Our Great Recession 2.0: The Dwindling Middle Class

Submitted by Jen Jones on Thu, 08/12/2010 - 12:22pm

Our Great Recession 2.0: The Dwindling Middle Class

If you’re reading this, odds are you may be suffering through  a tough financial time. Yet, what might make you feel a bit better about your current ordeal is the knowledge that you’re not alone. Millions of average Americans just like you are facing a shared financial circumstance as they struggle to stay afloat in the wake of this decade’s Great Recession—facing foreclosure, job insecurity, and, in some cases, insolvency.

In the series, Our Great Recession 2.0, we’ll delve into some of the more unique stories of this decade’s unprecedented economic downturn, allowing you to see familiar faces and dire places people are going in order to handle our collective financial meltdown head-on.

In part four of this ongoing series, we meet the LaRochelles, an average American couple bearing witness to what some are calling an end to the middle class.

A couple of years back, David and Debbie LaRochelle owned a couple of houses: one home in Southern Florida and a mobile home in Georgia, near Debbie’s parents. They both worked full-time with a combined income of $100,000 a year. Things were great. And they were living the middle class dream.

According to The Huffington Post, today times have certainly changed for the LaRochelles. “Two years and a recession later, the 60-year-old couple are both unemployed, have drained their savings and 401Ks, are depending on Social Security, unemployment benefits and COBRA health insurance to stay afloat and are in the process of losing their Florida house in a devastating short sale. Their dilemma is an increasingly common one: they can no longer afford to make their mortgage payments without an income, but they can't sell their house because they now owe more on it than it's worth….The LaRochelles are two of the nearly 2.4 million Americans who are seriously delinquent on their mortgage payments, thanks to plummeting property values and lingering unemployment. And according to the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit research and policy group, as many as 9 million homeowners could go into foreclosure in the next two years.”

It turns out the LaRochelles didn’t know their property had dropped in value from 139K to 49K. "It's been such a nightmare," David LaRochelle told HuffPost. "I tried to work something out with Wells Fargo, but they wouldn't even talk to me until I was 30 days past due. We tried a deed in lieu three times because they 'lost the paperwork' twice, and then they turned it down because they said we hadn't advertised our property at fair market value.”

This very type of lender indifference, mortgage delinquency and underwater living is a situation tailor-made for bankruptcy.  If you’re like the LaRochelles: having trouble making your mortgage, living in a home that will never accrue equity, and/or residing in an area that is currently devalued and an eyesore for the foreseeable future, bankruptcy can help get you back on the right side of the tracks.  A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will allow you to surrender your underwater home, negate your personal and financial liability, and move forward financially. Or, if you so choose, keep your home while using Chapter 13 to catch up your delinquency and pay your mortgage through a Chapter 13 plan.

Because it’s all about using all of the tools at your disposal during our own Great Recession.

Bankruptcy could have worked for the LaRochelles. It could work for you too. If you’ve been affected by the economy and are wondering how to get back on track, knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can also help you to conquer your creditors and face your financial fears, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— for a viable and secure future beyond our own “Great Recession.”  The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to +1-919-646-2654, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.

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