I had coffee with a friend this morning. We both live in an area of Cape Cod, Ma. on the eastern coast of the United States. It’s a coastal community with several miles of towns and villages. It is referred to as the outer cape, as we are one of 3 towns at the very tip, at the edge of land before it goes into the sea.
We talked about the hurricane and what it would have meant, if it was only 100 miles or so northeast. We would have been hit hard and God only knows what would have happened. This part of the cape is on a thin strip of land, only a short distance between the bay and ocean. What a disaster it could have been.
He said he thinks he and his wife should sell their house and move to higher ground. “Where?” I asked, “Off Cape?” He wasn’t sure. I have thought of selling my house also, but not only because of the threat of storms.
It’s also about the economy. I don’t think it mattered who got into office. I think the former administration,(Bush), along with other factors drove us off a cliff and we’re still falling, especially because we’re such a global economy. Now Europe is falling too.
I read a lot. Several of the economists who predicted the housing bubble, along with one who also got the dot com bust correct, predict disaster. We’re too far off the cliff already, they say.
I heard from a counselor who works with foreclosure prevention, that there’s a whole second wave of them starting to happen again.
This wave of people, have held on by having 3 jobs and their spouse’s income, depleted their savings and other assets, to keep their home. Their spouse lost their job too or got cut back and they can’t hang on anymore, or are now under water. The term refers to owing more on your house than it is worth.
I live in what’s called a secondary home market, primarily vacation and second homes. These are the first to go. People need a primary place to live, but they don’t need a second one.
What happened in Florida and in the early 90’s could happen again. And here. If the economy worsens and people try to sell, they might not be able to. So everyone tries to rent to stay alive and the market gets flooded. Rents go down, and people can no longer or barely cover their costs. So owners start to dump their homes for whatever they can and prices go down. Homes are sold for much less than they once were valued at and that brings the whole area down.
So, do I sell now, recouping enough of my money to pay off all bills and have extra ? Do I bet that based on the forecasts of these economists, they’re right or do I hold onto it, hoping they’re wrong. If they’re not, many of us will be screwed, especially when we’re depending upon rentals to offset costs.
I keep myself stuck with obstacles. I bargain with myself. I say, when this happens or that, when I pay off the car, the house, the credit cards,etc. And then I think about my passion, the life I had envisioned and what I want to wake up to everyday, and living with these excuses, pushes all that I want, further down the list.
But why ? All throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, I kept hearing the expression, do what you love and the money will come. And I believe that, because when you’re passionate about something, you usually excel at it. You become positive and excited and those feelings are contagious.
Right now I’m totally free. I have no husband, boyfriend, no kids. Only a bird who owns me. It makes it a bit more challenging being responsible for him, as birds are highly intelligent and don’t do well moving around to different environments. I’m sure I could figure something out where we both compromise. But.. I stay stuck in limbo now. Security or freedom ? I toss a coin.
Another friend, who also has a second home here which is totally paid for, said, “You want to travel, write and make documentaries. You could do all that if you sold your house, It would solve all your problems.”
“It might,” I said.
I do want to do all that, but I don’t want to spend all my money and be left with nothing either. I’m torn, because I want to hold onto this for my old age, my security. And yet, this year, 2 friends died and 2 others were diagnosed with aggressive cancer. Who knows what lurks around the corner for any one of us ?
And the older you get, the more cognizant you become that you’re not invisible, not immortal.
I always said, I don’t want to be on my death-bed with a bunch of “if only’s” I have lived an interesting life so far and taken lots of risks. It’s not that I would die not having ever lived, but lived to my fullest potential ? I’m not sure. And isn’t life a movement forward, rather than standing still ?
And when I’m through with some of that dream, where do I land ? Where do I go ? And what if I’m wrong and my house goes up in price instead of down ? The risk. And I’ve learned that it’s really hard timing when to sell an investment.
But I could be left without a home of my own. What security is that? Then I thought of something my ex-husband used to say, “There’s no such thing as security.”
He’s right. Really. It’s an illusion we tell ourselves is real. Look at all the people who thought they were secure with jobs, their homes, their stocks, investments and especially their future and retirement.
And if you believe you’re secure and buy into that illusion, you better think again. Everything can change, sometimes in a moments notice and somewhere in the back of your head, you probably know that. So you move into fear mode. Much like I have. Because the one thing you fear the most about having security, is losing it. And that just makes you vulnerable and afraid. And God knows, there’s nothing secure about that.