So here I am in my modest, affordable home, playing by the rules, with my very affordable mortgage payments (15% of our monthly gross income--that's crazy talk) watching people buy crazy big houses and wondering, "How can they afford that?" for the past ten years. Multi-million dollar homes with granite countertops and rain showers and media rooms. How can that many people make that much money?
This has never really bothered me, it was only a point of interest, incredulity, and speculation. The truth is I don't really want a giant house even if it were free--too much to clean and decorate and you keep misplacing things like your children and your family values. If they want the stress that comes with having to worry about a interest-only mortgage that will balloon like a "Biggest Loser" competitor in three years, I figured, then knock yourselves out. That is not for me but it doesn't harm me either.
But now, the chickens have come home to roost. Okay, I have no idea what that saying means but people keep saying it. I think it means "Now the jumbo mortgages are due and you can't make your payments because you bought a gas-guzzling SUV and signed your kids up for traveling soccer so the rest of America will bail you out so you aren't homeless." Ahem. Wait, now I'm not taking such a Zen-like dis-interest in the topic. Now I'm wondering, "How is it I have to pay so you can continue to live beyond your means?"
Let me be clear. I am NOT talking about truly uneducated, unsophisticated people who really did not understand what was going on and were put into a bad situation by a greedy mortgage broker. I'm talking about two college educated affluent people who willingly got themselves into a giant mortgage knowing full well they could barely pay it and the other expenses in their lives too but just really wanted to have the biggest McMansion on the block. Am I really supposed to help you so you can stay in that house?
Well. I guess I am. Because as I tried to explain to a friend of mine yesterday who was saying pretty much what I'm saying, if our McMansion friends go down we all go down.
But what is the lesson here? We want a tortoise/hare ending. We want an ant/grasshopper finish. We want some consequences for the actions.
Is there one? That remains to be seen I guess.
For now, those of us living well within our means (all sixteen of us) can take solace in the fact that at least we aren't worried about making our mortgage payment.
At least not for now. But if my hubby loses his job because of this bad market, can I come live in your media room?