Jenny D., a public information officer, thought she and her now ex-husband were buying a house they could afford when they moved from the Midwest to outside of New York City.
“We thought we were making an investment,” Jenny tells Yahoo Life.
But between a job loss and growing family, the couple found themselves “kind of underwater” and living paycheck-to-paycheck, with mounting credit card debt and neglected mortgage payments.
“My biggest money mistake was probably assuming that I was always going to make or have the amount of money that I thought I would,” Jenny says.
“It wasn’t like we ever thought we bit off more than we could chew,” she recalls. “It just was that life happened, and then income stopped coming in and it was like, ‘OK, wait a minute. We’re living way beyond our means here. How are we gonna fix this?’”
Financial coordinator Angela Matthews tells Yahoo Life it’s not unusual for well-intentioned couples to get tangled up in money mistakes while trying to live their best life.
“I often come across people who had to learn tough lessons because they had to live their own life experiences,” Matthews says.
Jenny D., a public information officer, says she and her now ex-husband thought they were making an investment when they purchased their home outside of New York City. (Photo: Courtesy Jenny D.)
The couple stopped making mortgage payments, and by the time the bank foreclosed on their home their total debt — between the mortgage and credit cards — amounted to $550,000. Jenny says the experience was “horribly embarrassing” and that she felt too much shame to talk about it — even with her husband.
“We didn’t really talk about that stuff too much together,” Jenny says of their financial situation.
“Sometimes I would look at the bills and I’d just put them in a pile and I wouldn’t touch them for a month.”
In the midst of their financial troubles, Jenny says their marriage began to unravel. The divorce and foreclosure of their home “kind of happened around the same time.”
“A lot of couples enter into divorce and sit down with the divorce lawyer and be like, ‘We’re gonna split our assets,’ or ‘I’m taking this and you can take that.’ We basically put all our stuff on the table and said, ‘Alright, how much debt are you gonna take on,’” Jenny says.
The bank eventually foreclosed on their home when Jenny and her now ex-husband stopped making mortgage payments. “We didn’t really talk …….