Sunday, March 30, 2014
Thanks, Mom, For Inspiring Me
Once I made the decision to get married and start a family, I put my head down and went to work on a rock-solid plan to build wealth. I made all the right moves, including buying commercial property, investing on a regular schedule and keeping my expenses to a minimum. I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day so I could have more money to buy aggressive growth mutual funds. Then the economy turned south and so did my investments. No worries, I thought. My home has a couple of hundred thousand dollars of net worth. I'll recover. That's when my wife told me her homesickness was tearing her up on the inside and she wanted to move back home to be closer to her family. The real estate market completely collapsed in the blink of an eye and my last remaining asset became a liability. That's when I had my most memorable conversation ever with my mom. Here's what she said to inspire me:
"Son, when I was fifty, I had no job, no money and no retirement account. I decided to get busy and recover. Today, my house is paid off, my retirement account is healthy, I'm healthy and I have everything I need. I believe you can get through this. Stay close to your wife and the two of you can get through anything."
"The banks aren't cooperating," I told her. "My realtor keeps finding buyers but all they do is drag their feet. Home prices are in a free-fall."
"Don't worry about the banks. They're in trouble. Keep your faith. Feed your family. Everything will work out. Just follow my example," mom told me.
My mortgage company threatened to sue me for the deficiency once the short sale was approved four buyers later. I told them I knew California real estate law and that what they were doing was illegal. They backed off. I sold all my remaining possessions and moved out of California. A junk debt buyer decided to attack our family the first month we arrived in Iowa. Instead of rolling over and letting them wipe us out, I decided to fight and force them to prove their case. They falsely believed that because our family couldn't afford an attorney, they could get away with not following the rules of the court. They chose to ignore our requests for proof they had a right to sue us. The judge was not happy with their behavior and ordered the junk debt buyers to comply with our requests or face sanctions. They filed a motion for dismissal and walked away.
I have more respect for my mother than ever. She kept her cool when her world was unraveling. She proved to me that when you never give up, good things happen. Thanks, mom, for inspiring me. I feel like I'm in one of those Allstate commercials where they say, "you're in good hands." Yes, I'm in good hands – God's hands. And I trust He will guide me just as He guides my mother. And if you need some encouragement today, take my mother's advice and keep your faith. She's right – everything will work out. Just put your head down and do the work.