When Trying to do the Right Thing Financially Bites You in the Ass

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If you make it to the bottom of today’s post, there is a reward for you! True story.

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My wife and I are in the process of refinancing our house. When we bought the home a year ago, it was about as painless of a process as buying a home can be. There was some grunt work on our parts, but by and large it was what you would expect; chasing down bank ledgers, getting statements, providing numbers, signing papers, etc.

This year we wanted to refinance. It has only been a year, but the interest rates have dropped enough that it meant freeing up some cash each month that we could then focus on debt in the short term, which was critical given our situation.

What we have found is that the process of refinancing has been FAR more imposing than the original purchase. Not only has it taken months of work to make it happen, but it has also required me to provide what seems to be the same information several times over.

At a certain point in the refinance process, I was also working on getting some debts consolidated at a much lower interest rate (%29.99 > %13.99), but before I did this I asked our loan officer if this would affect anything. I was told it would be fine, since my credit rating was already verified and the interest rate of the refinance was locked.

Smash cut to Thursday morning when I got a call from the same loan officer asking me why there was brand new debt on my profile. I remined her that it was the consolidation loan, and here response was, “Well, Dave, you personally took this debt consolidation loan out, and when you had originally asked me about it, I thought it was to consolidate your own debt. Instead you used it to pay off debt that was in your wife’s name, hence it now shows as new debt on you, and thus we probably can’t secure the loan for you at this time.”

Let’s unpack this for a moment:Read More »

Obsessing Over Finances — When Does it Go Too Far?

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“My wife is undeniably right; I have found a relatively healthy thing (financial independence) to obsess over. I guess it’s better than constantly straightening my fork at Red Robin. Where it probably crosses the line is in the form of my hyper sensitivity to spending, and my overall monitoring of the expenses.”

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Let me just being this post by saying that I’m not a Doctor. If you’ve read any of my previous posts on this blog at all that should be almost as abundantly clear as me making statements such as, “I am not a squirrel,” or “I am not a log cabin.”

So when I talk about things such as my OCD, keep in mind that I’ve only self-diagnosed myself (with the constant “help” of my wife), and am really talking out my ass about the subject in general. It should also be stated that, whether I suffer from a mild form of it or not, I am in no way making light of people dealing with this disorder in any form.

I have some quirks that I very rarely notice, but others pick up on. An example would be that if I sit down at a table at a restaraunt, I straighten the silverware and napkins so that everything is perpendicular and/or at a nice right angle.

If I’m sitting in a meeting and I put my sketchbook on the table, I’ll meticulously adjust it until its bottom edge runs as parallel as possible with the edge of the table.

I tend to obsess over details like this, but at the same time I allow pure and utter chaos to enter my life at other times. As I type this I’m staring at my desk which is cluttered with car keys, vitamin bottles, pens, post-it notes, a hard drive, and for some reason and empty Ziploc bag that has been on my desk for weeks. Not sure what was in it, and equally not sure why I haven’t just thrown it away. I’m 93% positive it was not a human toe. I think I threw that bag out ages ago.

Yet when I find that thing that latches onto that obsessive part of my brain, it’s really hard for me to shut it off and let go.

When it comes to this condition manifesting in my job, it’s actually served me pretty well. I have taken an entry level job at one of the most well-known companies in the world and no college degree, and turned it into a role as a senior member of my team with a college degree and 2 additional two-year certifications to boot. All because I love my job and am obsessed with growing as much in it as I can.

When I was studying to become a digital animator, I would literally spend 5 hours a night and another 20 on weekends at my computer after work, honing my skills. Sometimes I’d get home at 7:00pm, and work until 3:00am, only realizing far too late that I was only going to get 4 hours of sleep that night.

So that kind of obsession is mostly good. My wife and kids will sometimes tell you that the hours Dad works can suck, but otherwise it’s provided a great life for us.

When it comes to things like wanting a new gadget, car, or other similar non-essential item, I get obsessed with finding and buying it as soon as I’ve officially made up my mind to get it. There have been times where I have driven 3 hours for an iWatch that I could have easily waited 2 days to get in the mail, paying more in gas and final price, just to have it now. This is a good part of the reason why I am in the financial situation that I am right now.

When it comes to a videogame I love, I’ll spend hours, days and even weeks playing the game and attempting to master it. I would be scared sh*tless to ever add up the number of hours I’ve put into videogames, but I can at least partially justify it since I work in the videogame industry.

