A true, haunting story excerpt from GHOST BUBBLE :
A Girl and Her Folks…
…and her Grands …on both sides, …and a favorite aunt
“Though grown and married,
And with children of her own,
She was still daddy’s little girl.
It couldn’t be any other way.”
On a clear Autumn morning in 2010, “Daddy can I have…” is the way she started the conversation. She explained that her husband had just gotten a huge promotion. At the international department store empire, (we’ll call it Empire) where he had been a team leader, he would now be a regional manager. It would eventually mean more money, “Lots more, Daddy.” Further, if they could fit in as one of the ‘in’ couples of the firm, and rub the right elbows, “…the sky’s the limit, Daddy.” But to be ‘in’ meant moving to a new home in the gated community, affectionately called Empire Acres, where all the other ‘in’ couples of Empire with the right elbows lived, including the Empire CEO.
Sweetie, that’s what Daddy called her, explained that she and her husband had already picked out a home to buy, furnished and move-in ready. “It’s perfect, Daddy. There’s just one little problem to solve.” The problem was the difference between the sales price of two million dollars and the loan for which they were qualified, four hundred fifty thousand dollars.
In addition, she explained that a few extras were needed, like redecorating the whole downstairs, “We can’t rub elbows in a dingy house”; upgrading all the landscaping “…to be the premier house in the neighborhood. To live the part, you have to look the part”; buying new cars, “Me and Hubby can’t be seen in old model cars”; “and new clothes!” she added. We have to dress like world class people.”
The extras came to 460k, “Just call it five hundred thousand, Daddy, to be on the safe side.” But Sweetie wasn’t finished.
“It just seems so complicated to have two monthly payments, the bank and you. It would be so much more convenient to just write one check to you, every month, Daddy.”
Daddy questioned, cautiously, “So, Sweetie, what exactly are you asking for?”
“I love you, Daddy; and I need two point five million dollars.” She immediately added that Hubby would have so much money in just a few months from high pay and Empire bonuses, that they could double, even triple the monthly payments, so payback would happen really fast.
He explained that that much money was beyond his reach, but added that maybe he could get some help from the family. All four of Sweetie’s grandparents were still alive, Pop and Granna, and Poppa and Mamma; and Auntie (her actual name), his sister, Sweeties favorite aunt. He pitched his daughter’s request, explained the vast riches his daughter and son-in-law were about to have, and concluded with his heartfelt confidence in a bright future for everyone. Everybody said, “Okay.”
Four branches of the same family contributed almost three quarters of a million dollars, each, to Sweeties elbow-rubbing enterprise. That meant four family branches emptying their retirement accounts. It was risky, but Hubby had a great job with a great company. What could go wrong?
Then, only a few months after Sweetie and Hubby moved in and began vigorous elbow friction, something went wrong. Back in 2001, Empire had borrowed lots of money to make some big investments, expecting huge profits. In 2007 the investments failed, completely. To keep from defaulting, Empire had refinanced the loans, plus borrowed extra to make additional investments of the same type which had already failed. By 2010, the investments had failed again, and the customer base, decimated in 2008, never rebounded.
Though a closely guarded secret, it was critical for Empire to seem healthy to stock holders and competitors. The company continued to borrow and refinance, and borrow and refinance, sinking deeper into debt for the sole purpose of keeping up appearances. Using borrowed money, expansion continued, worldwide growth was faked, and promotions were made. In the fall of 2010, Hubby was one of those promotions.
Within six months the cascading collapse of the global economy, combined with a ten-year spree of terrible decision making by the controllers of Empire, made it painfully obvious that survival of the company was no longer possible.
On a Friday afternoon in Q3 2011, Empire accountants falsely painted a rosy picture to the stockholders meeting. That weekend, company executives agreed to throw in the towel. On Monday an email blast notified 125,000 employees, Hubby too, that effective immediately, their positions were eliminated, due to the fact that Empire no longer existed.
No family retirement accounts would be repaid…..EVER.
The End of the Entire Family
Read more in GHOST BUBBLE by Andy Bozeman, a Kindle e-book, available HERE.
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