Thursday, March 12, 2009

Recession Proofing - preparing for and living with unemployment #1

I know this will take more than one post since I was gone all day and Christopher needs to take this laptop to campus soon. I hadn't planned on taking him to class this morning and staying until he finished his last class but he asked me if I'd mind this morning. He's still not feeling well.

As it was, I got a chance to look through that Goodwill (found nothing) and meet my friend, Linda, for coffee. We've been trying to get together for awhile. We talked about the David Wilkerson warning, too. She comes from a different denominational background then I do but we both agreed people we know respect him.

I've had quite a few e-mails asking how we were able to keep our credit good enough to purchase a house (after two different years of being without a job... and no income). First, my husband called everyone to whom we owed money (mortgage, utilities, a credit card, etc.) and made arrangements to pay a minimum amount. Most people were willing to work with us and he called every month.

Second, we received our mortgage for this house through the United States Department of Agriculture. I love working with them. It was mentioned when all the mortgage places were failing that only one was doing well... yes, the USDA! They don't sell your mortgage, at least not the kind we received.

It was the woman at the USDA who told us to write a letter to each of the credit agencies and explain our situation during each period of unemployment. She said our credit was far from perfect but it wasn't too bad, either. That was from keeping in touch with creditors. Each agency accepted the letter and put it in with our credit information. We learned it is all about communicating...

Another little piece of advice (I was talking to Linda about this today)... keep up with all your doctors and dentists appointments when you have a job and insurance. Don't get behind. Make those appointments today. If you were to suddenly lose a job, sometimes your insurance stops at the end of that month (a good company will keep it up a couple months).

If there is any possibility you will be selling your house within a couple of years, do all the necessary work now that will be necessary when you sell it. I'd ask two people to look at your house. First, a very good realtor who will usually be happy to look through it and give advice for free as long as she knows you will call her (or him) when you choose to sell.

Also, if your house is more than a few years old, I'd pay the price to have a home inspector go through and show you anything that must be done before selling it. We were shocked to find out our windows were not to code and we'd only lived in our house four years. The code had changed during that time. The cost to quickly repair them (a friend who is a contractor did the work for us)... $1,000... during a time we didn't have it.

I'll return tomorrow but Christopher needs his computer. I just wanted to start this today. :)

Sigh... please forgive any typos and strange grammar.


LizBeth said...

Now I'm really curious. How do you get a mortgage, of all things, with the USDA?

Mrs. Rabe said...

Those are great pieces of advice, Brenda. Especially about calling creditors.

I look forward to the next installment!

scrappy quilter said...

Great information.

Rain said...

Your posts are so helpful! Thanks so much for taking the time.
My husband has a job that offers dental, so for the first time we've really been able to stay on top of our teeth. And I was thinking if we lose this insurance I'm just glad that we are dealing with some of the bigger problems now so that we can get by with just maintenance later.

Blessings to you and your household!

freetobeme - Anita said...

Thanks for being so open and sharing with us all. I love you.

Lisa Richards said...

Thanks for the link to David Wilkerson's article! I've really had an urge to put in a garden and raise some animals to put in the freezer (even though we don't have a freezer...yet). I think it's always good to be prepared, however, knowing myself as I do, I know it will still all boil down to trusting the Lord to turn stones into bread if need be. It's really not possible to save up enough to last any length of time, and if you did folks would be pounding on your door to get at it. So, we would then be able to feed them for a while, but then, hopefully, these same folks would witness the hand of God as He provides. We're never actually "self-sufficient", are we? I'm glad of that! Because I know my "self", and I'd rather have God at the helm. =0)

We live in exciting times! Lord, please give us Your boldness and courage to face what is up ahead.