When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
cjhud32
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:52 am

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by cjhud32 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:36 pm

Getting laid off one year after purchasing my first home. Secured a position within a week, but in a different town forcing me to become a landlord overnight.

UADM
Posts: 224
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:54 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by UADM » Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:41 pm

stoptothink wrote:
UADM wrote:
It has nothing to do with the institution of marriage. This is a financial thread, involving people who have been devastated by marriage, and then turned around and did it again. There is nothing wrong with that. However, to suggest that someone made a decision and got killed and then chose to do it again, when an alternative is risk free, shows that people didn't exactly learn their financial lesson.

If bogleheads isn't about learning from financial mistakes, then I don't know what it is about.
:oops: Financially, marrying my wife was extremely advantageous. My marriage allows me to get free healthcare (thanks to her plan, mine would be $400+/month), pay less for housing (what I was paying renting a single room was far more than half of our mortgage), I save on commuting costs as we were able to sell her car and carpool (when needed)...my savings rate has dramatically increased. So, what financial mistake did I make?

Nothing in this life is risk free, including investing. Not sure this is the proper place to go off on an anti-marriage rant, especially when marrying again was actually really good financially for many of us.
It is funny that stating that people are making the same financial mistake is contorted to an "anti marriage rant." Shows that people are too close to the issue, so they make it into something greater than it is.

Saving on health insurance would be wiped out in half a second in a divorce btw.

Paying less for housing would be exactly the same if you were living together for the rest of your life, which I already stated multiple times. Same goes for the rest. Savings rate, car, and carpool are all exactly the same if you were living with someone forever. So, none of those are applicable as a savings benefit. This is a society that allows living together without a marriage license. It shows just how close and personal you made it, which is funny considering you actually tried to project that flaw onto me.

Financially, which this board and thread is about, it is insanely risky, for little benefit(especially over living together). Unless, of course, they have more savings/income than you. It just struck me how, although people get devastated by getting divorced, people have no problem repeating the behavior that so devastated them.

stoptothink
Posts: 4365
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:58 pm

UADM wrote:
Saving on health insurance would be wiped out in half a second in a divorce btw.

Paying less for housing would be exactly the same if you were living together for the rest of your life, which I already stated multiple times. Same goes for the rest. Savings rate, car, and carpool are all exactly the same if you were living with someone forever. So, none of those are applicable as a savings benefit. This is a society that allows living together without a marriage license. It shows just how close and personal you made it, which is funny considering you actually tried to project that flaw onto me.

Financially, which this board and thread is about, it is insanely risky, for little benefit(especially over living together). Unless, of course, they have more savings/income than you. It just struck me how, although people get devastated by getting divorced, people have no problem repeating the behavior that so devastated them.
Correct, I would no longer have access to free healthcare if I were to get divorced, I have no clue how that is relevant. Even if that were to happen, that alone has already saved me nearly $20k over the past 3.5yrs. You are still totally forgetting all the other purely financial benefits (SS, etc. that were already mentioned).

Buying a home was a financial risk, investing in the stock market is a risk...yes getting married is a financial risk and I absolutely considered that when deciding to do it again, but it has greatly paid off for many of us. You very plainly stated your opinion that you were disappointed so many Bogleheads made this mistake again; I'm sticking to mine that your statement was not only offensive but had no place in this thread. Agree to disagree.

Chadnudj
Posts: 726
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:22 am

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Chadnudj » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:00 pm

UADM wrote: It is funny that stating that people are making the same financial mistake is contorted to an "anti marriage rant." Shows that people are too close to the issue, so they make it into something greater than it is.

Saving on health insurance would be wiped out in half a second in a divorce btw.

Paying less for housing would be exactly the same if you were living together for the rest of your life, which I already stated multiple times. Same goes for the rest. Savings rate, car, and carpool are all exactly the same if you were living with someone forever. So, none of those are applicable as a savings benefit. This is a society that allows living together without a marriage license. It shows just how close and personal you made it, which is funny considering you actually tried to project that flaw onto me.

Financially, which this board and thread is about, it is insanely risky, for little benefit(especially over living together). Unless, of course, they have more savings/income than you. It just struck me how, although people get devastated by getting divorced, people have no problem repeating the behavior that so devastated them.
Saving on health insurance by being married is a sure thing, as are a whole host of other benefits (spousal IRAs for non-working spouse, for one). Being wiped out by divorce is not certain (less than 50% of marriages end in divorce, good prenups can insulate you to some degree, maybe both spouses can split assets amicably, etc.)

And you're still missing all the benefits of marriage (hospital visitation, intestate succession, power of attorney, taxes, hospital visitation, Social Security benefits, etc.) that are "free" to married people, but can only be set up in some cases at great cost if you're not married by hiring an attorney and paying them to draft the relevant legal documents and regularly update them (or, in the case of Social Security survivor benefits, can never be set up at all).

