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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Edmund Andrews: Still Leaving Out Pertinent Information

Please forgive me. This guy still annoys me no end. I noticed that his sales rank at Amazon had gone up dramatically, so I figured that he had gotten some recent publicity. Here is his response to those who thought his wife's bankruptcies--particularly the one DURING their marriage--were pertinent to his story.

Dear Readers, save yourselves some time. What he leaves out is the fact that the second bankruptcy (during his marriage to the wife) involved discharging around $30,000 in debt to the wife's sister.

As every writing teachers says: if you are presenting an argument, you need to include--and to defuse--evidence that seems to go against your argument. You have to be a good writer to move up so high in journalism. So, Mr. Andrews, follow the rules for English 101.

Ok, folks. Here's the deal about the my wife's bankruptcies.
But first, I have to say that anyone who thinks I've glossed over the hard truth either hasn't read the book or isn't thinking straight.
As I've said before, the first bankruptcy was all the way back in 1998, when the IRS came after her then-husband, who hadn't paid his taxes in years. He'd actually have her sign the returns, but never filed them.
It was horrific, but what did it tell us about Patty, who was a stay-at-home mom and not earning any money at the time? More to the point, what did it tell us about our mortgage woes in 2009?
The second case was in 2007, but it was prompted entirely by debts Patty ran up in 2003 and 2004, when she was a single mom with four kids whose ex-husband (the aforementioned tax-challenged one) was a deadbeat dad.
Patty's problems weren't about wild spending. They were about poverty -- suddenly trying to support four kids while working for $10 an hour after having been a stay-at-home mom for 20 years.
I could have written a whole chapter on the deadbeat dad, who continues to defy one court order after another on child support.
But neither the bankruptcies nor the child support had any bearing on our mortgage problems.
What really did seal our fates -- and what I DO write about in detail -- was that Patty got fired from a well-paying job in 2006 and never came close to replacing that lost income.
Being fired was infinitely more agonizing and mortifying -- and relevant to our story -- than the problems caused by a deadbeat ex-husband.
All of this is somewhat besides the point. The whole book is based on a bad decision and an insane mortgage. I don't blame anybody else for our problems.
Those are the easy questions. The hard question is, why was it even possible?


Funny about Money said...

So...she declares bankruptcy to get out of a loan from her sister? Really?

That notwithstanding, what Our Hero is saying is that his wife's previous financial fiascoes are irrelevant to the present misadventure, which is to be laid 100% to his own enthusiasm for a house he couldn't afford and to evil lenders who invite him to take a bite of the apple...uhm, sell him loans he couldn't afford. And the question is, "Why was that even possible."

Why, indeed, when you have a spouse with a track record that might have informed a community-property decision.

Could it be the ineffable inaudibility of the female voice? naaaahhh...say it ain't so, Ed!

Frugal Scholar said...

@Funny--You've got to read all the stuff out there on this guy. And his wife. Truly cringe-inducing.

Duchesse said...

If a woman has horrendous financial problems, and marries (you know the "for richer, for poorer" part of the vows?) her partner could help her pay her debts by adding his money to hers to pay them down instead of throwing every penny he made into the mortgage (as I recall from the NYT piece he wrote). Wonder what the sister has to say about all this. Maybe they can pay her back frm the book deal.

Funny about Money said...

Every time I start to read the stuff on this pair, I get frightened.

The whole idea that Andrews Male blundered into his present fiasco uninfluenced by Andrews Female is sooo preposterous. It gets better when we're presented with the idea that the man is a financial writer and so should a) have had some understanding of A. Female's pathology and b) should have recognized the well-greased slope he was stepping onto.

Hmmm... Ever wonder whether the whole story is a put-up job?

Suzy said...

Isn't this the guy you said had the big expensive house and all that stuff? If so, if I'd married after going through all that financial mess there is NO WAY I'd be wanting to live high on the hog..I'd be wanting to save like crazy and live much more simply. Sounds like she didn't learn very much from the exhubby's actions the first time around then to let him do it to her again. And some people would be doing very well making $10/hour I think.

Frugal Scholar said...

@All--I see I'm not the only one who finds these people fascinating. I think the self-deception piled upon self-deception really interesting--in life as in literature.