Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wednesday Morning: F@## the Banks

Well, hello readers.  I've sort of disappeared off the radar the past month or so but never fear ~ I have been busy.

The spouse seems to think he can retire this year but it is a pipe dream minus the pipe.  We don't do drugs.  There is no way retirement is going to happen this year unless The Employer pays the spouse off.  The spouse seems to think it's in the cards.  We'll see.

I have been busy cleaning up after renovations and figuring out what to do next.  We really need to get this house finished so that we can enjoy living in it sans dust.  It is all such a slow process.  We still have college expenses to worry about (naturally) and that constant infusion of cash into the University of California system drains off a lot of resources and extra cash.  There is still much to do to the house but not a lot of money with which to do it.  Much of the interior work we will have to do ourselves because we are receiving ridiculous quotes from contractors who seem to think we are going to make them rich.  Not gonna happen.  If I need to climb up a 25 foot scaffold to save $3000, I will do so.  Done it before.

Tax season is upon us.  I've been completing our 2013 return.  Done and dusted.  Last night, the spouse commented that our paper pile is breeding again .... we have a stack on the desk, in the kitchen and on the floor next to my armchair, not to mention the file box.  Yes, it has gotten out of hand and I am spending the day sorting out old papers, shredding and burning.  Along the way, I have seen tax statements that have hurt my heart.  Would you like a glimpse?  OK.  These items will hit the 'burn' pile later this afternoon but here, recorded for posterity, is a look into my financial life of yesteryear which, thankfully, is long past and will not ever be repeated, and I say that with a giant middle finger pointed in the direction of every loan officer and bank who loaned us money when it was abundantly clear that they should NOT have.  Not with credit scores in the 500s.

From 2006:
Mortgage interest paid: $31,661 + $3206 + $4671 + $1174 + $20,049 + $7015
This grand sum is more money than many people make in one year.  It is certainly more than the amount I personally have made in the past 5 years combined.  The amounts above represent the number of times our mortgage deed was traded and transferred in the secondary mortgage market in 2006, the height of the money grubbing craziness among banks.  Six times.  One bank in particular held our deed for just 2 weeks before selling it on.  If that alone doesn't represent the fraud and corruption of the banking system during the run up to the 2008 crash, I don't know what will.  Bastards.

I have a monthly mortgage statement from Countrywide Home Loans (one of the biggest 'exotic' mortgage loan offenders during this time, if not THE biggest) that shows that one of my home loans is about to adjust to over $3000 a month.  Interest only.  With a past due amount of $6000+ showing in the box underneath it!  Almost $10,000 required to bring my loan current.  Crazy.  I don't know how we ever survived this time but this is definitely the run-up towards our own personal financial crash.  The principal owed on this particular loan was almost $400,000 which was all just numbers to me then.  I'm not even including the amounts owed on the second mortgage.  I'm sure I never even paid attention though.  This is also about the time when my hoarding reached its zenith.  I was too busy 'medicating'.

From 2007:
I am missing papers here, no doubt a symptom of my extreme disorganization back then.
The numbers below are all true and equally unbelievable.   I'm sure there are more itemized mortgage statements somewhere in the ether but this is what I have:
Mortgage interest paid: $64,188 + $4470 + $8155 + $27,536
2007 was the year that everything fell on its ass.  My years of suppressed grief and anger at the way I was treated for the first 20 years of my life came to a head when I finally confronted my father with his behavior and my unwillingness to put up with his shit not one minute longer.  The housing markets were beginning to slide off the edge of the cliff, taking my high paying job with it.  I was left in a panic, facing foreclosure, bankruptcy and a huge house full of hoard.  The numbers above represent our unsustainable, unhappy, expensive and inflated lifestyle.  Not shown is the amount of money it cost to 'maintain' that lifestyle in addition to the mortgage itself, which would've exceeded even the mortgage interest amount shown.  Don't forget too that there were property taxes due on the huge custom ex-home as well and I will fess up here:  At the time we hit foreclosure and had to move out, we owed almost $25,000 in property taxes which had to be covered by the bank and paid to the county before they could transfer the house at foreclosure auction.  We drowned in that house.

I don't have any information for 2008.  I think I shredded it all last year but kept 2006 and 2007 information to remind me of my past gross stupidity.  It's time to let it go now.  I do know that in 2008, my high paying job was gone, disappeared like spit on the hot sidewalks of the Mojave.  In a bid to hang on to the house, before I realized once and for all that such a pursuit was futile, I cleaned offices and houses to make money.  I made a decent sum but spent all of it on mortgage payments so all of my physical exertions were really a total waste of time.  2008 was a tough year.

No information for 2009 either.  Paperwork was all shredded too.  I am only keeping the past 4 years of financial records in order to streamline the amount of stuff I carry around with me.  I do know that 2009 was the beginning of a fresh start, rebuilding our credit and rebuilding our shattered finances.  We were broke and almost out on the streets.  I had some money left over from my high flying days which had to be used to provide shelter for the family and, luckily, I caught a Robosigner at the bank on a 'good' day: our present house was signed over to us by someone working in the bowels of a bank somewhere in the Midwestern States who was tired of handling a massive backlog of seemingly useless and unsellable foreclosures.  We made an extremely lowball offer on a half way derelict house in a decent part of town and the rest is history.  My knowledge of the housing market combined with the internet combined with PURE LUCK made the transaction possible.

