What’s Your Scariest Money Story?

scariest money storyIn keeping with the Halloween theme this week and the fact that this is a personal finance blog, I thought I’d combine those two aspects into a topic question for the day: What’s your scariest money story? It could be a story about something that happened to you in real life or an actual nightmare you had money. Either way will work.


My Scariest Money Story:

I’ll go first. My scariest money story is something that happened to my wife and I in real life about 8 years ago. Our current house (which is also our first house) was a new-build construction and we were very excited about moving into it. We were very young and really only had just barely enough money to finance the project.

Our mortgage agent was some young hot-shot who we stupidly should have been skeptical of from the beginning – because he was referred to us by the home builders (… a dumb move; you should try to get people who are independent of each other). You could tell something was off because he seemed flaky in the meetings and I was constantly having to follow up on things that he seemed to “forget” about.

Then came the big problem: The day before the closing is when the real punch took place. He called me up in the afternoon while at work and said he had “made a mistake on our mortgage setup and that we’d have to bring an extra $4,000 to the closing”. Something about he forgot to roll our construction loan into the life of the mortgage, and now it had to all be paid up-front.

While $4,000 may not sound like a lot of money now to some of you, as I mentioned, we were very young and did NOT have much savings or any means necessary to gather up that much money that fast. When I pleaded my case, I got the unsympathetic equivalent of “Well, that’s tough. Bring it or no closing.”

So how did this my scariest money story / nightmare end? Well, not good for our mortgage agent. Being completely shaken up and having no other choice, I decided to call at home the president of the home developing company and told him what was going on. Our house was already two months behind schedule, and then this situation with the mortgage happens? Needless to say, the president wasn’t very impressed that this kind of nonsense was going on, and he assured me that everyone would be taken care of.

The next morning, we showed up at the closing and that extra $4,000 had somehow magically got written into the life of the mortgage. What I was told would be impossible seemed to have worked itself out over night! But I will tell you – both the home builder rep and mortgage agent didn’t say a word. I guess they were pretty upset. That was the quietest, most tense meeting I’ve ever been to!

Not long after that, we noticed that the company this mortgage agent worked for was gone and his name was removed from the sign. I don’t know if he quit or was fired. Hopefully he wasn’t screwing up young couples’ mortgages anymore.

8 years later when we refinanced our house, I put the poor guy through hell asking him up and down, left and right everything I could about the terms and conditions of the loan. He was a good sport, and understood that a lot of good people were left with a bad taste in their mouth from the whole mortgage fiasco over the past decade.


Related Posts:

1) Dos and Don’ts in Mortgage

2) Adventures in Refinancing, Chapter 5

3) My Favorite Scary Movies – Have Some Cheap Halloween Fun!

Image Credit: freedigitalphotos.net


  1. says

    A while ago I worked for a dot com company and had stock options as part of my compensation package. These were for so-called unregistered shares, meaning they could not be traded on a stock exchange. In time I moved on to another opportunity and approached the COO with a view to exercising my options.

    “Don’t worry,” he said. We’re a couple of weeks away from registering the shares and then you can do a cashless exercise.

    Well, he was a friend, and so I waited. The registration took a little bit longer, but when it was done, I came back to follow through. He looked at me as though I just landed from Mars. “Sorry. You lost your options. You needed to exercise them within 30 days of your leaving.”

    When I reminded him of our conversation, he just kept a stone face and repeated his mantra. And I was out $200,000.

    Moral of the story: even with friends, get everything in writing.

    • MMD says

      Thanks for posting William and welcome to the site. WOW, OUT $200K??? That is a terrible experience! Yes, lesson learned – you do need to get everything in writing.

    • MMD says

      I have lost my wallet before too and that is the worst! Where are my credit cards? Is someone using them? Now I have to go get another licence and get all my cards back.

  2. says

    That is pretty scary! Glad everything turned out alright! I had someone steal one of those credit card offers from my mailbox and use the blank checks to open an account somehow. Scary when you get the bill, and kind of a pain in the ass to get it fixed, but thankfully you can get it taken care of without much worry.
    Budget & the Beach recently posted..Week in Review-10/28/12-I Buy FitnessMy Profile

    • MMD says

      You actually had that happen to you?! I have always heard about how this could happen, but I never really knew anyone that was a victim of it. I’m glad to hear that you were able to get it taken care of.

