By J.T. O'Donnell I just heard another story about a family losing their house. The husband lost his job over a year ago. He was given a 6-month severance package. He admits that he didn't do much job searching for the first few months. "I just wanted to relax a little. I'd been working so hard for so many years, I figured I enjoy the time off and then buckle down the last few months and find my next job." Well, that didn't happen... His job search proved fruitless. The layoffs in his region increased and more people were competing for the same local jobs. Since they were already pretty tight on cash flow even when he was working, the family start dipping into other funds (i.e. credit card cash advances) to pay the mortgage. Then his wife's hours got cut at her job and the money coming in got even smaller. Suddenly, they couldn't make payments. They were too embarrassed to put the house on the market and tell their friends what was happening, so they just kept hoping he'd get a job and things would work out. Talk about pressure! My heart just aches when I hear stories like this. I know it seems easier to focus on the job search and avoid reality but this kind of thinking is like being an ostrich - you've got your head in the sand. The family should have looked into help with their debt as soon as it was clear he wasn't getting a job quickly. Having a gameplan would have taken some of the stress off of him while he was job searching. By the time he spoke to me, he was giving off a 'desperate' vibe that was further hindering his job search efforts. I encourage anyone who is in a similar situation or feels like they might end up there to seek guidance. There are tons of resources out there to help you. For example, a site like Secureloanconsolidation.com offers online credit card consolidation. Consumers looking for debt solutions can use it to get advice and resources on the internet - which can help keep your situation private. Also, businesses use it to get listed and be in front of thousands of potential customers. In case you are wondering, it's free to join. Like everyone else right now, I cannot wait for this recession to end. But we need to help each other and face the facts. If cash is more than a little tight, please seek advice and a strategy before it's too late. We all deserve the chance to hang on to what we've got if we can.
July 25, 2009