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Osulep Obscure
Odd Thoughts from an Odd Man
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9th-Apr-2011 10:02 am - very brief update
Wow, allot has happened...
  • I'm in my 5th of 10 (possibly 12) classes towards my masters
  • My son was born.. he's 1.75 years old now.  (the Terrible Two's are a bitch)
  • I have money in the bank... about 25% towards my goals.
  • I have a job... and it's been a bit of a roller coaster...
  • I have a plan for post job, first time ever that i've had the exit plan from before I started the job.   

I'd normally write pages and pages on all of these topics.. but with the child, life has been crazy.  and I haven't had the desire to write... no, that's a lie.. I'm helping my brother write a book.. or at least playing around with that idea.   I'm writing allot for school; and i'm writing lots of correspondence at work.

No, I haven't had the desire to express myself in an open forum.. but that doesn't means that things haven't changed..

Also now that I have money.. I'm concerned about people knowing how much I have.  To some it may seem like allot, but to me.. well, it's not... well not when you consider my goals in life. 

I'm going to keep this on the back burner for now.. but when the day comes, and i need to once again make a procolamation to the world, rest assured I will be back..   :)
6th-Oct-2009 01:40 pm(no subject)
$73,760

That's where we stand in our debt.  What, it went up you say???  Let me explain.  We've hit all our goals and finally have what I would like to consider a baby fully funded emergency fund.  Now that all that's left is the house, it becomes our primary debt target.  As a matter of fact this month is the first month we can apply a significant payment to the tune of two or three hundred dollars of extra to principal.  So, our next goal is breaking the $70K barrier, but I'm getting ahead of myself.  At this point in the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Plan we have completed the following steps, Step 1 (1K baby Efund), Step 2 (pay off all unsecured debts), and Step 3 (3-6 months fully funded emergency fund). 

The squirley part of the baby steps (well to me at least) is that steps 4,5, & 6 are all done at the same time.  Step 4 is to put 15% into retirement.  We have Michele at 8% but will put her up to 15% when I get a job.  Step 5 is to save for college .  Step 6 is pay off the home early, and in our case start saving for our next jump up in home. 

Because of our progress, new expenses have hit our budget.  I have a new $25, $50 & a new $200 monthly bill.  The $25 is for my son's...

..oh yeah, he's Here.  Aldo Alexander Peluso.  We named him Aldo because to us that's a very inspirational family name and we hope he is inspired by it as well.  He arrived July 5th.  There is tons to report there, but this is going to be a debt walk oriented post.  I'll do a ton of lifestyle and Aldo stuff at another time when the bug hits me. 

...anyway, the $25 goes to slowly grow Aldo's college fund and the $50 is the smallest deposit I can possibly make
into my Roth IRA which I started to make sure I was putting something away for retirement even being out of work.  Aldo's got $1275 in his Smart 529 college savings program to start (most of the $$ came from Aldo Gifts) so he's got a good little beach head to get going, but it's not enough.  I really wanted his college fund to be at 5K - 10K this first year as that would have given him a ton of cash by the time he got to college.  No son of mine is going to have student loans if I can help it.  Unfortunately that goal is not realistic until i'm employed. 

What was so ironic in the last few months was that the time when we thought we'd be hurting the most (When MLP was out of work) was the time when we made the most progress and finished up our 'fully funded emergency fund'.  We got a nice gift that helped subsidize the extra $700 we had to pay out of pocket for medical expenses that month so we were able to put the money we set aside for that into the E fund and the food and gifts we got eliminated a couple of grocery trips.  In the end our Efund is the barest minimum we can call a 3 month fund, but it's something. 


Next up, we are going to start putting $200 a month away for things like Christmas, Car Repairs, vacations, etc..  It's less than 1/3 of what I think the actual real minimums are for something like that, but it's a start.  It's a great way to start savings for targeted spending, ie preparing for new tires, car repairs, etc..  The $200 doesn't really count as a bill as it offsets stuff we usually have to pay out of our monthly cashflow.  The best part is from now on, when Michele says "i need new tires, or I need to get work done on my car," etc.. I can say: "what's in the targeted spending account? 


