Society

Occupying Homes As A Solution?

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Seriously..I am torn.  I just don’t believe this is the right way to deal with a lender when you can’t make your previously AGREED TO payments.

I recently became aware of the website OccupyOurHomes.org.  The site is full of heart tugging stories of people who can’t make their mortgage payments and the issues they have had with the banks in attempting to get a modification or stop an eviction.

I have to start with a basic idea here.  All of these people signed mortgage contracts under lawful circumstances.  If it could be ruled they were not of a right mind, or capable of understanding what they executed, then by now the attorneys would be attempting to void out mortgages based on the incompetence of the borrowers.  Not heard that case being made.

As I wander through this site, I see that the one thread that ties all of these people together is that they can’t make the payments they agreed to make, and getting to live in their homes at a lower cost (or even no cost) is a right extended to them by living in America.  Or under God..or some other deity.   The theme, as we now have heard it from the media so many times, is the 99% will have their voices heard.

The reasons I am torn?  A bunch really.

1. I do feel bad for people who are able to enter agreements (contracts) and really not understand the possible repercussions.  On a different scale..I assume most of these folks purchased cars on credit and signed notes for the cars.  If they can’t make the payments, the car gets repossessed.  No modification programs are being advocated by the government for car buyers.  I have heard talk of them for student loan borrowers.  I suppose cars are next..and I guess OccupyOurCars.org has already been acquired.

2. Admitadely, the banks have not shown a lot of excitement to provide modifications.  They have done it under the strong arm-twisting of the federal government..but the reality is they are complicated beasts with a VERY high rate of failure.  As I have witnessed so many times, the people who are unable to make their house payment also often choose to not spend money on maintenance.  The longer the situation exists, the more the value of the home drops (as do the ones around it).  Modifications, due to the high rate of failure, don’t stop this cycle..only prolong it.

3.  As I review the website, it appears there is a lot of good money being spent on this cause.  It in fact troubles me as to where the funds are coming from.  Yesterday, a press release found on AOL Real Estate brought me to my tipping point on this issue:

NEW YORK – Aug. 22, 2012 – The “Occupy Our Homes” movement is taking its anti-foreclosure message to the airwaves. The protesting group, part of the Occupy Wall Street movement that has a network of participants across the country, announced it has launched a national television ad campaign to speak out against foreclosures and show struggling homeowners how they can fight against evictions.

In recent months, the group has staged “sit-in” protests at properties of homeowners facing foreclosure.

The TV ads direct viewers to the OccupyOurHomes.org (Link: http://occupyourhomes.org) website for a field manual on how to “start an occupation,” which details how homeowners can protest a foreclosure using sit-in strategies.

The ads are set to appear on networks like CNN, FOX and MSNBC.

This is not inexpensive advertising!

The great thing about America and our system is there is plenty of room for groups like this to exist.  We do have laws and at some point those laws will need to be enforced.  There are thousands and thousands of people involved in the housing business who have all kinds of empathy for people who made bad decisions.  Nobody really wants people to be put out on the street.  Don’t worry..they won’t be.  There are so many options for renting and public assistance today.  What I have on my mind is who is funding this anti-capitalism, anti-law, protest movement?  And why?

That is what we all should start to be concerned about.   If you have information on this please comment and share so we can all draw our own conclusions.

Happy Spring!

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Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high

John Denver

 

Do you feel any different this morning?  The Spring Equinox occurred at 1:14 EDT this morning!  This date means two things.  Daylight and darkness will be approximately an equal 12 hours.  Most importantly, winter is over!!!

I know, most of us have been blessed with a winter that makes us re-think whether we really need to move to warmer climates December through February.  If you are like me, you are worried about the payback.  Does the weather really average itself out over time?

Longer days mean more sunshine.  More sunshine for many of us just means we feel better.  Is it the sunshine or the ability to be outdoors that makes us happy?  Or both?

There is actually some science to back all of these good feelings up.  In a University of Rochester study, 90 percent of subjects got a boost in energy and had their outlook brightened by spending time outdoors around trees, grass, and living creatures.  90%!

So getting outside and breathing fresh air does make you happy!   Walking outside, and not on a treadmill, gives your heart and your mental facilities a charge!  I find the chance to walk and see many different things well worth it for both my heart and mind.

Plus, with the official arrival of Spring, that means each day for the next three months will be longer than the night!  Lets all get happy!

Oh..I have to add this comment because I actually have friends in the Southern Hemisphere of the world.  To those friends…never mind.   Sorry…this does not apply to you.  Can you set it aside and come back to it in September?

Happy Spring!!  (to most of my friends who reside in the Northern Hemisphere!)

Little darling
It’s been a long, cold lonely winter
Little darling
It feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun,
and I say
It’s all right   The Beatles

Thank You!

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I enjoy coaching youth basketball and baseball.  Our basketball season ended suddenly (only the champs win their last game) last week.  I couldn’t shift gears fast enough at the end of the game to say what was most important.  I tried to encourage the kids, and that was important also.  But, this group of kids had worked and played particularly hard and they deserved to be told “thanks”.

I ended up sending an email later to the parents and the kids wrapping up the season and sharing the two words that kept going through my mind.  “Thank You!”  It may seem a little odd that I wanted to say thanks to all of them so badly (since I was the unpaid volunteer!) but lets face it.  We were all giving to each other in the relationships and the gift I was given was a lot of hard effort and commitment from players and parents.  What more could you ask for?  “Thank you” seems very appropriate.

