The reason we do the things we do, believe what we believe is always based on our own personal life experiences, from politics, to religion, to simple perception. There are far more reasons behind what we are doing and why it is so important to us.
I bought my first home in 2001, at age 21. I used my $10k 401k as the down payment on a $149k condo in San Diego, I wish I still had it, it was adorable. When other people were putting custom parts on their cars and going to the club, I was trying to buy a house.
I sold that condo two years later and made $50k that was the down payment on our first home in Sacramento, a new construction 3/2 that I still own as a rental. We are bad landlords because I have a sentimental attachment to that house. It was where we lived when Sean and I got married, we keep it immaculately, not ideal for a rental.
I worked at banks and credit unions through college. Would take classes in the morning, then work full time, then classes in evening. When we moved to Sacramento in 2001 I took a job at Washington mutual processing mortgages and worked up to underwriting. When the market started changing in 2007, I lost my job for the first time. I loved that job, thought I’d be there for the gold watch, it was a shock.
I took another job underwriting, the money was great, but I hated the job, my boss was condescending, it lasted six months before they went through layoffs too. Last in, first out. It was rough. We were trying to get pregnant at the same time, dealing with endometriosis, and the ground kept moving.
I took a job as a temp and was placed with the state of CA. Right after getting placed I found out I was pregnant, at the same time I was trying to get hired. I let them know I was expecting and they hired me anyways. I cried that day, a stable job with the state despite the fact they knew I was pregnant. I worked there for 7 years, part time after my first baby, and had 3 kids, took a year off with each one.
Baby #3 was the deal breaker for working part time. It was the point where daycare was more than I was bringing home. It was the hardest choice ever. I appreciated that job so much, no one ever leaves the state, right?? The month my pension vested, I went out on my last maternity leave and didn’t go back.
At the same time I was going through this transition, the mortgage companies Sean worked for were shutting down too. Within 6 years, we lost 5 jobs between the two of us, severance packages left and right, his always seemed to come when I was pregnant too. It was devastating. I don’t think I’ll ever look at life the same after what the real estate market crash did to our psyche. Before that we thought we would grow our careers and income and made choices accordingly. After We started basing all decisions on whether we could afford it even on unemployment. We were constantly scared, looking for the next shoe to drop. It dramatically effects how you make decisions.
The job losses and uncertainty through the market crash changed us forever. I don’t think we will ever be as optimistic as we might have been otherwise and for that I am sad.
I’m so proud to have this opportunity to tell my Dixie Belle brand ambassador story, because like so many others, it has changed my life.