October 2, 2011

Mortgage Karma

Today I read an article published in the Wall Street Journal talking about banks going after delinquent lenders who had their houses foreclosed but whose house was sold for far less than what was owed on the loan.   This made me feel relief.  You can tell me that I am cold.  Why do I like seeing people suffer?  These people lost their jobs and haven't been able to find employment since.  So how are they suppose to pay?  Truly, I do have sympathy for them...or at least for some of them.

You see I know of many individuals who chose to lie on their mortgage documents.  People lied about their income, diminished the current debt, floated cash around, or used whatever scheme to ensure that they got the mortgage. Some people even thought that giving the bank a down payment was a crazy idea. How do I know this?  Because people just told me as if it wasn't that unusual, as if everyone was doing it.  And I know that we wouldn't be in the housing crisis if these few individuals were the only ones doing it.  Regardless of what happened after, you are asking for trouble.  Now people are just complaining because the bank isn't working with them or the bank is screwing them over.   Did I miss something?  Who said that everyone is entitled to have a house?  Because isn't this really the bottom line with the people who felt the needed to commit fraud (yes, fraud!) in order to obtain their dream house?  

This whole idea, as you know, comes from American dream of owning your own house, which is something that I would say if you want go for it.  I will not stop you.  However, when I pursue my dreams, I take pride in them.  I work my butt off to get them and feel a sense of accomplishment for obtaining them.  I don't just wake up one morning and steal it, which lets face it is exactly what many people did when they went to buy a house.  Renters didn't want to have to save to have a down payment for their house.  People didn't want to get their financial house in order first (no pun intended).  Instead, these individuals believed that they should have it because everyone else had a house, and they evidently didn't care if the lied and cheated their way to it.  Still that wasn't enough for some, they had to take out second mortgages to be used for whatever they say fit.  The whole situation was like playing with monopoly money. Now I am suppose to emphasize with them because they bank wants to kick them out and maybe even ask for additional cash too?  These are the people who will not get concern from me.

I have gone through financial hardships where I made bad decisions intentionally in order to keep up appearances.  So I can completely emphasize with you on how it happens.  You just wake up one day and you wonder how you got to this place. I get it.  But it not too late to make good on your mistakes.  With help, I got out of my financial crisis and made a commitment to never let myself fall into the same trap again (My parents raised me so much better than that!).  

If you always seem to be the on the "getting screwed" side of the equation maybe it's time to grow up and realize that you made the choices that got you to this place. Regardless that the bank let you get away with lying or whatever, you made the choice.  You could have said "no".  But you didn't.  You had to have you dream house.  So you can continue to complain about how everyone is against you or you can make yourself a better person.  Until them, I am not going to be too concerned if you walk away from your house only to have the bank hunt you down and ask for money.  We'll call it mortgage karma.

September 14, 2011

Different or Negative?

Recently, a Facebook acquaintance brought to my attention that I, as well as others, are very negative people.  In fact, I am such a negative person that they had to put me on block because he couldn't handle seeing the things that I posted.  I've burned my share of bridges (none are among my proud moments), but I'm thinking "wow I must have really done it this time".  When pressed to find why this person felt this way, I found the reasoning amazing.  I was deemed a negative person simply because I didn't agree with what the other person was saying.  Well, if this is true, then I cannot deny that I'm "negative"... oops, my bad!   

But then wouldn't everyone be a negative person?  No two people will always agree.  Could you imagine a world where our differences were negative things?  I cannot imagine living in a world where such pessimism exists.  Thank goodness, I actually see differences as something positive.  Diversity gives us a chance to learn, to see things through someone else's eyes.  For those who disagree, I'm not going to apologize for being "negative", but I welcome the chance for you to show me that I'm wrong.

September 11, 2011

Are We Remembering, Honoring, or Making Money?

