Marketplace Money took a look at some folks who are selling their possessions on eBay and Craigslist in order to pay their bills. The main interviewee was a former mortgage broker who used to make six figures but was now selling his collection of cool amps to pay off his $5,000 a month mortgage and $50,000 in credit card debt.
From Marketplace Money:
Jagow: So how did you get to the point where you’re having to sell your most prized things?
Ron: Basically, I hit a negative cash flow when the real estate market crashed about two years. I’m a residential mortgage banker. I’ve worked for banks like Washington Mutual and World Savings, but the last lender I worked for was Washington Mutual which was for a good five years. I’m used to making six-figure income without really any effort at all to be honest with you. If I applied myself, I’d make a good quarter of a million a year and that’s pretty much been the flow of things since 1999.
Jagow: So it’s been good times?
Ron: Yeah, so I loaded up, was able to buy every dream amplifier I ever wanted and I started a collection. I started buying real estate as well. I bought a rental and some land.
Jagow: Right, so you’ve got land, you’ve got a great collection of guitars and amps, but what happened? Where did things go wrong?
Ron: Well, slowly, the real estate market just started deteriorating — the mortgage meltdown, they call it. It got to the point where lenders just didn’t want to lend anymore. Even when I brought loans in that met all the requirements that even their pickiness required, they still wouldn’t do it. You know, they starved us to the point where they eventually laid us off and closed all the offices.
Jagow: And obviously, this decimated your personal finances?
Ron: Oh yeah. I was forced to live on my savings and when you have a mortgage of $5,000 a month and I had about $50,000 in credit cards at the time, you’ve got a lot of bills. Bottom line is my savings deteriorated pretty quickly, you know, having no income.
Jagow: Well I know that you’ve been liquidating savings, 401(k), stocks, things like that.
Jagow: How far down the line did you go before you got to the guitars and amps?
Ron: Well, once everything was gone as far as paper money like stocks, bonds, IRAs, now I’m having to resort to my physical collateral, which is my possessions really.
Ron says he’s trying to find a new career but the job market is flooded with people from the shipwrecked mortgage industry. Marketplace Money says the number of sale listings on Craigslist doubled in March compared to last year. You can listen to Ron’s interview here.
Using the Internet to make ends meet [Marketplace]