Debt ceiling closes in on Floridians

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Manny Seligmann and his wife Margaret were on Atlantic Ave. in Delray Beach looking for a new place to live, and talking retirement.

"I said I was going to retire no earlier than this July," said Manny Seligmann.

Their dream: to move from Virginia to Florida.

"Our lifestyle is going to be more along the Lauderdale, Miami, Boynton, Delray area," said Seligmann.

Their plans hinge on their nest egg, money that's in the market.

"The uncertainty is scary, " said Seligmann.

A drop in the country's credit rating would affect them - and you - in at least two big ways:

1. The stock market could go down.

2. If you want to borrow money for anything, like a house or credit card, that could get tougher.

"It's like that scene in the Meet the Parents, when Robert de Niro looks at Ben Stiller and goes like this and says I'm watching you," said Greg McBride, a financial analyst with bankrate.com.

McBride says already-sluggish job growth could stop altogether.

"This debt ceiling is no joke," said McBride. "You would see very quickly, an economic and financial crisis that could be very similar, if not worse, than what we saw in 2008."

Either the Seligmanns retire where and when they want, or wait.

Here's another reason they want the crisis to be over: Margaret is a furloughed Federal employee.

"There's no money coming in," said Seligmann. "From what I understand she will get the back-pay. But that doesn't help for the bills that are due a week or two from now."

But there's a lasting concern even if a deal is struck.

Right now it looks like any deal will only extend the ceiling by a few months, and the cloud of uncertainty continues to hold the economy from loosening up in the first place.

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