Today, of course, is 10th anniversary of the Sept 11 attack.  I like most, if not all, Americans remember exactly what they were doing when they witnessed or heard reports of the first plane hitting the Twin Tower.  However, unlike, many Americans I cannot begin to imagine what loss that day truly signifies.  So maybe I'm too far removed to make this judgement call, but I'll leave that for you to decide.  Here is my point:

We turned on the television this afternoon to watch the start of the Bears game (no we're not exactly fans).  We happened to turn the television on as the U.S. flag was being rolled out in honor of those fallen on Sept. 11, 2001.   We watched and remembered like many others across the United States.  Then it went to what we thought was a commercial, but we quickly realized that it was another 9/11 tribute.  Or was it?  I turned to my husband and said (yes, very cynically) , "watch this be some corporate sponsor acting like they care all the while promoting themselves."  Sure enough, the ad was sponsored by Verizon (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXOVP3Tk6Lw).  To me, wouldn't the tribute truly honor people if you did it without any personal benefit.  For example, the ad may have been better served if it were done anonymously? Maybe Verizon truly was doing it without wanting anything in return, but I've worked in Corporate America too long.  Rarely have I seen companies do anything without the goal of generating more profit. For example, Fox, the network carrying the game, didn't care who bought the ad.  Fox execs made money for their company, and nothing else really mattered.  My thought is this: Couldn't this money have been spent better elsewhere if the true goal was to help/honor those who lost someone through the 9/11 tragedy?  Just a thought...

The Blog

For as long as I can remember, I've been a wall flower.   Trust me, I have had many times in life where this classification would not have been a compliment.  However, I have truly come to enjoy this life...this entertaining life.  Sometimes life's lessons can be best learned by watching and listening.  People watching is one of my favorite past times, sometimes lonely, sometimes frustrating, always interesting.  It's not for everyone, but this blog is my view from the wall.

The "Bank" Friend

Over my life I have realized that friends come in many different forms.  Many friends are there during a short duration, are close to you at the time, then are suddenly gone from your life without any real consideration given (not that it was intended that way).  Others are by your side just for a moment to get you through a crisis like an angel sitting on your shoulder.  And still other people are those few who have been there through your whole life who know you better than you may even know yourself.  I think that everyone could probably relate to each of these classifications and fondly remember each friend's face.  However, recently I was thinking about my role as a friend and have discovered the classification of the "bank" friend.  

A few years ago I met who would be my future husband.  As you would expect, when I began my life with my husband I not only adopted his family but also his friends and acquaintances.  Overall, this set up was a good deal.  Being the loner that I am and most of my family being in Ohio, I'm pretty sure that I'm the one who got the bargain.  Or did I?  Of course, all was well at first. Everyone puts their best foot forward.  Then reality happened. Some of the friends started blowing me off, even to the point of inviting my husband out without any consideration given to me (well, you know I have to watch "the kid").  Fine.  To their defense, I can be very aloof, very quiet, have a take-me-or-leave me-I-don't-care attitude etc.  So I probably am a do-gooder, stuck-up snob (which is why I'm certain it is that I am a loner).  However, something interesting has happened.  I get texts from these very same people asking me if I need my hair cut and/or highlighted.  I get invites to birthday parties and/or house "parties" where you go and listen to a third party try to sell you something. The expectation is that you will buy something, and the host will get free stuff based on what you buy (you know the type!). Truly, I do not mind having a friend style my hair.  Frankly, my friends are cheaper than salons and do as good a job, if not better.  I love birthday parties.  And I enjoy the social aspect of the host parties.  I even buy stuff and haven't really given a thought to how much free stuff my friend gets  ...until now.  You see I have a problem with people who don't considered me worthy enough to hang with for no other reason than to "hang", yet I am worthy of the invite if it involves me buying something that yields them a benefit.  

Thus, the term "bank" friend.  Now I don't blame my husband, and I'm not even sure that I'm mad or in any way upset with these individuals.  I've had these "friends" in the past and have since moved on.  Truly my husband's friends are his friends, and I can "get along".  But it's amazing to me to see how these people act.  I'm not even sure they consciously do it.  One thing for sure: I know exactly the type of people they are, and I know exactly how they see me...  as a bank!