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I'm a single mom, I have an adjustable rate mortgage and my home is in foreclosure. What should I do?
Erika, a mother of three, is a prime example of what's happening to homeowners all over the country. "In 2004, I purchased my first home with my husband," she says. "We signed the mortgage with an adjustable rate, and when I signed the mortgage papers, it was a $900 mortgage. Fine. Now my mortgage is $1,600. My house is in foreclosure. … So how can I dig myself out of that hole?"

Erika says she feels bad that her kids have to see her losing their home. Suze says, "Here's what you need to show your kids—that a home is not a house. A home is a family unit where you take care of each other. If you can show them that you can rise above this, it doesn't matter that you lost your home. It actually doesn't even matter that Daddy left. All that matters is Mommy has what it takes to make it work now."

Suze says Erika needs to avoid a common mistake many single moms make—filling the gaps in their children's lives with material things. "As a single mother, as a woman, you are going to feel guilty that your children don't have a house and they don't have Daddy at home. So you are going to take every penny that you make and you are going to spend it on them," Suze says. "You are not going to deny one thing for them. You're going to put money away for their college education while you will not have any money in retirement. You won't have an emergency fund."

If Erika wants to truly help her children, Suze says she needs to put herself first. "If you want to help your children, I am asking you to put the financial oxygen mask on your face first before theirs," she says. "Because it is a woman's tendency to put it on the kids' face first, and then if something happens to Mommy, what happens to them?"

If Erika can see this situation as a blessing, then Suze says she's the wealthiest woman in the room. "You teach your kids true strength by showing them what you can overcome—not by lying to them by providing them with things you can't afford," she says. "Because then we pass that lie from generation to generation. Women, we now have to start passing the truth down to one another about who you are more than what you have."
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FROM: Ask Financial Powerhouse Suze Orman Anything
Published on January 01, 2006
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.

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