Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘money’ Category

Thought I’d jump back in here since there has been so much national debate on this in the past few weeks.  Here is my take on the subject. I truly believe there needs to be some changes. I think the many citizens who are interviewed by the media who say there needs to change but I don’t know what are either taking a cop out or not really thinking about it. I believe that both the left and the right have taken extreme stances that will hurt us. The right by wanting to keep the status quo, the left by wanting to change everything about our system. I get so sick of it has to be either Black or White. no one sees the gray, or is it grey I never know which is correct.  Either way. Something needs to be done to curtail the massive increases in cost every year. If you must pay for your own health insurance, or you are a small business like many of us and have to pay for it, you know the cost are incredible and go up at least 20% every year. When Laurie and I owned our studio it was our single highest expense. In March of 2005 we were paying about $11-1200 a month for Blue Cross for just Laurie and I. Our daughter was covered by my ex-wife’s health insurance. On top of that we had sizable co-pays. We usually had to pay 100% up front and then turn the bill in to our insurer. We also had to pay up front for all of our meds, which were many for my back and then we got reimbursed about 70%. And we paid 100% for dental and Eye care. I had many teeth pulled because it was $45 to pull or $1000 to root canal. With both my and my wife’s health issues I feel the cost of health insurance would have driven us out of business by now. We looked elsewhere and because of “Pre-existing conditions”, no one would touch us. So we kept paying Blue Cross and didn’t dare miss a payment. We would get behind on our Studio and Apartment rent in the slow times of the season because the very first thing we paid was health insurance. If we were late, that was it, they cut us off. So yes Health insurance companies can be the boogy man. On the other hand they did pay over $250K for my back & neck operations plus follow ups. They NEVER refused any treatments that the doctors requested. My Wife had health issues and so did I. Between us, we used much more than we ever paid in. They would have loved to drop us!
There are areas where cost could be cut. #1 tort reform. Yes if your doctor did something horrible and harmed you or a loved one, they need to pay for that mistake. But is that worth $100K, $1 million, $20 million, $50 million? Some payouts are ridiculous and the majority of the money goes to the lawyers, not the person who is harmed.  The doctor who operated on my back almost closed down his whole practice wish had several neurosurgeons and other specialist. They employed probably a total of 25 well paid professionals. They were going to move from PA to MD because the cost of malpractice insurance in PA was off the scale due to our lack of any tort reform. They  and many other doctors only stayed after our Governor, Ed Rendell jumped in at the last minute and said the state would pick up 50% of the cost of the malpractice insurance. I’ve been told that putting caps on liabilities would greatly reduce the cost of health care. Another area I see, which I may be wrong on is the cost of all the advertising. Here in PA Blue Cross has an animated spokesman called Blueman. Well as our rates soared I saw Blueman on billboards literally every mile, he was constantly on TV, the Radio, and the newspaper. I felt like a large percentage of my money was going into advertising. and it was ridiculous because here in PA, Blue Cross is virtually a monopoly. I don’t know who there were advertising to. They did manage to crush all of the HMO’s.  So to have a single payer system in my mind in not the answer, because when there is no competition the cost only goes one way,up.
Next there are people who Choose not to have health insurance. I say this because I know some, I’m related to some. They are young and would rather have the extra money in there paycheck than pay for insurance. My Wife has great insurance through her work, but we still pay about $375 a month. After having paid $1200 we think it is a bargain. Yet I hear people complain because they have to pay $20 per paycheck for insurance. The ones I know who Choose not to have it tell the same old story. I’m young, I’ll tough it out, I don’t get sick and if I do, I’ll go to the ER, they Can’t refuse me. And they are right. They can’t and don’t. and those of us who pay for our health insurance we pay for them. If you ever go to the ER for something it is a prelude for what’s to come. You wait and you wait and you wait. The place is filled with humanity from kids with colds to stabbings, to people like my wife in agony with a Migraine. Our average visit to the ER with a migraine was 8-10 hours. We generally waited 2-3 hours before they saw us. Then they put you in a room or the hallway and forget about you for another 2 hours. Then they treat you and you wait and wait to be checked and released. It’s not their fault, they are understaffed and over run with patients. So when everybody has health care there will be even more people there in line. And less doctors because the big incentive of devoting 10 years of your life just to be a doctor won’t be there. Your salary will be capped. Why work hard or see as many patients as you can, you will get a flat rate or some reduced fee that the Government sees fit for you to earn. So we need to limit the amount of people using the ER as their primary care. I guess, I’m no expert there needs to be more low cost or free clinics in the cities and the rural areas. Somewhere where people can go before it’s too late. Or when it’s a minor issue like a cold, flu or fever. That is not what the ER is for. The ER should be for Trauma only. My Wife only went there for her Migraines because her primary wouldn’t dispense morphine. One we convinced him that is the only thing that can kick her migraines, he started doing it. It really reduced our cost and that to our insurance. We used to go to the ER, huge wait, $1800 and a co-pay of $150.  Just today we went to the primary. $230 to insurance, $20 co-pay and 1 hour. The best part, after she suffered all night we called the doctors office at 8:30am. They took us in at 11:00 am. I doubt that will happen under government health care. The only reason we will need to go to the ER anymore is if we are out of town or the middle of the night is our only option. and even that varies. My Wife gets debilitating migraines often. We have been in ER’s in every state we have visited. NJ, VA, MD. VA was the best. We were in Williamsburg. We had a wonderful understanding female physician who was a migraine sufferer herself. We waited very little. She gave my wife her favorite special mix of migraine pain relief and we were out in 3 hours. total cost $800. $1000 less than in PA.  On the other hand we were in NJ. Horrible experience. We told the doctor a man that morphine is all that works. He all but accused my wife of being an addict looking for a fix. Even after we begged him to call her doctor back home. He gave her some under powered placebo and sent us home after being there, on Vacation, all night. It didn’t work at all. We had to come back the next night. By know my Wife’s in a wheelchair, holding her head in her hands, crying in agony. We tell the story, different doctor. He gives he what she needed, and she gets relief. We loose 3 days of a 6 day vacation. We pay for the ER twice. We fought it, but lost and ended up paying about $500 co-pay.  This is an area where cost could be saved and more efficiency. If my Wife’s records were encoded on a card, or in a national health database, a lot of the issues could have been avoided. But we had to fill out all of the paperwork, 2 days in a row, including having her information Faxed from home 2X. What a waste of time and money. So having health records in a transparent portable data base is a no brainer in the year 2009.  Up until last year our Primary care, a wonderful practice was all paper and pen. They just now in 2009 went to computers. In their words, in order to be more efficient and to serve us better. It’s been a learning curve but they are getting better. They are country doctors one step above Mennonites.  So there could be BIG savings here in time and money.

