Harper, I am reminded of my own situation almost two decades ago — a faltering marriage, a bad financial decision, family hardships, illness — I wasn’t homeless but I was surely in scary place. After a lifetime of well-tuned fiscal responsibility, it took only a few months of upheaval to have me wondering how I would survive. Thankfully, I did, but I couldn’t have done it without some help and a whole of luck, plus a decent career and a support system. Many don’t have what I had to get me through, and even then, my financial recovery took years of hard work.

It doesn’t take much and it doesn’t take very long for a lifetime of planning to be wiped away, leaving us on our knees dreading what the next day will bring. We are too smug in our comfort — I know I was — thinking it can’t happen to me, it happens to them because of who they are and how they’ve screwed up. You think the other person on their knees must be there because of poor planning, a lack of education, addiction, reckless behavior or something else that can be blamed on the person looking up at you. But, in reality, sometimes all it takes is one bad decision, one illness, one piece of bad luck, one unplanned event and you are the one on your knees looking up.

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