financialcounselor

Family Members each Facing Foreclosure, won’t even consider Living Together

In Uncategorized on October 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm
I got a friend named Tony. Tony is Italian. He’s also 30 years old and lives with his parents. Outside of the time he spent away at college, Tony has never lived on his own. This is even though he’s got a good career going, has a girlfriend and he makes decent money.
I thought about Tony’s situation when I read an article in the Wall Street Journal recently that talked about how people in Southern Europe tend to stay physically close to their families, and how it’s their families that they lean on when they have money problems. Those Southern European countries–namely Italy and Spain–don’t have much in the way of social programs for people who are down and out. And it’s like that either because families help each other, or families help each other because there are no social programs. Sort of a chicken-or-the-egg question. Either way, that’s how those cultures work.
Reading that story and thinking about Tony’s situation, I thought about all the clients I speak to who are facing foreclosure, and after talking to them for a while, come to find out they have a parent or family member in the same boat, facing a foreclosure of their own, and neither one knows what they’re going to do for a place to live.
In one recent case, a client who is being foreclosed on told me that her mother is also losing her own home, which is in the metro area as her. Both women live alone, and could no longer afford their homes.
I asked her, like I’ve asked my other clients in similar situations, “Have you considered your mother moving in with you, or you moving into her house?” The answer is always a flat out, No-way Jose.
In fact, usually when I bring it up, the client looks at me like I’m crazy for even suggesting it. Now I know there are a lot of scenarios where living with a particular person just would not work out. The resulting disaster might even end up being a headline in the newspaper. And I’m not saying everybody should live with their family long term like Tony, but if two related people are in such bad spots that they don’t know where they’re going to be laying their heads at night, it might make sense to at least consider doing so for a little while. Sharing living expenses is a much quicker way to get back on your feet after a job loss or some other major financial setback. And who knows, you might become closer to that person you live with.
As for my friend Tony, I asked him once why he still lives home even though he can easily afford his own place, and he’s a grown man.
“I’ll move out when I get married,” he said. “My parents don’t bother me, and there’s always food in the fridge. Besides, do you know how much money I’ve saved up?”
What can I say? The guy’s happy, and he’s always got money in his pocket.
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