Monday, September 22, 2008

Economy fears

Is anyone else out there as nervous as I am about this economic disaster as I am?

Last fall I sold my house in an effort to prevent loosing it. I wasn't behind in payments, although I had been a year earlier. I had a lot of debt, but none of it credit cards, and most of it medical, and a big portion as a result of taking care of (some would say bailing out) my adult son. I don't have a great credit history, but I have always paid my debt in full, I have never tried to deal with those I owed, I just paid what was due as I felt I should. (I did have 1 medical bill "disappear" several years ago and I never checked up on was my ex's responsibility but I know he didn't pay it)

So anyway, I sold my house because money had gotten tight and I was feeling like I was paying for a whole lot of house that I didn't need. My house was 7 rooms (3/2) and I only used 4 of them. It was expensive to heat and cool and needed some work....a lot of work. My son still lived with me and once he left I would be down to 3 rooms, less than 1/2 the house....but all except 1 room had to be heated and cooled because of the layout. I also, truthfully, wanted my son to move out.

Because my house needed work and I was unable to get a loan to fix it up, I ended up selling to a nice young man who planned to fix it up and eventually sell it. Most of what it needed was cosmetic, but it also needed big things like windows and a new deck. I was not unhappy with the price I got....not happy, but not unhappy. It was the beginning of the market failure here in NC and I was just glad to get rid of it.

I had another house all lined up, but was unable to get a loan, due mostly to the sub-prime debacle, which was just starting to make the news. I wasn't a holder of a sub-prime loan, but because of the whole issue banks were not happy to loan to people without stellar credit....and mine wasn't. I ended up giving up on the house and moved into an apartment. (I got approved finally the day after I gave up the house, which made me think it was an omen) I'm still in the apartment, and not expecting to be out soon. The housing market here in NC is definitely a buyer's market, but no one is giving loans and there's a change in the wind with work. work. The company I work for is the latest in a long list of companies.....the first one that I worked for sold our division, to a company that then sold us to another....and now that company is merging with an even larger company....but this merger is being effected by the financial crisis. The bank that was all set to guarantee the loan involved in the merger is one of the biggies that has recently requested (and denied) assistance from the feds in order to keep their business afloat. So until this is settles, apparently our merger is on hold. Everything has been done....all the paperwork has been approved, all the approvals have been given and all the appropriate hoops have been cleanly jumped through....but without that guarantee the merger will not take place. Oh yea....the building we're in has been sold and no one knows what will happen if we don't merge and move to the new company offices...offices that will not likely be available unless and until the merger takes place.

I am single and live alone....just me and my 2 dogs. I have some significant medical issues which cost a fair amount, but not as bad as many people (and many on much lower incomes). Right now I live close to work so I spend little on gas, but if our office moves my travel will be about 5 times the distance and 10 times the aggravation. I can stop eating out, which really isn't all that often lately.....I can cut back on some food....and I guess I'll have to do with the clothes I have. As long as I have a job, I have no fear that I'll starve or become homeless.

As long as I have a job. That is a scary thing to think of when you're in your mid-50s and not in perfect health. Is my job at risk? I don't think so. Will it be if this financial problem isn't handled right? I don't know. Do I have faith that our government will do it right and fix it properly....well, that I'm not so sure of.

I do NOT understand all of what is going on. I have a fair understanding of how banks and businesses work with borrowing and loaning and depreciating etc, but I am by no means an expert. I have stock, but it's company stock and pretty much just sits there. I also have a little stock related to my retirement, and so far that's holding fairly steady.

But if this isn't done right we can be thrown into a severe recession and possibly even depression. What really scared me was hearing last week a financial expert say that we would only go into a depression if "we really worked at it".....and that if anyone could throw the company into a depression, it would be the guy that is currently in charge!

I hope this is done right....and the next administration is able to do something to get us out from under the massive debt we have incurred over the past 7 years!