So that kind of obsession mostly bad. Or at least that’s what my wife told me I had to say.Read More »

Why I Turned Down an Offer to Have My Debt Paid Off for Free

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This person who many believe to be cold and have has even been described to me as seemingly “soulless” had just extended an offer to me to pay off a little over $100,000 in debt, with nothing in return.

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This is going to be a weird post to write, because I don’t want to go into to many details and risk revealing anything about the person at the heart of the post. So if I’m vague, please understand it’s not because I don’t want you to hear the details!

Let me also just get this out of the way so that you can check out of this post if you were looking for some kind of salacious story involving some kind of “Indecent Proposal.” From that standpoint it’s boring, and has absolutely nothing to do with anything of a sexual nature.

Sorry to disappoint.

I’ve got an “acquaintance” who is very well off financially. To most people who knows this person, they are somewhat cold and emotionless. They are often seen as lacking of empathy and almost robotic in nature.

I am the type of person who sees this kind of personality as a challenge. I’ve always kind of been this way. I like difficult personalities, and I take a tremendous amount of satisfaction in myself if I can not only break through their wall, but ultimately develop a friendship with them.

So if I see someone who is outwardly cold or always seems grump, I start engaging with them. I chat and crack jokes, and in the early phases it’s almost always met with the expected response of furrowed brows and clenched teeth.

But over time I find that one thing it might be a joke that made them barely smirk, or that one subject I brought up that they responded to briefly. Then I start to build!Read More »

Friday Five: The First 5 Things You Should Do if You Are in Debt

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The “Friday Five” are five items to help you in your journey to financial freedom. They might be 5 tips, they might be 5 tricks, or they might just be 5 items of thoughts. In any case, it’s Friday, and I’ve got 5 “things” for you, so here we go!

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As you can see, I’m trying something new with the Friday posts here. I like having some themes that I can dock to, such as the “Thursday Think Tank,” and the “Tuesday Tip Jar.” On top of this, I feel like you kind of don’t want a long post getting in your way on a Friday, and would prefer just to get out there and enjoy your weekend.

So these “Friday Five” posts will be a bit shorter, and get right to the heart of the matter, of hopefully providing you with 5 items you can use to help with your financial health and success.

So here goes! We’re going to kick the first one off with the first 5 things you should do if you find yourself in debt.

Back in January, my wife and I found ourselves in a buttload of debt. If you aren’t familiar with some of these fancy financial terms such as “buttload,” just know that it was a LOT. If you check that fancy little diagram/chart in the right column of this site, you can see we were just north of $126,000 in Credit Card and Student Loan debt.

Even though it took us years to get into this position, it was a smack in the face once we took a hard look, put it all together, and realized just how bad off we were. We didn’t really know what to do first, and just felt an initial sense of helplessness.

Debt can be super-scary, and you may not know where to begin. So let me give you 5 good initial areas to focus on if you find yourself in a similar situation:Read More »

Waiting with David Lee Roth for the Debt Payoff Snowball to Start Rolling

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It’s somewhat maddening, because I have to wait until September to make everything happen, but it will feel awesome once those floodgates open. Until then, my tangible results are quite limited and my payoff numbers hardly move at all.

Starting Credit Card Debt (01.01.19): $126,310.77
Current Credit Card Debt: $109,570.87
Total Paid Off: $16,739.90
Income Going to Savings: 2%

I used to read a lot of Stephen King books. When I wasn’t reading horror books, I loved a good Rockstar memoir or something by Patrick F. McManus.

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Tangent: The most difficult book I’ve ever read was Van Halen lead singer, David Lee Roth’s autobiography, “Crazy from the Heat.” That book was like reading the sideways babbling of an insane person.

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Tangent to the Tangent: How messed up is it that I’m not even a full paragraph into this blog post and I have already hit you with my first tangent? AND THEN… I’m not even done with the first tangent and I tangent my own tangent. Lame.

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Tangent (Continued): Seriously though… by the time I finished DLR’s book I wasn’t sure if he was a coked out lunatic who spent far too many nights free-basing this and drinking that and in the process had pickled his brain beyond repair, OR if he was a certifiable genius speaking on another wavelength that I simply couldn’t comprehend.

I’m still not sure.

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These days if I have any free time for reading, I concentrate on financial and self-help books. After all, if I’m looking for a way to scare myself, I don’t need a book about a clown with a red balloon. I just needed to look at my bank statements!

If you haven’t heard of Dave Ramsey and you’re in any kind of situation similar to mine, I highly suggest you check him out. He takes a no-nonsense approach to recovering from debt, and he seems to be a genuinely good human being to boot. One thing Mr. Ramsey often refers to is his “Snowball Plan” for digging out of debt.Read More »