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Archive for November, 2010

Ok, am I missing something?

November 21st, 2010 at 02:38 am

This is strictly a financial entry. On Friday I deposited a small check at the credit union and noticed one of their advertisements. A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) for 2.99% for 12 months, then 4.99% thereafter. In addition, if you get a $50 gift card, or a $100 gift card if you take out more than $10,000.

It turns out my mortgage is over 6%, and I was hoping to finish paying it off by the end of next year, or early in 2012. I looked at the amount of interest I would pay next year, and compared it to what I would expect to pay if I took out a HELOC for the amount of the mortgage, and used it to pay the mortgage off. The difference was around $500. Oh, and the tax benefit should be the same (as I understand it) as both should be tax deductable.

So that leads me to the question - Is there any reason I shouldn't get the HELOC and pay off the mortgage? Legal issues? Anything? Should a HELOC have some type of a setup charge? I never looked into it, so I don't know how that works.

Ok, you're 100% debt free. Now what?

November 14th, 2010 at 06:50 pm

No I haven't won the lottery, and technically, I am not debt free at the moment. This is just something that popped into my head this weekend while seeing some estate sales with all their cr@... However that point (being debt free) is no longer a mystical nirvana for me, I can see that point will come not too far down the road. Already I have more in liquid savings than I owe on my mortgage, so I *could* take out everything and pay it off (and be 100% debt free), though I'm not going to do that for now. My one big concern (my car) looks like it may have an easy resolution. My mother wants to upgrade her car next year and I will probably pay her for her very low milage car at that point (based on whatever a reasonable trade in price will be).

So say I'm at that point (house is paid, car is paid and in beautiful shape, no debts). Now what?

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Go for another job? I like what I do, low stress, decent pay, good pension, even has a gym to stay in shape. There's no reason to leave that.

Travel? Heck, I lived overseas for a few years and truthfully I have no burning desire to do that again.

Get in better physical shape? I'm already trying to do that. Plus you really don't need that much money to do it anyway.

Buy the latest and greatest gizmos? I work in high tech all day, I have no desire to be around it 24/7. I don't even watch TV (except for some sports, and I even have less desire to do that than I used to). I've got a computer, 2 TVs, and DVD player, what more do I need?

Fix up the house? Yeah, there are some things to do (replace driveway, new carpet, cut down a tree out front, maybe get a new water heater or furnace though they are working fine). Those are nice, but they won't cost that much to have done. Maybe one or two pieces of furniture could be replaced, but again, I don't need much (most of my furniture I made by hand, and is still very solid). And I have all the dishes, utensils, cookware, bric-a-brac I will ever need (thanks yard sales!).

Invest? Well you can see I have some investments, though not nearly enough to quit my job. I figure to continue investing, though it certainly won't take up all my earnings.

Hobbies? I already have enough to be happy. I'm sure I will buy more, but I doubt all that much. And actually I have started to sell some excess on ebay as I would like more space in the house.

Sell this house and get a house closer to where I work? This idea has intrigued me, but I doubt I will consider it for a few years at least. If I do it, it will be no sooner than 2015 as I think this area's prices will be improved by that time.

Volunteer? I'm not that big on that, though I do some already. It is more than enough to keep me fulfilled already, I don't need to do more.

Go to Vegas and gamble? Ummm NO! Going to shows - yeah that I could see, but gamble? No thanks.
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This wasn't meant to brag, nor to complain. Just sorta a train of thought. Most people that work towards being financially independent (I think) have a major goal like doing something different for a living or travelling (or not having to move in with a child when they retire because they have no money!). For me, its been the simple matter of not being a slave to others, and being in a position where if someone really ticks me off I can tell them to take a hike and not worry about the consequences. Now that I can see that time coming on the horizon, it makes me wonder what is next.

Another Craigslist Sale

November 12th, 2010 at 02:32 am

About 2 months ago I picked up a Christmas Train set for $2 (originally sold for about $45 in the 90's). I took a chance on it, and when I tried to use it, the wheels weren't moving on the engine. After I took the motor apart (three times!) I found a gear was loose, so I superglued it back in place and it worked just fine then. Jump to today and I sold it for $20 (and there was lots of people writing for it too). A 'lil ingenuity and a dab of superglue, wait a few months, and some easy money comes out of it. Nice way to help pay for a little of my latest DRIP purchase.

A very good (and very rainy) day

November 5th, 2010 at 01:58 am

Today was a annual leave day (for me), which makes it a good day. I mean, getting paid and not driving 50 min. each way and not having to sit in a cubicle, how can that not be a good day?

I stayed in all day (no sense going out in the rain here on the east coast) and got lots done (including a number of financial goodies).

Non Financial:
Made 2 apple pies from apples from backyard tree, made lunches for next week, survived a hard weghtlifting DVD routine at lunch, plus did the weekly kitchen cleaning. (Now I have nothing to do this weekend!)

Financial:
* Bought $750 more of my local utility DRIP stock. Currently it is giving over 4% in dividends and given the gov't wants to keep interest rates at zero for the foreseeable future, saving the money in a bank seems a major waste.
* Setup my monthly mortgage payment, setup my monthly credit card payment (only $310!!), paid my semi-annual car insurance payment, and setup a transfer of money to a higher paying online account (all done online of course).
* Called my local phone company due to their letter asking me to consider switching to their service. For a few minutes we discussed rates, and there was nothing they had that was nearly as inexpensive as the local cable company's service. For my time, I am supposed to have activated a $5 Subway gift card that came with the letter. We'll see if that happens, though they are usually good about following through.

Financial / hobby:
* I see a rechargable tool battery pack (still new) I bought at a yard sale last weekend and put on ebay is bid up over $18. Not bad for a $1 purchase. Hey, this will pay for my two slot car sets I got this past month ($10 & $4)!
* Also used for the first time today some weights I bought last weekend (yard sales of course). Got them at about 10% of their in store prices. Fancy brand name stuff - gotta love it Smile

Random thought: I found something good coming from washing dishes by hand (other than the savings and cleaner dishes part). My muscles were tired / sore after today's workout, but doing the dishes seemed to help the shoulders and biceps by having them do easy work and helped loosen them up. I feel much better now.