The media has a tendency to report for the nation at large.Efforts to made sweeping statements that generalize and apply for the entire country distort reality in many areas. There are so many extremes, unique markets within that huge nation.
With 50 states, broad brush statements that reflect the nation are not accurate and mislead. It boils down to not being like that everywhere and a feeling of disenfranchisement can permeate. In one blog post I read today on Active Rain it's indicated that one out of four homes is worth less than is owed on the four walls.
Boy, that is not a statement that applies to Northern Maine. Aroostook County did not have the foreclosure rates that happened in say a Detroit Michigan or parts of Florida. The Maine banks were making conservative, quality loans BEFORE the recession that hit other areas. Many homes are paid for. Not mortgaged to the hilt. Not saddled with grotesque, ready to pop at the seams equity lines.
Folks are not way over extended. People don't live day to day 20 minutes away from financial ruin. They have untapped equity lines with cobwebs and dust from lack of use. The lines set up for peace of mind if disaster hit but never utilized because savings are in place. Their standard of living below their means so funds are squirreled away for a rainy day. And reading that one in four statistic can send an alarm thru an area where the real estate air raid siren does not need to be activated...and does not apply. But think of the anxiety caused because the panic headlines are broadcast anyway.
It used to be the headlines of upside down folks in other states were a concern, but not a worry for you personally. You thought "I'm in okay shape" if everything went black for a spell. You were brought up to plan for it, expect it, anticipate the ups and downs. But now we all have deeper jitters, worries because all of us will have to bail out the folks that did not live within their means. Those that never learned a life lesson on picking yourself up by the bootstraps, planning for set backs. Or taking care of your family without expectation the government will catch me, help me, fix it. Or that I am entitled, deserve the best others can provide with a permanent out stretched hand playing "beat the buffet" that others put on. Folks that brought no covered dish to the pot luck supper. Just arrived and stayed long with a large, bottomless appetite. It's the Titanic, late at night and have you taken a life boat count and done the math if an iceberg happens by the bow? Not planning for the unexpected, the unpleasant does not make it go away or not happen.
The Maine real estate house prices are lower than many other areas which helps. That average figure for a price tag in Northern Maine is in the $80,000 bracket.
Everything is so much lower, reasonable, down to earth and affordable here in Maine.The ability to save money, to say no to everything going is another part of the equation. Getting the home paid for is a daily goal. There is an awareness that owing money is not fun. Not something you want to burden your kids with if something happened to your job or health. And it made me think further that the same logic of the "one in four" Americans living in homes worth less than is owed, means those same folks are upside down for reasons other than situations like the auto workers face, or our friends in Florida that took a major real estate set back, hit. Maybe that other household purchases are made are in the same unbalanced state. The cars they drive are worth less than is owed. Their high school kids drive better cars than mom and dad with seven year loans on them to prove what? The money saved for their kid's college accounts is less than it will cost, and on and on.
It may be not just be real estate market oriented but the way some follksrun their financial lives. If the average American, another media headline, is carrying $17,000 for credit card debt, maybe the economy spotlights the loose financial reins on the household spending. The recession is the smypton...the poor personal spending habits or addiction is the bigger illness, the cause of the cracks, aches, pains. I remember reading the Bearstein Bears books to the four kids when they were little and one in particular called "The Galloping Gimmees". Maybe not everyone else read that one, remembered the lessons of over indulgence and paying the piper if drunken sailor spending becomes a daily occurrenceor need, compulsion. Maybe living in Maine meant our outdoor recreation all four seasons was the fun were did not have to pay for living in "Vacationland". Money was not the end all, in shorter supply and handled carefully is the lesson we learned, saw demonstrated.
When you grew up, do you remember parents being on the brink of financial disaster? Was the money brought in to the household coffers spent as fast as it came in? Beyond the income stream? Were your parents conservative and did you feel secure that there were savings and you were aware that a mortgage burning party was a goal you saw worked at, achieved?