I let my husband buy a boat, and now we’re losing our house. Oops.

Here’s my problem and the same of thousands I’m sure. We are behind on our mortgage, I’m in the middle of a divorce from a man who is not working, so I am on my own. He refinanced the house 3 years ago and took 175,000 out of it to buy a boat. We owned our own business at the time and I figured if he thought he could afford it, then that’s ok. I didn’t know anything about these type of mortgages, I was blindsided by the whole deal. The house is in pre-foreclosure, luckily the mortgage is not in my name so my credit won’t be affected.

I am working trying very hard to get the mortgage set back to a rate I can afford, working full-time, a full-time student (graduate in May), and a single mother. I am at my wits end here! I don’t want to lose the house because of my daughter, and I love my home. We have so many pets and I would hate to have to give them all away. Do I keep trying to work with the bank on the mortgage, or just lose it all and walk away? I am at my breaking point here!!

Oh my God, honey, take a deep breath.

You graduate in May, so let’s check that off the list. One more month and no more school stress. Working full-time, especially in this economy, is good, so yay for that. It’s stressful being a single parent, but that’s a pretty permanent issue, so let’s just say that it sucks and you’re going to figure out quickly how to navigate it and move on.

See? When you say, “lose it all and walk away,” you’re not actually losing anything. You have your shiny new degree, and your job, and your daughter. Worst case scenario is that you end up renting a place and you can’t keep all your pets. I know you love them, but come on. They’re pets.

The house/mortgage issue needs professional help. There are many, many reasons why I’m neither a lawyer nor a financial advisor. If I were to give you any advice in those arenas, you’d either end up in jail or living in a tent behind Wal-Mart. I know it costs money, but spending a little right now on someone who can help you is an excellent investment. You might be able to work something out where your ex-husband pays the portion of the loan that applies to the boat, and you can pay the house portion. Work with the bank, but if it doesn’t pan out, it’s okay. Your house is a structure; your home is where your family is. I’m confident that if you do have to move, your new place will feel like home before you know it. Also, keep track of what he owes you in child support, so that when he does get a job, you can collect it.

I’m totally ashamed to admit that when it comes to money, I have my head up my ass. Back when I was only taking care of myself, I would spend every penny I had on beer and cute tops, run out of cash, and then eat ramen until I got paid again. Luckily, I married someone who’s much better at finances than I am. Unfortunately, it seems like you and your ex-husband were both in the head-up-your-ass category.

You’re actually lucky. His crappy judgement didn’t wreck your credit, and now you know that you’re never, ever, ever going to let some flake who wants a boat take out a gargantuan loan that directly effects your life without putting some serious thought into it. Go to the library and get some books (I’m a fan of Suze Orman) and learn how to manage your money. You’re in charge now. Act like it.

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