Duplication of Tests: With my back operations and follow up I had many thousands of dollars worth of test. X-rays, Cat-Scans, MRI’s, EMG’s, Milograms (sp?), you name it. And some of them several times over such as pre-op, post-op, and further post-op to see the healing.  When It finally became apparent that I could no longer work I filed for disability. By this time we were really financially strapped. They told me I needed medical proof. No problem I had reams of paperwork, large enveloped full of X-rays, File Folders full of test results. None of it was acceptable. It was all pre me applying for SSDI. I had to have all of the test done over. I couldn’t believe it. Thank God my insurance company didn’t balk, nor did my Doctor. I had to have all of the test over again. I had to go through all of the Physical Therapy and Pain Management Doctors to get current paperwork that said I was disabled. We were talking probably $25K worth of costs. Plus my time, Doctors time, Doctors who couldn’t understand why I was back, and over $1500 of co-pay. This was when I was on food stamps at the time. So there is some major waste.  So some common sense rules and regulations would have saved that money. The end result of all of those test were nothing had changed. They still couldn’t cure me, Yes I was still in pain, and Yes several doctors put in writing that they felt I was no longer able to work.  Before all of this there was great waste on the behalf of the insurance companies. I was re injured in Jan 5 2000. Having had previous back surgeries I knew I needed another. The Neurologist agreed, and it was our slow time. Get an operation be rehabilitated long before Senior Season, no brainer. But… the insurance company policy now states all non-invasive treatment must be tried before surgery. In the past, The Doc said I needed surgery, he called the hospital and I was on the table in 3 day. Now I had to go through a battery of tests. months of physical therapy, which only caused further injury and delay. I got my surgery on May 7th. Right before Senior Season. Totally screwed up our business. We were on a roll to have our best year ever. I came home, I was supposed to be off work for 10-12 weeks.  We had other photographers jump in and try to help, but they had their own work to shoot, and they didn’t shoot our style and were as careful as me. Our work suffered, our sales suffered, and I was getting frantic phone calls all the time from my wife. 7 days later I was back shooting. It was hell, but the sales were there. I would shoot, then go behind a tree and throw up because I was in 90 degree sun on a ton of narcotics, and was in incredible pain. It certainly didn’t help my recovery. So Insurance delayed my needed surgery, cost an extra $20-30K in PT and test before the surgery, and I ended up getting the surgery anyway. Plus they screwed up my business and probably my recovery because I had to go right back to work. Doctors, Insurance Companies, and the Government Welfare and Social Security DO NOT understand the needs of the Self Employed. I sure learned that.

