Recalling Old Advice
“Son, the worst thing that can happen to you is to be homeless.” Those words were uttered several times by my late father to me. “Please make sure that you preserve this house for ever, it will help you if times are hard.” I remember these words which were uttered by my mother before she died of invasive breast cancer. And I also recall my Uncle Jim saying, “Bob, the worst problem in this world is lacking a place to sleep, a home.” All this advice has been with me throughout my life.
However, I had never thought about it until I became homeless after the 2008 Great Recession. The Great Recession was precipitated by a mortgage crisis in America. Personally, I was still in college when the recession hit and I must confess that I was rather detached from the problems that the working class folk were facing. Until, I was also swept by the wave!
New fish in old nets
I was born in a family of four, just me and my brother and the parents. As the last born, I had little (no say) in most of the major family issues or decisions. Our dad passed just after I joined college. He died from alcohol related complications. By the way, despite his heavy drinking, which is expected for a freight train engineer, he was a very good and adorable dad. My mother was on her deathbed when dad passed.
Our old folks did not have much wealth to offer. After they died, there was only the old house to inherit and it had a substantial amount of mortgage debt. After our parents died, we found ourselves trapped in our parents’ old mortgage debt. We were the new fish inheriting the old debt. My brother had just finished college and he was jobless. We gave up the house and decided to face life independently.
After clearing college, I got a job and started earning a living like every other citizen; this was after the 2008 recession crisis. I started making good money and enjoying the good life with the easy credit access that was forthcoming from my credit cards. I used my credit cards for everything. I even took my brother and his girlfriend for a trip in Las Vegas where I maxed out two of my credit cards. No problem, I thought. I was going to pay and considering that I was employed, that was no big problem. I was employed by an automobile manufacturer at the time.
Following the recession crisis, the company decided to retrench some of its staff and as luck would have it, I was one of the workers who were retrenched. That’s when I really got swept into the recession crisis. First of all, I did not have a home. I was living in a rented flat while waiting for my mortgage to come through. Now that I had no job, the mortgage could not come through. Additionally, I was really ignorant of the fact that the lenders depended on a creditworthiness factor called the FICO credit score. Following my careless spending spree, I could not secure credit from any of the banks.
I became a squatter in my own country. Luckily, my brother who had landed a good job in one of top technology companies came to my aid. Although I have gotten back on my feet, I still recall the words quoted above which were offered by the old.