Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Looking for Morrison?

For those who don't read the comments to my blog, but who have been missing Morrison from All Doors Considered, she's now at a slightly new webaddress. This link works as does the one in my blogroll. Talk about life slapping one upside the head! But Morrison is working through it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Up But Not as Up as I Thought

'Tis the time for my end of the month review.

As expected, even though I threw every extra dollar at my debt, that $2700 I put toward the new roof for my rental home caused my indebtedness to rise by $431.88. It will get worse, because there's another $2000 to pay when the house is finally re-roofed.

But I was proud of myself for keeping the damage down to a manageable amount. It's not like the roof could wait. (Well, I guess it could have, but then I would have had cold, wet tenants on my hand--NOT a good plan!)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Life Keeps Getting in the Way of Plans

I want to welcome Louise from My Journey to Eliminate Debt back to my blogroll. As she sets out in her most recent post, a lot has happened since she ended her blog eleven months ago and none of it has been helpful in her quest to eliminate debt.

Quite the opposite--illness, job loss, and kids in college have all conspired to increase her debt.

Welcome to real life.

It's very easy to plan for debt reduction when all it takes is reining in one's impulse to buy the new car, big screen TV, eat out every night, etc.

But it's a whole 'nother deal when life intervenes in ways one can't predict.

Take Louise--who on earth worries about whooping cough these days? Who even knows anyone who ever got it? Well, take Louise!

I can blame lack of excerise and unhealthy eating habits as well as lousy genetics for my heart surgery a year and a half ago. But who does one blame for whooping cough?

Actually, my heart surgery barely impacted my finances. But ask me about the rental that needs a new roof.

And what about the fact that two of my daughters, ages 28 and 20, have FINALLY decided that they should rethink their decisions to forego college? And that my granddaughter, notwithstanding the birth of her first child two weeks ago, is enrolling back in her college?

Jimmy Carter had it right when he said "Life isn't fair," but I still think it ought to be.

There ought to be some justice for folks like myself and Louise who really have been trying hard and living frugally to get our debt under control.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Overdrafts! Again!


I haven't had an overdraft on my checking account in years.

And I'm still not sure how I got one this week-end. I have a check register. I use the check register. I list all of my automatic payments. I keep a running tally.

So how did this happen?

Umm--can you say basic math?

I made a $200 subtraction error when I deducted my mortgage and PITI payment.

Why is it that such errors are never in MY favor?

I blithely used my debit card, and in the process, overdrew my account by $34.00.

Fortunately, I won't incur one of those $35 fees. BUT, a cash advance from my credit card was made automatically, which incurs a fee, not to mention interest from the date the charge is made.

This week is not starting out well.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


This is for all the stuff too small for its own post.

1. "All Financial Matters" didn't deliberately disappear, but was hacked. JLP is back and my links now work to the blog. Thanks to my readers for helping me get this straightened out.

2. Guilt-trips rock! Julie (formerly Immer) at "Mein Taglich Brot" is back both in blogland and on my blogroll. Dawn? Bluebird? KemKem? Tell me the guilt isn't getting to you!

3. The roof is caving in. Both literally and financially. The bill for re-roofing my rental is $4800. I took the second-lowest bid because it's the same outfit that redid the windows three years ago, and I liked their work. But to come up with it, I now have a THIRD mortgage on my residence. Just the term 'third mortgage' gives me goosebumps. But my credit union wouldn't or couldn't extend the terms of my second mortgage. Instead, they will give me a third mortgage at .5% higher than my second (which means 7.25%, fixed) with a credit line of $10,000 for 15 years. My plan is to finish out the line of my second mortgage (about $2600) and put the rest of the roof onto the third mortgage. What makes this a tad less scary is that I only owe $38,000 on my home so there is plenty of equity. It does strike me as odd to carry mortgages on my residence when the funds have largely been used to fix up my rental home. But because the credit union is local and the rental is not, the credit union is only interested in my current residence.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Defining Retirement

J.D. at Get Rich Slowly has a very interesting post regarding how one defines retirement. It came up when someone suggested to him that, having given up being a box salesman to become a blogger and writer, he has, in effect, already retired.

As often is the case, the comments are every bit as interesting as the initial post.

I was struck by the condescending tone permeating the comments, that if one chooses to do nothing productive during retirement beyond watching TV, then retirement is somehow "unsuccessful."

The whole point of retirement, it seems to me, is the freedom to do whatever one wants (within the confines of one's finances and common civility). That includes the freedom to become intimately familiar with "The Price is Right" and "Dr. Phil."

But what really fascinated me were all the younger folks commenting on when and how they wanted to retire.

I don't know that I thought much about retirement until I hit my fifties. Part of this is because I had children at home well into my fifties. I had all I could do to simply survive their adolescences.

It's only been in the last five years that I've seriously considered at what age I wanted to retire, and only during the last three that I've made a concerted effort to get my retirement finances in order.

I don't think a change of career is the same as retirement. But neither do I think that retirement means I'll completely stop working in my field. I do plan to volunteer, and perhaps even work for pay on a very part-time schedule.

One commenter on J.D.'s blog says retirement is when one stops saving and starts spending. That makes sense to me, though saving is becoming so ingrained for me that it is hard to imagine not doing it.

At any rate, it makes for a good discussion.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Come Back, Come Back, Wherever You Are

This is not a new rant.

It is a continuation of a very old rant.

Why, oh why, do bloggers think they can simply disappear off the face of the earth, with no notice to Grace (or anyone else that I know of)?

The latest is "All Financial Matters," which I started reading even before I started blogging. The author was (is) much too conservative for my tastes, but the information he provided was always timely and provocative. Not to mention that he gave my blog a boost in one of his posts which sent a whole lot of readers my way early on.

So one day he's there, and now he's not? What gives? Death? Coma? Boredom? Fear of exposure?

Obviously, I consider the first two to be the only viable excuses.

At least when "Mrs. Micah" decided to depart the blogging world, she left a final post. (If you click on her link now, you'll find yourself at "Finance For a Freelance Life.") Which brings up another question. What's up with 'selling' one's site? It makes sense to me if one just has a general informational site. But if it's personal, if we're learning about the blogger's husband, kids, grad school life, etc., then how is that transferable to someone else who buys the blog?

I do get that it's about money, and readers. Buying a blog comes with a built-in readership. But if most of those readers were tuned in to the personal stories, do they stick around?

I dunno. I no longer read "Mrs. Micah" regularly. On the other hand, I stayed with Trish's transition to Beks over at "Blogging Away Debt," so maybe I'm being too critical.

What I really hate about disappearing blogs is being left in the middle of the story. Did Immer at Mein Taglich Brot find another job? Is Dawn going to save her house at "Fighting Foreclosure. Getting Nine Hundred?"

I don't know about inquiring minds, but Grace definitely wants to know!

I've been posting for exactly three years. About every six months, I go on one of these rants.

Expect more!