November 12th, 2010 9:15 AM by Lehel S.
I'm trying really hard not to start today's column with "See? I told you so!" Clearly, I've failed.
Let's go back a few years, like five or six. Or eight or 10. I cannot count the times over the years that I have pleaded with my readers not to fall for nothing-down or interest-only mortgage loans. And how many times did I warn against the lunacy of stripping the equity from homes through the magic of home equity loans? I warned; I pleaded. I think I even nagged on a few occasions. The reason, I explained over and over again, was that no one knew what the future would hold. Homes would not continue to appreciate forever. Your job may not always be there for you. You need to remain in a position in which you could sell your home, and if you owe too much, that may not be possible.
Never, I advised, purchase the most home for which you qualify, even if the lender promises that it will be OK. No lender knows your situation better than you. Purchase, instead, the home that you know you can afford. Then downgrade your lifestyle a few notches to make sure you won't be in over your head.
I am grateful that many of you did listen. And I have a feeling that those of you who did are grateful today. You are on your way to owning your home free and clear because you didn't buy above your means and you didn't cash out all of your equity.
Recent news suggests we are on the heels of yet another crisis in this country - a big fat mortgage foreclosure fiasco.
I just wonder whether the homeowners we now are reading about - the ones who have stopped making their mortgage payments but feel perfectly entitled to stay in their homes - ever have read the mortgage documents they signed. The terms are pretty clear. Basically, the bank says, "We will lend you the money to buy the house. We will share ownership of the house, but you can live in it while you're making the payments. If you stop making the payments, the deal is off. We will take the house back in lieu of your repaying the money we lent you. If you don't pay your mortgage, you can't stay in the house."
This whole foreclosure mess leaves me wondering what has happened to the ethics of personal responsibility. There is no doubt that many people in this country have fallen on hard times, and that is tragic. But even when life throws a curveball, taking full responsibility for our decisions and actions is just the right thing to do. Looking for procedural loopholes and demanding rights that simply do not exist flies in the face of right living.
I have a feeling that I've just raised the ire of at least a few of my readers. I'd love to hear what you have to say, and I invite your feedback at my blog, athttp://www.MoneyRulesDebtStinks.com.
I'll see you there.
Mary Hunt is the founder ofwww.DebtProofLiving.comand author of 18 books, including her best-selling classic "Debt-Proof Living." You can e-mail her firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723.