Yes, you can live together without a marriage license and get many benefits. But you don't get them all....nowhere near all.

User avatar
Abe
Posts: 1783
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:24 pm
Location: Earth in the Milky Way Galaxy

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Abe » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:09 pm

Today. I paid my taxes. :happy
Last edited by Abe on Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Slow and steady wins the race.

User avatar
Elsebet
Posts: 557
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:28 pm
Location: Washington state

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Elsebet » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:32 pm

There are two I can remember NOT fondly:

In 1997 or so after my first year in college, my father started refusing to send me a copy of his tax returns for my FASFA forms. The beginning of each year was fraught with stress over whether or not I could even pay tuition to enroll. The Financial Aid office was doing some interesting (probably shady as it was a for-profit) things to get me enough money to attend. I was homeless for a month because I didn't make enough in my part-time job to qualify for an apartment. Moved into a yucky apartment in a bad neighborhood with my then-boyfriend to solve the immediate housing issue, and married him shortly afterward (too early, age 22) to solve the financial aid issue. A full-time job with tuition reimbursement also helped.

In 2004 I got a divorce from that too-early marriage and accepted a job in another city. Paid rent and a mortgage for close to a year until the former house sold. Luckily the divorce was amicable but paying for two places (plus a new job that required professional attire) on a small income caused me to run up a ton of credit card debt. Every month for that year was spent terrified I'd overdraft or be late on a bill. Almost lost my job at one point (consulting gig) and almost went into default on my student loans. Ended up paying it all off but I vowed never again to get into that situation and haven't so far.

I sleep a lot better now. :)

Ninegrams
Posts: 557
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:12 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Ninegrams » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:40 pm

UADM wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
UADM wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
UADM wrote:The interesting thing about this thread is that multiple people got cleaned out by divorce and then went ahead and did it again, while claiming to make better decisions. You could live with someone the rest of your life without the risk of being wiped out, but you chose the same risky path. I guess I just expected more bogleheads to learn from their mistakes. To be fair, one poster did say that he didn't do it again.
Do you refuse to drive ever again because you once got into an accident?

That is quite a depressing opinion you have there. I did learn from my mistakes. The 2nd time around I made it very clear that financial responsibility was one of the major attributes I was looking for in a spouse, I refused to get married without a prenup, and most importantly I didn't dismiss possible warning signs as I had the first time. If we are only talking dollars and cents, my wife has been the primary factor as to why I was able to more than recover financially in 6yrs; she's very financial responsible and makes nearly what I do.

A successful marriage is a wonderful thing, it's a shame that'll you'll never experience it.
Living together for the rest of your life is functionally exactly the same, with no risk. There is almost no actual benefit to marriage and you are giving away 50% of your life's savings in order to get that.

You can "make clear" whatever you want. Prenups are also broken all the time. You are taking a huge risk, with almost nothing to gain. You can choose to have the exact same thing without the risk. And dollars and cents, if you lived with her, the effect would be the same. The choice is yours of course, but the idea that people think they've learned from their mistakes and then put themselves into the same risk again(less with a prenup for you) is not exactly financially prudent.

As for picking a partner, there are ways to reduce risk, but people change over time. This is unavoidable. There is still massive risk in marrying vs simply living together for the rest of your life. It is a depressing opinion that you need a government financial contract to have a "wonderful thing" like a successful and happy relationship in order for the relationship to be successful and happy.
You're welcome to your opinion about the institution of marriage, but stating you were disappointed that so many Bogleheads didn't learn from their mistake is not a statement I expect to be up for long.
This is a financial thread, involving people who have been devastated by marriage, and then turned around and did it again. There is nothing wrong with that. However, to suggest that someone made a decision and got killed and then chose to do it again, when an alternative is risk free, shows that people didn't exactly learn their financial lesson.

If bogleheads isn't about learning from financial mistakes, then I don't know what it is about.

Sure, and if I made the mistake of dabbling in individual stocks and took a bath on a number of them but later got religion and only invested in index mutual funds, you could say I learned something ( hint: it wasn't to avoid investing altogether ) The same goes for giving marriage a second go-round, if you didn't learn anything from the first time then it's your bad. People change, mature(hopefully) and there can be successful second acts. A marriage should be viewed as more than just a business partnership IMO.

