Have you ever had the feeling that nobody is listening to you? I have.
I’m swimming in a pond of very financially savvy people who literally haven’t even been touched by the COVID19 pandemic. People who are married and wealthy, or retired, or just wealthy.
But not a single working parent in the bunch. I am fortunate that although my hospitality career has been saved and I am still busy, I can be amazed at the number of deaf-hearing people living in this pandemic who are completely untouched.
It makes it harder to be me these days.
Although I was lucky enough to keep my job, I do so with a significant cut in wages. As the mortgage approaches each month, I now panic.
As a single parent who has gone through so many ups and downs after divorce, I have debt due to the fact that I have been raising a family by myself for a very long time. My inner Helen Reddy, “Hear me Roar” came out last week and I decided to grab the tiger by the tail and come up with some solutions to my current financial crisis.
First things first … the mortgage.
Making the monthly mortgage while I was making my lowered salary began to show up after 8 months. My stress level was slowly becoming worrying. I contacted my current lender to ask if there were any programs I could jump into due to COVID19 and the lower salary I was temporarily living on.
He said I could try Fannie Mae’s refinancing option if my credit holds up, or even give three months of indulgence until my world calms down.
What I found out was that it is not advisable to be lenient in finding refinance. You most likely won’t make it through hello on the call.
Shortly after contacting my lender, I received a letter from another broker telling me to take advantage of the historically low interest rates. I put the letter aside and set off.
Everywhere I looked people seemed to be talking about refinancing. It seemed like 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’ll do my research, ”and I contacted you!
My questions were: Can I refinance and be part of the rest of the world and take advantage of the lower interest rates? Am I worth being part of successful, bright children? Perhaps.
My end game is just getting a lower achievable monthly payment under the auspices of a temporarily lowered salary. So here I am again doing the qualification process for a refinancing as a single mother … with a reduced salary … in the middle of a pandemic. I literally feel like I’m back in school waiting to see if I’ve passed my final exams.
My stomach turns and I have sleepless nights. The test you go through in the credit process is difficult. Passing as a single mother is the feeling of standing in the village square and not putting on any clothes. All of the past decisions, past bills, past challenges and everything complete the feeling of total disclosure. And, to some extent, complete failure.
But for every challenge there is a voice that can test that challenge!
As I paused and thought about the process I had to raise as a single mother on my own over the past 20 years, I started snorting and snorting and saying, “Why am I expected to be two people every day? of the week? I am not two incomes … I am one! And so far, I’m doing an excellent job based on the cards I’ve been dealt!
Are single parents getting a break anywhere in the world?
I think single parents are the best risk a lender can take because we manage to have a roof over our heads! Before I knew it, I was sitting at my computer emailing the CEOs of Chase Morgan and Bank of America!
The main premise of my email was the question: will there ever be a day when banks pay special attention to single mothers who buy their homes and thus secure their families, which in turn would improve our society? The target market for this sector would be amazing.
I had no real expectation to be heard. The action only gave me a moment of empowerment to speak on behalf of the single parent community! These fantastic warriors who rock everything every day of the week!
Two days later, to my complete shock, I heard not only about the executive office of Jamie Dimon at Chase Morgan, but also the executive office of Brian Moynihan at Bank of America.
Both banks told me that they actually have single parent programs. They are not known, but they spoke to me at length about what they were offering. I take note of the links to these at the end of the article. Now I might be late for the party, or sleep at the wheel or something, but in my 20 years as a mortgage lender, no mortgage broker has ever mentioned such loan programs to me.
No graduation fee loans, no application fees, no credit required, graduation grants, etc. information that made me feel like the village idiot for not knowing about the existence of these programs; but now i have been informed.
But the real value … to me … was that I was heard.
Those two women who called me back after receiving the forwarded emails I sent to the bank manager almost made me cry. They were methodical, worried about their explanations, and didn’t hesitate to tell me I now had their numbers and that I could call back if I needed further information and instructions.
A woman put me through to her representative, who called me immediately. It wasn’t just service. It was kindness.
Now my cynical friends could say: “Yes, right…. You are a banker! Of course they called you back! “Nah! I don’t buy that. I’ve navigated these creepy waters for too many years and too often been marginalized and humiliated for being a single mom who had challenged creditworthiness due to a brutal divorce.
I’ve never seen this kind of reaction before. And I know what I felt and heard. And I am grateful.
“Mirror Mirror on the wall,
I will always get up after I fall.
And whether I run, walk or crawl
I will set my goals and achieve them all! “
So when the day comes when you find your inner “Helen Reddy, hear me roar” moment, act on it! They just never know which kind person can be there to show you empathy. Take her by the hand and be heard. I was. And it felt good.
Banking programs for single parents:
https://www.chase.com/personal/mortgage/affordablelending (Chase DreaMakers Option)