Monday, March 30, 2009

Still dancing on the edge of the cliff...

I realize that some of my recent posts may come across as smug or cocky. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are still on thin ice. We are still awfully close to the edge of the cliff.

It's more a reminder to me to keep up the good habits I've imposed. Keep paying off the debt, keep budgeting, keep saving.

Of the list of ten things I posted yesterday, one is more important than all the others -- and I'll bet you can't guess which one.


Budgeting is everything. Everything else can be managed, if budgeting is handled correctly, even debt.

Budgeting is also my weakness. I tend to spend too much on the store. Oh, when I have a gun to my head I can be very disciplined. Tax bills due, overhead bills due, distributor bills. It's when the pressure is off that I tend to lose focus.

What I try to tell myself is -- the pressure is never off, even if it's not immediate.


Finally watched the documentary House Of Cards from beginning to end. The temptation is to listen to these people who agreed to outrageous loans, who mortgaged their future, and judge them, laugh at them, think how stupid they are.

Except -- I've recently admitted to myself that I got caught in a similar situation with my Heloc. The Countrywide agent talked us into something that we should have walked away from ... I knew it at the time, I almost walked out of the office, but we had come there for a loan, dammit.

I'm too embarrassed to go into details. I think I can still deal with it (BUDGET!!) but having been through that, I can see how people fell for the arcane shenanigans of the agents.

I didn't fall for it out of greed, by any means. Our outside decks and stairs were literally falling apart, and badly designed. We came out of it with a much more pleasing design, and much more solid material.

Still....I should have insisted on changing the terms. I fell for it out of optimism -- oh, I can pay that back....


So when I post positive messages, it's to reinforce the things I should be doing. I certainly am aware of, "There but for the Grace of God go I...."

And I've made my share of mistakes.


RDC said...

The question is not if people make mistakes, but more if they learn from them.

1. never sign anything you don't understand, especially if money is involved.

2. Even if you think that you understand it, read every word and make absolutely certain.

3. If you have questions after reading the contract, do not ask the sales person, get an outside opinion. THe Sales person will either tell you what they think you want to hear or will spin it in a way which is most favorable to the sale.

4. If at the end of that if you are still uncomfortable there is no harm in walking away.

you can either control the situation or let it control you.

Bewert said...

RDC, can you honestly state you have read every word of every document involved in closing a mortgage?

Who gave you the time?

As much as it sucks, my experience has witnessed things being snuck into mortgage and other contracts that were otherwise agreed upon beforehand, and in the rush to get it signed these things were missed. When you have an inch or more of paperwork, there is real pressure to just sign it and "trust us".

I agree, I'm just talking reality.

RDC said...

Back when I actually borrowed money for a mortgage, the answer is yes (I only do cash purchases these days). On occasion I would also have an attorney look over the documents as well, if I was dealing with a complex transaction.

I never had someone point a gun at me and say sign this now or else.
I have always taken the position that they could wait until I had completed the paper work. I also required a copy of the paperwork from time of signing before I left the office.

Also if at any time of the process the papers left my view, those papers would be verified all over again.

You only have run out of time, if you let yourself be run out of time. Its in their interest to speed through the process, not yours.

I also ran a contracting function for a pharmaceutical company for 10 years, so 100 pages of legalese was the equivalent of bedtime reading.