Staying Focused Amidst Chaos

For the last three weeks I find that I’m distracted on a constant basis as a result of the hostilities that have erupted in Israel and Gaza. After persevering through CNN coverage on Thursday night, I was watching the series, “The Sixties” on CNN. The episode covered both the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

I’m a baby boomer – so I missed WWII and Korea. But watching the show, I realized over the years – we’ve seen and encountered many bad events. To me, the Kennedy (JFK) assassination and 911 are the embedded tragedies, but there are so many others. It is frustrating when you experience events unfolding and you lack the means to change the direction to a better outcome. There is a positive note here – while it is virtually impossible to alter the course of world-wide events – we do have the power to change our own lives.

Yesterday I met with a client of 4 years – who, while earning a good income his entire career (a doctor), in 2010 was $200,000 underwater in his home, facing foreclosure, had credit card debt in excess of $90,000 and $75,000 in tax debt.

As we met to review a current business issue, we recapped where we are today, versus 4 years ago. He’s currently two months from making his last payment on the tax debt. His mortgage was modified in 2011 to reduce his payment, principal, interest, taxes and insurance to $2,200 per month on a $500,000 balance. We settled the second mortgage of $90,000 and all of the credit card debt at major discounts – and used the underwater status of his home to shield him from any tax consequences on the credit card debt. His home, today, is estimated by Zillow at $578,000!

Our new agenda – he has about $3,000 of excess income that he can now invest, and he wants to determine a safe way to provide for his later years. The best part of this story is he is 70 years + and plans to work to 85 and live to 100. In 2009, he couldn’t afford to live past 80 – now he’s good to go to 100. When he left my office, I looked up at CNN on my television in my office and said, we can still accomplish good things.

Have a great weekend.
Ken Gross

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  • If you qualify for Chapter 7, 11 or 13 Bankruptcy

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