The letter of the day today comes from reader V. It will bring tears to your eyes and give you real hope. God bless you, V.:
I worked for a large bank for 10 years. The bank grew dramatically over the decade, and I put a large amount of my income into my 401(k) through the purchase of bank stock. (The bank was actively encouraging it’s employees to invest in it’s success). In the summer of 2007, I began to feel uncomfortable about the loans being made and about the manner by which the bank was maintaining it’s assets. Accordingly, I sold (so I was assured) the stock and transferred the funds into other investments. (I received a notice stating the the transfer was made, then received a notice that the transfer was in the process of being made). However, by March of 2008, it was clear that no transfer would take place. In May of 2008, the bank was taken over by the feds, and along with thousands of depositors and employees, I became an unsecured creditor. (Which meant that, much like in bankruptcy, I might someday see 2%-3% of the $600,000.00 [we] had saved for our son and daughter’s education and for our retirement).
The area my husband and I live in, Northwest Arkansas, was one of the fastest growing areas of the country for several years. It is the home of several great companies including Wal-Mart and Tyson. But it has been hit very hard by the economic downturn. After the bank closed I had a very difficult time finding work, but did eventually find employment for less than 1/2 of what I had previously made. Moreover, my husband’s job had become heavily dependent on the growth in the area, and he is now working to keep his head above water while adjusting his practice. We are now most likely upside down in our house and our mortgage has become tough to manage. (Thank God it is a fixed rate mortgage). To add insult to injury, our daughter started college this year and our son, god willing, will start college next year. However, I will be damned if I ever ask another American to bail us out of our situation or to help us with our mortgage.
I should have better diversified my 401(k). My husband should not have become so dependent upon the growth in the area. We are ultimately responsible for the mess we are in. If my husband and I have to live in his pick-up and get ready for work at the community gym, so be it. If we lose our jobs, we will move in with his mother, and he will hunt and I will garden. We have never been on unemployment, welfare, nor other assistance. We are Americans. Our ancestors fought in the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War and his brother fought in Vietnam. Our family has faced tougher foes than this economy and Barak Obama. We will do as True Americans do; we will not whine, we will persevere.
God Bless your good work, Michelle.