opes victim tells of tragic loss

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    One of many stories

    The following account of one family's tragic personal loss appears as part of the Opes Prime topic in The Conversation.

    Now everything is gone. $400,000 worth of life savings. I checked our bank account yesterday and our total net worth is now $4,920.46. That is a big full stop after the zero. There is no investment property, there is no cash investment account. There is nothing left. We are a family who could only ever consider public schooling to begin with.

    It was only as I lay awake late last night that I noticed just how much darker the corners of the ceiling are. Sort of obvious really, but when you really look hard, you notice it more than you ever did. I had spent the last two hours rocking my crying wife to sleep although she is now back up watching re-runs of Parkinson at 4am. I don't think she is really watching it in the true sense. More staring at the flickering light of the TV starring into space. I wonder if she notices how dark the corners are?

    My wife has been supportive but I still can't help feeling responsible. We had only been with Trader Dealer (using Opes) for three months and I had started an application to move across to Mac Prime as I was considering trading CFDs using our existing equity. I was literally days away from doing this. Oh how life is all in the timing.

    I turn 40 in a few weeks and have two kids under five. My net worth is $4,920.46. Well actually it's our net worth. Technically I am only worth $2,460.23. Probably less if the kids want a share. It's amazing how you look at those cents in a different light after something like this happens to you.

    I think the biggest difficulty will be looking my friends and family in the eye knowing that after 20 years in the work force, I only have $4,920.46 in the bank. How that brings a lump to your throat. It's not so much the lost pride but the shame. The shame of feeling like you failed. The shame of not being able to have that dream house. The shame of no longer being in the middle age comfort zone where suburbia has a real warmth about it. A warmth you never noticed before. A bit like the corners.

    My mind then wanders to my wife's best friend whose mum died from cancer three months ago. The day after the funeral, my wife's friend got a call from her doctor to say she needed both breasts removed because of some cancerous cells they found. The day after surgery, her dad rang and told her he had leukemia. I got home from work yesterday and my wife told me about another friend whose four year-old son needed "aggressive" radiotherapy because they found a tumour in his pelvis that is too big to operate on. Both these stories are true. These are friends of ours we know well. Sorta puts things in a different light. A bit like the light in the corners.

    I kissed the cheeks of my two beautiful children last night and wondered what the future holds for us. They look so picture perfect when they are asleep. I have no doubts about the challenges ahead. While I write this note in the dead of night, it's not so much an epitaph but the next chapter ahead. The sun will rise in a short few hours and the day will meander on regardless of what money we used to have. My children will wake up and still love me just the same. They judge their riches on time spent with mum and dad. So as I look into their eyes, I will only see hope. The hope of a brighter future. What other choice do we have?

    From Marcus Today newsletter, April 1.

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