47 of 65
BACKNEXT
Ron MacQuarrie: $35,000 in debt
Surf teacher and retail clerk, 62, San Clemente, Calif.

I was a mortgage banker for about 20 years and while it had always been a bit of a rollercoaster ride, it also had some added perks in that I set my own schedules. This gave me time for what I really love to do: Surf.

As I watched the bubble getting thinner and thinner and bigger and bigger, I tried to position myself to survive what I thought would be a short-term correction.

First rates went up. Not much, but just enough to stop my business cold. First ones to go of course were the small brokers like myself who could not continue to spend more and more money to capture less and less business.

During that period I ran up about $35,000 in debt, mostly credit card. It didn't seem like much at the time, to try and sustain what I thought was a short downturn that turned into a long-term bad market. Make that a catastrophically bad market that is far worse then anything I have seen before and getting worse.

Then my son's house, which I co-signed for, went into foreclosure. Not really his fault, he was in the same business and his went down as well. At that point I made a decision that since my credit was gone anyway and I was really incapable of paying even the minimum payment on the debt, that I had little to lose and I just walked away. I don't feel good about it. If I can, when I can, I'll work on paying it back, but at this point I don't care much.

Now I am a clerk at a very well run food store part time at night, and I'm teaching surfing when I can. It barely is survival money, but I've discovered that sometimes that is quite okay actually.

Failure can be enlightening.

NEXT: Warren Taylor: Home won't sell
Last updated November 15 2009: 6:21 AM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
Here are the 20 most ticketed cars in America The racy Subaru WRX tops the list, but some of the other ticket magnets will surprise you. More
Lamborghini to unveil 910 horsepower plug-in hybrid The Lamborghini Asterion concept car will have a V10 engine and three electric motors. More
The weapons of The Walking Dead Zombies are fiction, but the weapons on The Walking Dead are real. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.