I need to get employed but things are tough, very tough.  Large economic slowdown and unemployment in NC that's hovering around 10%.  I've not had much feedback on what was a resume that used to get a good deal of calls.  I've finally sat down and reworked my resume back to a single page, and broke out my experience a little bit better but i'm not sure that's going to help much. 

I had the heart stopping message today from unemployment that said "your unemployment benefits are about to expire".  I imediately went to the unemployment office and was informed that i've got two more extensions available to me, so it'll be a good long time before they expire, but because of the way they do accounting, I'll have to skip a week of benefits next month.



Updates on previous subjects: 

We cashflowed the new office: That was awesome, and it's a great building.  We built it from scratch.  You can check out facebook.com/pelusofamily to see the photos.  I owe so much to my friend Scott for basically building it for me.  It's got a bathroom, it's 12x12 in size and Michele and I have been working in it for about six months.  That part isn't as wonderful as I would like as Michele is constantly on me about keeping it need and clean for her.

I'm only a small piece left before finishing my Windows Home Server.  I technically have enough this month to purchase it, but I feel a bit guilty.  I don't know why, it's a very small purchase considering how long I've been working on it.  I thought i'd be able to find a lower cost copy of the OS somewhere, but that's not to be found.

I'm getting all psyched up with the Windows 7 launch.  It seems that this is the year of Lucky 7 with both Windows 7 being a solid OS and the Core i7 CPU being such a screamer from intel.  I've been musing about new Core i7 based technology for a new desktop and/or laptop.  The desktops are getting inexpensive so I may go that route for my next PC upgrade.  I'd love the laptop but My guess is that it'll be next to impossible to find a reasonably priced i7 laptop with a 17" HD screen. 

Long Term Outlook from Today:


If I get a job, we can do all the following:

1) Get Aldo's college up to something respectable, say $100 or $150/mo
2) Pay massively on the house.
3) Get both my and Michele's retirement to 15%
4) Bump our $200/mo to $675/mo target savings.


On a last note: I'm considering  making a 1/2 way to goal to help get us through the long slow slog of paying down the home. 
Something big like European or Alaskan Cruise.  Sort of an attaboy for
all the hard work we are doing.   I guess I'll make that decision when I get a job.  Unfortunately everything is on hold until I get employed again at a decent wage. 

30th-Dec-2008 01:45 pm - December Update
December Update   

- Here we are at the begining of December, but because of the nature of the information in this post it'll be posted after Christmas. 

Well Some big things have happened.  First and foremost Michele is Pregnant.. By the time this is posted She'll be about 3 months.   We had our first ultrasound and the baby is healthy, and as normal as he/she can be at this stage. We are going to save announcing the news
Unfortunately the Miracle of Tad's conception happened a week before I lost my job.  D'OH!

I'm on unemployment and I'm getting enough money there to cover me but that income is finite.   I only have about a year of unemployment income and I don't want to wait that long.

I've had a bunch of interviews.. one with a Company called Hotsy that makes pressure washers and one with Evapco, a company that sells industrial water cooling equipment.  I was number two on both of them.. but as you know number two doesn't bring home the golden prize.  :(  Evapco told me they may still want to bring me on, but we'll see where that goes.

The golden goose, the job I really want is with Costa Cruises, they are a European cruise line trying to break into the American Market.  They are part of Carnival Corporation so there is all sorts of stability there, but unfortunately their hiring process is decidedly one sided, and they are moving so slowly it's like molasses.  On the negative side, it may be because they are very close to hiring someone, but on the positive side, I've been waiting on them so long that I may outlast my competition.

Unfortunately we are moving into the slow Season for hiring, things just don't happen until January.  Then on February 13th we leave for ten days on a completely prepaid cruise.  Once again.. D'OH!  I'll feel much better about coming on board with a company if I did it after the vacation in late February and said.. "oh, by the way, i'm having a kid so I'll need a few days off" as opposed to getting hired now and saying "oh, I need some time at Christmas, some time in February for a vacation, and some time in July to help my wife with my new kid" 

I'll write more after the Holiday's on what the big reveal was like to our family as well as what other developments we've had in our lives.


