Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Do Not Let This be ME!

Women in Red, an ongoing MSN series/blog, today has a story that is my personal nightmare--pretty close to the one where I become a baglady with all my belongings in a shopping cart.

Jane is a 52 year old single mother of two (barely) adult children. She earns $1800+ per month. Her mortgage and condo fees are in excess of $1400 per month, which leaves little room for anything else, certainly not the $400 per month she pays for food. The latter figure seems high to me. For myself and my 17 year old daughter, I budget $400 per month but that's always where the wiggle-room is in my budget. If I make do with less take-out and more home-cooking (thank god, Papa Murphy's Take and Bake Pizza counts in my house as "home-cooking"), I can get by for less than that.

Jane's condo has significant equity, and she could use that to pay off all her debts, including a large one that comes due in 18 months. But it's not clear what rents are in her area or if she'd have a monthly savings by liquidating the condo.

The scariest part is that Jane has only $5000 in retirement funds. At age 52, she's a long way from where she needs to be.

There are message boards and comments at the end of the article. Those were interesting to read as well.


MEG said...

I read this article too, and it certainly is scary. However I think she should not sell the condo, as the article recommends. Rather she should build up her credit score (which she should be able to do in a year unless she's declared bankruptcy before or something) and then take out a home equity line to pay her very high interest rate debts. Selling her condo will mean she'll have to really downsize and lose the stabiliy of her payments and home.

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't have any more dreams about shopping carts - you know what to do to avoid that, and I think you will!