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Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-13-2007, 05:41 PM   #1
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Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

My wife and I are just at the end of a BRUTAL four years. I am now 54 (wife 51).

At 50/47 we were looking OK. Could always use more $$/investments, but we had some, along with a fair savings. Last of 5 children was a senior. We decided to put our house up for sale in N. MI and buy/build our "dream house". We did.

VERY long story short, both homes' mortgages KO'd by sloppy banking (dream house) and by predatory lending refinance (original home). We lost our entire portfolio and all of our savings in these two battles. Still proceding against the predatory lending case. That could take years as we have now probably reached an impasse.

We have purchased a new fifth wheel and a 2500 GMC pickup and we are currently living in that (the 5ver, that is...) full time. We owe approx $85K in debt. I have decided to negotiate with Workers Comp for a lump sum settlement. I was injured at work in the spring of 2004.

Applied for State teacher disability retirement Aug 05 - approved. Applied for SSDI Aug 05 - denied. Appealed Nov 05. Hearing scheduled for next Mon, 3/19. No guarantees, of course, but should be approved. Back benefits will be $15K-$30K, depending on any coordination with my W/C.

W/C negotiations have started with $170K (w/ some inside coaching). I was told they would like to move quickly on this - within 45 days. There is a 2 week waiting period after the Magistrate approval. This is tax free. My SSDI back benefits will not be and I will put 1/3 aside for taxes.

Our family base (parents, sisters, kids, grandkids) are in N. MI. Want to spend the summer there on Torch Lake. The winter months we want to based out of Central FL as we were this past winter.

We want to travel a little, obviously with our 5ver. We are not sure if we want to buy a small place up in N. MI for staying in the summer months, or if we would want to have a small single wide down here.

We love living in our 2007 40 ft 4 slideout rig with electric fireplace, central vac, and 2 A/Cs, so not sure if we want something permanent anyway right now - especially with the market values crashing throughout the country.

I will have approx $2500-$3000/mo from SSDI and State Teachers Disability Retirement for monthly expenses, vehicle/RV insurance, campground rent, groceries, gas, entertainment (med ins is very good through MI retired teachers union - extremely low co-pays). Wife is a waitress with no pension or SS - too young anyway. We can live pretty cheap.

I obviously would like to pay off all of this $85K of debt, including the 5ver and the pickup. I know I will probably have a money market with some amount in it, but I would like some type of growth investments, albeit small, that we could take full advantge of at our age/lifestyle.

The Predatory Lending company has one last offer on the table for a $95K out of court settlement. Others have pursued and all have won in U.S. District Court $5 mil to $6 mil range for the exact same charges as I will bring. This however takes years, which I have no problem with. If this last offer is foolishly rejected, I'll turn my attorneys loose and go about my life while I wait out these couple years. No guarantees in any litigation ever - just probabilities. Should win, but if I don't, it won't matter that much.

If I have this small $50K-$90K left (after debt payoff) amount of cash, what should I do with it in our situation?

I have discussed this with a banker and I am trying to get with a friend, who is a broker, but he currently is on vacation. Just thought I would throw this out here for your input...
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-13-2007, 07:02 PM   #2
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

Interesting!

ha
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-13-2007, 09:07 PM   #3
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsprik
both homes' mortgages KO'd by sloppy banking (dream house) and by predatory lending refinance (original home).

Just thought I would throw this out here for your input...
What does that mean? mortgages KOd? predatory lending refinance?

I don't understand these terms. If I did, maybe I could provide input.


-ERD50
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-13-2007, 11:54 PM   #4
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

I lost both homes. I refinanced the old one and predatory lending practices used by the lending institution forced the foreclosure of that home. I didn't realize that I had fallen for the scam until I read about them in the news. Many lawsuits across the country for the same thing they had done to me. Just discovered this about 12 months ago. When I contacted them, their attorneys asked if we could settle out of court. I agreed to do this, with the explicit implied threat that I was aware of the 5-6 mil jury awarded litigations, and that I would be interested in seeing if maybe something could be worked out. After 9 months, I have decided we are not progressing the way I like. Last offer then attorneys and a two year wait.