User avatar
englishgirl
Posts: 2473
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 5:34 pm
Location: FL

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by englishgirl » Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:42 pm

I have been extremely lucky so far with no major periods of unemployment, no divorce, and no disability. All pure dumb luck, I suspect. So, then mine would be immigrating to the US. Starting over again on a much lower salary while re-qualifying in the US, no job certainty, no certainty over investing or anything like that (I didn't qualify for the 401k at work initially), no credit history, no driving license history in the US so my insurance rates were the same as a teenager, and I hadn't been able to sell my condo (once your visa comes through there is only a short time in which you can move) so I was carrying that in addition to everything else. In the end, it was worth it, but it was tricky.
Sarah

Jackson12
Posts: 900
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:44 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Jackson12 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:29 pm

Rexindex wrote:What was the most stressful time in your life financially and what did you learn from it? What if anything did you change after that time in how you handled your finances?
It was toughest right after I met my husband- to -be . I trusted that we'd somehow make it but he ony earned $1000 a month ( which went further than you think in the late 1970s and he lucked into a $100 a month apartment with free heat and water)

Even so,the budget was so tight that he occasionally took very small advances on a credit card at the end of the month and immediately paid it off the next month....or I did.

He was recently divorced, and had children, with the the lion's share of custody because she had fewer benefits and longer hours. I was in college but earning very little in a part- time job.

He had a company car and decent health insurance, family plan , but those benefits didn't include me till we married.He lived in a 1 bedroom apartment,with a combination living room and tiny dining area . A kitchenette. The kids slept on a pull-out couch.

Poor or not, we were lucky. The divorce was civil, no animosity, just sadness because there was no salvaging it, even after lots of counseling and determined efforts. She was and is - a wonderful mother and we liked each other. Still do.

What few pieces of furniture, cookware, and other material possessions they had were split 50/50. She didn' t ask for child support because we spent more time with the kids .and Child care was unaffordable so she knew that our time with the kids saved money .


I hoped the kids would eventually accept me. They did. We waited a year longer then we wanted to get married because I thought the kids needed that time. They did.

We actually saved some money in "good" months (lots of Ramen soup, boxed macaroni and cheese mixes, bean soup) I still feel guilty about what the kids ate.

He went back to school on a scholarship. I worked full-time.. When the kids were school age, he got a job with better benefits, a retirement plan, even free college for the kids when they got to that point.

We barely stayed afloat.

We're doing fine now but we rarely splurge , except (mostly) to make memories. Some vacations, expensive restaurants on occasion,sometimes high priced "tous" (tech stuff)

It took about 2 years for the worry about money to ease up... - and the knot in my stomach and tense muscles stopped being so painful.

I have a 15 year old car and plan to run it into the ground. Old habits die hard.
Last edited by Jackson12 on Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
obafgkm
Posts: 288
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:12 am
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by obafgkm » Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:52 pm

I'm in the most stressful time right now.

My wife and i met in grad school, earned our Ph.D.s in different fields, and lucked into tenure-track teaching jobs at nearby universities. We were pretty frugal, mostly living like grad students far after we got the jobs and both earned tenure. We were able to usually max out our 403(b)s and IRAs. We bought a house almost 20 years ago (with the help of her parents on the 20% downpayment) and had a kid about 10 years after that.

As I wrote in another post, we bought our "forever" house a couple of years ago (got approved to buy the second house on two incomes) and moved, with the intention of selling the first house. We knew it was a risk, but the neighborhood is desirable, and we actually only moved a few blocks away in the same neighborhood, so we could easily get it ready to sell.

About half a year after we moved, my wife died unexpectedly.

The first house hasn't sold yet, so I'm paying two mortgages on one income. The Social Security survivor benefits paid on behalf of the kid has been helpful, and with that, my salary, and the emergency fund we're surviving, but this current experience shows me that things can change in a heartbeat from being in a pretty good place economically to living with straitened finances.

IlliniDave
Posts: 2294
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 7:09 am

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:08 pm

Going through divorce and the first year or two after as an almost-broke full-time single parent with a heavy debt load.

What I learned (limited to the general realm of finance):

-While it's true you only live once, it's also true a dollar only spends once, and nothing about the future is guaranteed. Make hay while the sun is shining and that includes preparing for an uncertain financial future. It's easier to take a dollar you saved yesterday and spend it today than it is to need a dollar today you already spent yesterday.

-While spending money can be fun, it's not necessarily going to bring happiness--that's an inner quality, not something you purchase and consume.

-Stuff/clutter/habits that come from a high consumption lifestyle weigh you down in a sneaky way you don't even notice until you shed them.

-If you make a plan and focus on it, you'll find yourself starting to get lucky breaks (which are often just the fruit of recognizing things that occur at the intersection of preparation and opportunity).
Don't do something. Just stand there!

nodenuff2
Posts: 355
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:08 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by nodenuff2 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:48 pm

It was a long time ago but I recall it vividly . 1974 married 2 years 1 child. Somehow managed to convince a lender I was a good enough risk to borrow 35k for our first house .Problem was payment was 318.00 month. Take home was 275 twice a month. Plus a 98.00 National guard check. Had to put the guard check and paycheck in the bank to make house payment. Worked out of it but learned to sacrifice for what you really want. LBYM ! Got to be a lifestyle. 87 crash no problem 2000 meltdown a breeze. Watched my 401k cut in half in 08. Nothing compared to my early years.
2014 No. 42 2015 No.342 2016 No. 6 2017 238 what do I know? "Good bless America land that I love..."