    • MMD says

      Thanks. For a few hours I was pretty sure I was NOT going to get the house we had just built. That was a terrible, terrible feeling!

  3. says

    That’s terrible, what were they trying to do – take advantage of young people for extra “pocket change”?! I’m glad that problem went away for you.

    My scariest story is more like a plot of stories that left me broke as a young adult.

    I was going to school, working part time. One day I decided it would be fun to party a bit and got really wasted. Woke up with a locked jaw, had to go to ER to reset it. No health insurance. Spent literally half of my savings for ER visit and hospital bill (separate bills). Next week my car dies. Mechanic says it needs a new engine(which costs more than the car itself haha) so I have to buy a new car. I spend the rest of my savings on buying another junker (better than the last) thinking luck will finally turn around… I was wrong. A week later I notice the gas smell (from a spare canteen previous owner was carrying around in the trunk) never goes away. I go to a mechanic to find out my gas tank has been leaking and I was lucky to be alive. New tank cost at least $1k to replace. I had already depleted all of my savings so I wasn’t sure how to cough up this extra cash. But it doesn’t stop there.. he tells me my break lines are rusted through and need to be replaced. In total I have to spend another $1900 that I don’t have.

    That was the most frustrating time of my life and I’ll never forget it. Sorry for the long comment :)
    Veronica @ Pelican on Money recently posted..Why You Will Never Be RichMy Profile

    • MMD says

      No apology needed for the long post! And thank you for sharing. Those are some terrible, scary money stories! Wow, I would not want to have been in your position. Life in your 20′s can be really hard, and it doesn’t seem to throw you any bones when you’re down either. What another reminder of how no insurance can just devastate your finances.

  4. Jason Clayton | frugal habits says

    Very scary story. Mine isn’t so scary, but more of a regret. I was dumb enough to use the house inspector on my first house recommended by the selling agent. (Not smart) Needless to say he said the house was in great shape, 6 month later I found a serious foundation crack…

    Yes, I lost money on that house.
    Jason Clayton | frugal habits recently posted..12 Smartphone Apps that will Save you MoneyMy Profile

  5. says

    I was sued for credit card debt that was not even mine. Served a summons nearly six years after the alleged charges. In order to not lose by default, I had to pay out of pocket: lawyer fees, was charged to file a response to summons with the court, etc. In the end the credit card company lost with their bogus charges but it was a COMPLETE nightmare. Took months to get sorted out, all the nasties off my credit report, and so on.
    Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy recently posted..Muddled Monday with Some Link Crushin’My Profile

    • MMD says

      For charges that weren’t even yours? NOW that is a nightmare! No one should have to answer for crimes they didn’t even commit.

  6. says

    My biggest money mistake came from being young and stupid. Just before I got married we misread my then-fiance’s now-hubby’s lease and signed another one at a bigger place. It turns out we jumped a month too soon and spent one horrible month paying my rent, his rent, and our new big apartment downpayment and rent all at one time. We felt like huge idiots. Needless to say, we’re going to look a bit closer at the dates on any contract from now on. *hangs head in shame*

    Cat Alford @ BudgetBlonde.com recently posted..Splurging & Saving: A Colonial WeddingMy Profile

    • MMD says

      You guys should have at least held some kind of party in one of the empty apartments! :) We had to double up on rent one time also for a month and it was so dumb having to pay two times as much, especially for one unit that you’re not even using.

  7. says

    That is scary! Good for you for fixing it!

    Mine happened when I was pretty young. I delivered pizzas as a college job and my car died. I needed something operational fast, but had no credit. So my boyfriend’s (not current) mom agreed to cosign for me. She was the only person in my life at the time that could.

    So she made the decision where we bought. It was from a shady car dealer that was apparently a family friend. The reason I couldn’t get the newer, perfectly good, less miles Volvo from a private seller? “If you buy and have a problem with the dealer, you can return it. You can’t do that with a private seller.” I knew this was devastatingly incorrect. But I was in no position to argue.

    I could see the look of discomfort in the dealer’s eyes as I looked at him, grabbed the pen, and signed the papers.

