November 26th, 2008
04:21 PM ET

Avoiding the fear and shame of foreclosure

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Editor's Note: Gail Cunningham is senior director of public relations for the nonprofit National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), Inc.

By Gail Cunningham
Special to CNN

When you sit across the desk from someone with overwhelming debt, you can sense their fear before a word is spoken. And when their home is in jeopardy, the fear fills the room.

I was a credit counselor for 16 years, and quickly discovered that people in debt are very ashamed of their situation.

In all my years, I never counseled anyone who was cavalier about their circumstances, or intentionally sought to dig a deep financial hole. But the shame that accompanies foreclosure tops anything I've ever experienced.

There's something about people losing their homes that is disturbing beyond measure. Failure has become a part of their demeanor.


Filed under: Economy • Finance • Gail Cunningham • Housing Market • Raw Politics
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. GF, Los Angeles

    I do not feel sorry for people with the predicament you outlined below because they are all avoidable:

    • Unaffordable payments when a loan resets to a higher annual percentage rate;

    • Buying a house that was more costly than the borrower's income could reasonably support long-term, and

    • Increased cost of living, which places more demands on consumers' budgets, forcing them to make hard choices about which debts to pay.

    November 26, 2008 at 8:14 pm |
  2. Larry

    Well, as long as their mortgage is paid up and they have home insurance, as most people do then what's the problem? Buying a home is the biggest expenditure a family makes, so they should have a real estate agent and a lawyer when they decide they have found the right home they want to buy.

    November 26, 2008 at 5:31 pm |

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