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Property – Stories of woe

Many people are having an exceptionally difficult time, in relation to reduced income and job losses with a knock on effect on family life, as reported by Isabel Morton in The Irish Times.  Isabel suggests that we go through our contacts in our mobile phones, where we will be horrified at just how many people we know that have been and continue to be badly affected by the recession (or depression!). 

Among our clients, we have experienced this also and consider those of us who are healthy and whose families are healthy, to be fortunate as many people have been decimated financially only to suffer the further hardship of ill-health among themselves or family members.  Our latest newsletter gives some useful advice on Positive Thinking. Read it on http://www.sckgroup.ie/html/news

Phone contacts list tells stories of woes, writes ISABEL MORTON 

BORED WHILE sitting in Gatwick airport last Thursday evening, waiting for my delayed flight home, I started going through the names in my mobile phone and was surprised, as I stopped to think about each person and what I knew of their individual circumstances.

Many of those friends, family and work contacts, had of late, experienced fairly dramatic changes to their lives. No doubt, there were a lot more, whose problems I was not privy to, who were currently planning whatever exit routes they could. What struck me was how widespread and varied the problems were and how disruptive this “depression” is for almost everyone. Without a working banking system and the availability of credit, everyday life has become disconcertingly uncertain, unstable and for many, unsustainable.

Property can neither be bought nor sold with any vestige of normality and the knock-on affect that this economic stagnation is having on people’s everyday lives, is dramatic.

Add a few nasty extras into the already unpalatable mix, such as higher taxes, lower salaries, unemployment and the general malaise and suddenly family life is being seriously affected.

As I looked around the departures lounge, I wondered how many were forced into spending most of their week in London, away from their homes and families. Im finding it tiring enough myself, and my trips are short and infrequent.

Scrolling through my contact list, I came across a number of people who, up until relatively recently, had jobs at home but were now thankful to have a job anywhere, regardless of the commute.

There is one couple, whose “good life” I sometimes envied, as they live in a delightful but rather remote part of the country. Their circumstances have now changed, as one has to commute for work, leaving the other with their children and trying desperately to sell their beautiful home, at whatever price they can get for it. So far, they are not having any luck, as it fits into neither the category of farmhouse or holiday home.

Another family name came up on my screen. They eventually managed to sell their home and now live in a rented house in Dublin but are separated for most of the week as he works in England.

Then I came across a fair number, mostly those in the area of construction and property, who have long since given up hope of any revival and have scattered to far flung places in search of work.

One, whose husband is a civil engineer working in the Middle East admitted, the last time we met, that now their lives were so different, they found it hard to communicate. She felt resentful of him, away from the children and the everyday problems while he was resentful of her, being home with family and friends. But at least they could pay their bills and keep their heads above water.

A surprising number of people with families of all ages, have, over the last year or so, sold their homes and moved into rented accommodation. The further I went down through my list, the more people I realised I knew, who were no longer homeowners.

I was then reminded of a few more, whose properties had been sitting on the market for so long now that I’d actually forgotten about them. And despite having lowered their prices, changed their estate agents and increased their viewing figures, offers were still not forthcoming.

I came across some people, who have adult children (and in some cases, grandchildren) who have emigrated. Some are even managing the rental of those properties, now in negative equity, which their children have left behind.

And I’d forgotten about neighbours, who planned on downsizing, only for three of their four children to move back home, one with a toddler in tow, as she has separated from her partner and can no longer bear to live with him (they’ve not yet managed to sell their home).

I looked around at those waiting patiently to board: the usual bunch of grey-suited men with laptops and small overnight bags; a group of four cheerful English women in their 60s, laughing about which one’s eyesight and nerves were best suited to driving around Ireland’s tourist spots; a mother and her teenage daughter analysing the pros and cons of various British universities and the usual mix of others.

I took a phone call from a friend and mentioned how I was entertaining myself as I waited for my flight. She suggested that I was either exaggerating or knew an unfortunate bunch of people.

An hour and a half later she texted back. She’d just gone through her own contact list and was surprised at her findings.

Try it yourself. You’ll be amazed and probably horrified.


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