Other mortgage was mishandled. Not intentional, just sloopy banking. They caused enormous cost overruns by trying to help their contractor "friends". Federal and State regulators were already investigating as our new mortgage skyrocketed $800/month over the initial monthly payment. I had my attorneys contact them as the bank's CEO was summarily fired by the board, along with 7 loan officers and vice presidents (one of which originated our loan). Huge mess. their attorneys didn't even agrue. They took the house back on a quick claim deed, ate $250,000, gave us $5,000 cash, removed all late payments/foreclosure initiated/any negative comments from my and my wife's credit reports.

Both these houses went into f/c one week apart. We knew the new mortgage bank had screwed up. The predatory lending mortgage company we had no idea was scamming us. I was led to believe that everything that was happening was my fault - I thought I was just misreading my mortgage papers, I was not communicating well enough with the California company, I was a bad financial manager, I was a bad father, I was a bad husband. I was lied to, fraudulent docs were inserted into my papers, they forged my wife and my signatures, no appraisal was ever done, even though I was charged $800 for one. Highly inflated appraisal, locking me into a mortgage that I could never get out from under.

Too many other things to mention. I am a HS Science teacher and I don't conside myself "dumb" by any standard, but I was led down the primrose path when I thought I knew what I was doing, not understanding the great danger I was in.

If you Google "Predatory Lending Practices", just about 90% of those issues listed were what they used on us. These two concurrent events devastated us financially. I was going through 3 failed shoulder operations at the same time, finally being deemed permanently disabled.

I am making the best of life, I believe there is a reason for everything, and I am getting an great education, that I hope to use to help others.

Just not sure if there is anything useful I can do with this sub $100K money I have coming in - other than just throwing it all in a money market account.
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 12:02 AM   #5
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

I'm sorry but I don't think anyone on this board can help you. You have too many issues going on, and most of them are not financial.
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 12:05 AM   #6
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

I'm really sorry that all of this has made you feel like a bad husband, father, person. Don't let it do that to you anymore!

Rather than just thinking that you are "just throwing" the money into a mm account, think of it as placing it somewhere safe while you sort things out.

First and foremost you need an emergency account, some CDs like at Penfed are paying 6%, that's not too shabby.

You'll eventually want to get into the stock market - most of us here like Vanguard. Maybe during this time you should research some of their funds and see what feels right to you.

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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 08:39 AM   #7
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsprik

If you Google "Predatory Lending Practices", just about 90% of those issues listed were what they used on us. These two concurrent events devastated us financially.
Thanks, I did just google that term. Ummm, you are not going to want to hear this, but that list I see, is a list of 'buyer beware' items.

http://www.acorn.org/index.php?id=754

I'm sorry, but it is hard for me to feel very sorry for an educated person that signed a contract that offered a higher than market rate interest, or agreed to get into a loan for 100% (or more) of the home value, or any of the other 'offers' on that list. And they are 'offers', you could have said 'NO'. $800/month *increase* - why not a fixed rate mortgage in this climate? Why did you sign papers that would allow *any* kind of increase?

I'm guessing, that when you took out those mortgages, there was something about them that appeared 'too good to be true'. You probably thought you were putting one over on the lender, and that you were getting a great deal. That is how 'cons' work.

Quote:
The reason WC Fields said "you can't cheat an honest man" is that, an honest man cannot be enticed with either ill gotten gains, or excessive promises of profits.
Charged for an appraisal that was not done? I got a copy of my appraisal, and looked it over prior to closing. That is the point of an appraisal - to make sure the property is worth what the papers say it is. My most recent mortgage was obtained through my credit union. Good rate, and I knew them to be fair and responsible. What did you know about the companies you were dealing with?

