over the next 3-4 years, so that when we do move for my job, and want to buy again, we'll be able to. Instead of delaying what seems inevitable, taking out a butt-load of more debt, and winding up in the exact same situation, but worse off, because the legislation won't be there, and we'll have to wait 3-4 years from THAT time, which will delay us from when we'd want to purchase. It seems like the best financial plan is to "transition" now. It's just crappy that everyone (friends & family) will probably assume it's because we're idiots and went to Rome. Even if we hadn't had that trip, we'd be in the exact same position right now.

So what do we do?

It sounds to me like we attempt the short sale and hope it works. And accept the possibility we may foreclose. And hope that that's the right decision...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Trial by Jury

The general sense of apathy and entitlement present in today's young society is, quite frankly, appalling. I say young society because that is the part of society I am most familiar with. And truthfully, I hope that some of our society might not be as degenerate.

What's prompting this rant? A status on Facebook. Yup, I'm on Facebook. And one of my FB "friends" posted a status that said, and I do quote: "NO!!!!!!!!!!! i have jury duty tomorrow! :( "

Several other "friends" commented on this status to the effect of "that sucks" "hahahaha" and then the original poster replied "it's not fair"


No, I mean SERIOUSLY???

Do you want to have the right to a trial by jury if, God forbid, you should need it? Do you want your family and loved ones to have that right?

Then SUCK. IT. UP.

Do your duty. And do it honorably. And stop whining.

Monday, November 2, 2009

That'll be a No.

The hospital said No. We must pay the whole bill. Good-bye savings! It was so fun having you! Ironic really - if we'd spent it on fun stuff we'd have not had it and then maybe the hospital would have said yes and helped pay the bill. But because we were being responsible and had the savings, we got to spend it on the hospital bill instead. See why we're going to Rome on student loans? It's the way to do it apparently.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I should have known it was too good to be true. It feels like I should have realized that good things just aren't for us. Happiness, seizing the moment is not our path. Sigh.

It may still be, but things keep coming up that may cancel the trip. And those tickets we bought at such an amazing price? Non-refundable. Yeah.

So, Mr. Man got a jury summons for a grand jury, that starts a month before the trip. Mmhmm. Those usually take a LONG time from the information I can find out. He's going to call on Monday to see what will happen with that. First of all, we can't afford for him to lose a month or more of his income, and second...we have tickets to Rome!!

Then, today I hear word that British Airways (the airline we're flying) may be striking at Christmas...thus canceling, delaying and otherwise messing up flights. Sigh. I'm seriously hoping if they do that they do it AT christmas. As in, after we get back.

I realize there are bigger issues in the world that should upset me. And I understand the BA workers need fair contracts etc. But, seriously? I had been so excited and now I mostly feel stressed. It would have been nice if the excitement could have lasted at least a week. One week. That was too much to ask?

About this Blog

I have a journal. You know, the real kind...paper, bound in a book form...nice leather cover. And I do write in it...every few months. I like it, but somehow I find it hard to keep up regularly. I'm at a computer nearly all the time, so I find it easier to keep up on this blog. So, that's what this blog is for. To help me journal when I'm away from my journal. A place to collect my thoughts before I lose them to the chaos of my mind.

Or see my first post here. That's why I started this blog.