St. Petersburg Times, in an article about the increase in bankruptcies in the higher income group families has given the example of the Canhams of Tarpon Springs, Fla. Who used to gross $3 million to $5 million a year from their construction business. They were a high spending family as they bought an RV, a boat, multiple trucks, jewelry and luxury clothing. A 7,000 square foot taupe stucco mansion with a white balustrade and shimmering interior of crystal chandeliers and gilded mirrors was their pride and joy.
They had four kids and they spent liberally on their gymnastics and dance lessons, designer handbags and jeans. And then the real estate market crashed and so did their business and income. They were unable to pay the mortgage. They tried to sell the house for $2 million at first it down to $650,000 but could not find any takers. The only offer they got from a short sale was for $350,000. The Canham’s developed a novel money-making scheme in order to save their house.
They started renting out rooms to strangers. The family moved into one part of the house and rented out the girls bedrooms to college students and other locals for $125 to $150 a week. Before and during the Depression, struggling American families commonly rented out rooms to boarders.