    It ended badly. Haha.
    femmefrugality recently posted..Smart College Student: Take Care of Your TextbooksMy Profile

    • MMD says

      Oh, that is bad! Quite an illegitimate deal you were getting involved in! Being young is hard for these kinds of things.

  8. says

    Our scariest money moment was when we almost bought a condo without really realizing it. We signed up, put up the deposit. We went to a bank to get the mortgage and he told us that we couldn’t afford the condo and that the mortgage payment alone; no fees, insurance or taxes, would have been 60% of our monthly takehome.
    justin@thefrugalpath recently posted..Real Estate Mistakes:How My Wife and I Almost Bought a Condo Without Really Meaning To (Part 1.)My Profile

    • MMD says

      I will have to read your story! That sounds pretty scary. And 60% of your income would have been an absolute nightmare to try to survive!

    • MMD says

      That is scary! I would have been at that online bank (if that’s possible) demanding what’s up?! Watch – that will happen to me on the day I decide to retire. Where did my 401k go?

    • MMD says

      Thanks Holly! That was a lot of money for us at the time, and we were pissed! But more immediately, we were totally scared we weren’t going to get the house we had just built. Thankfully, my last resort worked – calling someone’s boss always does the trick. The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

    • MMD says

      That is frightening! I had a credit card clone situation happen to me last year around Christmas. I’m not totally sure on how they do this, but I wish they would knock it off!

  9. says

    Two years ago, my wife, five kids, and I spent a few days in Miami Beach before embarking on a five-day Caribbean cruise. It was the week before Christmas. We had eaten lunch at a Subway restaurant and then came back to our hotel to enjoy an afternoon on the beach.

    My wife suddenly realized she didn’t have her purse with her. We turned the hotel room upside down thinking maybe it got misplaced. Then we went back to Subway and looked around but couldn’t find it anywhere.

    Then we came back to the hotel room and turned it upside down again. And we asked the hotel security to check their camera video to see if she had her purse on her when we came back to the hotel after eating.

    We don’t know if it was stolen while we were eating or if she had accidentally left it in the restroom. Unfortunately, all of our money for the cruise ($500 for crew tips and incidentals) was in her purse, along with her ID, debit card, house keys, cell phone, and iPod.

    Gratefully, we had left our passports in the hotel room safe. Otherwise we would have been in MAJOR trouble the day before our cruise.

    We never found out what happened. Though a month later, she received her ID in the mail in an anonymous envelope.
    Rich@MoneyWisePastor recently posted..How Will Hurricane Sandy Affect Your Finances?My Profile

    • MMD says

      Thanks for sharing Rich! That is quite the story! There is really nothing worse than being on vacation in a strange land and thinking you’ve been wronged. That is really good that your passports were elsewhere. Otherwise that would have been a short and disappointing vacation. Strange how her ID made it back to her – someone knew what they were doing!

  10. says

    I work as an insurance broker and worked on a quote for a stud farm business a few years ago. She told me she would look it over and get back to me. I chased her over a couple of weeks but she was forgetful, then the 5th of November arrived.
    In the UK this date is remembered historically for a catholic plot to blow up Parliament whilst the King was there. We celebrate it with bonfires and fireworks displays, (can you see where this is going?).
    Anyway, a firework landed on their roof that night and burnt the entire operation to the ground, with no insurance in place :(

    • MMD says

      Wow, that is pretty ironic! I bet that woman was just kicking herself for that. It just goes to show you can never sit on the opportunity to get insurance and be protected from the unknown. Thanks for sharing!

  11. says

    I’ve enjoyed reading all these scary money stories. Mine is simple. I saved $5000 by the time I turned 18 by working part time here and there. When my statement came in the mail, my dad opened it. He said “I want you to loan me this money to invest in the family business. You’ll be paid an annual interest until you want the money back.” I never saw the money again. :(
    Suzanne recently posted..39 Financial Advisor Marketing Ideas That RockMy Profile


  1. [...] that happened to you in real life..or an actual nightmare you had about money? For Halloween, My Money Design recently asked this of his readers, prompting me to ask the same question here, and to share my [...]

  2. [...] What’s Your Scariest Money Story? by My Money Design [...]

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