Archive for August 1, 2010

Working Woman’s Dilemma

My son called me tonight because his girlfriend was panicking. She had always been careful with her money. She didn’t have any credit card debt or car payments; in fact, she paid cash for whatever she purchased, and her ride is a well-used but dependable older vehicle. Unfortunately, she bought a house at the height of the housing and employment market. She didn’t buy in a gated community or anything like that; no, hers is a working class neighborhood that is now quickly deteriorating. She wanted a place that was large enough for a garden and her pets, so her lot is an acre in size.

She wasn’t conversant with the building codes and so was unaware that the house had a LOT of problems and that it was not to code. She didn’t know that the plumbing needed major work as did the electrical. She didn’t know that she would have to disable her lawnmower when she wasn’t home to keep it from getting stolen. (We would have known just from the address, but she wasn’t from around here.) She didn’t dream that her job, indeed, her industry was going to completely shut down a few years later and leave her with no job existing on unemployment benefits of $300 per week which barely covers the mortgage but not the utilities, food or gasoline.

She emptied out what was left of her savings and paid the mortgage this month, terrified that she would be on the street next month when she couldn’t make her mortgage payment. I was able to reassure her, I hope, that she had a little more time to find alternate housing, but…..her good paying job is gone and will not be back this year, next year, or maybe not for several years, I fear. She’s never not paid a bill before in her life and was afraid that she would be taken to jail immediately.

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