Despite the financial hardships they're now facing, Ernie and Susan say they wouldn't change anything about how they've lived their lives. "We've learned some good lessons," Ernie says. "Hindsight is 20/20."

The biggest lesson? You can be just as happy with less money.

"My favorite saying is, 'You make plans in life, and God laughs.' And he's having a good laugh right now—hopefully with us, not at us," Ernie says. "I think that laughter will be our strength in the future and our wisdom to maybe not be as extended as we were … and to live a simpler and much more frugal life."


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