Saturday, January 16, 2016

Stupendously Stupid Persistant Debt!!

Well, it finally happened.  We maxed out our Amex credit card.

Yep, we are now carrying $15,000.00 worth of unsecured, high interest debt.  STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!

Here's how it all happened:

1. In October we had to replace all four tires on Grump's car.
2. In November Grump strolled into the hospital emergency room, and when he left the hospital two days later his appendix was gone.
3. As soon as Grump got out of the hospital, (as Sweetie was driving him home, in fact!), Sweetie's car broken down, and required ridiculously expensive repairs.
4. Early this month we finally had to replace the roof on our house.

Now bear in mind that all this spending is IN ADDITION TO the normal day-to-day living stuff that two kids and three adults do, and it's not quite as unbelievably stupid that we now have a maxed out a credit card.

Because we don't like to pay the obscene interest rates charged by credit card companies, Grump decided that now would be a great time to cash in some savings and pound down this stupid debt.  Of course, as seemingly happens every time we need some savings, the stock market has been tanking recently.  It looked like we were going to have to take a beating one way or another, either by paying ridiculously high interest rates, or selling stocks when they are losing value.

Fortunately Granddad was able to come to the rescue!  He had convinced us several years ago to diversify our savings into municipal bonds in addition to stocks, and with the current low interest rates the value of municipal bonds is actually UP.  He looked at our bond portfolio, chose one that was a good candidate for selling, (inflated value combined with a low rate of return to maturity), and sold it for us.  Ta da!  Now we have an extra $9,000.00 to use to fight our stupid debt.

The moral of this story, (besides the obvious fact that DEBT SUCKS AND SHOULD BE AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS!), is that it is wise to diversify your savings.  Note that we invest in the actual municipal bond itself, NOT MUNICIPAL  BOND FUNDS!  Also, investing in municipal bonds takes a bit more work than investing in a stock fund, (there are more ways that the corrupt financial industry can rip you off with bonds than stocks), so it helps if you have a knowledgeable Granddad to guide you.

We ain't out of this debt disaster by any means yet, and for all I know more debt may be coming our way, (God forbid!), but at least we have a viable plan to chip away at it without taking a loss on our stock funds, or paying ludicrously high interest rates.

IMHO everyone should look at diversifying their savings into some municipal bonds.  Besides their ability to sometimes gain value while stocks lose value, in most cases they are also tax free!  But remember to buy the bond itself, not the tax fund.  And PLEASE find someone who knows the bond market very well to guide you.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Online Income Statement - December 2015

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from December 2015.


After that health scare back in November, (as you may remember, I wound up in the emergency room to have my appendix removed!), I seem to be getting my health back.  Hooray!  Without good health, nothing else matters.  Grump, Sweetie, Dodong, Kuya, and Lola are all healthy at the moment, and doing well.

We did have a child who died at a very young age in the womb, (Angel, to whom I shamefully haven't written a letter in a long time), for whom if there were a way to get her life back, I would trade a substantial portion of my savings.  Because she never had an independent existence my attachment to her isn't as strong as it is to our other two kids, but if push-came-to-shove I bet I would sacrifice a lot for her.  (We have two friends who lost their son to colon cancer just before he turned 30, and trust me, both of them would give up everything they have, even their lives, if it could bring him back to life.)

I can't overstate it: good health is priceless.

I'm still employed, at a job that pays fairly well, and has good benefits, (particularly the health insurance).

Kuya is at a good school he likes, and where he is doing well.

Dodging is growing and learning.

Lola is a godsend, helping us tremendously with the kids.

And Sweetie is her normal wonderful self.


While I am still employed, my job kinda stinks.  (As does most everybody else's, as best I can gather.)   Part of this is just the conflict between my personality and large bureaucracies.  I've never really enjoyed being an employee of a large corporation, but it's the best way I have with my skill set to earn lots of money, so I try to bear with it as best I can.  While early retirement / financial independence isn't in the cards for me, (I'm in my late fifties with two young kids and a wife to support), we do save as best we can.  We read Mr. Money Mustache and other blogs, ( Rock Star Finance is a great one!), but at this point I think that having accumulated "fuck you" money is enough of an accomplishment for me.

Online income has shriveled to practically nothing.  I made less than $50.00 on Clickworker/UHRS for the month.  Blah!  As for Adsense, I notice that folks who "make a living online", (whatever that means), are even commenting on YouTube that Adsense sucks.  And that's not all ..... Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income has now advised AGAINST writing articles online for cash, (that's how I started out attempting to make money online, by the way), and even that crazy YouTuber King Human is starting to warn against using some shaky techniques he championed in the past, and advising folks not to quit their day jobs until they figure out how to "make bank online".

The point of this is that I don't think you'll make much, if any, money online unless you have a product or service to sell, in which case the internet is just another form of marketing.  Sure, maybe you'll make big bucks as an affiliate marketer, in which case I would bet that you have the personality that would also do well with Amway or any other multi-level marketing company.


We now have SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS of credit card debt!!   Yuck, yuck, yuck, and double-quadruple YUCK!  This is pathetic and embarrassing and needs to change!  Fortunately I finally believe that we are all onboard to drastically reducing our spending for the year.  We'll see.

Our roof is leaking.  Ouch!!  Just what we need, more debt!

There, in more detail than I'm sure anyone wants to know about, is the current state of our finances.  I just hope we don't have to dig into our saving to pay off this STUPID debt.