User avatar
oldcomputerguy
Posts: 3225
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:50 am
Location: In the middle of five acres of woods

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:06 pm

I would have to say it was September of 1997. We were living in a house on which we had a mortgage, and wanted to move to a more spacious house with some privacy. We found exactly the house we wanted, in the middle of five acres of woods. But before we could sell our existing house, we had to move two dogs and four cats, and then once the old house was empty we had to do about six months of remodeling and repairs to cure the ravages of a long string of indoor pets. To finance the repairs we took a home equity loan on the first house. So for the six months between the purchase of the new house and the sale of the old one, we were carrying two mortgages plus a home equity line of credit, were driving an hour each way every Saturday and Sunday between houses to work on getting the old house ready for market, and (oh, yeah) were carrying a loan from my 401k that had formed part of the down payment of the new home.

It all worked out, however. Our remodeling paid off, the old house was on the market for nine days before we had a buyer. On closing, we immediately paid off my 401k loan, and then went out for the first decent dinner out in six months. Now that second house is paid off and we're living here very happily.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

Barefootgirl
Posts: 2220
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:05 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Barefootgirl » Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:28 pm

When I was an older child/young teenager. My parents didn't know how to budget.

Many days I'd come home from school to find a note from the sheriff on the door of our house...that we were about to lose the house due to unpaid property taxes. Somehow, always at the last minute, some deal would be worked out with my grandparents to save my parents's hide - but it was never pretty.

The shame of it weighed on me terribly. I am pretty sure young people are not supposed to carry that weight.

BFG
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

Hulk
Posts: 208
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:08 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Hulk » Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:37 pm

Really enjoyed this thread, in a weird way I guess. I found in encouraging on a particularly rough day.

Most stressful financial time for me was 2010-2012. I had dropped out of surgery residency and had 220k in debt and no sure way to pay it off. I was happy with my decision to find a new career but left myself in a very vulnerable situation. Even had to live in my parents unfinished basement for 6 months. Ended up doing some research and working in an ER. Got the debt paid off and found a new career and actually have a positive six figure net worth now. Still learning from that, not totally sure what the take aways are. If you jump without a parachute you'll likely get some major bruises, but might end up ok too. Life can turn drastically on seemingly unimportant events. You can always work harder than you think and do better than you (or others) expect. Raise your ceiling.
Last edited by Hulk on Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
market timer
Posts: 5937
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:42 am

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by market timer » Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:58 pm

For me, definitely the 2008 financial crisis. In one year, I went from net worth zero (as a student) to net worth -$210K with no assets. About half of that was credit card debt, so I had to get creative quickly about making monthly payments after margin calls wiped out my brokerage account. Before that experience, I was very optimistic about the future, naively trusting that the corporate world would provide me with a high salary and strong investment returns. After that experience, I became much more skeptical and risk averse--focused less on the upside and more on the downside of my decisions. Money had little meaning to me at that time, just a way of keeping score, but now it has specific purposes and largely represents freedom.

I've since built back from that experience, live in a modest paid off house with my family, and have over a million dollars in financial assets allocated conservatively. Despite earning a high income, I treat the future as very uncertain, and live on a 4% withdrawal rate from my assets.

KlangFool
Posts: 9944
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:21 pm

Folks,

5% to 10% laid off every quarter by my employer over 5 years. Due to WARN act, the first month of many quarters, we will get a 60 days notice that our location may close down. After 5 years, my employer laid off 80% of its employees. It was so bad that when I was laid off, I was happy! It was a load of my back as opposed to not knowing when I will be next. It took me almost 1 1/2 year to find new employment.

KlangFool

Cuzz35
Posts: 402
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:14 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Cuzz35 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:38 pm

Mine was as a kid. I must have been 5 or so. My mom was in tears because she had to empty out mine and my sisters piggy banks to pay for food, gas, I don't know. She died when I was 13 but that memory makes me wish I could go back, give her a hug and let her know it's OK.

One day.

magazinewriter
Posts: 307
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:39 am

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by magazinewriter » Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:36 am

My most stressful financial time was in 2010, a year after I took early retirement. My company decided to eliminate all of its retiree health benefits for early retirees like me and also for Medicare-age retirees. I have a chronic health condition and was afraid that I would not be able to buy an individual health policy. (This was before the ACA.) But thankfully I was able to get a policy albeit with a 50% surcharge.

bigred77
Posts: 1997
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by bigred77 » Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:08 am

I am impressed with the resilience of members here. I have been lucky to not really have a whole lot to complain about.

