In recent days I have been making further attempts to lower my monthly payments so we can get back on track after all of the recent upheaval. I have learned a great many lessons in these attempts and it puzzles me what some places are thinking. Here is my story...
When I was told that I met the qualifications to get a loan modification from our current bank I was extremely happy, because that 6.875% interest rate is killing us. I was told by a great many places that we would not qualify to refinance because of the foreclosure we had in 2008, my bank said a loan modification would be the only way they could lower my interest rate. Fine, I understand with a score of 640 I can see not wanting to take a risk (although I have both a first and second with them both of which have always been paid on time. Well, except that once when I skipped a payment on purpose because their responses when I asked for help was to say I wasn't struggling since I was making on time payments. Besides why wouldn't I pay on time, we do need to keep a roof over our heads.)
If I had a lower house payment, I could pay my husband's commuting expenses monthly instead of each time he gets a bonus from his work. I HATE having to rely on credit cards as they have this habit of checking your credit report and dropping your credit line even if you always pay them on time. I'm not sure how we would survive if my last credit card did the same thing that all of the others have, what bills would I have to skip paying in order to buy him gas? He has been driving this 110 mile per day commute for 2 years now and frankly I am tired of not having the money in each pay check to cover the expense. No one is buying houses in our price range right now if it is not on a lake, so after a year on the market we took it back off.
I follow every rule during each modification period, I keep meticulous records, I pay the bill with plenty of time to spare so it gets there before it is due, and I do everything that their employees ask me to usually involving sending a more recent fax of pay info or an updated hardship letter. I am not sure what it is they decide between the time the modification starts and when it's over but they keep coming up with excuses as to why I don't qualify in the end. I report my expenses, my bank statements back up my financial worksheets and everything. The first excuse was that I don't pay more than 31% of my income on housing and that I can afford to keep my house, the second excuse was that I can just get cheaper health insurance so I don't need a modification (huh?), the third time I can't afford my house and I need to run a short sale on it, this last attempt I finally got them to approve the modification but they will keep the interest rate the same as it was to begin with and lower my payment just a few dollars. Not sure how putting me through 9 months of hell gets me into a better place than I was to start out with, but whatever. I guess I could say at least I passed this time, but it doesn't help free up the money I need for daily living expenses. Apparently though when it's over they have promised to fix my credit back to showing the on time payments that I have been making. I guess we'll see if that's yet another lie that their employees place in front of me while they try to steal our house out from under us.
I think the refusals come down to corporate greed. They don't want to loose any of their precious money that they get each month from my higher interest rates, so they only want to go with a government sponsored program that will pay them to do the right thing. It's just crazy! Since when is it the government's job to pay a business to make their borrowers into better borrowers? Wouldn't they rather a borrower has the foresight to see a problem arising and try to head it off before the bank has to deal with it directly in the way of a foreclosure? Why can't they take the proof provided and not make up monthly income that we do not receive? Why can't they just help a person who needs help? Don't they see that freeing up some of the money I pay to them in interest rate charges could be freed up to help spur the market into economic recovery?
I have run into that very same problem in the health care industry. Our deductibles make us pay thousands of dollars out of pocket every year before they cover any expenses. We have accounts with 2 different clinics that we are paying monthly payments to from previous years of medical bills, they each have an arrangement with the same bill collection agency to get 10% interest to stretch the payments over 3 years. We currently pay $78 to one of the clinics, and $40 to the other. Each is trying to say adding our new balance to the old one will "only" raise our monthly payment $6-12. That's all fine and good, but my husband has not had an hourly pay raise since either the late 90's or early 00's, I told them we can't afford to pay more on a monthly basis. They asked me to send in bank statements, monthly paystubs, and all kinds of other stuff which all back up what I am saying. Instead of looking at what we bring home each month, one of them looked at the amount he gets per year with the once yearly bonus. We use the bonus to pay down our debt, we no longer have that to pay extra bills with. They say we make plenty of money so we don't need their aid in getting our bill paid, I need to arrange with them to pay the bill in full. Apparently they can only help people who fall into guidelines set forth to them by the government. Ah, another place looking to get paid to do the right thing. Don't they think I know our finances better than they do? I am hopeful that I don't run into this same situation with the other clinic since my son has a surgery scheduled there for December.
My husband has also recently been informed that our work sponsored health insurance cost is going to increase another $40 per month to cost us $661.12 total for the 4 of us. That's more than 10% of our gross yearly income and I think that is outrageous. There is NO way we are going to be able to afford that. Since other attempts at less expensive health care has turned out no one willing or able to help us simply because of my weight, I decided see if I qualify for the Wisconsin sponsored health care insurance. Apparently I not only qualify for that, but also for reduced price meals for the kids, food share, and help with our utility bills during the winter months. I only pray that we get an answer fast enough so we can drop the insurance before the open enrollment period is up.
How is it that government can see a need and offer assistance to someone that businesses deem unworthy of helping? Is my doing the right thing and paying my bills on time the thing that makes me unworthy of their assistance? If so, that is totally messed up. It is my opinion that people should always try and do the right thing if it is in their power to do so. I have cut back in every other area of my life, we rarely go anywhere, I only buy clothes off of clearance racks at Goodwill or garage sales, I can and make my own foods, I have one little lamp on at night with a cfl light bulb, turn the heat down at night and when the rest of the family isn't home, my kids can't even afford to eat school lunches so I pack everyone's meals daily before sending them off, I make my own soaps and cleaning supplies,... Housing expenses and health care are the only places I can seek shelter in until our other debts are paid off. I am praying to God that he helps these business people to see reason and they help people who request their aid, not only for myself but for anyone else who is standing in my shoes in similar circumstances. We can't all rely solely on the government to get through this crisis, if we all can do something small in the life of another person we can change the world and make it a better place for everyone to live in.
Why shouldn't we stop and help someone less fortunate than ourselves? Why not buy the homeless person a cup of coffee? Why not donate our kids' used toys to the someone who will use and appreciate them? After all, we don't want to end up like Scrooge do we?
Thank you for stopping by to chat with me. Please leave me a message, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Cindy