Batten Down the Hatches, and Ride Out the Storm
So it is, that history will record, that in the Fall of 2008, a financial tsunami hit not only North America, but the waves drenched the entire world. Renown economists and politicians simply say that they didn’t see it coming. We’ll leave that for the pundits to argue. While they do, I will make sure I have battened down the hatches, in order to ride this storm out.
I have to admit that even though I was warned several times that the housing bubble was going to pop, I got caught up in the frenzy of the insane prices. Owning my own home and some foothill property, I calculated what my equity was in my two properties, and how much I was worth. That’s was’, as in past tense, as two years later, the bubble has fizzled. And right at the peak of the frenzy, I put money down on another house just like a fat pig going to the slaughter. We were just about to sign the documents; the notary public was AT OUR HOUSE with the docs that would have refinanced our present house with one of these nasty ‘toxic’ ARMs, so that we could rent it out and have the down payment to buy this brand new house with all the bells and whistles, with another toxic ARM loan on it. My wife poured over the contract, and saw right through it; worst case scenario (which the loan officer said would ‘never’ happen) our house payment would have more than doubled. Well, here we are at ‘worst case scenario’. Luckily, we backed out of the deal. The $7,000.00 deposit we put on the house that we lost is mere pocket change to what we could have lost. As we look at it now, we most likely would have lost both houses.
And then the gas crunch hit. Not only did housing prices come crashing down, but the price of gas went through the roof. Who ever dreamed of almost five dollars a gallon? I think it touched the psyche of America: never mind they pay that much for petrol in Europe, for goodness sake, Americans simply said, ‘I’m not paying it’. At least, that’s what I did, and I know a lot of others that did the same thing. I just parked the son of a gun, and drove as little as possible. I think my fuel consumption went from one tank a week to one tank a month. Ha! Outsmarted those oil barons.
So here we are, in our dear old house with the cottage cheese acoustic ceiling and worn out carpet, riding out the storm, thankful as the day is long that we didn’t shrivel up like dead cock roaches on two toxic loans.
Yes, we’re doing a few things different. I hope the new administration can wave a wand and get things perkin’ again soon, but as for me and my household,
#1 We’re cutting back, eating out less and keeping our driving to a minimum,
#2 Staying out of debt, NO new debt, and paying down what debt we do have, and,
#3 This last Christmas, my wife worked her magic at the dollar store. The things she got there! And the gal wrapped them up as if they were from an expensive department store!
They say that even during the depression some people did just fine. They just sat tight, ate beans and taters and rode out the storm. And sure enough, the worm turned. We’ll do the same. And hopefully soon, we’ll be able to sing, Happy Days Are Here Again’, just like they did eighty years ago.