The most difficult for me was when I graduated from college in 2008. I was fortunate enough to have a full time job with a respectable salary lined up by the spring of my senior year. My g/f at the time (now wife) and I had a combined net worth of -70k, an income of about 65k/year, and absolutely nothing in the bank. She was living with her cousin and I was living at my mothers house. It took us about 18 months to find a place together, get on our own feet, and really start living like adults.

I was never stressed about finances all that much. I was just too dumb at the time to know my situation was at all precarious. I just assumed everything would work out and luckily it did.

sesq
Posts: 566
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:24 am

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by sesq » Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:26 am

I appreciate the posts. They give me perspective. Like some others my answer is "right now". My mega-corp is merging and rather than take a demotion I am negotiating severance. This will mean relocation and a new job and there is enough uncertainty around those issues that dealing with the bureaucracy in getting the terms settled is awful. Also, due to my leadership role I know my fate is sealed but I can't offer assurances to my team who are also worried, and are also safe for now.

The context is absurd though. I recently paid off the house and have a net worth in excess of $1M.

Castanea_d.
Posts: 181
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:14 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Castanea_d. » Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:06 am

market timer wrote:For me, definitely the 2008 financial crisis....

I've since built back from that experience, live in a modest paid off house with my family, and have over a million dollars in financial assets allocated conservatively. Despite earning a high income, I treat the future as very uncertain, and live on a 4% withdrawal rate from my assets.
Market timer, I will never forget reading the thread where you recounted that experience in "real time." I am very happy that your current situation is good.

As to the topic of this thread, I have been fortunate and have not faced the dire straits that many have described here.

There was an anxious time in 1998 when we had moved to another state for a new job, bought a house, and I had my first on-the-job meeting with the priest and senior warden of the parish where I would be working. And found that they had greatly misrepresented things, such as salary (which proved to be about a third lower than what they had offered), health insurance (not available for the first year; I ended up doing expensive COBRA from previous employer for myself and spouse). I did not have the financial details of the new job in writing, having trusted their verbal assurances. Lesson learned.

And all of our earthly possessions were sitting in a U-haul truck out in front of the church, waiting to be moved into that newly purchased house, which now we couldn't afford. That did not put me in a position to negotiate with them, and they knew it.
Last edited by Castanea_d. on Sun Apr 17, 2016 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Sheepdog
Posts: 5138
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:05 pm
Location: Indiana, retired 1998 at age 65

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Sheepdog » Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:51 pm

Cuzz35 wrote:Mine was as a kid. I must have been 5 or so. My mom was in tears because she had to empty out mine and my sisters piggy banks to pay for food, gas, I don't know. She died when I was 13 but that memory makes me wish I could go back, give her a hug and let her know it's OK.

One day.
You may have just done that as you wrote that.
God bless her and you.
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter which tells what kind of life you have lived---Helen Walton

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 13720
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by ruralavalon » Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:16 pm

In 1970 we were married and our first child was born. I was still in law school, and neither one of us was employed. We lived on savings, cashing in a very small whole life policy, and getting a loan on my car (a now classic 1967 Camaro coupe, not worth much then). We were too young and ignorant to feel stressed.

In 1989 and again in 1994 I was severely disabled, and might have turned out to be totally and permanently disabled. I felt little financial stress, because almost all of my attention and effort was focused on therapy, recovery and returning to work.

Our most stressful financial time was 2007-09, when the stock market collapsed just a few years before I wanted to retire.

I retired in January 2011.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 13720
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by ruralavalon » Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:20 pm

bigred77 wrote:I am impressed with the resilience of members here. I have been lucky to not really have a whole lot to complain about.
Actually most people accommodate and adjust well to adversity. And most people are not able to accurately forecast how well they will handle adversity.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

FoolStreet
Posts: 532
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:18 am

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by FoolStreet » Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:57 pm

I can imagine 4:

1. My father died awhen I was very young. Grandparents didn't seem helpful. Mom moved to start anew. She had some money from death benefits but was otherwise on her own with the two of us. She bought a small house. Can't imagine.

2. Mom and Dad married and moved into a larger house. Mom would send us to the local park to get their free lunches. Times were tough but making it work.

3. Got mixed up with a bad crowd heading into college with a bad investment idea. Spent my money on it, worked on it for free during the day, took classes at night. Subsidized with student loans, credit cards and had no money for food. Mental image: eating peanut butter and honey sandwiches in the kitchen since I had nothing else. Eventually saw the light, got back on track. Then went to grad school mostly under scholarship. Eventually paid off the loans. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

4. Bought a house in Bay Area with variable rate loans. Overleveraged. Commissioned salary. Hung in there. Refi'd to stable rates. Then struggled to refi due to over leverage and tightened standards. Could not sleep at night. Much better now with an efund, large cash position and better jobs. Don't want to go back there ever.