Another thing, I know this will be a hot button, but we need to stop giving away the store to illegal aliens.  I’m all for Legal Aliens. But Free health care, Free Education, Welfare to Illegal Immigrants just invites more over our porous borders. My Understanding, and I have not read the whole 1000 page plus of the health care bill is that it guarantees health care coverage to All including Illegal Immigrants. That is just wrong.  I have nothing against legal immigrants. In my travels I see many immigrants as the hardest working people I’ve ever seen. They are here to make a better life for themselves and their families.

More emphasis needs to be placed on Health Care Prevention. We are an unhealthy nation. I will be the first to say, I am overweight. I am 6’0″ and currently 206 lbs. Just got weighed at the doctors office today. I am down from a high of probably 228 or more. I do watch what I eat. I try to walk as much as possible, and I have no vices other than DPP. I never smoked, rarely drank, and now can’t because of my pain meds, and I’m no longer a risk taker. As I go anywhere in my daily travels I see a nation of obese, and morbidly obese people. and what’s scary is many children. My own daughter is pre-diabetic because she drinks tons of caffeinated soda to stay awake for work. She wasn’t generally heavy, in fact in college she was in great shape. Then she went to work as an EMT.  They are a lot who in general are in poor health. They sit around and wait for a call. They have tons of pizza, doughnuts, soda at the House. They do this to stay awake and to grab a quick bite. And they work 16-24 hour shifts where they try to sleep until the alarm goes off. She no longer works there, and has been losing some wait. I lovingly read her the riot act about diabetes being preventable and not something she wants to get.  We are a country of fast food and now worse Energy Drinks. These things are high caloric and filled with caffeine. And they are so prevalent. It kills me to see mothers in the grocery store buying them for their young children.  Many weight, smoking, and drinking related health issues are so preventable. Yet our government creates a catch 22 by basing so much of how it is going to pay for health care on sin taxes. It Needs and Wants people to drink and smoke! I think that there needs to be a carrot and stick approach. People who watch what they eat, exercise, and don’t drink in excess or smoke should be rewarded with lower health care premiums or cash / tax bonuses for being healthy. Those on the other side of the scale should pay a penalty, a higher premium if they choose to live that way.

We  need to get a handle on young people and unwed mothers having babies. As I drive around or go to the park the number of extremely young girls with babies is heartbreaking. The future for the girls is bleak, the future for the child is probably worse and yet it continues. We need to address this as a nation. We are a practicing Christian family. When we all lived together we were very active in the church. Our daughter was very active in the youth group. Both her and I played in the praise band, we all belonged to Sunday school I taught the youth group. We did all we could to provide a loving stable home and community for ourselves and our daughter. We were also very involved in her school. But we were also realistic. At age 13 like a light switch our daughter became boy crazy. And she was an early developer and quite attractive. As soon as we saw the signs of her going to be sexually active we made a trip as a family to planned parenthood. We didn’t say here you go, now go out and have sex. But the last thing we all needed was an unplanned pregnancy. We talked and interacted and loved all we could as a family, but we couldn’t be there 24×7. Teenagers even those in good homes, in Sunday School groups, with celibacy pledges don’t think with their heads all the time. We don’t agree with many things that planned parenthood stands for, we are a pro-life family. But they were a good source to avoid teenage pregnancy and STD’s. As a Senior Studio we saw many Good Girls from Good homes who between their session and picking up their final portraits started showing they were pregnant. And I’m  sure there were many abortions we never heard of.