2nd-Oct-2008 03:08 pm - A Big Update on our Life


 


Q4 Update



 




Well here we are in the 4th Quarter and things aren't going nearly as well as i've envisioned from a debt management perspective.  There is good news, and that is that we haven't gone back into debt.. but with $800 spent on cars, $2000+ spent on dogs health care, and a significant reduction in my earnings power this year, I’m seeing a massive slowing of my debt freedom plans. 

I'm still focused on trying to find a new job, and I’ve gotten close again.  Day before yesterday I had three phone interviews and I've got a big face to face interview next week in Raleigh.  Right now I’ve got about 3-4 strong prospects one of which is with a cruise line which I believe may have the potential to morph into a ‘dream job’.   No matter what job I wind up with, I’m going to treat myself to an iPhone as soon as I start the new job.

If I can get a job that pays me close to what I believe I’m worth and we avoid any major unexpected expenses, we still can meet our goal of paying the house off before I’m 40 years old. 

On a positive note, I had a very good commissions month last month, so that means I’m going to actually make some progress this month.  Yeah!


 

Personal Goals: (warning: Total Geek-Out in Personal Goals Section)


My goals fall in two categories, the first is the reduction of debt and the second is related to acquiring stuff. Two of my unmet goals in the acquisition category for this year are to get a new IKEA kitchen table and the second is to get a Home server. Naturally my geeky nature is leaning in the direction of making the home server the priority purchase of the two.

 

or



 


I'm almost positive I want to go in the direction of a Drobo (really cool hard drive array device) coupled with a Windows Home Server head end, but I could also just get a Drobo and the drobo-share add on, which turns your Drobo into network attached storage, but it's still 'dumb' and drobo-share has gotten horrible reviews for it’s slow speed.  Windows Home Server is more of a smart solution but also costs significantly more and has limited long term benefits if I go with the HP media smart product.  The one problem I have with Drobo is that even though it's less than the Windows Server, it's still fairly expensive.  Even if I get last year’s model I’m still looking at $350 for what should be a $100 - $200 device in my mind. That price doesn’t even include the minimum 2+ gigs of Hard drive space I’d like to get.   I'll figure it out at some point.  Most likely my decision making will happen if/when I run across a very good deal on one of the products, maybe black Friday will offer something decent. 

In the end the perfect product doesn’t exist. Ideally it’d be a new Drobo-Share type add-on with an Atom 330 CPU with plenty of ram and a solid state boot drive running Windows Home Server. The Atom CPU would offer very low power use and significant upgradability to the next gen WHS, WHS offers smart brains and ability to customize to my specific household and business needs, and Drobo offers smart storage management with room for growth and very strong data redundancy. It would be a match made in heaven and if I could mirror the system off site, then I’d have a server combination comparable to something that business pay thousands of dollars a year for. 



In another personal goal, one that’s new for this year, is building an office separate from the house.  We are basically doing this because we are getting ever so close to starting our family. Michele believes I need to have an office outside of the house so I can keep the guest bedroom and nursery in the house. We most likely will build, but we can also purchase one of those pre-fab vinyl sided sheds and modify it to fit my needs. Regardless of how we move forward, it’s going to be done with CASH and not debt. 

 

Story’s of the Quarter:


This fall’s funny story is the battle of the crickets. Our bedroom walls are thin and this house is built so poorly, that the piercing sound the crickets mating in the fall has been keeping us awake.  Sometimes they are outside our bedroom window, and I believe sometimes they are making it under the wallboards so they are half in the house. Every few days I’ve been spraying bug poison outside the house to create a border, and occasionally I’ve had to walk around the house and try and visually find the little monsters. Fortunately we’ve had a cold snap so I’m hoping the war has ended until next fall when they return. 

