Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ron MacQuarrie: $35,000 in debt

The following article was posted on MSNBC.

Surf teacher and retail clerk, 62, San Clemente, CA

I was a mortgage banker for about 20 years and while it had always been a bit of a rollercoaster ride, it also had some added perks in that I set my own schedules. This gave me time for what I really love to do: Surf.

As I watched the bubble getting thinner and thinner and bigger and bigger, I tried to position myself to survive what I thought would be a short-term correction.

First rates went up. Not much, but just enough to stop my business cold. First ones to go of course were the small brokers like myself who could not continue to spend more and more money to capture less and less business.

During that period I ran up about $35,000 in debt, mostly credit card. It didn't seem like much at the time, to try and sustain what I thought was a short downturn that turned into a long-term bad market. Make that a catastrophically bad market that is far worse then anything I have seen before and getting worse.

Then my son's house, which I co-signed for, went into foreclosure. Not really his fault, he was in the same business and his went down as well. At that point I made a decision that since my credit was gone anyway and I was really incapable of paying even the minimum payment on the debt, that I had little to lose and I just walked away. I don't feel good about it. If I can, when I can, I'll work on paying it back, but at this point I don't care much.

Now I am a clerk at a very well run food store part time at night, and I'm teaching surfing when I can. It barely is survival money, but I've discovered that sometimes that is quite okay actually.

Failure can be enlightening.


judyofthewoods said...

If he owes money to the bank, he should not feel bad about walking away. They put him into the situation he is in in the first place.
I don't know too much about the intricacies of economics or law, but if there are a lot of empty houses due to foreclosure, why don't all those homeless people just squat in each other's houses, or even their own? If everyone did it, the law would not have the resources to deal with them all.
Reality check: FEMA concentration camps.

Michael Hawkins said...

There are some houses occupied by the homeless, sometimes even with running water and electricity.
It's currently not even economic to have these people evicted; real estate prices are on rock bottom, the market is saturated so selling those empty houses isn't much of an option anyway, and the squatters can claim legal squatters rights.

Anonymous said...

Actually, you are now living the good life, Ron!
It is funny how I ran into your latest blog as I had just now finished writing my own story on my blog not ten minutes ago and am finally coming to the idea that I am "stuck" in a 40 hour per week job killing myself so that I can get bills paid off and "live" like you are now!
I have been walking around humming Alanis Morrissette's "Ironic" and kicking myself for the past couple of days.

Anonymous said...

It should be obvious especially in this case where the individual was in the business that the banks aren't forcing anyone to take a mortgage. Yes the congress did loosen the requirements to the point where anyone could get a mortgage and that was a stupid mistake. But no, no one twisted arms, it was good old fashioned greed. As for squatters, it is illegal. It is called breaking and entering and could get you five years in jail. If I found someone squatting in my house I would probably be forced to defned myself with a gun. You gave really bad advice.