I bought my first and only home during the housing bubble. At the time I was a waitress at a breakfast restaurant in Atlanta and my husband worked for an architect. We knew we couldn’t afford to buy in Atlanta because the prices were so inflated. Neither one of us was willing to go into that much debt anyway because we could clearly see the homes weren’t worth what they were selling for. I knew several friends who had done all sorts of stupid things just to get into a house with the hopes of flipping it. Not us. We were in it for the long haul. We wanted a home, not an “investment” and we were on a very limited income. Besides, if you owe on your home it’s not an asset; it’s a liability. I learned that secret from one of those motivational speakers PBS puts on during pledge week.

So I did what seemed the perfectly normal, reasonable thing to do. I began researching markets in our price range. I consulted consumer advocates, learned what scams to avoid and developed a strategy which included saving up a down payment, getting our credit scores and stuff like that. BORING right?

Eventually we saved up enough to put 15% down on a double wide trailer, 16 acres, a pole barn, giant satellite dish, rusty swing-set and a crab shaped sand box. All that for the same amount we had been paying in rent for our 600 square foot basement apartment in the city. Oh, and this was a 20 year fixed rate mortgage at 7.15% interest.

I’m telling y’all this because I’m cranky about certain things right now, namely where my hard earned dollars are being spent. I didn’t know the ins and outs of the mortgage industry but I had enough sense to divide my yearly income by 12 and figure how much I could afford each month. People got screwed during the housing bubble because they wanted to believe a lie and because most of us are materialistic, status-hungry idiots. The good information was out there. The warning signs were there too. I know because I read them.

Now I’m wondering, who’s the idiot? After all I’m the one stuck paying for other people’s greed driven mistakes because these days Americans seem to believe it’s our right to have a bunch of stuff and if we can’t afford the stuff we want, someone else should give it to us.

Get real America. Take responsibility.

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