 


We’ve finally booked our Princess Commodore’s Graduation cruise. You have to pass a fairly intense online training to earn one, and then you have to jump on them when the few free rooms become available.  Finally you have to attend classes on board the ship, but he good news is that it’s FREE! To me this is the best of both worlds; I learn about a cool product and have lots to do onboard. We leave February 15th and Michele couldn’t be more excited. The timing is perfect for her as starting February through May she goes through a serious malaise unless we can break up that part of the year with some sort of vacation. We are doing the Southern Caribbean out of Puerto Rico on the Caribbean Princess. 

 

There are some issues with the vacation (How will I find inexpensive rooms during the busy season in Puerto Rico? Will I be able to take the time off if I get a new job? How will I get the money to do stuff on board the ship? How much will Michele be able to enjoy herself if she’s pregnant, etc... ). If I don’t get a new job, most likely I’m going to see what I can do to earn extra money via another 2nd job. It’s starting to become very upsetting that Michele is the primary breadwinner in the family when we are supposed to be in a position where we are transitioning away from her income.


So we are moving slowly, but at least we are not moving backwards.  We’ve had some bad things happen and some good things. In short, things are normal. Six months from now the changes we seek could make my world completely different from the way it is today.  Only Time will tell.


1st-Oct-2008 05:08 pm - Interesting info on housing


I learned an interesting fact today.  I learned that 50 years ago families used to put 40% down on their houses and payments used to average 9x comparable annual rent.  Mortgages used to be like car loans,
with average lengths between 5 and 15 years. The homes were much smaller in the 50’s (see graph or go to the oldest neighborhoods in your town to see what I mean)

Today the most conservative families only put down 20% (such as myself) and the rest do 3% or 5% or before the sub-prime meltdown they would even put in negative amounts borrowing 105-120% of the sale price. 

What this tells me is that home valuation increases will be lower in the next fifty years than they have been in the past fifty.  This is because people can't extend mortgages beyond 30 years and we may even see a trend towards shorter mortgages, smaller houses, and overall lower quality of life as measured by what sizes houses we as a population own. 

In the end, I’m glad at where I’m at and I'm thankful that If all goes well i'll have my house paid for before most folks in my situation. Longer term, I even have my eye on another house in my subdivision that’s about twice the size of mine and in immaculate condition that I’ll be able to purchase as soon as this one is paid for and then finish that mortgage in three or four years. I’ll wind up in the same place as most folks, only I’ll hopefully do it without the risk that most folks today have to deal with.

10th-Aug-2008 03:08 pm - July / August Update
(*** Written early July - Posted Ausgust '08 ***)

4th of July VACATION:


At the beginning of this month was our annual vacation. This year we did a week in upstate NY starting with a couple of Days at Niagara Falls and then off to a cabin on Keuka lake for a family reunion.

Niagara Falls was beautiful and very interesting and the best part was the hotel we stayed at: The Crown Plaza on the American side. I got a discount rate from Priceline.com but the hotel was nowhere near discount.. ultra thick down comforters, marble covered bathroom, tons of pillows and a 'bedtime kit' that included a new age 'how to relax' cd to listen to on the rooms CD player an a some sort of floral sent to spray on the pillows before you go to bed.


I realized a couple of things.. even when i'm vacation, I can be in a rut. This is the second year in a row that while on vacation we went to Outback and since I was cheating off the diet, i ordered cheese covered french fries. I've got to remember for the next time I do this that I need to order the small order, I can never finish the big one.


The hotel and adjoining Casino on the American side are the only nice things.. the rest seems more like rejected ideas from South of the Border. The Canadian side was very very nice. Think a cross between a State Fair and Disney. Very festive, Very clean but also very expensive. Overall Niagara Falls is worth visiting but definitely no more than a one night stay unless you like to gamble at one of the area casinos.


The rest of the week was pleasant but a good deal of hard work. There were 25 family members and Michele and I were the only couple w/o responsibilities (aging parents or young kids). We helped in every conceivable way from doing the dishes, to cooking, to offering car service, to making the drinks. I did squeeze in a little fishing off the dock and we watched the 4th fireworks over Hammondsport by boat.