I’m running out of steam here guys and girls.  One other area where  strides can be made is allowing small businesses or like trades such as photographers, mechanics, plumbers etc to band together and purchase health insurance at group rates.  My understanding was PPA couldn’t offer group health insurance because of rules that didn’t allow businesses to band together and insurance companies to work across state lines. That’s just insane. We could have save so much on our premiums if we could have bought as a group with other photographers.

And finally when the Government gets involved it just doesn’t work well. So many of the bureaucrats in Washington have No Idea how to run a business or what it’s like to make a payroll. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Postal Service, and Amtrak all are either bankrupt or heading that way. So what makes anyone thing the can handle something as large as National Healthcare.  It’s not an area they should be involved in.  They can make changes that will help or make independent Insurance Companies and Health Care Providers work more efficiently and justly. They can enforce portability so you don’t lose health insurance if you change or lose your job. They can come up with away to cover pre-existing conditions. But for them to run a National Insurance Company or Program would be a BIG Mistake.  That’s my opinion.  What is yours.  Thanks,  Spiney

Read Full Post »

The economy hasn’t looked as rosy as the President had hoped it would by now. The $870 Billion Dollar Stimulus package that had to be pushed through without being read was supposed to save 3 million jobs, or maybe even create new jobs. But the results have not been what was promised. For one thing there were supposed to be mostly “Shovel Ready” projects out there that would immediately create jobs and help turn around the economy. So the Stimulus Package was pushed through and signed in record time, because we would all suffer if it wasn’t. Well here we are 4 almost 5 months later. The latest Jobs report had the number of unemployed greater than expected. That pushed the national average to 9.5%. In several areas including California, Michigan, and Nevada it’s much higher. Some areas are as high as 19%. We’ve seen Chrysler and GM bailed out, only to go into the Bankruptcy we were told we were avoiding by bailing them out to the tune of over 25 Billion dollars. So now the President and his key economic advisers are starting to drop hints that we may need a second stimulus. If you ask me it was in the plan all along. There should be No talk of a second stimulus at this time. The President himself agrees that only 10% of the 1st stimulus has been spent and put into action. So why would we even be talking about putting America further into debt with a second. Give the first one time to take effect. If something is holding up the money or the jobs, then treat it like a wartime effort, find out what’s in the way and get around it. But PLEASE DO NOT put us deeper in debt just for the sake of doing something. I ask anyone who reads this to please watch the news, read the papers, and let your representatives know you do not want to put your country, yourself, and your kids further in debt. This will only make the USA weaker in the world, put us more in debt to the Chinese, and raise your taxes through the stratosphere. It is time to take away the government Credit Cards. What do you think?

Please let me know. Thanks, Spiney

Read Full Post »

While every one from the President on down was outraged about the AIG $165 million dollar bonus payouts, something much much bigger was going on. No one was talking about the $1 trillion dollars the U.S. government printed yesterday out of thin air to help stave off a depression. It seems the Federal Reserve pumped $1 trillion dollars in the economy on Wednesday. One Trillion we don’t have, and the Chinese government isn’t backing us on this one, so it’s really just printing some money with a big IOU to ourselves. What this does is devalues our Dollar because there is nothing to back it up. No gold, no other country buying the debt, they just added $1 trillion to the money supply in hopes of keeping us out of a depression. I know this because it was reported on the Glen Beck show on Fox News today. He said the AIG outrage was just a big smokescreen to hide that this was going on.
Glenn Beck reports on Fed Reserve action
No one else reported on it. and he is right. I watched CNBC, NBC, ABC, CNN today and non of them even mentioned it. Being disabled I get to watch a lot of TV and I watch mostly news, and lately a lot of financial news. Everyone is still totally talking about the AIG bonuses, but no one mentioned this. I taped the President on Leno tonight and haven’t watched it, but I’m sure he didn’t talk about it. Why this is very important is this. This was tried by several other countries before who were in dire financial straights. And it has never in the the history of history worked. What it does do when it fails is cause hyperinflation. It totally devalues the dollar to the point where you could have a $100 loaf of bread. Some of the countries that tried and failed this technique are Germany between WW1 and WWII, and more recently Argentina and Brazil. In Germany people had to literally use wheel barrows full of money to buy groceries.

