If you’re unemployed and underwater, the situation can seem hopeless. I read the story a few days ago of a 73-year-old who had been unemployed for more than three years. He and his wife had used up their retirement savings and all he now has is Social Security. His home was seriously underwater and he felt he was physically incapable of doing many jobs due to hip replacement surgery.
What could you do?
What could you do if you found yourself in a similar situation? First, if you have an underwater mortgage, the best thing you can do is stay in your home so long as you can make your monthly payments on time. If you have not already restructured your mortgage loan, you might be able to do so. The program titled HARP 2.0 (Home Affordable Refinance Program) was designed for people whose homes are worth less than what they owe. Assuming that you are current on your mortgage payments,, this program could help you get a new, more affordable mortgage. You will need to fill out an application and there will be fees.
You may qualify for the program if your mortgage is currently owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or was sold to one of these two entities before May 31, 2009. Also, your current loan-to value ratio (LTV) must be larger than 80%.
Become a tutor
If you’re one of the 7.7% of Americans who are unemployed, don’t despair. There are many work-from-home opportunities. Are you experienced and knowledgeable in mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics or language arts? You could put up flyers in neighborhood schools, supermarkets and community centers advertising your services as a tutor. I saw one advertisement recently offering tutoring in math for $45 an hour. Ten hours of math tutoring a week could go a long way towards improving your situation. You could even do tutoring online via the website tutor.com.
If you are over 50
If you are over the age of 50, there is the free website RetirementJobs.com. It’s structured in such a way that you can look for jobs in your city and even specify how far you would be willing to commute. I searched for jobs in my town that would be no more than 10 miles away and found a number of opportunities, including work as a part-time pharmaceutical sales rep, a childcare support coordinator and as an administrative assistant.
There are also opportunities for jobs as caregivers. If you were to go to the website Care.com, you could fill out a profile and find work. You could search for jobs in your city or town by hourly rate (and more) and then apply for them. This could either be full- or part-time work.
Earn passive income
Did you know you might be able to earn several hundred dollars a month in passive income by renting out your car or your driveway to out-of-towners? If you’d be interested in renting your car, go to the website Relay rides.com. You might be able to make money renting out your driveway or space in your garage via Parkatmyhouse.com. I searched our city and found one covered, off-street space near our Governor’s Park for $10 a day. If you had such a space and could rent it out for $10 a day, you might be able to earn several hundred dollars a month and it would all be passive income.