Remaking America: Dealing with Finance Crisis

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There is lot of things wrong with world today, one of them being people are hurting due to economy all over the world, in Asia, Europe such as Greece crisis. However, nothing is worse than in America, once land of American dream and an opportunities. Easy credit, and buy now and pay later culture has left many people, who are hard working, honest people in stressful financial situation.

I recently wrote about 5 ways to save money and 5 more ways to save money as many of us need to find ways to save money, reduce debt. Yahoo news has recently started a series called “Remake America” which talks about a few family’s stories on how their financial life has been affected by foreclosure, medical issues and layoffs.  Stories are real and emotional, it is sure not reality Television where everything is exaggerated.

Take a look at each families story, see what you can learn from it. It is easy to judge someone else but be able to see how easy it could any of us. Unemployment rates are going down but it might be misleading number, as un-employment rates only comes for current number of people who are getting a benefits. Many people are not reported or do not qualify for the unemployment, making real number much higher and hard to quantify.

New Jersey Family: Unemployment, 3 Kids and Debt

John and Michele Kocotos family has 3 kids, father in law, 2 mortgages, 3 maxed out credit cards, children’s brace and glass, truck that needs repair and whole lot of stress. John has worked for Red Cross for 16 years, helping in many emergency crisis situation such as 911, Hurricane katrina and more. However he was let go due to budget cuts, and now he is working in supermarket at minimum wages. His wife also works but it is not enough to make enough money to pay bills and feed family of 6. You can click below to see their story in video and more details.

See their story here: Remake America: Kocotos

Kyle and Krystal’s Story: Ex Marine’s life now

This is one of the heart wrenching story, Kyle who really wanted to serve his country and do something nice, so he enlisted for Marine corps while being high school. He served  well and was proud of his contribution he made. In 2006, he humvee was exploded by roadside bomb, injuring him and losing one hand.

Now with wife and 2 kids, he is stay at home dad, while his wife works for subway, making little money and no support. This story probably hit  hard many readers as seen by comments, many feeling that US should take care of its soldier so they do not have to be in this situation of financial mess.

To see their story and video click here: Adjusting after war Kyle’s story

Kirk and Latosha’s story: Layoff and crazy bills

Kirk and Latosha’s seem to have starting a good love story. She says, she was waiting for perfect man and she found Kirk to that man and married him. Now six kids, 2 dogs, mortgage and layoff of kirk 2 years ago, has made the couple’s relationship on edge. Kirk as a man has hits self esteem issue as he feels as a man he should be a provider, they have lost a house in foreclosure already but other problems with finance are still persistent.

Latosha works full time, helping low income families, the help that she needs very much herself is the irony of her life. Kirk is spending full time, focusing on finding job without much luck.

See Latosha and Kirk story and video click here: Kirk and Latosha Bills and layoff

Bill and Donna’s Story: Health care and bad economy’s effect

Bill and Donna are older couple with adult kids, they thought everything was going well for them as they were working, had retirement plan set up. Then Bill had a health trouble, he had stroke, one side of body stopped working, when he was barely recovered, he started working at the same job before he had a stroke. Somehow, the company thought it was best time to layoff Bill then.

Bill was down but not out, he and his wife invested their savings to start a business Bill had passion for, a hardware store. Ace hardware store opened up close to his hardware store, failing his mom and pops business dream. Right now he is working hard again but barely making it. Worse part of the story, they had lost, job, business, health and most hope.

To see video and story of Bill and Donna click here: Health care and bad economy

Leslie’s Story: Real Estate Agent bad luck

Like all above story, Leslie’s story is real. As a successful real estate agent Leslie did well for herself and her clients who bought houses. With real estate bubbles, she was struggling but still working hard, until she was laid off by her real estate company. She feels as a single woman and older age has not helped her get a job, as she feels she is discriminated against it. She feels alone in her flight, shame to tell her friends or kids that she has been using her IRA or retirement money to pay mortgage and bills, when that runs out she will be in even worse position.

To read and see Leslie’s story click here: Struggle of former real estate agent

Suggestion for Remaking America:

American culture has been pushed towards instant gratification, buy now and pay later. I was born in India but living here in US for over 20 years, has also made me part of same mentality. I gradually started to change my ways when I quit and decided to be stay at home mom (on purpose). What a thing to do for these people and many others who are in similar situation? While, I am not a finance guru, here are a few suggestions that may help;

  1. If you have 2 cars, sell one or both car. Even when you sell a car with loss, you will get rid of some payments and bills such as car payment, care insurance, gas and so on. If you think you need a one car for job interviews, keep older one or buy reliable old Honda or other smaller car.
  2. If you have one or more mortgage, think of downsizing the house by re-selling it, renting it as whole and rent a room to make some income.
  3. Sell stuff from home, such as jewelry, gadgets, coins, furniture. Even if you sell it cheaper, you will create some space and much needed income with it, specially if the stuff is just sitting in closet.
  4. When you are unemployed, get rid of services or cut down to bare minimum. You will not need premium cable, magazine, netflix, or newspaper subscription.  Make your cell phone and internet service from premium to bare minimum to reduce extra payment.
  5. Eat at home, reduce take out from restaurants. Occasional take out may be okay but if you do it daily, it will add to your expense and your waist at the same time.
  6. No matter how bleak situation maybe, there is a light at the end of tunnel. Think about it, when you have hit rock bottom, only place to go now is up.
  7. Keep up your health and healthy routine. It is hard to find motivation when everything seems to be going against your way but keeping your health and wits about will make you get of the financial hole much quicker so eat healthy.
  8. Think positive, go out in fresh air to walk. Pray to God or higher power. Let go of negative or “naysayer” thoughts from your mind.
  9. Keep trying but if things do not work in some times, have an alternative career or job in mind.
  10. Work odd job, do lawn care for neighbors, start a blog business or any business from home that requires little capitol to get started.

Most of all, do not lose hope. How do I know? I have been there. A few years ago, Zenguy was in between jobs and project and I was stay at home mom of 2 kids so I made zero money. We were in that situation for 22 months, while Zenguy is fortunataly working now, effect of past bills keeps us still little choice. I am not saying it is easy now, but it does get bit better and slowly so keep at it.

Other interesting read:

Top 10 Money Saving Tips

Preserve Food to Save money on Groceries

My No Spend Month Challenge Experiment

How to earn more money

Does Both Spouse need to work? Not if you plan right.

How to Help Unemployed Friend or Family?

Story of Stuff: Must watch for those who like to shop

Compare your richness with world: You’ll be amazed

Irony of Recession:  Goods Price gets higher, income gets lower

How to help someone in bad economy?

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