Fed pumps $1 trillion in economy NY Times

Hyperinflation Wikipedia

No one mentioned that we were going to do this, they didn’t ask the publics opinion. In fact not even Congress was involved. It was an action by the Federal Reserve. The Fed did this in hopes of jump starting the economy. They have no other tools left to use. Normally the Federal Reserve lowers the Prime Lending Interest Rate to help the economy, but it’s already been lowered to between 0 and .25%. There was nowhere else to go with it. So this was their last desperate act. For all of our sakes I hope it works, but history shows it probably won’t. The government wants us to spend to help get the economy going. For years it was pointed out that the population of the United States was one of the worst savers in the whole world. But since this latest financial crises we are now saving like never before. Now we are being told we are hurting the economy by doing the right thing and saving. We should be saving, what got us into the current crises is by buying much more than we could really afford and doing it all on credit. I say the best you can do at this point is save all you possibly can, and prepare for the worst. If it gets as bad as some experts say it will, you may be the only one on your block who can afford that loaf of bread. What do you think ? Spiney

Read Full Post »

I listened to an economist the other day on a business news channel who said that basically the prosperity of the last decade was all a lie.  A lie built on credit. People borrowed money they didn’t have to buy houses and cars and stock they really couldn’t afford.  This happened with corporations and investors too who bought stock, that made the stock market rise. They saw the stock market and the real estate markets as an ever growing thing where you couldn’t lose. The only way you lost was if you weren’t in the game. So you borrowed to buy more. It was a  No Brainer borrow at 7% to buy into a market that was going up 10-12% a year.  And the real estate market in some areas was going up 20% a year.  But then when the credit market tightened up and you could no longer get easy credit, it all came falling in.  People who got loans just because they had a pulse and said they had good jobs, maybe they did, but in many cases they overstated their income, started to default on their loans.  All during this time you had average citizens who wanted to catch up with the Jonses, fast. It may have took their neighbors 4-6 years in college and hard work to get where they were.  Or their parents many decades of sacrifice to have the nice home in the suburbs.  But why wait with EZ credit you could have it now.  And why stop at one home, how nice it would be to have a rental property or a vacation home at the shore or the mountains, just sign here, maybe take a second mortgage out on that home you bought 2 years ago with 0-5% down.  If you couldn’t afford a vacation home then at least a Time Share. You know the one where you took the free 3 day vacation and they wore you down into buying a time share.  Seemed like a great idea then didn’t it.  And hey having a decent car isn’t good enough, you need some real wheels, a BMW, Hummer, or at least a Caddy. don’t have the down payment on that new or second car, no problem, you can Lease it. Just don’t drive more than 12,000 miles a year or scratch and dirty it.  While your at it throw in a motorcycle, or a boat.  And the kids, they got to have what every other kid has.  The latest PS3, a Cell Phone with all the bells and whistles by age 10 and not just an mp3 player that would be embarrassing, it has to be an Ipod. The whole family can have cell phones just sign up for the family plan and get 5 free phones, just pay the big monthly fee.  The big games coming up, have a TV under 30″, that’s just too hard on the eyes. To really enjoy the game and life in my house in the burbs I need to have at least 50″ plasma. No money no problem, no payments for 12 months or go down to Rent-a-Center only $35 a week.  And while your at it for just $10K in easy installments you can have perfect breasts and pearly white teeth.  Why not I’ve got a wallet full of credit cards.  The majority of people lived way beyond their means.  But they had all the toys.

