Monday, March 09, 2009

In which I tried not to look aghast

The snow from the last nor’easter melted over the weekend, and the neighbors held the usual post-storm swap meet, bringing forth the various items that got blown around and buried in random yards. (Sadly, our window shutter has not been found, and at this point I’m assuming it’s floating around in the Atlantic). As I was redistributing various soccer balls, basketballs, and street hockey goal nets, I had a chance to chat with the three-doors-over neighbor. And what a tale he had to tell.

Last I heard in December, he and his wife had just bought a house on Florida’s Gulf Coast, a vacation home and eventually the place where they’ll retire to. I was a little surprised that someone in our exceedingly modest development was buying a second home in this economy but, hey, I didn‘t know anything about these people’s personal finances. They’re fifty-ish and their kids are grown and married. For all I knew, they own everything free and clear and they’ve got great big flippin’ wads of cash in CDs and T-bills and secure retirement funds.

Except they don’t.

By mid-January, the husband lost his job when the car dealership he worked for went out of business. (Apparently nobody saw that coming.) His 401k is, like everyone else’s, a 201k. The couple now has two mortgages to pay plus two car loans. The wife works only part-time, and the couple is now without health insurance. They’ve decided to put the Jersey house up for sale. Good luck with that. There are homes in our development that have been on the market for over a year.

Whatever were they thinking?

1 comment:

Grace Nearing said...

Test comment.