Have you ever felt like no one is listening to you? I have.
I swim in a pond of very financially accomplished people who have almost literally not even been touched by the COVID19 Pandemic. People who are married and wealthy or retired or just well off.
But, not a single working parent in the bunch. I am fortunate that even though my career in the hospitality industry has been saved and I am still employed, I can’t help but be astounded at the number of tone-deaf people that are living in this pandemic who are totally unaffected.
It makes, being me… harder these days.
Though I have been fortunate enough to keep my job, I am doing so at a significant pay cut. So, as the mortgage nears every month, I start to panic now.
As a single parent who has lived through so many life ups and downs post-divorce, I have debt based on the fact that I have been raising a family alone for a very long time. My inner Helen Reddy, “Hear me Roar” came out this past week and I decided to take the tiger by the tail and find some resolutions to my current financial crisis.
First things first…the mortgage.
Making the monthly mortgage while making my lowered salary was now starting to show itself after 8 months. My stress levels were starting to get worrisome. I contacted my current lender to ask if there were any programs I could jump into as a result of COVID19 and the lower salary I was temporarily living with.
He said that I could try the Fannie Mae re-finance option if my credit holds up or even do a 3-month forbearance until my world settles down.
What I found out was that a forbearance is not advisable when seeking a refinance. You most likely will not make it past hello on the call.
Shortly after I reached out to my lender, I received a letter from another broker who was telling me to take advantage of the historically low interest rates. I put the letter to the side and went on my merry way.
Everywhere I looked it seemed that people were talking about refinancing. It seemed as if the stars in the universe were all telling me to make a shift…make a move. So, I went back to the letter and said…” Okay…. I will do my research” and I contacted them!
My questions were, can I refinance and be a part of the rest of the world and take advantage of the lower interest rates? Am I worthy to be part of the successful, smart kids? Maybe.
My end game is to just get a lower achievable monthly payment under the auspices of a temporarily lowered salary. So here I am going through the qualification process of a re-financing as a single mother again…with a reduced salary…in the middle of a pandemic. I literally feel like I am back in school waiting to know if I passed my final exams.
My stomach is churning, and I am experiencing sleepless nights. The scrutiny you go through in the loan process is tough. To go through it as a single mom is nothing short of feeling like you are standing in the village square with no clothes on. All past decisions, past bills, past challenges, past everything completes the feeling of utter exposure. And to a certain degree, utter failure too.
But for every challenge, there is a voice inside that can test that challenge!
As I paused and reflected over the process I have had to endure as a single mom raising a family alone for the past 20 years, I started to huff and puff and say, “Why is it that I am expected to be two people every day of the week? I am not two incomes…I am one! And so far, I am doing a stellar job based on the cards I have been dealt!
Do single parents get a break anywhere in the world?
I think single parents are the best risk any lender could possibly take because of all that we manage in keeping a roof over our head! Before I knew it, I was sitting at my computer and emailing the CEO’s of Chase Morgan and Bank of America!
The main premise of my email was in the question: Will there ever come a day that banks would give special consideration to single mothers purchasing their homes and thus securing their families which in turn would result in bettering our society? The target market for this sector would be astounding.
I had no real expectation of being heard. The action just gave me a moment of empowerment to speak on behalf of the single mother community! Those awesome warrior women who rock it all every day of the week!
Two days later to my utter shock, I not only heard back from the executive office of Jamie Dimon of Chase Morgan, but I also heard back from the executive office of Brian Moynihan of Bank of America as well.
Both banks told me that they do indeed have programs for single parent households. They are not well known, but they spoke to me at length about what they offered. I am noting the links to these at the bottom of the article. Now maybe I am just late to the party or asleep at the wheel or something, but in my 20 years of holding a mortgage never once did any mortgage broker mention any such loan programs to me.
Loans that have no closing costs, application fees waived, no credit required, grants for closing etc. Information that made me feel like the village idiot for not knowing the existence of these programs; but now I was informed.
But the real value…for me…. was that I was heard.
These two women who phoned me back after receiving the forwarded emails I sent to the bank CEO’s almost made me weep. They were methodical, caring in their explanations and didn’t hesitate to tell me that I now had their numbers and that I could call again should I need further information and direction.
One woman connected me with their representative who phoned me right away. It was not just service that was rendered. It was kindness.
Now my cynical friends could say, “Yeah right…. they are bankers! Of course, they called you back!” Nope! I don’t buy that. I have navigated these scary waters for too many years and been marginalized and humiliated too many times because of the fact that I was a single mother with a challenged credit score as a result of a brutal divorce.
I have not experienced this kind of response before. And I know what I felt and what I heard. And I am grateful.
“Mirror Mirror on the Wall,
I’ll Always Get Up After I Fall.
And Whether I Run, Walk or Have to Crawl,
I’ll Set My Goals and Achieve Them All!”
So, when the day comes that you find your inner “Helen Reddy, Hear me Roar” moment, act on it! You just never know what kind person may be there to show you some empathy…take you by the hand and allow you to be heard. I was. And it felt good.
Bank programs for single-parent households:
https://www.chase.com/personal/mortgage/affordablelending (Chase DreaMakers Option)