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Category Archives: Management

Being Our Own Good Stewards

Being Our Own Good Stewards

I’m not a mortgage broker or a financial advisor–I’m just a neighbor.

I have actually spoken with three people this week who asked me how they could get out of debt.   I’m always too happy to give my opinion.

Sharing

I know a guy.  My “adviser” suggested to me that refinancing my mortgage when I am already paying more than the minimum amount is like hitting myself on the thumb with a hammer and then hitting myself on the other thumb to lessen the hurt on the first thumb. I’d just have two thumbs in a great deal of pain. Here’s what I was told–paraphrased.

If you refinance at a lower rate to obtain a lower payment, that is good if your budget is choked–keeping in mind that you are paying for that with additional fees and expenses that could be as much as thousands of dollars–even if those fees are rolled into the new loan, you’re still paying more money than you were originally paying. The only thing you currently get is a lower payment with good intention of later paying more to pay the loan off early. Some people will do this multiple times throughout the loan thinking they are saving money but not really.  If you are consistently paying additional amounts over your principle every two weeks or monthly, you are in fact saving money over the long term and you will pay the mortgage off earlier than the total time of the loan.

Now, let’s say we have a mortgage for $100,000–our interest rate can be whatever but let’s say around 4%–divide that by 30 then by 12 and our principle payment would be about $278 per month for 30 years (this is my example, I can make it whatever amount I want).  If only it were that simple. In reality, with interest compounded in ways that we don’t really understand, mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance and taxes, our actual payment will be between say, $650 and $850 (remember, only $278 of that is principle).

Here’s the part that’s easier said than done but is do-able, pay more than required minimum and our overall interest will decrease.

The extra money paid is not really extra because we are paying it on the principle but we save on the interest charged on whatever principle is the balance each month. Our payment will stay the same unless taxes or insurance increase (which will most likely happen because of increased valuation of our property) but the principle will decrease at a faster rate therefore, allowing for interest amount charged at the same rate to be less each month, quarter, year. Keep in mind, if we only pay $5 or $10 dollars each month, it will go down but won’t save us a great deal of time over 30 years because it will take 2 or more years to make one single extra principle payment resulting in 12 years to accumulate one additional payment–we might pay the loan off one or two years early.

If our principle is $278 a month, then we are paying $3,324 per year in principle. So, if we pay say an extra $100 per month on the principle (example) then we are making an additional 4.33 payments per year–it will take 2.77 to 3 years of that to equal one year off our loan–in addition to the normal payoff amounts of just making regular minimum payments, first 3 years results in 28 years to payoff, 2nd 3 years = 27 years to pay off, etc. So, in the long run, we could pay off the loan in 20 years instead of 30 by paying a little extra each month (or even $50 every two weeks).

How to have an extra $100 a month to pay your mortgage off early: A medium latte at the local coffee shop cost about $3.65 + tax and tip (additional syrups extra) so about $4.00 or more per drink–if they have the type of milk you want or need because you’re lactose intolerant. Sorry…  If you have one a day during the work week that is $20 per week.  And, if you indulge on the weekend–you get it. If you’re not going to make your coffees at home like I do with my mini espresso maker, try getting a small drink instead and save yourself a little money overall; find other areas in your life where you can cut back.

Some Things I do:  If I go to the fast food places near my work I spend about $35 to $40 per week on lunches. However, I actually spend about $20 per week going to the local Neighborhood store and purchasing groceries and preparing at work or home for my lunches–sometimes I take left overs. I save about $80 per month on lunches with an occasional outing to a fast food or nearby restaurant. So, I do not frequent coffee places and I bring my own lunch saving me about $150 a month. That’s $1,800 per year I can put toward the principle on my mortgage which is 6.5 payments and is a year off my loan every 2 years, now paying off the loan in less than 20 years–about 15 years.