Why do you think you are entitled to $5M to $6M? If they really did forge docs and such, let them serve some jail time. How about the diff they collected from you what you would have paid for a standard fixed rate mortgage, plus something to compensate you for the time spent unraveling this (like $100/hour)? $95K sounds pretty generous to me. I've made some mistakes in my life, all I got for it was a 'tuition bill' from the school of hard-knocks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsprik
I believe there is a reason for everything, and I am getting an great education, that I hope to use to help others.
Now that is the right attitude! I can tell you clearly, there *was* a reason for this. If you accumulate some wealth in the future, you may have learned to be more cautious with it, and to hang onto it. People will try to separate you from your money, and many of them do it legally - you need to learn to protect yourself. This board can help if you are willing to listen, take action and stop seeing yourself as a 'victim'.

Quote:
Just not sure if there is anything useful I can do with this sub $100K money I have coming in - other than just throwing it all in a money market account.
Yes, put it in a MM. That is a *good* thing to do. Else, I'm afraid you will follow some hot stock tip, lose it all and then blame the company or your broker for your loss.

Sorry to hear about your rotator cuff.

-ERD50
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 10:00 AM   #8
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

What ERD50 said.
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 10:14 AM   #9
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

If you think you are knowledgable in an area, I can tell you that someone else is smarter and can take you for a ride. Did I make mistakes? Sure I did. Would I get an attorney to go over the fine print next time? Absolutely!

I hope everyone knows that no matter how vigilant a driver is, there are occasions where they can be blindsided by another illegal driver. Is the good driver at fault for that? Maybe partially. However, if the case goes to court, I would not expect the judge/jury to admonish the good driver for not looking out for the blatantly illegal driver. "Sorry, the defendant gets off. Mr Good Driver, you are at fault for not having total command of 360 degrees of view at all times to watch for drunk speeders. You were not looking that way that one time. Bad Mr. Good Driver!" That would be ridiculous.

I did not think I was a target. I apparently was. One must be cautious with these "buyer beware" stances, as there in no excuse to support a con artist (by default, you pick one side or the other), especially a major scam like this, that was orchestrated from the get go, with the arguement that it is the consumers fault because they unknowingly made themselves a target is certainly flawed.

I can guarantee you that it is possible for everyone to get taken. I don't care how smart or educated you think you are. I will never put someone down for being scammed. It is ALWAYS the criminal that should take the heat.

BTW, $5 - $6 mil is just the going rate.... Money is inconsequential - seriously. It's the justice I am determined to get. This company (or several BAD people within that company) destroyed thousands of lives across this country. We faired much better than most. We only were illegally foreclosed on - it would take WAY to long to provide full details and it is not the purpose of this thread anyway. Many were also forced into bankruptcy and there are documented cases of associated suicides directly related to this particular company's predatory lending practices.

I am not bitter over this. Many are outraged and their lives totally consumed by what happened to them. This is very unfortunate. I have other things going in my life that I choose to focus on that are very positive. I will take care of this issue, however, in the background.

These very bad events that have happened to us these past 4 years have pushed us in a direction that has a very exciting future right in front of us. We have some great things happening in our life. I wouldn't exactly promote the path we were forced to take to get here, but like I said... everything happens for a reason.

This company will pay because that is the right thing - period. I taught all five of my kids that they had better learn very early in life that there is "right" and "wrong". There is no "gray" area.

Also, FYI, many of these agents are serving jail time. FBI and A/G have hammered several others - revoked licenses (in the case of my appraiser - who then apparently committed suicide vs facing jail time), etc. FBI raided the office that originated my refinance 3 months after the signing and I never found out about for a YEAR. The office was in a city 165 miles away from where I lived.
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 10:40 AM   #10
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

Dsprik...

Also what ERD50 said... plus..

you brought up the predatory pricing issue which cost you a home... so it is relevent.. I am not saying that you were not taken, but you are partially responsible... In your car example.... people would look at you and ask "did you look both ways before entering the intersection"... if you said 'NO', then you could have done something to help prevent the accident... Yes, the other driver (who you called illegal to make sure they were at fault) is at fault in your example... and they should PAY, but it does not mean YOU were completely without some fault...