House / Debt Update:


We did sell the old house and got the new house set up. Michele got her new living room set and I got my new TV (47" LCD). The furniture is nice, but it's very inexpensive ($550 for the set) and the quality is definitely on the lower end side of furniture offerings. I also got a super deal on the TV and even pulled in a PS3. The funnest part of the PS3 has been the Blu-ray movies,


Now it's back to the debt grind. Right now we are sitting right under 75K on the only thing left: the house. According to our plan we now need to fully fund our 3-6 month emergency fund and that means i need to put 5K into it as soon as I can. After that we target all resources towards the house.


Michele got her annual review and somewhat minimal raise (4%). The good news about the company she works for is that they always back date the raise to the anniversery date. By my calculation she'll get an extra couple of hundred bucks in her paycheck. This may help us take the next step in our financial plan by allowing us to put $500 into the Emergency fund. I'd like to do $1500 total this month but i'll be happy with $1000. As usual it all depends on how much comission i'll make.


A few pieces of the puzzle aren't in place. Because i've sworn off credit I need to save in advance for the bigger things in life with a target savings account. I haven't set up this target savings plan to cover mid-term to long term goals such as new cars, vacations, furniture, home improvements, etc yet. I have worked out the plan, it's just coming up with the cash to fund the plan hasn't been easy. Granted we did just close on this house and i should probably give it a few months to see how everything shakes out. I know the 1st month after we closed was the spending explosion where we let loose all of the desires we had held back before we closed. The 2nd month was time to pay for vacation. Now we are back to where we need to be, which is: Saving into Emergency fund. I have to average $1000 per month to finish up the emergency fund before the year is out.


My Career:


I've been fairly agressive in trying to find a new job. Sooner or later something is bound to happen. I've even interviewed at some locals schools as if they gave me my life experience credit i'll be close to 45K/yr. I think that's a reasonable wage for an 8-4 job with 2 months off a year. I didn't get the jobs but I definately learned from the experience. Still as we get closer to kids, to keep my promise to Michele that she can be a stay at home mom, i'll need to do better than 45k/yr. The only way i'm going to pull that off is if i go back to regional management sales with semi-technical products. I think i can make between 60K-80K or more with my background and skill set, but i've got to land the right job at the right time.


The Future Family:


We are getting closer and closer. There are some issues we have to overcome: 1) space to have a room for the kid, a guest room, and an office. 2) Another issue is Lady Pug's incontinence and the very unsanitary conditions that can bring when she has an accident. 3) the third issue is our income.

We think we have a solution to the space issue. We are looking at putting in a utility building that matches the house and changing the interior to be more like a hotel room.

more to come on everything soon...

18th-Apr-2008 08:27 am - micro update
 Appraisal came in at $173,000 (phew, that was close).  List of things to correct was very minor.  From what I can tell the last step is to agree on a credit for the 'repairs' which will probably never get done and just become another discount to the buyer.  I sent Sharon an email asking her to call so we can work out an offer. 
14th-Apr-2008 11:13 am(no subject)
WE SOLD THE HOUSE !!!
(We Think)


Everything in my life was on hold and the activity level on the house was a joke. We had a conference call with Sharon a few weeks ago and it was sad, very sad. basically from the day we put the house on the market, the market has tanked in a downward spiral the likes of which we haven't seen since in decades. The comps when we put the house on the market were showing an average of 21 days on the market and by the time we got the offer the comps were at four months. Still i'm not one to give up easily so we retrenched and worked up a plan that includes dropping the price again and re-listing it like it was a new property. We even did a deep clean on the house and repainted the front door area. The only positive part of the call was when she said I've done more than any homeowner in the history of mankind in trying to sell a house.