Other ways to save money to pay down your loan: Got credit cards? No matter what the interest rate, pay the minimum on the rest of the bills but pay the smallest balance off first, as quickly as possible, by paying more than the minimum—I paid the minimum + the finance amount until I was able to pay additional amounts.  As soon as you fully pay that one, put all of that amount + the minimum payment (more if you can budget it) on the next smallest card or bill–do that until all your bills are paid. It follows the same as the mortgage early payoff plan, you are paying principle off sooner and therefore, paying less interest. If you do that part first, you will have the money to pay on your mortgage.  You may say that you can’t afford to do that, actually, you can’t afford not to but start as soon as you can.

Now, let’s say that we save $2,500 dollars (in payments) a year by paying our cards and bills off early. That is $208 per month we can put on the mortgage instead of partying or splurging on stuff we don’t actually need. That is only, get this, $69 less than our principle payment of $278 per month (in our example).  Use your imagination to find extra monies to make a double principle payment each month and be debt free much sooner.

A few ideas:  Save change—it adds up; go through the garage and sell items that are no longer used; clean out and sell items in storage unit (close storage unit to reduce additional bills); clean out the closets and sell old, useful items that you don’t want to donate; if you’re younger and fit, rent yourself out when you’re not volunteering your time…there are plenty of things that can be done in your neighborhood or town to acquire more money—take on clients to tutor or train in one of your talents, hobbies or knowledge areas (tutor English, math, computer usage, how ’bout teaching people how to build a solar battery bank back up system for personal use) also, handyman (person), also,  pet or house sitting, for example.  Oh, spend less, that’s a big one to help save money.  If you don’t need it, check your desires.

With all our other bills paid off first then the mortgage, we can provide our family a better lifestyle through attending events, or pay for college, a vacation home, a travel trailer, a newer car–all bought and paid for with cash (that we have saved by no longer paying a mortgage or high bills) or with large down payment to avoid extended payoff periods–pay it off in a year or 2 instead of 5 to 7 years.  I was able to do extra remodeling after the tree fell on the house and the insurance company paid a little less than the upgrades we wanted.  Here’s another idea, with our, yes our, saved money we can now do the things we’ve been saying we’d do if we had more money: help others who are less fortunate than ourselves.  You know you’ve said it.

Be good to one another and be thankful in all things. We don’t always know what we’re missing when we didn’t get what we wanted because God knew it was bad for us and it didn’t fit His plan for us.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Jay 🙂

  • I do not endorse bankrate.com. However, I do use their calculators to help keep me on track.
  • http://www.bankrate.com/calculators
  • For expert advise, please see your locally trusted financial institution, financial advisor and mortgage specialists

1 Peter 4:7-11

7The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. 8Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.

10God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

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How Not To Get a Job…in my world

Wow! I feel like I’ve been away for eons yet, it has only been a week. I have been busy my friends.

As many of you know, my former assistant, Brittany, moved on to a new position with the company. I’ve heard some great things about her performance from her current manager. 😀

To the busy part. I’ve been working six days a week during the busiest part of the month while in search of a new assistant. This evolution has been the most frustrating.

I have read through over seventy resumes–that’s 70+ in 4 days. After the first 10, I found someone that I thought was good for the job. She went through an interview with me and my area manager a couple of days later. She was excited and said that nothing would prevent her from doing the job. She past the initial background check and I needed her to come in to complete the hiring process. No response to my phone messages for two days. I located her on FB and sent a message asking if she was coming in. She responded that she had too much going on. Wha? Back to square one.

Since then I’ve been bombarded with resumes. Most of the resumes list skills that have nothing to do with the job posted. I was quite specific. The job is administrative, customer service, must be able to learn and operate required software…and, it is only 12 hours per week – 7 hours on Saturdays + 5 hours during the week with an occasional 29 hours per week when covering for me on certain holidays, vacation or sick days. It is not manufacturing, phlebotomy, nurse’s aide, legal- or law-related; and it is not full time.

I started to get suspicious. When I called some of the applicants, I asked them if they had read the job posting. Most said no. So, you have no idea what you’re actually applying for… I thanked them for their time and recommended that in the future, they read the job postings in order not to waste time of the person doing the hiring. If they know in advance that they will not want the job then perhaps they will not apply for it.

I realize that people need jobs but going through resumes that have no direct correlation with the job applied for is an alternate time hack. I don’t want someone who is just trying to bide their time for a few weeks and then leave for “the real job” they wanted in the first place. I want someone who is looking for part time work and can do the job as necessary. Simple.

Of the persons that did read the posting I have three good candidates who are coming in to interview this afternoon.

In my world integrity is important. I need to know that the person I’m dealing with is genuine. Otherwise, we’ve started a relationship that may not, probably will not, be natural and lasting. Everyone does not always get along well but if you’re working with someone, for someone or supervise someone it is always beneficial to the environment if people do get along.

A person with an AA, AS, a BA or MBA, et cetera, can do this job but so can someone with a HS diploma or GED. It’s not necessarily about the education. It is about ability. The ability to learn, do and deal with people in general but a great customer service attitude will win every time. Understand that in the storage business, as in most other customer contact-related businesses, you are the company representative who is providing a service to fulfill a customer need. It’s not about me and it’s not about you. It’s about the company that you work for and it’s about the customers that you serve.

If you don’t get it, please, don’t apply.

Jay 🙂

 

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No One Should Be Irreplaceable…

0423152000  It’s a nice, quiet, cool and drizzly Saturday.  A day of coffee and catch-up blog reading.  The satellite radio station seems to know what kind of day it is and the music is appropriate.

Angela came in to see if Stacey left a key…no, even though he’s been in the past two days. It did give us a chance to chat about how are faith strengthens our respective relationships and how nice it is to be back with the love of our lives; and how happy God has made us in spite of ourselves.

A rental from a guy with stuffed wild turkeys that he personally killed. Apparently, his wife does not have the same appreciation as he does for the finer things…just wait until he gets the coyotes back from the taxidermist. Better go ahead and rent a larger unit now.

Rental trucks coming and going.

A relatively calm work day in the self-storage environment after such a busy week.

I went through a dozen or so resumes in hopes of finding just the right person. I found three. I interviewed one. She, I think, will be perfect for the assistant position. It amazes me how some people can almost beg for a job and then not show up for the interview—without a call to say they won’t be showing up. I have a feeling there’s a reason they were unemployed. It is alright, I got the cream.  Alas, I can’t start her until sometime next week because the VP who is in charge of the next stage of hiring is on vacation until Monday. Shouldn’t someone else be able and/or authorized to do this in his absence? No One Should Be Irreplaceable…

This past week was public sale week for those who haven’t paid their storage rent in a few months. One hates to do it but, it’s all part of the business. Unanswered legal letters, phone calls, messages, voicemails…sold!

Next week should be more fun as soon as the young lady starts training – I like training. I often feel like a potter taking raw clay and forming a new pot or figurine. It really isn’t about me, though. It is about another chapter, with a new character.

Twenty days to go until my long weekend of time with my wife and friends; and fishing…and relaxation.

Jay  🙂

So, last night before bed my wife presented the profoundly daunting question, “If right is right, why would anyone go left?” I had no argument there. 😉

 

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Time management: perhaps you should have departed sooner…

2nd Oil

2nd Oil

Time management: perhaps you should have departed sooner…

That’s my new bumper sticker. Well, it soon will be once I receive it in the mail next week.

Okay, so I’m the guy you hear about at work from one of your irate co-workers explaining why they are late for work—you know, the one who is late all the time. They will rant and rave about this guy in a perfectly healthy Jeep Liberty who apparently had nothing better to do than to hold up traffic and cause them to get caught by every light, and stop sign. They will not, however, take responsibility for their own lack of time management that led to their tardiness.

Yep, I’m the speed limit guy. Occasionally, I drive over the speed limit by a couple of mph but normally it’s the speed limit. If my wife wants to get somewhere in a more timely manner, she’ll offer to drive.

I must note that it drives me nuts when someone else drives under the speed limit when there are no reasons to do so, such as, inclement weather, construction, a parade or heavy traffic. I do my best to plan my events, manage my time to where I can get to where I’m going and be there on time. Even traveling the speed limit, I’m usually there ahead by 10 minutes or right on time. Sometimes I miss the mark but not by much (unexpected parades).   😉

You see, I used to be in a hurry and yell at all the other drivers for their mistakes. It was not pretty. My so-called road rage was really just inside my car most of the time with an occasional hand signal to other drivers to let them know I was not pleased with their road skills.

It took a while for me to mature in this area but now that I’m an olderly guy, I like having less stress in my life. I drive to work, at ease.  When I get to work, I’m calm and relaxed because I’ve had no drama to kick me up. I can recommend it to anyone who suffers from time mismanagement. If you have to, get up 10 minutes early.  Enjoy your coffee, watch the weather and traffic reports and leave at a time that is most convenient to you for you to enjoy your drive. If you have little kids, well, that’s on you–do your best.  Maybe people at work will notice your calmness and appreciate it.

I’ve started noticing landmarks that I previously did not know existed.  When people say to me, “You know, down by such a place or such a street,” I can say, “Yes, I do.”

Oh, to the guy in the little white Toyota that sped around me in the no passing zone and almost got hit by the firetruck…you know.

And to the rest of you that like to drive fast because you don’t care about rules and laws and think they don’t apply to you, don’t whine and cry if you are the survivor.

Jay 🙂

Every day is someone’s judgement day…be prepared or be extra careful.

 

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Are You Better Than Everyone At Your Place of Employment?

I didn’t asked if you are more educated, smarter or make more money than others at your place of employment, I asked if you’re better than everyone else.  Sometimes, it appears to me that some people think they are a better person evidenced by their position, status, education or income compared to other employees.

Are your subordinate employees subordinate to you in all aspects of life, or just on the job?  Are they workers and part-timers, or are they assistants or associates regardless of their job title?  Are the employees in other departments “them” or are they colleagues with a common goal?

What kind of subordinate were you?  Did you complain about the establishment and say things such as, “If I was in charge…” or “These jerks don’t know what they’re doing, a monkey could do better than this…” on a regular basis?  Did you talk down your bosses with fellow employees?

So, now that you’re the monkey, how do you see yourself compared to the rest of those in the barrel?  Do you expect them to perform at the level you saw yourself then, or the level at which you are now?  Hmmmm…

I’ve been through enough that I can let upper management and their superior attitudes fall off, most of the time, even when I feel disrespected.  I still do my job to the best of my ability because that is what I am paid to do–it’s just better when I enjoy or am not disgusted with the environment.  Also, regardless of what has happened to me (real or imagined) I do my best be ensure my assistants don’t feel like “part timers,” or inferior because I believe that everyone has something to contribute to the environment, the job and/or each task necessary to carry out the mission.

As managers and leaders we have a dual purpose role.  We are company representatives for the owners or the ones who sign our paychecks; and, we are buffers between the company and the employees and the employees and the company.  Each group or individuals are our customers.  As managers, we manage the environment, the job, the tasks,schedules, personnel and yes, sometimes individuals.

How we lead and manage will determine the results of daily production and the work climate for each area under our area of responsibility.  It’s hard to see sometimes but often we are manipulators of attitudes.

Are we better than everyone, maybe in our own minds but how we treat people goes a long way to how they view themselves in the work environment.

Every monkey needs a banana and a leader they can ape.  How will you be mimicked?

Friendliness goes a long way even when you’re not friends with someone.

Jay 🙂

 

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Time Management (Self-Management)

Too many times have I heard someone say, “There’s just not enough hours in a day…

List of things to do this week:

  1. Morning Bible Study/Prayer/Meditation
  2. Morning Exercise
  3. Work 40 -43 hours
  4. Phone calls with dad, daughter and sister
  5. Proof The Tor King for print on demand
  6. Publish and self-promote The Tor King for print on demand
  7. Add addendum to The Bull’s-Eye of Life
  8. Verify copyright for The Bull’s-Eye of Life
  9. Format cover for The Bull’s-Eye of Life for Kindle
  10. Publish The Bull’s-Eye of Life for Kindle
  11. Type more on the Study Guide for The Bull’s-Eye of Life
  12. View video for men’s group discussion at Sunday evening meeting
  13. Study for and take exam for lesson 1 in Public Speaking course
  14. Help wife paint framing for back porch prior to contractor installing screening
  15. Vehicle recall and oil change
  16. Yard work / inspect roof and gutters
  17. Resume cleaning garage
  18. Attend Worship Services
  19. Scan client photos and documents
  20. Update ancestry.com
  21. Write at least two articles for blog
  22. Pick one of my five personal books and start writing first draft
  23. Spend at least 5 quality minutes with wife

This is my actual To Do list for this week.  Though there doesn’t appear to be enough time to do everything on my list, except for writing on my personal book, everything will be accomplished.  Remember, not everything has to be done “now.”

These things are in combination with normal daily routine.  My wife, her mother and I use team work to take care of things around the house.  They do most of the house cleaning and taking care of the cooking and our dog children.  Usually, in the morning prior to me departing for work, I put a load in the wash and delay start until the afternoon so it will be done about time my wife comes home from work.  She finishes the process.  We do the same with other chores around the house…whoever can does when they can.  Some things are easier on me because my wife does so much that I do not have to do them myself; and my daughter, knucklehead and the grandkids live almost 3,000 miles away–fewer distractions.

My To Do list.  To accomplish all these tasks in the week ahead will require personal dedication to ensure that I am not pulled away by distractions such as, watching the Cleveland Browns play the Tennessee Titans, The American League Divisional playoffs, Bones, Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS(s) and Person of Interest.  I do not say that I will not watch these programs but more than likely, I will watch one or two, or they will be on while I’m working on simple projects.  I won’t have them on when I’m reading, studying or need to concentrate on specific details.  However, when I’m formatting and typing books or scanning documents, these programs will be background fodder.

The main reason all or most of everything on my list will be accomplished is because of self- and time management.  I’m experienced enough to know about how much time it takes to accomplish a task and give myself a little extra time for unexpected events.  The guy at the dealership said it should take 1 1/2 hours to accomplish the recall and oil change so, I have blocked out 2 1/2 hours on my schedule.

Management of self is one of my most difficult accomplishments but nonetheless, mostly accomplished.  It is very easy for me to get wrapped up in tv, surfing the net, watching the ballgames, etc.  However, I’ve reached a point where I know that time is a swift river.

Some may not understand or wonder, who do I think I am to take on this endeavor?  I (self)publish, write, draw and paint for nothing other than personal creativity and self-satisfaction.  I don’t consider myself anymore than average at these things and sure, it is nice when others compliment me for these accomplishments, who wouldn’t like a little praise or encouragement.  But sometimes, just looking at the outcome is to me, satisfactory.

In order to accomplish all that I choose to do, I must manage myself and my time.  No one else can do it for me.  Others can assist in this or that but I am the only one who can determine what I can do in the time that it needs to be done.  If I’m squirrely I’ll never reach my goals. Some may say that I am self-disciplined.  Well, I read once on Wikipedia, I think, that discipline is not a course of actions leading to certain goal or ideal but a disciplined person is one that has established a goal and is willing to achieve that goal at the expense of his or her individuality (or words to that effect).  In my case, my individuality that is not at stake for this is the pouring out of my individuality and the discipline is in managing time to accomplish the goals that allow me to express who or what I really am.

I think this comes down to is personal desire.  It doesn’t make a difference who you are, if you truly have a desire to accomplish everything that you want or need to in a given time, take it upon yourself to do just that.  Take charge of yourself and plan your time and stick to your schedule but do allow for outside influences or accidents because life happens.  When you know in advance that you are helping someone else, put it on your schedule.  You can, though, limit other people drama by analyzing the need for your input and acting accordingly.  Please be kind to others and share yourself when you can or have the opportunity.

So,wouldn’t it be nice if the mechanic actually takes only 1 1/2 hours to complete the work on my vehicle, then I’ll have an extra hour to spend with my wife–as long as it fits into her schedule.  😉

Jay 🙂

 

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