Greentree
Posts: 126
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:34 am

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Greentree » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:16 pm

Great topic. It really makes me empathetic reading the other posts.

In 2006, then 2007, I had great years as a commissioned salesmen at a small company. I saved $40k above my emergency fund and bought quality individual stocks (brk, Altria, etc). It was a lot of money for me. It never occurred to me that if the market crashed both my income and my stock portfolio could be cut in half at the same time. I held onto the stocks until they finally came back to breaking even though I sweated bullets. Once I sold them, I threw it at the mortgage and went on a mission to pay it off. As my salary came back to life, I continued to live below means and saved like mad. All in all, an experience that taught me a lot and has ultimately helped to build wealth. I hope to never feel squeezed like that again.

jpn
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:14 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by jpn » Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:37 pm

Mine was in Sep 2005 when I was in grad school. I made $600/month as an RA (but tuition was free), which was just enough to keep the wolf from the door. I scored a fall internship at one of the large tech companies at the other end of the country. Luckily, they provided flight tickets and a furnished apartment. I landed with $22 in my bank account and $50 in my wallet for the taxi ride to the apartment. I did not know a soul in the area. I had assumed that I would be paid around the middle of the month. Turned out the company only paid once a month. I had to stretch out the money for around 25 days. I had come to US just 10 months back so no one would give me a credit card or a loan. I subsisted on a single bean burrito from Taco Bell on most days. I had to eat at my desk because the rest of the team ate out. I attended every intern event and talk with lunch that I could. The apartment office set out cookies at 8:00 in the morning and I would time it so that I left around then. I was completely out of luck on the 29th and had to make do with some "borrowed" sugar from the Starbucks nearby. I bought some eggs with my money on the 30th and had the first real breakfast in 4 weeks :D
I was lucky to graduate before the recession and got a great job after grad school.

User avatar
prudent
Moderator
Posts: 5613
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 2:50 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by prudent » Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:09 am

Some off-topic posts have been removed. Please keep replies on-topic for the thread to remain open.

NET1
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:29 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by NET1 » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:59 pm

Right now. Scheduled for heart surgery at a young age. Chances of a positive outcome are high but getting my affairs in order just in case. All of the books on personal finance and investing have prepared me for a potentially catastrophic event like this. Strong savings rate, proper term coverage at 25x income, will/estate planning done. Helps me rest easier knowing my family will be okay if something happens.

Attempting to stay the course without much disruption to our savings rate. Dumping money into our primary checking account (everything is on autopay) so that neither I nor DW will need to concern ourselves with day-to-day finances during the recovery period. This experience has put a lot of things into perspective including finding balance between enjoying today and saving for tomorrow.

setmefree
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:56 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by setmefree » Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:20 am

Castanea_d. wrote:
market timer wrote:For me, definitely the 2008 financial crisis....

Market timer, I will never forget reading the thread where you recounted that experience in "real time." I am very happy that your current situation is good.
Request someone pls post that thread realtime thread.Thanks in advance !

User avatar
JDCarpenter
Posts: 1389
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:42 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by JDCarpenter » Sun Apr 17, 2016 12:40 pm

NET1 wrote:Right now. Scheduled for heart surgery at a young age. Chances of a positive outcome are high but getting my affairs in order just in case. All of the books on personal finance and investing have prepared me for a potentially catastrophic event like this. Strong savings rate, proper term coverage at 25x income, will/estate planning done. Helps me rest easier knowing my family will be okay if something happens.

Attempting to stay the course without much disruption to our savings rate. Dumping money into our primary checking account (everything is on autopay) so that neither I nor DW will need to concern ourselves with day-to-day finances during the recovery period. This experience has put a lot of things into perspective including finding balance between enjoying today and saving for tomorrow.
Yikes. Hope it goes in accordance with the odds/prognosis. We've been quite lucky on the health front--DW has had several foot surgeries that required her to work on crutches and walking boots, but didn't have much impact. She was also able to resume full-time OBG work 6 weeks after each C-section.... Health is often overlooked as a driver of financial success (I know we tend to overlook it).

Good luck to you and yours, and congrats on being financially prepared for it!
Edit Signature

User avatar
TinkerPDX
Posts: 274
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 4:38 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by TinkerPDX » Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:12 pm

Probably now, and that's in spite of having the highest NW and highest-paying job I've ever had, and solid short-term and pretty good mid/long-term job security.

We are now a single-income family, and I have a spouse and kid (maybe another some day soon) who depend on me. So while assets/income are up, so are expenses.