The showing levels picked up and one day we got a notice that an offer was coming in, when we received the offer we saw that it was comically low (which we expected). The offer and negotiations were an interesting experience. There are some pro's, if you can call them that: When all was said and done we didn't go as low as I feared we would. There were some negatives too, for example, we won't close on selling until the 2nd of June.. but it's done and for the most part our debt goes with it, but we won't have a fully funded emergency fund coming out of it, but we'll probably still be able to get by with our $1000 fund for a month or two till we can start building it back to six months.

The way the numbers are now.. we'll have a mortgage on the new house at $75K and 1-2K left on our line of credit. It should only take a month or two to get rid of that or we could use of the tax stimulus payment to finish off the final on the Line of credit.

With this pending bang, it's time to reexamine our goals for the year and see if we can realistically hit some of them. For Review, our goals are:

Our '08 Goals:
1) Complete Sale of Old House
2) No Debt, Efund at 6K, 15% of income into retirement accounts
3) Increase Mike's income by $1300 take home per month
4) Plan and save for Family Reunion and Future Stuff we want to buy
5) Pay down new house 20K after closing
6) Alaska or Mexican Rivera Cruise
7) Household stuff including:
  • new TV/DVR
  • Household wiring
  • Home Server
  • Living room furniture
  • Ikea dining table for kitchen

It goes without saying that we'll hit our first goal and get deep into our second goal. The Emergency fund fully funded will only happen if if i get a strong increase in income, but we may make some progress on that front very soon.

One sad note is that I don't know if we will be able to pull off the family reunion simply because of the timing of the closing on our house and the 4th of July weekend.

I've earned a cruise on Princess which makes the Cruise goal very achievable, all i have to do is come up with the $$ to get to the west coast. I could take advantage of the Caribbean opportunities, but I'm not all that excited about that as we've done the Caribbean a half dozen times.

It's always easy to hit goals for things you want to purchase.. This is going to be dangerous as our stress level is soooo high we are going to be very tempted to spend some dollars getting ourselves everything we've been wanting and holding off on for so long. I've actually calculated the list of everything we want and it's somewhere in the 14K range. That's allot of stuff.

The big bad goal of the year, the one that's mostly unachievable is our goal to pay down the house $20K after closing, this will only happen if i get a significantly higher paying job this year. I've been looking and have had a few strong interviews. Still right now it's all a bunch of birds in the bush, and none in the hands.

Next up, the continuing process of selling (i'm sure we will run into issues with the appraisal and the inspection) and the results from the biggest interview i've had in the last year.
19th-Mar-2008 09:54 pm(no subject)
Quick Update, The House Story:

  • Sharon Baldwin (our realtor) is out of town to send her son off to missionary school she should be back tomorrow.
  • Buried a statue of St. Joseph (dubbed Joey) in the front yard. Cost $6.95
  • Spoke with a local charity offering them a free cruise to raffle off if they would find someone to buy my house.
  • Sent 1300 emails off (cost $85) to local area real estate agents. Currently 20% of the list I purchased was bad, 10% got opened, and we have had 2 that click through.
  • Asked Ahmed, a friend of Kathy's who is a realtor, do a competitive analysis and i'm still waiting to hear back. .

Currently: No offers, but at least we have some activity, mostly by fruits of my labor but activity makes things feel much better than nothing going on.

In the darker days when there is no activity, I contemplate how low i can possibly go to sell the house, and compare them to the numbers on our goals, they are grim, especially as I consider how low I may have to go. I also did a version showing what the numbers would be if we have to bump the commission up to get a much more competative realtor. more grimness. Under our current plan the minimum i'd be willing to sell our house for is $175K because even if we at least did that then we'd still have RR paid off and eFund fully funded. The only thing we give up is a new mortgage that's 5k higher than I would like and the toys we wanted to treat ourselves too after the house sells.