BTW, you keep talking about all these millon dollar judgements... what are they actually getting Most are reduced on appeal as juries are sympothetic to the defendents... also, what company They might not be around for you to get your money...
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 12:19 PM   #11
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

I don't agree with your auto accident analogy. You can drive safely and yet still be hit through no fault of your own. However, if you borrow 100 percent or more of the value of your home, or you get a zero percent interest loan, or do anything else along those lines, then you are just as much at fault as the person who loaned you the money. It's your money, you need to do the right thing, and if you don't, you shouldn't blame someone else.

The fact that a bad, bad person acted unethically and "scammed" you by loaning you money at unfavorable terms is no excuse. The fact that they broke the law is no excuse for you making poor financial decisions. I can't tell you how many solicitations I have gotten in the mail, on the phone, you name it, where people were trying to get me to refinance, take out a HELOC to "cash out my equity".... I'm sure some or all of them were scamsters, but it didn't matter, because I knew it was a bad deal, and I ignored all of them.

The bottom line is that you are blaming other people for your mistakes. You need to stop doing that, take responsibility for your own actions, get educated about how to properly handle your money, and once you do that, all the scamsters in the world won't be able to have their way with you.

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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 12:28 PM   #12
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

Please don't expect to get a settlement of $5 to $6 million. However terrible a thing these people may have done to you, the actual value of your losses is far, far less. Make it a point to investigate those other settlements you've heard about. You've been misinformed once. Don't let it happen again.


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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 01:53 PM   #13
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

Quote:
If I have this small $50K-$90K left (after debt payoff) amount of cash, what should I do with it in our situation?

I have discussed this with a banker and I am trying to get with a friend, who is a broker, but he currently is on vacation. Just thought I would throw this out here for your input...
From my quick read of this posting you haven't indicated what your level of investing experience is. Would recommend you go to the Vanguard.com site and take their little self guided test on asset allocation. When you set your AA then you could talk to them about how best to invest it. Or go to the Vanguard Diehards site, new one is at http://www.diehards.org/forum/index.php. You will find a lot of ideas and advice at this site as well as suggested reading if you want to become a better investor.

I would suggest you do not take up the matter with a broker friend as he would have a built in bias. You are lucky he's on vacation .

Les
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 01:58 PM   #14
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

I am thinking a bird in the hand (95k) is better than 2 in the bush (5-6m).

My guess is bankrupcy is not far behind these fools.
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Old 03-14-2007, 02:45 PM   #15
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsprik
If you think you are knowledgable in an area, I can tell you that someone else is smarter and can take you for a ride.
I still don't agree. Sure, others are smarter than me in plenty of things, but for the most part, people get 'taken for a ride' because they let it happen to them, or actually invite it.

A mortgage is often the biggest single financial transaction a person will make. An educated person takes it seriously, and makes sure they are doing business with a company that has a reputation and a track record. You have not given the details, but it appears you were looking for a "too good to be true" deal - and ignored the risks that would be associated with it (a free lunch?).

I really don't care to see the govt try to protect everyone from con artists - it's a lost cause. Con artists are like gravity - they are everywhere and you better learn how to deal with it. Govt can't catch them as fast as they can pop up and move on, so individuals need to take some responsibility.

Like 'JustCurious' says, scammers can make all the offers they want - just say 'No'. Education is the best defense, not police called in after the fact.

Quote:
I taught all five of my kids that they had better learn very early in life that there is "right" and "wrong". There is no "gray" area.
That might be part of the problem. There *are* gray areas, IMO. And in my experience, people who do not want to recognize that are the same kind of people that wish to blame others for their own mistakes. It's just so much easier to see everything in black/white than it is to understand the issues, cause/effect, and unintended consequences - to probe the 'gray areas'.

Now you have me wondering about your disability status - maybe that is an issue of misplaced responsibility also? Probably not, but I am starting to see a pattern here...

