Just over 2 years in, and we’re still truckin along

November 24, 2008 at 12:14 pm (General nonesense, Inspiration)

My wife and I realized that we’re just over 2 years in to this bankruptcy. A lot of things have changed since we started this. We have made a new chart of our progress, and we’re still trucking along.

Here is a new picture of our chart:
New chart - halfway

As you can see from the chart (and the surrounding stuff) my wife and I do our best to motivate ourselves and our 2 kids with quotes that we find that are helpful, reminders of how far we’ve come (the chart, including the filled-in spaces for braces and 2 used replacement vehicles we bought), and reminders of what our family is all about (the family mission statement that we made with our kids, and the Dave Ramsey baby steps).

My favorite quote from the chart so far?
“Character is what you have left when you’ve lost everything you can lose”
-Evan Espar

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Understanding debt

November 17, 2008 at 8:53 am (General nonesense)

The ‘Better explained’ blog has a great article on ‘understanding debt’:
http://betterexplained.com/articles/understanding-debt-risk-and-leverage/

Some highlights from the article:

Getting a mortgage: As we saw, borrowing money to buy a house is a form of leverage. With 5% down (a 20x gearing ratio), your house only needs to drop by 5% to lose money. With 0% down, your house has to drop… wait for it… any amount for you to lose! And after your house is worth less than your mortgage, there’s little incentive to pay it off (better to go bankrupt, depending on the debt).

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“Foreclose me … I’ll save money”

January 24, 2008 at 4:48 pm (General nonesense)

As more homeowners get over their heads in debt, I’m sure we’re going to see this happening more often: “Foreclose on me. Please”

The blog post in the LA Times makes an interesting point near the end of the article:

“I realize I agreed to the deal when I signed the mortgage papers, but I am within my rights to walk away from a bad deal and suffer the consequences, just as many corporations write down billions of dollars of debt, lose money for their shareholders, and lay off people as a result of their bad decisions.

“I don’t really understand why people view a business decision by a homeowner as a terrible moral lapse. However, when large lending institutions, with access to more sophisticated information than any consumer could imagine, make mistakes affecting thousands of people worldwide, they are not excoriated and vilified with the same righteous zeal.”

It is very interesting that bankruptcy isn’t treated as just another consequence to a bad business transaction by most folks. (If you recently decided to file, I’m sure you’re quickly discovering this). Somehow, your morals are on the line when you file your paperwork — you don’t just have a business problem, you have an ethical problem.

Why is that? (Especially in the case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy)

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There’s more of us in this boat than were here last year

January 4, 2008 at 2:37 pm (General nonesense)

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that bankruptcy filings are up a whopping 40% from last year (no, that’s not a typo).

So if you’re wondering if anybody else is sharing your pain, you can rest assured that many are. And that number increased significantly as of last year.

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Take your finances seriously. Don’t be like this woman.

December 28, 2007 at 11:08 am (General nonesense)

82-Year-Old Woman Sues Chase To Recover Life Savings

From the article:

Chase is refusing to honor a cashiers check for $19.700.22, 82-year-old widow Willie Floyd’s life savings. Willie stored the check, originally drawn by her late-husband in 1985, in a $10 per year safe deposit box at the local bank. When she tried to shift the funds into a regular savings account last year, she was told that the check expired after five years, and that her life savings now belonged to the state.

“I didn’t even cook dinner last night,” she said recently. “I should have just buried that money in the backyard.”

Now for the really depressing fact.

Check my math, but as far as I can tell — if she had just put the money in an index fund and LEFT IT THERE for the last 22 years (say, in the S&P 500 index fund http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%26P_500 ) and let’s be really cynical and assume an average return of only 12% or so (I actually think it’s much higher) …

She’d have close to $250,000 sitting in a bank account right now.

And the lesson she takes away from this is that “I should have just buried that money in the backyard.” ?!

This just about makes me want to cry.

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