Friday, May 27, 2011

Dave Ramsey Is A Hellraiser

     Where to start?  In the neighborhood of two years ago, my wife, "The Boss" decided to give our mortgage company a call just to see if there could possibly be any way to lower our monthly payment.  The response she got went a little something like this.  "Well, Mrs. The Boss, we can't even talk to you about this until you have failed to make your house payment for two months."  Immediately, we hoisted our red flag.  But our mortgage company who we now refer to affectionately as, "The Devil" assured us that we were perfect candidates for a loan modification, and that there is nothing to worry about, as long we stay in constant communication with them and to be truthful along the way.

     After 8 months of jumping through flaming hoops and sending pay stub after pay stub to "Verify" our income, "Devil Mortgage" came to the conclusion that we made far too much money to qualify for a loan modification and that we needed to come up with the 8 months worth of unpaid funds in order to remain current on our loan or face foreclosure.

     In the 8th month of this process, I received a bonus from my employer, one of two that we receive every year.  As it turns out, the following paycheck included all of the sick pay that I had not used and was paid for in one lump sum from the previous year.  " Mr. "The Boss's husband," our records show that you alone without "The Boss's" income make about $8000 a month, and we think that you are more than able to pay your monthly obligation to this loan."  Whereupon I responded, "Are you on drugs? Have you not seen my pay stubs from the past 7 months?  If I made that sort of loot, do you think we would be having this conversation?"  Hither nor yon, because a year later I am in a rental home down the street from where I once was drowning in debt.  Our home was stolen from us simply because we asked for a little assistance.

     A few days ago, my inlaws gave us a book titled, The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey.  For those who don't know of him, Dave Ramsey is a Christian man who is well versed in the arena of finance.  He is a man who has experienced first hand the ups and downs of wealth and poverty.

     "The Boss," asked me to read this book with her and to make the neccessary sacrifices in order for us to get out of this financial downward spiral that seemingly has no bottom.  Last night I dove in with her.  She is a speed reader, so when I got home from work, I realized that I had 108 pages to read just to catch up.  It took me from 8:00 to 12:00, but finally we were on the same page.  After page 8 or maybe 12, in an uncharacteristic fashion, this Christian financier had his Hellraiserian hooks in me.  This is going to be very difficult.  This is going to pitch me far outside of my comfy little box, and it's gonna fuckin' hurt.

     Obviously I am changing the normal tone of my blog.  I may lose some readers because of it and I'm gonna have to be OK with that.  I have decided to further expose my personal world to the real world.  I am going to chronical our journey through this financial crisis until we reach freedom on the other side.  If I don't go out to eat with you, if I don't go to the ball game with you, if I don't have HBO, if I don't wear the latest fashions, if I have a shitty attitude, if I serve you beans and rice for dinner when you come to my home, blame Dave Ramsey.  But when I am completely debt free, taking the vacations I want to take, eating at the restaurants I want to eat at, wearing the clothes and shoes that are currently on the other side of the storefront glass, I hope that you will still be my friend.  I hope that you will have supported me from the get go.

     I am going to be very Julie and Julia about this process.  It's gonna be a running through Times Square without any pants on kind of experience for me.  But at the end of it all I am hoping that the story I have shared will be one of success that ends with a deep exhale and a smile.  Wish us luck .