While our income covers a comfortable enough lifestyle and savings--we're aggressively paying down student debt and the mortgage (will be debt-free in 8 years if we don't incur any more), and still able to save a modest amount for retirement/college fund (about 10%, but like I said, paying down debt aggressively, the equivalent of another 15% or so)--and while I have degree of stability, the stakes are just so much higher now.

So I guess it's the more severe potential consequence of a lower probability occurrence that makes it more stressful for me. When I was in college/soon after and just broke and definitely staying broke or close to it for the near future, it wasn't really that scary.

haban01
Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:55 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by haban01 » Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:52 pm

Transitioning from being a SWM Boglehead to Married with family and the costs and risks that comes with it. Healthcare is out if control.
Eric Haban | | "Stay the Course" | "Press on Regardless" | | Wisconsin Bogleheads Chapter Coordinator

lucy
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:35 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by lucy » Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:00 pm

My husband and I were married in 1970. He was 19 and I was 22. Took out a loan of $500 to buy furnishings for a house we rented for $50 a month. Didn't plan on having children for at least 3 years. I was pregnant the 3rd month into our marriage. I had to quit my job at a factory because the smells made me sick. Spent most of the day puking and gagging. Had to cut hotdogs in half for meals. I would get sick cooking them. I ate peanut butter sandwiches or a boiled egg. My husbands draft # was called up. Moved into a $30 a month apartment. My husband was rejected because he had a pin in his leg. Happy about that. Two weeks after our son was born, I went to work as a waitress at a country club. I had to be to work at 5pm and my husband came home from work at 5:30pm. A neighbor watched our son during that half hour for us. It was a difficult year, but we pushed through somehow and life went on. It was a good lesson about building and keeping an emergency fund.

Lucy

Monkeyarms
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:29 pm
Location: Vancouver,WA

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Monkeyarms » Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:27 pm

2006.
International student far from home, lost source of tuition, roommates both lost jobs so we lost our housing, Grandfather passed away back home and I could not afford to go home and attend the funeral, had no family in the city I was attending college in.
From January 2006 to May 2006 I have few clear memories of what happened. I slept in classrooms and bus stops in the snowy winter, held unto my 20 hour a week college job and my couple of under the table jobs, failed all my classes for two terms straight.I was probably in some sort of dissociative fugue state because I only have other peoples accounts of what was going on at the time and they said I seemed perfectly normal, just more quiet than usual.I don't remember signing up for classes, I don't remember going to work.
My first clear memory came in May of that year and it was a friend holding me tight and crying and I had no idea why. Apparently he had some suspicion that something was wrong and had followed me and watched me settle in for the night. He was so shocked he just turned around and went home instead of confronting me. The next day (which is the memory previously referred to) he came to me and asked how I was doing and in his words 'You looked at me smiled, and said "Everything is fine" and you hugged me.'
I now have a job, a spouse, a kid and a mortgage. The ability to pay my bills, provide 3 square meals a day and all the hugs my daughter can stand. I guess it was not stressful then but the circumstances were certainly dire.
My opinion is offered from a place of altruism, please do not take my words as law or my intentions as malicious.

User avatar
blueblock
Posts: 863
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:06 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by blueblock » Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:15 pm

Carrying credit card debt in my thirties. As elementary as it may seem, I viewed credit limits then as an asset, something available for spending. Then I'd see what I was paying to carry the debt and felt really bad about myself. It was a burden that I thought about almost daily.

I got out of debt by following the simplest advice imaginable from my accountant brother: every time I charged something, I entered it in my check register (this is a long time ago). That made it real for me, that charging things is actually spending real money, as elementary as it sounds.

User avatar
just frank
Posts: 1455
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:13 pm
Location: Philly Metro

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by just frank » Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:41 pm

Getting married as (broke) grad students in our 20s, my wife and I got a lot of advice from my in-laws, most notably to put all of the charges for our first (small) wedding on our credit cards, and then pay them off afterwards with cash gift proceeds and their help.

In the end gift proceeds were minimal for a small wedding where most folks were traveling from out of state, the in-laws completely reneged on bailing us out, and I ended up finally paying off all that debt myself at 29.99% interest several years after the wife and I had gone our separate ways (a decision heartily endorsed by the same in-laws, of course).

No wait....it was a couple years before that when our landlord ripped the only bath/shower out of our apt (because there was a leak), never got around to replacing it (because he was cheap, it would have to be a DIY), and when we started withholding a portion of the rent, started to threaten us with notarized letters threatening to sue us, and accusing us of having destroyed the shower. He was a lawyer.

Good times! :D

What I did:
--was more choosy who I married afterwards.
--didn't have any credit cards for about 15 years.
--bought a house so I could be my own landlord.