-ERD50
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 03:13 PM   #16
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

ERD, I'm not trying to pile on the OP here, but I think you are right. Some people always think they are the victim every time something bad happens to them, and they refuse to acknowledge their own fault and responsibility. People who have the victim mentality often never escape because they never confront what THEY are doing wrong to cause bad things to happen...it's just easier to point the blame at other people who "scammed" them. There is almost always blame on both sides (the victim and the scam artist), but the person with the victim mentality only sees one side.

To the OP, the first step is to admit you have a problem. Only then can you fix the problem. The fact that other people do bad things is beyond your control, so stop talking about it and start fixing the one thing you can control...your own actions. Please accept this as constructive criticism. This board is a wonderful resource if you are open to change and willing to listen, and in that case, we are willing to help. If you are not, then good luck to you anyway, but we can't help.
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 03:23 PM   #17
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

workers comp, social security disability, predatory lending, 5 million dollar lawsuit, wow. the only thing missing from this picture is chris hansen.

as much as i'm not real into a lot of new age thought (odd huh?), this is where i really need to contradict myself and suggest this guy watch "the secret".
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 05:59 PM   #18
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

I see I have not been very good at explaining my situation to some. Some missed my statement about my attitude towards this. I admitted that i was at fault for not protecting myself better and for trusting someone I didn't know. I am sure some of you are not actually supporting the use of predatory lending practices. Although some may have given the impression that the "consumer deserves it, so don't blame the con artist".

Sorry, about the misrepresentation of my intent for pursuing a similar law suit to the other $5-$6 mil cases that were successful. I have other plans that don't include ever getting a dime from this adventure. I have my next ten years planned out. I don't need this money for me to move on with my life. I will pursue out of principle - not out of need... Again, sorry about that miscommunication. I'll have to go back and re-read my posts.

I have been on these types of forums for over a year over this particular arguement. I have generally sat on the sidelines as I watched the mortgage agents blame the "stupid consumer" and the injured consumers freaking out and resorting to name calling and insults/threats shooting back and forth. Once in a while I have gleaned useful info from these exchanges, but you really had to sort through the emotions. Now I got myself into this type of exchange.

PMA got me through these events, and I have a bright future. I am not going to defend myself against the self righteous here. It is truly a waste of time. For someone to judge me without knowing me tells me what I need to know about that person.

I appreciate the help on the Vanguard info. Also, I am familiar with the general gist of "The Secret". The fact that some here believe I have a negative outlook on life tells me I have really miscommunicated here. I apologize for leading some astray...

Any other ideas on the lump sum. I made a mistake giving too info on here. I would probably also be careful about making the assumption that it could never happen to you.
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 06:16 PM   #19
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

You still don't get it.

Both of these things can be true at the same time: 1. someone acted unethically and illegally and took advantage of you, AND 2. you acted foolishly and didn't use due diligence to protect your own interest. So stop suggesting that we "don't blame the con artists" because that is not true. We do blame the con artists. But the con artists did not post on here asking for advice... you did.

Also, I do not assume that I could never be taken advantage of. So don't make statements that I did not say. I can be, and have been, taken advantage of. But when it happened, I took stock of what I did wrong, I fixed it, I educated myself, and it never happened again. I did not dwell on how unethical the other party was, because it got me nowhere. I can't control what they do, I can only control my own actions and take responsibility for what I do.
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome
Old 03-14-2007, 07:19 PM   #20
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Re: Have nothing - getting settlement money - input welcome

Went back and re-read my posts. Really does reek of "victim mentality". I agologize. Good self check... Should practice what I preach. Sorry if I irritated some here.

Anyone have experience with negotiating a Workers Comp lump sum settlement? I made the offer and I should have an answer this Fri. Really don't know what to expect. Will they try to low ball me?

A magistrate does have to approve any agreement partially to protect my interests, I guess. I was told that 6 yrs of my current weekly benefit would be a good "starting point". That was $170K.

Some will have to be held back in a seperate account for any possible upcoming associated medical expenses. This is State law. Fortunately, this should be a small amount as I will not be involved in any more physical therapy, nor any more medical procedures/operations.

After the Magistrate OKs the settlement, there is a mandatory (again State law) 14 day waiting period.
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