Sale Price Comish left overs
185000 7790 8560 best case
180000 6120 5230 expectations
175000 5950 400 price drop
170000 5780 -4430 no efund
165000 5610 -9260 1/2 RR left over

And if the Comish is at 6%

185000 11100 5250 best case
180000 10800 550 good luck
175000 10500 -4150 no efund
170000 10200 -8850 1/2 RR to pay
165000 9900 -13550 9k RR to pay

1st-Mar-2008 09:01 am(no subject)
Penance:a sacrament, as in the Roman Catholic Church, consisting in a confession of sin, made with sorrow and with the intention of amendment, followed by the forgiveness of the sin. For more inf see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penance

Well it's the first day of March in 2008 and we haven't had a single offer on the old house. We put it forsale December 1st, so we are looking at 3 months it's been on the market. Admittedly the first month almost doesn't count and we have it priced high, but $194,900 isn't that much out of range of the neighborhood. We had much more showings in December / January than we did February so i'm thinking as more competition came on the market at lower prices that's where the buyers went.

Why are we selling our old home? It was perfect, in a nice neighborhood, good quality, decorated the way we want, etc.. The short of it is that because i'm so severely under preforming in my career, it's the only way we can get traction with our goals of living debt free. We are giving up allot by selling our old home: The garage, a fenced in back yard, a community pool, the quietness inherent in a 2 story house, the convenience of great shopping near by.

We have moved into a new home, one that is much smaller than our existing home. The new home is in Siler City, Way deep into the country. 40 miles from our old home, 55 miles from Raleigh, and 35 miles from Greensboro. Because we haven't sold the old home yet, we have agreed to a rental agreement on the new home. I see this new home as my penance, a penance for youthful arrogance, for under preforming in my career, for not being disciplined enough to do what I know to be right and for making bad decisions. The worse part is that I have brought Michele along for this ride and she deserves much better than this. I had overbought my old house. Even when I first started making payments on it, My take home pay was somewhere around $2800 monthly and my house payment was somewhere in the $1080 range or 38.5% of my income. The ironic part was that I was approved for a house up to $200,000. It should have been around $700 (25% of take home) payment by any safe calculation using basic personal personal finance theory.

My biggest mistakes in life: My biggest mistakes in life seem from getting involved in business when they are in a market that is winding down vs growing. A good example is that I got a job working for Echostar / Dish Network as a dealer rep when they were shrinking their independent dealer business. Then I got involved with one of those little independent dealerships as their business was dying. I tried to open a travel agency after the transition where that industry went from using independent agents to mostly direct consumer web bookings. The latest is trying to sell a house in what I thought was a good, but turned out to be a craptacular housing market.

Current Situation:

Right now things look and feel grim: I've stretched us too far. I'm going on my third month right now without my part time job. I haven't made a decent commission check since November. My computer took a dump and so far it's costing me $300. (although I'll probably have a new MB + CPU that I can sell on eBay or use for a home server when all is done). We are currently paying rent AND mortgage on the old house. It's very disappointing to think that we've had so little activity on the old house when you realize how much work and money we have put into it.


What we've done with the old house:
  • pulled down the wallpaper in every room but the master bedroom.
  • repainted every room
  • replaced the carpet and linoleum
  • power washed the outside
  • landscaped,seeded, aerated, and put down pine needle mulch
  • Offered bonus commission to buyers agent

Midterm Outlook: There is a possibility of turning on a dime!

Everything can change for us overnight. There are two things that change our world, first we can get a decent offer on the old house. Second: I can get another job, or fine much more revenue in a new position with my current job. It's the old offence / defence or shovel to hole ratio, i either get a bigger shovel, or try and fill a smaller hole. Currently I'm working on both. I'm at the lowest rung of earnings for my category of work, technically I'm well below the lowest levels so no matter what professional level job I get, my income should go up... so all i have to do is get a new job and our 'shovel' should immediately double. The next step is to sell the house which will get rid of the last of our debt and beef up our Emergency fund to 3 months. There are some additional positives that may exist if we get a good price for the house including getting the following: cruise to Alaska, new furniture, computer parts, new TV programming, etc..

There are two things that are priority on my action item list:
Continue to aggressively look for a new job, one that offers a better life.
Get more aggressive on selling the old house by cutting the price and increasing the agent incentive

One month from today our world may be very different than it is right now.

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