We Are 65+. Our Business and Personal Real Estate Investments Have Tanked. What Should We Do? – Lou

“Dear Steve,

We have in the process of loosing everything after 45 years of working. Our real estate ventures in AZ plunged us in to a financial crisis when the market crashed. We continued to throw money at all the properties thinking & hoping the market would come back which it has not.

Fast forward — now we are faced with foreclosure, personal & corporate bankruptcy. At or ages (65+) this is not something we planned to face. Up until 6 years ago our credit was spotless, we were making a very good living & very little debt. The economy and real estate crash has devastated us.

Besides loosing a great deal of money on real estate investments, my business (sales in insurance) decreased by 70% due to the economy (my specialty was construction therefore most of my clients filed bankruptcy). That along with pumping money into our real estate to keep us afloat drained our resources and at the end of the day lost all our assets and are in foreclosure with our current (& last) house along with considering bankruptcy.

We were approached by a law firm to sue our lender for “preadatory loan”. Back in October feeling desperate we went forward & sent money to the law firm. After some research and no results from this “supposed lawsuit” our house is in foreclosure & we have several people trying to get us to short sale. #1. Would you have any insight into mbs litigation; #2. Would it be better to pursue short sale than go through foreclosure; #3 Will bankruptcy stop or delay foreclosure? #4 Judgements have been filed for the defaulted real estate & creditors. Can you offer any insight and/or recommendations.

Thank you


Dear Lou,

Thank you for reaching out to me for advice.

For me the most important question right now is how do you want to move forward?

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Do you want to stay in the battle or start now with recovering from the unfortunate events?

The path you have been on is quite common. People will naturally ride the bad situation down and hope it will get better. They spend down their cash and assets along the way and then find themselves in a deep hole with no great ways out.

Firms have crept up over the past few years and made a cottage business out of convincing people they’ve been victimized by the banks and will sue the lenders if you pay thousands of dollars up front. Many of these mass joinder efforts are dubious at best. Others have been shutdown for harming consumers.

Let me be clear, I’m not saying you might not have been screwed over in some way by the bank. I’m just saying that using that as a tool to persuade money out of you and hanging out hope that’s going to change the situation in the short run is questionable.

I will admit that at times as you describe I see there are two problems. One involves the past and one involves the future. We can litigate the past all we want but that doesn’t change the fact your income earning years are fading and you need to immediately start planning for a better retirement. You don’t have time to waste.

So let me ask you, would you rather spend the next five years fixing the past or building a better future? It’s your call.

My two cents would be I think you should talk to a local bankruptcy attorney, wrap everything up and get the fresh start and second chance available to you under the law. But that’s just me, I believe people come first, they can learn from their errors to do better moving forward, and that life is a one way journey where time is precious.

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If I could impart anything I wish I could wave a magic wand and help you to understand the situation is what it is. Don’t live in regret. Let’s get moving forward.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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