5 years later, we continue to rebuild.  It will take a while.


Tanner said...

The numbers definitely tell a story from the past... but what about today? Has that interest amount gone down since you guys started tackling debt? How will go down by the end of the year?

PS: When I first looked at mortgages, I was completely appalled by how much was going to interest. A $180k house with 36k down (20%) would still cost over $375k when paid over the 30 years of the loan... heck no!

Anonymous said...

What bothers me about all of this is that you refuse to take responsibility. You bought a huge and expensive house. How is this the bank's fault? How is paying the loan that you agreed to pay a waste? I don't get it. Personal responsibility would go a long way for you.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Anonymous1 - why are you so angry with the banks/loan company? Did they come knocking at your door, forcing you to sign on the dotted line? I'm not thinking that's the way it went down. I'm pretty sure you walked your pretty little self, all decked out in your designer duds and shoes and purse, into the bank and rerquested a loan. Now, when the banks were freely giving loans, many, many many people could have gone and taken them out (like you and hubby). But they did not. They weren't looking for bigger, better, more, more, more, more. You were. They were content with what they had, maybe even tightening the spending belt to make sure they had their Emergency Fund where it needed to be. You were not. You were struggling to keep up with the Joneses, spending, spending, spending. So why is that not your fault? How in the world could this be the fault of the banks? I just don't get it either. All is fine and dandy as long as you can keep up with the payments for all of the shit you were buying, but once you lost your job and the money stopped flowing, then all hell breaks loose. You probably weren't saving one damn dime of all that money you were making. You were getting greedy. More. More. More. And then the bottom fell out. Actions have consequences. And you are going to be paying for your irresponsible financial actions of the past for a long, long, time.

jxm said...

"These items will hit the 'burn' pile later this afternoon but here, recorded for posterity, is a look into my financial life of yesteryear which, thankfully, is long past and will not ever be repeated, and [I say that with a giant middle finger pointed in the direction of every loan officer and bank who loaned us money when it was abundantly clear that they should NOT have.] Not with credit scores in the 500s."

It's undeniable that the banks are greedy, but it's time to accept personal responsibility because you're just as much at fault for signing the papers.

The sting is the truth.

One Family said...

I think Quest took responsibility in the last paragrah. True, the banks were giving out ridiculous loans they shouldn't have been and people were taking them right up on it....I remember a friend telling us his parents (in their 60's mind you) getting some stupid loan for like 40 or 50 years so they could afford to have their house on the lake. He was telling us "Just go get one of those loans, then you can get the nice house you want" and I was like "umm...NO!"

From.Ae said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

You need to post more consistently!

Sophia Wright said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I don't understand these comments - this blog is all about taking personal responsibility for past mistakes, particularly financial ones. And Quest is living with those consequences on a daily basis - and taking responsibility for the position she is in.

While we are all responsible for our mistakes, it doesn't diminish our acknowledgement of those mistakes to identify other contributory parties/ factors. It is simply crazytown for a working family to pay over $100,000 in interest in a year! Crazy to borrow it, yes, but also crazy for the banks to lend it.

Most people are not well-educated about their finances and they do rely on the financial services market to tell them what they can and cannot afford to some extent. I read this particular post as educative about what banks are prepared to lend, not eschewing personal responsibility (as well as letting of some steam).

Quest - you are an inspiration. Don't let these comments get you down. It's very easy to read one blog post and point the finger. But for those who follow your journey, you continue to inspire.

Kevin Fritz said...

Oh no! I’m sorry for the lost records. It’s hard to track your payments when you lack some of the copies of your mortgage payments. Hmm. How’s your mortgage payments now? I hope you’ll be able to pay off your liabilities as soon as possible. Good luck! :)

Kevin Fritz

Anonymous said...

I agree that quest is taking personal responsibility. But I also think that Quest husband's has taken more of the burden of the bad behavior. What is to prevent her from at least getting a minimum wage job, something (esp as she has a car now) to contribute to expenses, rather than have her husband slave away at his job until he drops? Why should he bear this burden alone? Perhaps he should be allowed to retire, for his mental and health well-being, and Quest pick up the financial slack for awhile. Even if not a high earning job, anything would help.

The Quest said...

To everyone who commented:

I had a nice long response typed out for every comment but then made the mistake of deleting spam comments before I posted it. GRRRRRRRR!!! I lost the lot. The spouse is sitting next to me, wondering what I am up to, so I just wanted to say that I read all your comments and take them to heart.

I have always taken responsibility for the stupid things I have done and for the grief that I have caused my spouse and family. I only posted those interest figures as an example of stupid lending + stupid borrowers (me) and the after effects of borrowing money that couldn't be paid back. I maintain that my bad credit should've been enough for ANY bank to not want to touch me with a 10 foot barge pole but, as we see, that wasn't the case. While I take responsibility for being a financial ignoramus, I also blame the banks' gatekeepers for fudging the numbers and for NOT doing their jobs. Instead of telling me to go sling my hook, the banks merely approved my loans as 'stated income' loans which, I believe, are now illegal. The banks and the powers that be deliberately sunk the US economy and there are tons of Netflix documentaries that detail exactly how that happened. I also agree that my spouse has borne a huge burden in being married to someone who, at one time, wouldn't listen to him and bulldozed over every objection he made when it came to my spending, hoarding and borrowing. I was A HUGE A$$HOLE.

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