They say we may recover back to were we were in about 3-5 years. Personally I hope we never get back there. I hope that this time has the effect on our generation that the depression and WWII had on our grandparents and parents. What I mean by that is that we get a new respect for saving, for getting by with less, and for using cash, not credit to get what we need and want.  To realize there is no shame in driving a car more than 3 years old, or renting a home. I’ve driven used cars the majority of my life, and also rented homes and apartments the majority of my life.  Yes I have owned a home, bought 2 new cars, and made the big mistake of leasing a new Saab. I can tell you there is something to be said about not having a car payment every month or being a renter. The nice thing when you rent is when the roof leaks or the heater fails you call the landlord, not the repairman. Helps you to sleep at night.  Spiney

Read Full Post »

Today the Dow drop to it’s lowest point since 1997 at 6763 down 299 points in one day.  The Dow Jones Industrial has gone down almost 24% since President Obama was inaugurated. Now I’m not saying it went down because he was inaugurated. It has gone down because of the spending policies of Congress and the Obama administration. And let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say it’s not because of the wild spending and bailouts. Now is not the time to initiate the largest spending bills, new programs,raise taxes, and totally overhaul the health care system while every single day the economy gets worse. Where will the money come from to implement these programs when we will soon have double digit unemployment? The Obama administration wants to punish Wall Street for it’s greed and misdeeds.  But in doing this they also hurt the average American myself included who either have investments or 401k’s that are tied to the success or failure of Wall Street. This especially hurts those who are retired and had their life savings invested for their future. Many have seen their savings cut in 1/2.  And many who worked very hard and thought they could enjoy their golden years are now forced to go back to work. Notice when you go to the grocery store how many senior citizens are now working as baggers and check out persons.  President Obama was elected to give us change. If he gets his way with all of the new programs and expenditures he wants, the change in the basket on your dresser may be all the change you get.  Tell me what you think.  Thanks for stopping by.  Spiney

Read Full Post »

As I watched the Presidents speech to congress tonight there is one thing he said that I have to give a big Amen to. We need to become a great innovator and producer of those innovation.  I don’t remember the exact context but basically he said we invented the Solar Cell, but now the leaders of this technology are all overseas. Our Hybrid and Electric Cars will be using technology that we buy or license from Toyota with batteries from South Korea.  We invent so many of the hi tech inovations here in the United States, and then we let other countries, mostly in Asia lay claim to them and make all of the money of them.  The VCR and the Laser Disk, predecessor to the CD and DVD were invented at the RCA corporation in Lancaster, PA.  Both technologies were then improved upon and perfected by Toshiba, Sony, Phillips, etc and then imported by the millions back into the United States.  While they made billions on these, the RCA company shut down the huge plant in Lancaster. A  facility that was once a large employer with good paying jobs. They employed many engineers, technicians, and skilled workers who made TV’s, closed circuit television camera, and the Laserdisk players.  Locally now close to where Spiney lives is one of the largest producers of lead acid batteries, the Exide corporation. They should be making the batteries for the Hybrids, and all electric vehicles. They have the technology and many hard working employees who are willing and ready to get the job done.  We need to become a country that produces hard goods again. We can’t all be paper pushers, or work in retail. 20 years ago our future was to be a service economy and an information economy. Now most of that is outsourced to places who will work for 1/3 or less than the wages of a US employee. Most have gone to India. All you need to do is call customer service to find that out.  I hope that the presidents vision of a new Green Technology industry comes to be. It could be our 2nd chance at an industrial revolution.  Hopefully if we get this chance, we will keep the jobs here.  Spiney

Read Full Post »

The President announced yet another bail out package. This one is to help people who are in danger of losing their homes.  Many, and I will agree not all, are in this position because they bought a home that was way more expensive than the could afford. Many Americans who have done the right thing, bought houses they could afford, didn’t lie on their applications, or are renters are very mad that they will be paying to bailout people who tried to live beyond their means.

