Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Sep 7, 2012

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In West Hollywood, California an elderly woman is facing foreclosure after borrowing a second mortgage loan on her home.

60 years ago, Hilda Vinalas—now age 93—and her husband purchased their home for $30,000 which they were able to pay off in full. But when her husband passed away, Vinalas took out a second mortgage loan to help her overcome financial difficulties.

Vinalas mistakenly thought that the second mortgage loan she purchased from the now-extinct Lehman Brothers was a fixed loan for $140,000.

“They made me sign many papers, and I could’ve signed my death sentence because I didn’t know what I was signing,” said Vinalas in a California local news interview for KCAL9.

In actuality the second mortgage loan ended up being an adjustable rate mortgage for $750,000.

“It’s a lot of money. I can’t remember who did it, who took it, nothing,” said Vinalas.

Riding to her rescue is Suzanne O’Keeffe, a homeowner activist.

“The money went missing. We’re doing an [investigation] about where it went. It was a bad loan. It was an adjustable rate loan. She shouldn’t have gotten it to begin with on her income, and it was the wrong thing to do for an elderly woman,” said O’Keeffe.

As a result of Lehman Brothers’ collapse, Vinalas’s loan was subsequently sold to three different mortgage lenders and currently rests in the hands of Nationstar—for the time being.

Vinalas is steadfast in her old age about remaining in the home where she no doubt shared many memories with her husband and loved ones.

“They would have to take me out by forcing me. I won’t leave by myself, no,” said Vinalas.

Aware of the repercussions of foreclosure, especially for a low or fixed-income elderly woman such as herself, Vinalas is mentally prepared for homelessness.

“I will be happy on the street. I already went to practice to be homeless, but I did this for only three days because it got so cool at night. I couldn’t stand more,” she said.

Cold nights or not, without mercy from her current—or subsequent—second mortgage loan holder, Vinalas may be forced to experience the pain of homelessness for far longer than three days.