Don’t buy a house and I’m coming back strong!

Today I was told that my house won’t appraise for much more then the balance of my loan. That means to sell the house and get this monkey off my back I have to come up with around $4K – that I don’t have.

It will probably take a few years to completely recover from living off my credit cards these last few months. My credit card debt increased by $15K. The cards are now maxed!

I was curious so I did the math today. I added up all the money that went into this house to buy it and then subtracted what I would have paid for rent and the amount of tax savings I received. Not taking into account the $4K I need to sell the house, or all the stuff I am selling on craigslist for pennies on the dollar, I am out $16K for the last two years.

In the Rich Dad Poor Dad materials it is stated that a house is a liability. Everyone around you is going to tell you that right now is the time to buy. DON’T DO IT! A house is a huge liability and it is not an asset! The employment culture of today is only secure to those who accept that it is unstable and plan for the next move. Don’t get me wrong. I step into each position believing it will last forever, but I won’t ever take a hit like I have here in STL ever again!

This has nothing to do with faith, words, positive thinking or giving. Last year alone I gave away 20% of my income. I believed for the best and fought hard spiritually and personally to make a horrible situation turn around, yet sometimes as the bumper sticker says “it” happens! No matter what you are taught God is not magic and there is no formula to be blessed and circumvent crisis.

When I moved to STL I had $6K in the bank. I had some credit card debt but I was actively chipping away at it. Now, things got so bad two months ago I applied for food stamps. Very humbling! Because I am single it was the only GR I could qualify for. I ended up taking a minimum wage job at Macy’s, yet, even though it hardly paid for the gas to drive there, it gave me something to do. Lord knows I aggressively sought employment and after this move I will take some time and blog about what I have learned. A blog is a good time capsule and the posts I made 6 months ago were just a little whacked. I now have a whole new understanding.

The good news is I am FINALLY seeing a change in the situation. This has been the longest ongoing crisis in my life. One hit after another. Most of the time the hits came when I was away from work which caused me to work more. I literally was in fear of what would happen when I take time off. It was insane. Of course, there are several more hurtles. Isn’t there always? The moving company attached a 19% fuel surcharge which eats my entire relocation budget. Now the gas and hotel I pay for. Again with money I don’t have. The house MUST sell. If it does not I am tanked!

Ok, why am I posting this? Because I am like in a crazy good mood. The house, the money, the stuff – I can always get that back. As I found out by accident the #1 search word that people type in and find is the word breathalyzer. They land on a post I wrote about the “capacity to be honest” which could not be more perfect. If a person is trying to figure out how to beat a drug test they are not being honest with themselves. Truthfully, the biggest problem I see with people is most of us don’t want to hear the real truth. But that is another post! The capacity to be honest post has even more significance. It was the first time I openly shared about AA and shortly after the church leadership chastised the 12 Steps four times in one meeting. That showed me that my blog was being read and that I could no longer be honest. And yes, it took away my passion for this blog. Repression can do that. Over the years I have seen church leadership be open to AA, and closed to AA. Usually the ones closed to AA have never been to a meeting so they have never shared the unconditional love. Let’s face it; church sometimes makes me want to drink. AA helps me stay sober. There is also a saying. If you want to hear about God go listen to a preacher. If you want to see God in action go to AA and watch one drunk helping another stay clean.

Also, one thing I noticed up unto that point. The more real I got, the more personal I became, the more vulnerable I was, the more you responded. For many of the posts when I started to be vulnerable, capacity to be honest included, I received emails from strangers thanking me. So what’s my point already? Right now I would bet there are lots of people out of work and losing their house. I just felt that if I share about it, the real truth of the situation, that someone out there could relate and maybe, just maybe they would find some hope in this post. Because there is one thing I can guarantee you. even though the challenges of the last 18 months have been exceptionally taxing and came close to destroying me – I am not only going to survive this – I am coming back swinging.

Chase me!


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  • Welcome back to the blogosphere!

    I am so psyched that you are on your way back to LA and to a great ministry. God isn’t magic, but He is very good and loving.

    BTW… I have owned (with the bank) five houses. One of them I bought and sold the same year. I have never lost money on a house transaction, even when it was an emergency sale and I had to move on a deadline. I haven’t done the long-term math, but between the profits on the sale of the houses, and the tax deductions while owning them, I am definately way over on the positive side of the ledger. Problem: sometimes housing markets crash in particular regions. Sellers in Miami and Detriot are in tears right now, but the buyers should be happy because the market will rebound, although perhaps not up to the recent high valuations.

    But don’t buy a house in LA. That is the one city I lived in where I did not buy. It was such a smart move. The market dumped when we were moving and I would have been slaughtered.

    Get packing.

  • Thanks for the comment and the encouragement Joe.

    You are correct. The market goes up and down and to actually make home buying worth it one must stay in the same location for several years. Unfortunately the job market has changed and I don’t see that going back to the way it was. The days of “cradle to grave” employers are long behind us, and with the growth of offshoring, stats show people under age 35 will change jobs every 2 – 3 years, and people over age 35 every 5 – 8 years.

    You would think that ministry would be different yet that is not the case. In fact, some ministries have employment practices that rival the CIA. We both know several good qualified people that one day found themselves unemployed without good reason or notice.

    A good friend who visited on my birthday a few years back tried to warn me by asking where I was going next. I responded that STL was my last stop, and that I found a home. Sure wish I had listened to that wise and awesome friend.

    As a population we are becoming more transient and people are staying at each location a shorter amount of time. One must eat so we go to where the work is.

    Why I am saying that buying a house is a dumb move is just to give another side of the story. Over the years so many people told me over and over and over that buying a house is the thing to do. The peer pressure is overwhelming because we are all programmed to chase the American Dream. For some, home buying may make sense. For others, single adults, or married couples who are developing a career before kids, home buying may not be a good idea.

    Btw, who designed your blog? They did a great job 🙂

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