In my book, 369 Days: How to Survive a Year of Worst Case Scenarios, I basically have four dominoes of things that happened in those 369 days. If you look at the cover, you'll see what they are. What I found probably the most frustrating of the four dominoes, because I was not in town when it happened, was the car situation.
Back story: in 2009 I had a heart attack and then after 17 weeks of recovery, I lost my job. And then I had to relocate to Toronto to find work. So, going back to that time frame, I was in my new role for about six weeks. Then, I received a phone call from one of my daughter, and she was crying quite strongly on the call. Once she was able to compose herself, I was able to get information that our car, family vehicle, had been repossessed by the bank.
When you're unemployed for nearly a year and you're not getting any income for a period of time, it's amazing how quickly things can go sideways. Once I finally had received a paycheck again, I started catching up on some things. Mind you, I didn't have a drug coverage, so my medical expenses for the prescriptions for my heart medication were close to $700 a month. So, I kind of needed that in order to stay alive. Those were the priorities; food and medications to keep me alive. Car payments, obviously, would take a back seat to other things. We had negotiated with the auto loan organization a delay in payments. But, that timing had come to an end and over a period of time, once I got a normal paycheck coming in and finding a new place to live and everything else, we would have been able to start making our car payments again and start catching up.
Unfortunately, we ran out of time. I was in Toronto, family was in Windsor. When the car, our family vehicle, was repossessed, I was four hours away. It was probably one of the most powerless feelings I've ever had as an adult, knowing that I had zero control, that I wasn't there to try to deal with the situation. Thankfully, the tow truck company was kind enough to allow the family to empty the contents of the vehicle before they towed it away. I can't imagine what that visual was like seeing the family vehicle being taken from us. I know that was a traumatic experience for my daughter and I'm sure for the rest of my family as well. It was traumatic for me being so far away and not being able to do anything about it.
As with everything, it was probably the best thing that ever happened because based on income levels and all of that, that was a very expensive car payment. It was a very expensive lesson. The hallmark for you, is I want you to look at what you're spending your money on. This is not a financial course by any stretch, but you need to look at how you spend your money and what your budget looks like. You need to be able to control what you spend. We're all on fixed incomes, so you need to be able to spend accordingly on the things that are important. I'm not saying that you're spending money that you shouldn't be spending. We work because we want to be able to do things and have things, there's nothing wrong with that.
You also have to make sure that you're able to pay your bills and take care of the things that you need to do. Personally, it was an embarrassing period of time. Frustrating for sure, because we were hoping to be getting back on our feet to be able to pay our bills again. Unfortunately, the bank had lost its patience and decided to take the vehicle back. Hopefully, you've never experienced that. If you have, I know how you feel. It was not a pleasant experience. It was, however, one of growth, on where I focus on what's important and what's not. You don't need the brand new shiny car. You need a vehicle that can serve you and the needs that you have.
The next story I'll talk about, is our home. That one is something that is definitely a worst case scenario for many, many people. I hope that you can take and find inspiration in what happened to me and you can make the changes in your life so it never happens to you.
Until tomorrow, be well.