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Here, here!

I read an article in the P-G yesterday that said what I have been feeling for months. In a nutshell, those of us who bought homes that were no more than what we could afford, pay our mortgage and taxes on time, save money every month, and just live beneath our means in general are getting the shaft.

I do feel sorry for people in bad situations, especially those who did not live above their means and unfortunately found themselves with, say, a medical condition and poor/no health insurance or out of work. But I have a lot trouble sympathizing with families who earn 30, 40, 50k a year, buy a 200k house, drive nice cars and take yearly beach vacations and then cry because they got in over their heads.

I know someone who recently lost his job. He has blown through his savings as well as his retirement. I asked what he was going to do, until he finds another job, and he said he is hopeful it will work out. It is nice to have a good attitude; certainly worrying about it isn't going to get you your job back and replenish your savings, but this is someone who did not have much in savings to begin with. I have a friend with three kids who although is working has little or no savings. What will he do if he loses his job? Another friend bought a house before he sold his first house. Eight months later he is still paying two mortgages. Someone else yet carries a credit card balance (with interest) yet sits on more than an emergency fund. Why would you pay 8 to 26 percent in credit card interest rather than take money out of a savings account that gets you less than 1 percent interest?! Or how about those who complain about having no money yet they manage to go out to dinner multiple times a week and/or go out every weekend.

Bri and I have been on tough times. But when we saw our income drop by about 6o percent for about a year, we took action and cut things out. It helped that we had already been living beneath our means (but who lives that much below their means?!). Before we got back on track, we hardly had any savings left. And if we would have gone on like that for another six months or more, who knows what would have happened. But if we had not saved beforehand and had not given up a lot of things, would I be expecting the government to rescue me? Considering we qualified for reduced or free health insurance for Jordan at one point and did not take advantage of it, I would like to think not. But who knows.

We will be taking our house off the market next week. Jordan starts kindergarten on Monday, and I just cannot see moving her in the middle of the school year. Sure, it is a little disappointing that we did not sell our house, but the good news is we can continue to save money (God willing). Hopefully by next spring, we will have enough saved to help offset if we sell our house for a lower price. But if not, then we will probably just stay here. Brian was quick to remind me that we hardly have any money saved for Jordan for college, so selling our house for less might not work anyway. (Do average working adults really have large college funds when their kids are this young?! And if they are doing it at the expense of their own retirement or if they are carrying credit card debt, then why do it?) I just don't want to put myself in the very situation others are in that I bitterly complain about.

Comments

Christine said…
I agree! Whatever happened to "learning from one's mistakes"? Too many people expect to be bailed out -- because they always are. What's the lesson in that? How many will go right back to the same frivolous lifestyle, while you and I and other responsible citizens foot the bill? I feel sorry for those truly victimized by predatory lenders (the lenders should be punished, not me). The rest of you need to own up to your irresponsibility and start fresh, smarter this time. It's simple: If you can't pay for it, don't buy it.
Facie :-) said…
Sadly most people won't change, but listening to people call in to the Dave Ramsey show and say they are debt free (not including a mortgage in most cases) gives me hope. I am amazed at those who pay off 10s of thousands in debt, often in two years or less. But the cynic in me wonders if these people won't end up just as they were before they turned their life around.

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