I was just talking to my sister and she said my sisters got my parents to open up about their financial situation, which we knew was bad, but we didn't know how bad.
My Dad is EXTREMELY financially responsible and frugal, but they re-financed their house and took out a second mortgage right before the economy collapsed in order to build a detached garage with the above as my Dad's real estate office.
Not to mention that his job is a real estate broker and it is NOT a very good business to be in right now. He has been doing pretty well at selling something every couple months but all three of my sisters are also in college and I think it just hasn't been enough.
My Mom works too, but just at Starbucks and most of her paycheck goes toward their health insurance and 401K.
So my sister told me today that they are considering filing for bankruptcy! :-( I feel so awful for them. I am going to talk to DH when he gets home to see if there is anything we can do. Maybe we can offer to pay off a loan for them or something to lower their monthly payment, and then they can pay us back when their situation improves a lot. They just have so much debt right now and it is hard to manage all that--the idea of declaring bankruptcy is appealing, I guess, because they could get all their debt forgiven, but I'm not sure how it would impact them in other ways.
Sigh. I just feel so helpless. I wish things weren't so crappy right now everywhere. :-(