User avatar
mlebuf
Posts: 1842
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:27 pm
Location: Paradise Valley, Arizona

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by mlebuf » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:44 am

White Coat Investor wrote:
Rexindex wrote:What was the most stressful time in your life financially and what did you learn from it? What if anything did you change after that time in how you handled your finances?
College.

I don't want to ever be poor again.

Make more money.
Ditto. After getting out of grad school the rest was relatively easy. During my university teaching years, my salary was seriously eroded by inflation, but the silver lining is that it got me busy working on earning outside sources of income. My salary in inflation adjusted dollars after 20 years of teaching was only about 70 percent of what my starting salary was. That's the bad news. The good news is that the last calendar year I taught, my university salary was 11 percent of my income. When I retired, I thanked the faculty at LSU for giving me the education and credentials to make my writing and speaking career possible. I also thanked the administration at the University of New Orleans for giving me the salary and support to make it necessary.
Best wishes, | Michael | | Invest your time actively and your money passively.

User avatar
bengal22
Posts: 1414
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:20 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by bengal22 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:32 am

Rexindex wrote:What was the most stressful time in your life financially and what did you learn from it? What if anything did you change after that time in how you handled your finances?
My first prom we went to an upscale restaurant and I was very intimidated when the bill came and I had to decide how much to tip. Of course, back then everything was done in cash and the waiter hung around waiting for me to count the change and decide how much to tip. Not sure what I learned from that experience.
"Earn All You Can; Give All You Can; Save All You Can." .... John Wesley

User avatar
4nursebee
Posts: 1039
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:56 am
Location: US

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by 4nursebee » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:29 am

Especially from folks like monkeyarms we need more lessons of what got them through...
4nursebee

clutchied
Posts: 558
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:11 pm

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by clutchied » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:20 am

It's probably right now.

I'm 35 married with 2 kids. We've more or less paid off all debts except our mortgages and rentals. We're making more now than we ever have....

Why am I stressed? I've started to realize that life is quickly happening and when I do some of the math going 20-30 years out I'm less comfortable with the numbers than I thought I would be.

I think we're on a good trajectory overall but perhaps it is the responsibility that I bear to maintain track and project our financial future. My DW has zero interest other than how much she can spend on clothing... and I'm in a constant battle to maintain the budget, which leaves me on edge.

User avatar
Padlin
Posts: 675
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: MA

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Padlin » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:20 am

The early years, say from 16-30. Living paycheck to paycheck, always felt broke. learned to live below your means, out of necessity, and to pay off your credit cards in full each month.

The decision to take an early retirement offer was another. I learned it wasn't an easy decision.

We'll see what happens when the next 2008 comes around now that I'm not working, have no pension, and don't qualify for SS as yet. It should be the new most stressful time.
Regards | Bob

Monkeyarms
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:29 pm
Location: Vancouver,WA

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by Monkeyarms » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:23 am

4nursebee wrote:Especially from folks like monkeyarms we need more lessons of what got them through...
My apologies if it seems trite or hackneyed but my philosophy during that time was to stay alive and engaged long enough for circumstances to change. I could not see the possible outcome but I knew that much like an out on his/her feet boxer, as long as I was still on my feet when the bell rang I could go to my corner and live to fight another round. The bell rang in May and the rest was history.
My opinion is offered from a place of altruism, please do not take my words as law or my intentions as malicious.

stm
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:01 am

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Post by stm » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:47 am

Much larger proportion of the academic type of doctors posting here rather than the normal MD kind so I guess I'll chime in here.

My most stressful time was after grad school. I went back a bit late age wise and was in a Ph.D. program coming out right in the middle of 08-09. There were 250+ job applicants per position and it was miserable. My wife was a full time stay at home mom with two small children, and we had spent our entire life savings for 4 years of living expenses and the market tank (I stayed 100% in stock).

I felt like a guilty failure as I had dragged my family through this because I felt uncontented in the same IT job and wanted (or needed) to expand myself. I quit my job during the euphoria of the '06 run up - extended family never understood why. We were not flat broke thanks to the student loans dragging us into the negative, but no job for me. I finally jumped on a visiting position paying $45,000 a year - half of what would be expected in a tenure track job and 55% less than what I was making before grad school.

We would make our rent and that would be about it. I taught large sections of the classes noone else wanted to teach with an overload. Our stuff was in storage as all we had was a small condo. Didn't think things could get grimmer. But it brought us close. We persevered. We'd look for job postings all over and targeted a few. Dreams of being this far or that far or this part of the country or not - the elusive dream.

Found one - wasn't perfect but it seems like organizational fit was good. I could do what they wanted. So now I'm 5 years in, going up for tenure next year. Typical academic job, no pay raises to speak off, too much teaching, too many students, but we are still together and in-love.

Post Reply