Many people did this with buying too big homes, leasing or buying cars they couldn’t afford, and buying many items: large screen TV’s, computers etc with credit cards. Now the cars have been repossessed, their behind on the credit card payments, and the houses are in foreclosure. I’m sorry but I don’t feel sorry for these people. I feel sorry for their children, but not them  I’ll tell you why. I owned a house once.  When I bought it in 1985 I bought the cheapest home I could find. It was a real fixer upper at $37,500. I got an old fashion mortgage at 30 years and 13.8% interest.  I made a 10% down payment and had to give blood to get the mortgage. At the time they would not give you a mortgage for more than 25% of your income. And you had to give blood, your right arm, and first born to get that mortgage. And they really made you sweat it. You applied and maybe 2-3 weeks later you found out if you were approved.

Now the people who are in these houses bought houses way over their head. Many times homes in the $150-200,000 price tag or more. They got in with mortgages with anywhere from 5% down to No money down.  In many cases they didn’t have to prove their income, debts, or credit score.  It was reported that in many cases all they had to do was have a pulse.  also many got in over their head by getting new fangled mortgages.  Many were adjustable mortgages. Mortgages that started at a very low affordable monthly bill, based on a low interest rate of say 3.5%.  But after a year or two, they ramped up to the current interest rates, or even higher. It was then that the real cost of that house hit home and they couldn’t afford it.  This was the real l payments for a $150K home.  Payments went from $395 a month to $995 a month overnight.  Other mortgages were interest only for the first few years, and other creative financing types to sell a home to anyone who wanted one.  That is how these huge developments grew up on our farmlands overnight. Now these people want the government to bail them out and let them keep their houses. But they are way over their heads, and no matter what the government does, they can’t afford these homes.

Here is how I did it.  I did own a home for a short stint, only 5 years. Due to a divorce we sold it to settle up.  From that point on I rented.  My first rental was a room, yes just one room a woman was renting out in her house. I think I paid $175 a month for that room and shared bathroom privileges.  Then I rented apartments. The highest I ever paid was $550 a month for a 2 bedroom apartment. I lived within my means.  I bought and drove used cars, and I drove them until the wheels fell off.  My current wife and I had a business for 15 years. during those times we rented studio space. We were tempted by nice big spaces, but we knew we couldn’t afford them, so we passed on them and again, we Stayed within our means.  At one point due to my health, 3 back and 1 neck surgeries, we had to file bankruptcy. We were offered a loan, that would have kept us out of bankruptcy. We got as far as sitting with the loan officer. At that point my Wife and I looked at each other, realized it was only a band-aid, and we couldn’t pay it back. So we walked away without getting the loan. We did the responsible thing.

To this day we rent. In fact we share a home with my wife’s mom. This helps her because she is a widow, and helps us. Even though my wife now has a well paying career we rent  and both drive used cars. Mine a 1991 pickup I inherited from my Dad, and my wife a 98 Volvo wagon, the nicest car we ever owned.  We have no debt, we pay cash for everything, no credit cards.  And we go on vacations, have computers and a laptop, and yes even a big screen TV. We saved and paid cash for all of them. It can be done it you save for it, and don’t have to have it NOW!

So I don’t think that we and other Americans who did it the right way, pay their mortgages on time etc should have to pay to bail out those who lied about their income and lied to themselves in order to have their dream home. I’m not being mean, I don’t want to see them fail. But They need to be in housing they can afford. A smaller home or an apartment. I never felt ashamed to be a renter. I was damn glad to have a roof over my head. And I was able to sleep at night knowing I could afford the monthly rent payments.  And I did whatever it took to keep that roof over our heads. My Wife and I had the studio, but I also worked driving all night as a courier, washed cars at a car rental agency, you name it. Did I like washing cars? no I was 39 and the other people were mostly high school drop outs. But I could look my landlord in the eye every month and hand him the rent. I did the right thing.

So how about you. Do you think we should spend billions to bail out people, maybe your neighbors so they can stay in their dream house? All courtesy of your and mine taxes, from our hard work. Please comment and let me know.  Thanks, Spiney Dave

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »