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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.

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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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Something to Look Forward to…

As it turns out, I’m the oldest employee at work–well, I’m even older than the owners of the business.  The youngest person in the office is 25-years’ my junior, the oldest is still several years younger than me.  One of the guys who is 20 years younger than me asked me an interesting question a couple of days ago, “why is it that you’re never sick like the rest of us are all the time?”  Without hesitation, I profoundly responded, “because you all still have little mobile petri dishes running around your homes.  I’m immune.”  See what you have to look forward to?  I have a personal policy at work to not allow people to stand too close to me when engaging in office chat and I don’t share the dishes in the community break room.  I always wash my hands after shaking with someone who has children.  Absolutely no hugging in the office.  That’s just creepy anyway.  Who does that?

 

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Cassie and Cheer Relaxing

Now, before some of you get bent out of shape, I’m not the healthiest frog in the pond.  I’ve got high cholesterol and I’m sporting an olderly guy belly (I can still see my feet, though).  I hate salads, even though I eat them a couple of times a week, I’m 25-30 lbs over weight and I really enjoy cookies–preferably chocolate chip but I’m okay with just about anything that looks like a cookie.  I see my doctor at least twice each year.

I’m at the age where it is recommended that we get flu/pneumonia/shingles, etc. shots and multiple vitamins with silver on the label.

I have aches and pains in places that I didn’t know existed; heck, I even hurt when my wife hurts.  It takes me 2 days to complete and another 2 days to recover from what it used to take me 30 minutes to accomplish.  However, there be a trade off.

Though I may not be as quick as I used to be, I am mentally sharper than a good #2 pencil after exiting the sharpener; I thirst for information to keep my mind active and I hunger for spiritual enlightenment; my creative outlets are much more satisfying and healing.  I still don’t have the patience for adult coloring books, but I truly enjoy writing and watercolor painting.

When I was younger, I thought I was pretty smart but now I enjoy knowing and not thinking that I know what’s in my head.  I’m pleased to learn something new that I was afraid of because I didn’t know I could learn it, such as, how to build a solar generator.   I may fear falling from a ladder and breaking my wrist and damaging my shoulder again but I don’t fear anyone or what they may think of me.  There’s an interesting peace in knowing that the everyday crap doesn’t bother you anymore.  Okay, young people with crazy ideas and a complete lack of understanding bothers me a bit but I get over it.  It’s amazing how much the older folks I knew when I was younger learned so much as I got older.

I’m very pleased where I am now–I don’t think I was truly content when I was a younger person.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d gladly have a cold or some other contagion if my grand kids were here where we could visit with them daily or even monthly but that’s the trade off.

I praise God everyday and am thankful for who I am today.  I am grateful for my peace and any blessings I can find (and even those I’m not aware of)–especially my wife.  Don’t let anyone tell you that she is not a blessing.  And, of course, our fur babies.

I pray and wish for all of you the same peace and self-awareness that I have accomplished, thus far.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not frustrated or irritated by the world, I am, but it doesn’t rule me any longer.

I turn it over to Christ Jesus and get on with the rest of the day.

Jay 🙂

Philippians 4:6 (ESV)

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

 

 

 

 

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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We Live in an Ambiguous Society

Disclaimer: The following is an opinion diatribe…read at your own interest.
Wha?

Wha?

If bald is beautiful, why is hair restoration so important?

Vagueness seems to be common place in our society. Why?

Political Correctness, not wanting to hurt others’ feelings, personal and mental sensitivity; not being able to see past one side of a situation or object; or perhaps, we lack the ability to express or describe something for fear of all those things. Moreover, I think the answer is actually within us, personally, because we’re afraid. Yes, afraid of how we will be perceived.

Take the blunt person. How many times have we complained that person is a bully, contrary, argumentative or that they’re just a(n) (smart)ass? We often hear that he or she is just mean, not to mention the vulgarities used to describe them. Do we ever take into consideration of what they are telling us, regardless of how it is delivered?

Then there is the meek person, the person who doesn’t make themselves clear because they are afraid of how they will be perceived. And then, we call them weak, timid, shy and often make fun of them or just dismiss their views altogether.

How about the uninformed person? They speak to be involved even though they do not have a grasp of the facts of a situation, person or object. We are quick to describe them as a village idiot and also ignore them.

The gamers, liars, performers, politicians…just to single out a few, all bring up negative views in our minds but yet, we are reluctant to describe them as they truly are [perceived].

Think about how many times we denounce violent behavior but do nothing to stop it because the solution often requires, yes, violence.  How can we coexist with people who literally want to kill us?

Our personal standards of what is right and wrong, our own filters and barriers, our fears, fears of rejections, retaliation, or of being ostracized, often dictate how we describe the world around us.

I enjoy when people like me but I don’t care if they do. I really mean it. I am somewhat of an extrovert because my life has ran the course from here to there, so many “new” environments and places—personally as well as employment. I wasn’t raised to be meek but I have learned to tone down my bluntness; and I am now more reluctant to fight at the drop of a word—argue maybe but not fight.

In the midst of the destruction of our society, as we have known it, dialogue is so beneficial. However, when one group seems to have all the answers, for everyone regardless of our differences, no matter which side of the situation we are on, we will find the enslaved and oppressed on the other side. I do not say this about a particular group of peoples based on color, ethnicity or religion. I say this based on a free people of this country, the United States of America, which for at least the past decade has been anything but united.

It is ideology that is changing our way of life and regardless of the ambiguity of our situation, it appears ambivalence is a driving force. One size does not fit all, in spite of what “they” tell us.

No, violence is often not the answer but when survival is at stake, sometime we must defend ourselves. But what will be the reasons behind our fight? Will it be so that we can have more and someone else have less? Will it be so that we can be recognized for ourselves, our individual ways of life(styles)? Will it be for our religious freedoms and whether ours will be the dominate one? Will it be for our children, so that if there is a future, it will be a good and prosperous time for them?

Or, will it be for our freedom? Freedom from tyranny brought on by those that seemingly know what is better for us as a “society” regardless of what is better for us as individuals of a nation.  Regardless of what we really want?

I would hope that we cast our ambivalence aside and make a stand for our individual freedom over a society of leeches. When someone receives, it has to come from somewhere. Are we as a hard-working people going to let them take it (whatever the “it” is) from us without some kind of stand? I would hope not.

Open dialogue is good – intimidation is not. Do not allow yourselves to be intimidated anymore. Speak up before they tell you your speech is no longer free. Don’t be vague, tell us how you really feel about something. Ambiguity may be killing you.

I can’t see the top of my head, in your opinion, am I bald, yet?

Jay 🙂

 

 

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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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What’s In An Opinion?

Often times I come across posts that I am compelled to “give my opinion.”  Many times, my opinions are challenged.  Take climate change (aka global warming), I choose to believe the data is flawed and the ones telling me that the warming of the planet is more dangerous to me than to Radical Islamic Terrorism — okay, so they don’t say Islamic, I just threw that in for effect.  So, I choose to not believe what they are telling me, regardless of how many charts and graphs they show me.

“Just look at the graph, dude!”  As though all the data is factual.

Or, when I state something about faith in a One True God and I get a response similar to, “but you can’t see god so you have no proof,” or “but there are so many gods to choose from, how do you know your’s is the one?”  Um, personal faith.  Someone could just say that they have a different perspective instead of attacking me for my faith or trying to convert me to some other way of thinking.

I’m not looking for a debate, I’m looking for opinion and perspective.  If I wanted an argument, I’d treat my wife with disrespect — I’m sure that would do it.

I think if you’re an Opinionated Man, everyone accepts your HarsH ReaLiTy as is and it doesn’t necessarily require a debate–though they may be there, I don’t see many debates on his blog.  I enjoy Jason’s blog, even when I disagree with an opinion but I’m less likely to debate him, or anyone else for that matter, even though I may comment my opinion.  I’m not there to debate because it’s their blog, their perspective and their opinion.  I do my best to never disrespect the blogger by challenging them in their environment.  I’ve gotten caught up in the back and forth from time-to-time but only because I’ve allowed myself to get sucked into it.  I don’t have to be right, even if I think I am unless I’m in my world.

You see, my opinion, based on my perspective, is always right for me.  There is only One who can change my perspective.

I believe in freedom of speech.  So, if you want to leave your opinion, feel free (keep it clean, always).  Don’t be hatin’.  Otherwise, go find yourself a debate.

In my opinion, the Earth is round and it travels around the Sun; and, Pluto is still a planet.

Jay 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2015 in blogging, opinion, perspective, writing

 

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