We spent the last weekend selling our furniture and other things. With each sale, I see my past leave on a truck and my future become more real. Friday we had great business and then Saturday we had only a few visitors. Still, with each, we have a chance to meet our neighbors we had not seen before. One family drove off with my bedroom set I bought in California, moved to Colorado and then here. I had purchased it with the goal of putting in the house that I hoped to buy when the market was doing well and then 2008 came along. I saw the value of my condo and 401k plummet to less than half what I started out with. This all happened in a matter of days. My hopes were with the new president we had just elected. After the sale, we went out to visit friends, leaving my picnic table and old bbq out on the driveway. When we came home, they were gone. Someone had taken them. Sad.
For 25 or so years, I had a steady job. My income rose some each year to a point where I was making a confortable living. In 2005 I bought a condo as I had given my previous home to my ex for her life, figuring I could make due on my own. I allowed myself to buy with little money down and then began borrowing against the "equity." California real estate had grown steadily since the beginnings of the Silicon Valley in the 70's, so it seemed like a good bet that my condo would continue to grow as it had in the past. I knew it was a dumb idea at the time, but I convinced myself that it was the right thing to do. I had just gotten remarried and I wanted to provide a home for my new wife. My plan unravelled two years later when my wife wasn't able to get as good a job as I had thought she could, my mortgage was costing me most of my income and I didn't see a way out. I chose to walk away and give it back to the bank. My financial world became more grim after that.
When I lost my job six months ago, I thought I would be able to get another one that paid as well, give me the same benefits and sustain me until I retired. Six months later, I found myself working for a wage no higher than what I got from unemployment insurance and my savings began to dwindle. This is when we decided that perhaps it was time to move to my wife's land.
Doing this, selling my belongings, leaving my family, leaving my country, terrifies me. I know others have done it and survived and sometimes even prospered, but my luck hasn't been as good. I don't know if this is the best way to go. On the other hand, I keep meeting people my own age desperately trying to hold on. They had good jobs, money in the bank, a good home, and now it is all gone. I see well-educated people buying food with food stamps and taking jobs that even their teenaged kids would have turned down. I would prefer to not spend all I have until I have nothing, so I think this move will prevent that. Perhaps I might even have some fun. That would be a new experience. Having fun.