How I Afforded Losing My Job

Palm Springs, California

It was 10 years ago when Karen left her native San Francisco to relocate to the warm weather of Southern California. By the time she had moved, Karen had been widowed for a number of years. She had already put her children through school, held down a career and maintained the family home as a single parent. She had always been self-supporting and independent.

Karen chose to relocate to the Palm Springs area where she had visited as a child and had long-time family roots. She quickly fell in love with her new community. She found a job as an administrator for a local non-profit organization and became active in local volunteer activities.

Her home and its surrounding neighborhood quickly became a source of joy. Upon arriving in Southern California, Karen chose to reside in a single-family home in an historic neighborhood consisting of mid-century modern homes. The home had three bedrooms and two baths with 1,900 square feet.

But her home meant more to her than square footage. It reflects her love of the history of the community and her commitment to preserving the environment. The home is almost entirely heated by solar panels. Even a lap pool near her home is heated by a solar system.

When Karen lost her job nearly a year ago, she was not sure she could keep her beloved home and was only months away from certain foreclosure. A victim of the downturn in the economy when her non-profit organization laid off nearly two dozen employees, Karen knew it might be a very long time before she could find another job.

At 68, she still owed on the mortgage on her home of 10 years. With no income, her retirement savings decimated, unemployment and social security could eventually cover basic living expenses, but not mortgage payments.

But the woman who had spent decades helping others found that it was now time to let others help her. “For decades, my family and I have contributed to this community as a visible presence,” she says. It was the same community that she had helped for so many years that was willing to give back to her during her tough times. “Several angels came forward after hearing about my situation. People and organizations I had helped in the past now were insisting on giving back. I was, and am, overwhelmed by their generosity,” she explains.

And just when she thought there were no options to selling her home, another “angel” appeared. A friend introduced her to Colleen Moore, owner of Golden Equity Mortgage Co. in San Diego. According to Moore’s calculations, Karen had enough equity in her home to qualify for a reverse mortgage. It took Moore six months to put together the right deal, but in the end, Karen was — and is — pleased with the terms.

Karen continues to seek new employment and volunteer in her region, all from the comfort of her beloved home.

“I have my roof over my head in a home into which I have put so much, on a wonderful block with long-time great neighbors,” she says. “Now I can at least pay my basic bills until I can find another job. Colleen packaged the reverse mortgage so I would never again have to worry about losing my home.”