How often though do we forget to really recognize those people who give so much to us?  In the moment at the end of the game it did not register with me.  It was only with a day of reflection that I realized how important it was to share my gratitude.   In business and life, it seems the chase is where the energy is spent.  When the end is accomplished, whether it is the end of a sports season, or the client who agrees to a contract, thank you is a very important part of our language.

Even more importantly, when we are successful do we recognize all the people that helped make for the success?  Not only do we need to thank the players and client, but also the parents and staff that made the experience a positive one for all involved.

In many service businesses there is a certain expectation as to the quality of service received, and people often do not feel it necessary to add a thank you for a good deed.   I know it should not work this way, but if you are one of these people, notice that the customers who show appreciation seem to get a little bit higher level of service.  This is easy to explain.  We all like to be around people who are kind and gracious…and level headed!

Do I think we should all walk around saying “thank you” just to make the world a nicer place?  Absolutely not.  “Thank you” is an expression of gratitude that needs to be sincere.  A “thank you” for the sake of thank you is not sincere, and should be meaningless.  I personally want to be able to recognize when thanks are due and immediately let the person know of my gratitude.

Even if it is just minutes after the final buzzer.

The Difference Between Boys and Men

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In February,  I had two daughters turn 21.  Last year, my other daughter turned 18.   All three are in various stages of their dating lives.  I realize I might have a little bit of influence, but mostly at this point it is up to the girls to make decisions about their lives that turn out to be good ones.  That statement is a mouthful because how many of us as adults have always made good decisions?  I think as an adult we have some ability to at least acknowledge the bad decisions and dissect where they went wrong.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to always recognize a bad decision before you make one?

When it comes to my daughters and their relationships, I came across this over the weekend.  The writer is unknown.  It is wisdom that I think comes across well in the written word instead of the dad lecture.  Maybe you will find value in this no matter if you are a Dad, Mom, or a Daughter.

When you start to have a relationship with a boy, you want him to act like a man.  If you are in a relationship with a man, you don’t want him to act like a boy.  What is the difference?

A boy will flatter you.  A man will compliment you.

A boy will spend money on you.  A man will invest in you.

A boy will view you as property.  A man will view you properly.

A boy will lust after you.   A man will love you.

A boy is someone  who believes he’s God’s gift to women.   A man  remembers woman was God’s gift to man.

I want my girls to look for and recognize the difference in a boy and a man.  I also want to teach my sons to be a man.   I realize that involves a lot more than being a good sportsman, or not being a slob.  Sometimes with boys we forget the important things when it involves girls.  Maybe this will help.

Addiction To Social Media

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I just read that Chicago University researchers have found that tweeting or checking email can actually be harder to resist than alcohol and cigarettes!  I spent the last five minutes finding the link to the article so I can tweet it to my followers.  Can you believe this?  Can’t speak for cigarettes but alcohol?  Guess I can’t speak for alcohol either.  I am a light drinker.  I better send out a clarification via Twitter and Facebook (since Facebook receives a feed from my twitter).

These researchers also found that as the day dragged on, willpower became lower when it came to using social networking sites, and the temptations grew stronger.  I can tell you right now that is nonsense.  I wake up at 6am and immediately review my Seesmic feed of all the people I follow, on all of my accounts, on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  Late in the day I get weaker.  That is nonsense!

Darn it..everybody is tweeting about Angelina Jolie’s Oscars dress and the link is dead.  Better Google it.  Wooooo…

So, where was I?

These researchers also think that the desire for these media is harder to resist because the price is right..free.  Well, they might have a point there.  Free is a good thing..though nothing that is free lasts forever.   These sites will find a way to creep advertising into their media streams…you just wait.

I think it is so great that so many of my friends send me their horoscope sign every day.  Somebody is “in for a frustrating day with a friend today and their attitude will be greatly affected.”  I hope that friend is not me.  Probably not, I have never met this person even if they call me friend.  Wait, I can click here to view the full horoscope.   Oh, boring..that just takes me to some page that wants access to my info.  I bet if I click on that all of my friends will start getting my horoscope and won’t they be thrilled?  Oh, and maybe a few direct messages marketing products.  Think I will pass on that one.  Maybe more people should think that through before clicking “yes” on everything!

So, the logic in this study is that social media is free making it a bigger addiction than cigarettes or booze because those things cost money.  The researchers are also noting that traditional addictions take tolls way beyond money, while social media takes what?  Time, logic, a nagging persistent feeling that your followers are waiting for you to say something?  It seems this nagging feeling causes many people to make public statements that I often feel like responding with a “WTF?”  Look it up.

Or, really good people who decide that their social media presense should be emphasized with the latest multilevel marketing scheme they are involved in.  Social media is pretty similar to multilevel marketing so I guess I see the logic.   I just hate being tempted all day with vitamins, toys and candles being sold by my friends.

Somehow I have a friend who is Spanish and I can read only a few phrases they publish.  How did that happen?   Does he get annoyed by my posts in English?  Maybe I should ask him..Google offers a translator function.  Maybe I should post in multiple languages?

My favorite day in social media was when across my desktop I received a tweet that somebody I actually know was feeling much better after they had relieved themselves.  Really….ever hear of too much information?

The study, which will appear in Psychological Science, finally makes the point that the biggest loss for addicted users of social media is a thing called time.  I think I could have figured that one out without a fancy Dr. next to my name.  I am so glad they have confirmed this.

How did I hear about this study?  It was tweeted to me..of course.  Now, please excuse me.  I am getting nervous I have not checked my feeds in the last five minutes.