Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just walk away.

As I was laying in bed last night trying to sleep. I was fuming about a recent revelation that one of my long time acquaintances had jingle mailed their house back to the bank. When I first found out - I wanted to reach out to her and offer support. I'd always thought of her as a hard worker. I felt this must be a hard time for her. Until I found out that she'd already bartered into another house. Within six months of walking away from her first house. I'm not sure what she bartered. I was too pissed off to ask.

I was just irritated about the whole thing. And it was then I realized - I actually know more people on a personal level - who have walked away from debt than have met their obligations. Obviously I don't know the financial situation of everyone I come into contact with. But, from the people I know well enough to know their financial situations I'd say 70% have claimed bankruptcy at some point, or walked away from a house. I know several people who have claimed bankruptcy more than once.

Normally I'd think I was some weird magnet for these types of people. But, they are from all walks of life. Poor, middle class, and some who would probably be considered quite well off.

Since America forgives all mistakes, there is no stigma to doing this. Everyone knows how to game the system. It is very hard to admit, but members of my own family would claim bankruptcy and they knew they could get a credit card within a year. Claiming bankruptcy actually made them a good credit risk apparently. I don't know what the rules are now, but you used only be able to claim bankruptcy every three years. So the cycle would start over.

It is just so frustrating. It feels like America has just turned into a bunch of con artists. "I didn't know I needed to pay those taxes". "I didn't know about my ballooning interest rate". "I didn't know I'd never be able to pay off my credit cards at 23% interest".

Everyone says "it's okay - you just made a mistake. You can start over". It just makes me so mad. Because on one hand - I see so many people suffering. And, it is very affecting. On the other I see all these con artists, who wind up fine in the end anyway.


  1. Keyser must come from an odd circle. He knows of no one who's declared bankruptcy (though oddly enough his mother basically did that repeatedly - without bothering with the paperwork!). And it seems inconceivable for Keyser to do such a thing.

    You know, as recently as last summer, Mrs. S. would ask about the size of the home equity loan, and Keyser would point out that unlike the case with some people, the money wasn't borrowed to buy plasma tv's or trips to Hawaii but basically for the children's college funds and for our own retirement funds.

    Ha! What a game for suckers that proved to be. It's lost about a third of its value. Now we invest nothing for that, and are just paying off the equity loan (which wasn't all that big anyway). But once that's gone, what the hell to do with the money? Looks like that Australian woman peddling gold was on CNN was right after all...

  2. Um. What does "jingle mail back to the bank" mean?


    "Jingle Mail"
    A situation where a homeowner mails his or her house keys to a mortgage lender due to an inability to meet mortgage payment obligations and a lack of equity in the property. If a homeowner is upside-down in a mortgage and feels the entire loan is a lost cause, he or she may choose to walk away from the property altogether and relinquish it to the original lender instead of going though the foreclosure process.