Does anybody else see a connection between these two stories?

War Lord

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http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_1_103/ai_95846085

More single women across the nation are buying their own homes

More single women across the nation are buying their own homes, according to a 2001 report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

Many of the women are young, some are divorced with children and others are lesbian couples.

The study found that the homeownership rate for female-headed households has grown from 48 percent in the early 1980s to 53 percent in 2000.

The study also found that the number of female first-time home buyers under the age of 45 living alone rose 65 percent between 1985 and 1999.

"The trend of single women owning homes is one of the most significant changes in the housing market in the last decade," Nicolas Retsinas, the Joint Center's director, said in the Chicago Tribune.

Retsinas said lower down-payment requirements, increased participation of women in the economy and a "greater realization that a home is really not a bad investment" are all reasons for the change.

women declaring bankruptcy in record rates.

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/BankruptcyGuide/7WaysToFightOffBankruptcy.aspx

Over the last two decades, bankruptcy rates among women have been rising at a frightening rate.

Some 69,000 women filed for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 1981. By 2001, according to research by Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, women filing independently or as part of a couple numbered close to a million.

As part of a small, brave band of Women in Red who struggle against the financial forces of darkness in the world, I have to ask why -- and what can we do to protect ourselves?

A lack of financial stability
Obviously, being female doesn't predispose you to bankruptcy any more than, say, having brown hair. But the research seems to indicate that women are more likely to end up in certain economic straits that can lead to bankruptcy.

Contrary to the stereotype that those who file for bankruptcy have irresponsibly spent themselves into a hole, nine out of 10 women were forced into bankruptcy by a job loss, medical emergency or divorce.

These are the same factors that send many men into bankruptcy, says Warren, co-author of "All Your Worth." But a woman's hold on economic security tends to be more tenuous to begin with -- particularly if they have children.

Warren's data, based on Chapter 7 and 13 filings, make it scarily clear:

For unmarried men, the bankruptcy rate was 6.3 cases per thousand.

For unmarried women, it was 7.2 cases per thousand.

For married couples without children, it was 7.4 cases per thousand.

For married couples with kids, the rate about doubles to 15.3 per thousand.

And for single women with kids, the bankruptcy rate nearly triples to 21.3 cases per thousand.

Single women alone comprise almost 40% of all bankruptcy filings.

Bankruptcy's red flags
What's going on? "Women often start off with lower incomes, and they're particularly vulnerable after a divorce, when they're typically bearing the brunt of the child-care burden," says Travis Plunkett, legislative director of the Consumer Federation of America.

For example, Marian, the newest member of the Women in Red, has not filed for bankruptcy. But she has many of the classic warning signs:

She's a single mom. When Marian's husband left eight years ago, she was left to raise her three children without any child or spousal support. "Divorce isn't a picnic for men or women," says Warren, "but the economic strain falls disproportionately hard on women," who are often left to care for children or aging parents. "They have every cost that married couples do, and they're trying to do it on one income."

She didn't have a steady income. Also, like a lot of moms with very young children, Marian worked from home, helping out in her husband's business. In the event of a split, women without a full-time job or the skills to get one are the most financially unstable, says Harlene Miller, a bankruptcy lawyer in Santa Ana, Calif. "They (don't) have a significant employment base so they're less able to get out in the marketplace to start supporting themselves."

She wasn't paying attention to money matters. With three children and a struggling business, it's no wonder Marian pushed aside the bigger financial questions -- like how they would repay the family loans that floated their enterprise. Luckily, their families forgave those debts, but many women pay a price for keeping their heads in the sand, says Miller. She cites a client whose husband died suddenly at age 50, leaving her with over $100,000 in credit card debt that she'd had no idea about. "It's imperative for all women, as a matter of survival, to be involved in the family's finances," she says.

She took on more debt than she could handle. In her 17 years as a bankruptcy attorney, Miller has seen women pile up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt to get by. Marian did exactly that, tapping the equity in her home (which had been paid off) to borrow $100,000. She used the money to pay off a personal loan and medical bills and to cover her son's tuition at a special-needs school.

Many women don't adjust their lifestyle quickly enough. This is less true of Marian, who used her college accounting degree to get a job after the divorce and recently started her own business. But Warren says many women are vulnerable to going broke because they don't face the realities of what it takes to survive on one income and adjust speedily.

Nor would women's risk of bankruptcy be lowered much if they got more support from their ex-spouses, Warren says. "The increased cost of raising children has far outstripped the increase in child support."

"You do better if there are two parents, but the reality is that any parent is at much greater risk of collapse," she says. "It's parents who are pushing themselves to their limits to buy houses in decent school districts. It's parents who are struggling to pay for health insurance and a second car and good child care."

"And if a married couple can barely make it on two incomes, a single mother won't be able to make it on one and a quarter," assuming she gets that support from her ex, Warren adds.

Steer clear of bankruptcy court
Obviously, there are some times when filing for bankruptcy may be a woman's best or only solution. But despite being financially at risk, Marian would benefit little from filing for bankruptcy, Miller says.

Most of Marian's debt is secured, i.e. tied to her house. That debt would not be discharged, or forgiven, in a bankruptcy case. Women with unsecured debt, like credit card debt, used to have a better chance at seeing their financial slate wiped clean.

