Saturday, March 3, 2012
Losing a job but finding work, part 3
After months of fearing homelessness and hoping for miracles, Mary and her husband decided to use some of their retirement savings to buy a home in Indiana, where relatives lived.
Paying cash gave them an advantage over other bidders.
Their new home is on ten acres instead of four, it cost $100,000 instead of $350,000 like their previous home, and it is bigger than the home they lost.
They are surrounded by forest yet only four miles from a major city, and Mary says it feels more like home than any where they ever lived, perhaps because it is completely paid for and "No one can take it away from us!"
Her husband's health improved despite the emotional stress of waiting for foreclosure, and the physical stress of moving their belongings by themselves, 370 miles, one truck load after another using their pick-up.
Mary drove to Michigan twice a month to work for a week at the retail store, and sometimes she drove by the home she once loved.
"It was so sad. We had asked the bank to let us refinance, but they would not allow that, and after we left, each time I drove by I saw more and more deterioration and signs of people breaking in. A year after we left, it still wasn't for sale and I noticed someone had ripped the boards off so I peeked inside the windows. The basement was flooded, and it looked like someone stole even the kitchen sink."
The store where she worked closed permanently, and she was eligible for unemployment benefits again.
A few months later, her husband's 99 weeks of unemployment ended but a month later he turned 62 and filed for Social Security.
Mary started a new job this month, working full time doing work she once performed in Bloomfield Hills for $15 more an hour than she earns now, but she is grateful.
"Our boys are happily married, successful, working in careers they love," she said, "But I tell them to recognize the difference between what they want and what they really need. "The landscaping, home improvements, vacations, cars, all that STUFF we bought sort of enslaved us, and it was the money we saved that saved us. Now we have freedom to relax, enjoy life, help our parents and visit friends and relatives. Life is good."