But a new law that took effect in late 2005 is far more stringent and focused on getting people to repay their debts, not walk away debt-free.

If you feel that bankruptcy might be your best choice, Miller advises consulting with a full-time bankruptcy lawyer who can help you decide if it's worth the consequences.

Meanwhile, if you feel you're at risk for bankruptcy based on these five financial risk factors, and especially if you're a married woman on the brink of divorce, act now to protect yourself:

Get savvy. If you're not on top of your finances, now is the time to take a crash course (and read lots of Women in Red articles, of course).

Divide your debts. Cancel all joint credit cards and other debts.

Claim your assets. Make sure your name is on the title to the house and on all investment accounts.Sign up to be notified whenever MP publishes a new article.
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Shore up your career now. Don't wait for divorce, layoff or illness to strain your income.

Scale back your lifestyle now. "If you're getting divorced, you need to live on 50% of what you're used to," says Warren.

Know your rights. In the event of divorce, the IRS allows you to file an "innocent spouse" claim, if you feel you don't owe certain taxes.

Get financial counseling. Depending on your circumstances, you may not need bankruptcy if you can learn to live within your means.
 
North American society encourages us to incur debt by pushing store credit cards on us, buy now pay later promotions and "no downpayment" high priced items. Unfortunatly few of us pay attention to the downside of these 3 things... they all have a higher interest rate when they come due. If you have a store credit card (or any of the other items) and are not able to pay it off completely when the bill comes in, apply for a Credit Line at your bank. It will have a lower interest rate than any of those three. Use the Credit Line to pay off the others and DO NOT buy anything else on credit until the Credit Line is paid off.
 
^^Not bad but you also need to consider the housing comments made above. Considering most woment's debt appears to be tied to their home it would make sense to consider the expenditures associated with a home before buying one i.e. taxes, maintenance, etc. Make sure you have enough to live within your means and if that requires a smaller house then you'll have to learn to live with it for a while.
 
NHawk19 said:
^^Not bad but you also need to consider the housing comments made above. Considering most woment's debt appears to be tied to their home it would make sense to consider the expenditures associated with a home before buying one i.e. taxes, maintenance, etc. Make sure you have enough to live within your means and if that requires a smaller house then you'll have to learn to live with it for a while.

Agreed. A lot of folks are buying houses they can't afford because of the no downpayment policy. Very few people ask when they purchase a home:

Can I see you gas bills for the year?
Can I see your electric bills for the year?
Can I see your water bills for the year?
Can I see your property tax statement?

Also, many folks do not consider the fact than even if there is no down payment they will still have to pay:

Legal fees
Land Transfer taxes
Inspection fees (always get an inspection, the house may look good to you, but would you recognize termite problems if you saw them?)

etc.
 
redmarvel said:
Agreed. A lot of folks are buying houses they can't afford because of the no downpayment policy. Very few people ask when they purchase a home:

Can I see you gas bills for the year?
Can I see your electric bills for the year?
Can I see your water bills for the year?
Can I see your property tax statement?


Also, many folks do not consider the fact than even if there is no down payment they will still have to pay:

Legal fees
Land Transfer taxes
Inspection fees (always get an inspection, the house may look good to you, but would you recognize termite problems if you saw them?)

etc.

Yup,

And utilities can often be the easiest to reduce, that's why when I bought my house I spent some cash up front on a few simple (and some not so simple things) in the hopes of reducing costs later.

Bought high efficiency light bulbs
New Air Filters for the A/C
Replaced some older appliances
Got more water effcient plumbing fixtures
Reset the Temp on the Hot Water Tank

Things also to consider are windows and insulation.

While you may not be able to do this all at once, a few small things can make a big difference in the long term costs for owning a home. For example when I bought my house in August my first electric bill was about $150 by the same time the following year I was able to reduce it to $85
 
NHawk19 said:
^^Not bad but you also need to consider the housing comments made above. Considering most woment's debt appears to be tied to their home it would make sense to consider the expenditures associated with a home before buying one i.e. taxes, maintenance, etc. Make sure you have enough to live within your means and if that requires a smaller house then you'll have to learn to live with it for a while.
not really. ive had experience with women. as in crazy-shopper-spend-thousands-of-dollars-in-one-day women. its mostly everything BUT their home
 
Its called "womens lib", yea there liberated right into the poor house.....
 
I dont understand how people get so deep in debt, Ive never had a problem with debt.
 
FunBobPants said:
not really. ive had experience with women. as in crazy-shopper-spend-thousands-of-dollars-in-one-day women. its mostly everything BUT their home

I think I'm an anomoly in that regard... I don't enjoy shopping, mostly because I know I don't have the money to spend. I ABSOLUTELY HATE SHOE SHOPPING. I'm fussy about my feet and very few shoes/boots seem to meet my expectations.
 
Fred_Fury said:
I dont understand how people get so deep in debt, Ive never had a problem with debt.

You don't own a house either.

It happens mostly because people haven't been taught the value of patience when it comes to buying things. Too many people, once they acquire the house, will often then go buy brand-new furniture, and other things like their own in-house theatres.
 
I know so many people that live from paychack to paycheck.
And I really just don't understand.
I'm young and I put my own money in the bank, I have stocks and when I start a career you better believe I'll sacrifice stupid crap like cable television to add to my savings
 

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