Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

Fico 800?

February 13, 2008

My goal is to get a Fico score of 770 (which seems to be the lowest “A+” by an article on bankrate.com).  I went to a used car dealership yesterday which had the best price on cars.com.  I had to get my wife into a safe car.  I don’t think I can put a dollar amount on her safety.  So, yes we bought an 11K used car.

FICO AUTO 2  – WTF?

The dealer asked what my fico was. Proudly, I stated, “720 on Experian and 710 from Fico.”  Then when he ran the report a 670 came out.  HUH! I knew I opened up a few account recently, but couldn’t imagine that dropping it by 40-50 points.  Then he told me that they use an Auto-2 Fico score which is about 30-40 points lower than your regular fico.  The reason for this he stated was that you can’t run off with a house on your shoulder.  However, you could take off with a car to a chop shop.  So the number for ‘Auto-2’ is more conservative.  Whew!  I’m glad I knew that.

I also in passing who recently came in with the highest fico score.  He stated that some guy came in with an auto-2 of 800 which meant his regular fico is about 840.  He said that he had about 50 accounts all open and paid on time.  Plus, he was young – mid-to-late 30s.  Very impressive.

Today I applied for a loan as I was not happy with what the dealer stated that he could get us – 12.99% for 60 months with no prepayment penalty.  The best Bofa could do for me was 20%.  I turned him down – felt good, kinda like that lendingtree.com commercial.  I told him that I’d be back later with a better fico score.  Also, I asked him what it takes to get an 850 fico and he said that he’s been doing this for a long time and he made it seem like there was a better chance of spotting the lochness monster than a “perfect” fico person.  He said that you have to have more than just credit card accounts as debt.  You need auto and mortgage and very old accounts to get the score up there.  So, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to get it up there this year.

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Debt Consolidation complete for now!

January 30, 2008

Ok, I’m card hopping – not the best routine, but better than getting killed with high interest rates.  Now I the most I’m paying is 4.99% at Bofa for about 11K of debt.  The rest of my $15K debt is at zero percent.  This means that I’m paying about $525/year in interest charges down from $2100 just a few months back.  Also, I increased my credit limit on my bofa card to 16K.

FALLING BACK INTO THE DEBT PATTERN

Since my rental check didn’t come in, I have not been able to pay the bills so I had to put it on my credit card.  This is the same pattern that happens so quickly with falling into debt.  I have not at all been able to spend time focusing on film – especially my own projects which I direct and/or produce.  I have people pissed off at me, but I’m trying to make them understand that working on a non-paid project is hard to justify when I can’t pay my bills.

TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG? 

A few weeks back I was studying about blogging intensely, but realized that if I put that same effort to learning about real estate my wealth will increase even more.  So I have been focused on that. I’m not going to discontinue blogging, but it will be much further back on the priority list.  I do see a passive income stream there, but a slower one.  I have one site already set up with google adsense and will maintain it.  However, I don’t think I will start anything soon.

I’m also looking to get a job with an airline or some other franchise or both.  This way,  I can visit my parents more frequently.

MY PRIORITIES

My priorities are in a state of flux.  Previously, it was in this order:

1. Film/Acting
2. Family
3. Travel

Then last month it was:
1. Family
2. Finance
3. Film
4. Travel

Now since I’ve seen my  parents recently it’s:
1. Finance
2. Family
3. Film
4. Travel

I have a pretty clear vision now of where I’m going.  A few variables are getting a job to pay the bills until the passive income kicks into a higher gear (at least $2K/mo).

Nearing the end of the Card-hopping game

January 25, 2008

NEVER TOO LATE TO LEARN
I spent 10 days at home with my folks so there were no expenses.  I lectured my parents about how they can avoid their fights regarding money and marriage if they separate it.  I told them that my wife and I keep it completely separate so we don’t have to answer to each other, but we will advice one another if we think the other is doing something foolish or non-productive.  They took heed.

CARD HOPPING 

I’m trying to do the last of my high interest credit card which is the $1.3K on my BofA account.  I just transferred it to the chase card. it has cool options like:

6.99% Fixed APR until full balance paid and no fee (Respond by: 1/31/08)
0% Fixed APR until the first day of your billing cycle that includes 7/1/08 (Respond by: 1/31/08)
4.99% Fixed APR until full balance paid (Respond by: 1/31/08)

I chose the 0% and the 3% balance transfer fee will be about $40.  then I was planning on putting it all on the BofA at 4.99% for the life of the debt, but now I see that they no longer have that option.  They only have that rate til Jan 2009.  So I guess if I wait I out for a few months they might give me the ‘4.99% for the life of the debt’.  But with all the bank crisis, it might not be around.  We’ll see.

Also I was denied the second chase account which I applied for a  month ago.  They said that it was because I had just opened a previous account with them recently.

I have a Household Bank offer for a 0% APR for 12months then a go to rate of 14%.  I might get it so my wife can use it.  Another hesitation I have with putting my wife’s $3.65K debt on my account is that it will lower my fico score.   She’s currently paying about $550/yr which would lower it to $182/yr if at 5%….  I just logged into hbaccept.com and it is an hsbc account.  So I don’t think I’ll go through with it.

Financial Pressure was Mounting till I Chose for it to NOT Mount

January 12, 2008

I was feeling very stressed out yesterday about the international trip. I had been looking for jobs but nothing came my way. I made up around 3 different resumes, but something just didn’t seem right about aimlessly working to make money. I wanted to work somewhere where I could gain knowledge. It felt like my dreams were crumbling as I see so often with my friends who have to make money instead of going on audition and next thing you know, they’re a full time manager somewhere and their dreams have gone away. I do NOT want that happening to me.

My wife preaches the book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” about how to break habits. (She’s really good about practicing what she preaches. She took my advice when I told her that she should be saving 10% of everything she makes and she stuck with it for the past year and has several grand in her account. Then she opened up an HSBC saving at 4.25% just yesterday.) She said that I keep going through this every time property tax rolls around. I said that I want to build up a system (blogs) and not just work minimum wage jobs which will take away from my time to build the sites. Plus, it’s not like I sit around all day and watch TV. I don’t watch it at all. She said that it didn’t look like I need money that bad because I’m not jumping at any job. This is exactly how I keep getting into debt. I’m managing it now, but the trip will be too much.

Then I went to sleep and woke up feeling almost the same way, then I realized that it’s all a choice. I am choosing to be stuck in this pattern and be miserable. Like one of my favorite quotes, ‘you can be in debt and be miserable or you can be in debt. Period. I prefer to be in debt and do something about it – which I have been.

Then it dawned on me that I wouldn’t mind owning a franchise and possibly even working somewhere first where I could gain knowledge and then later own it.

I spoke to my father as well about selling their second house which they never use and buy a 4-plex. My mother was interested when I told her about it recently. I’m heading there tomorrow to see them and will bring it up and possibly go check out the area as well.

Mysteriously $2K disappeared out of my Bofa account and it is not showing up in the transactions as well as any other of my credit cards. The wamu2 got declined because I had the wamu1.

Washington Mutual Credit Card’s archaic system

January 11, 2008

I just filled out the WaMu cc paysmart invoice. Man! I felt like a dinosaur was about to rip my roof off and possibly eat me alive.  What does that mean?  Washington mutual’s credit card autopayment signup protocol is so archaic. I started the process days ago which was wasting my energy as I kept watching for late payments etc.  I finally got it and I had to write out a voided check – who does that anymore?

I must admit even though I seemed to switch everything from bank of America (BofA checking and savings), wamu’s customer service sucks big time.  First of all, I couldn’t open a savings account because of those stupid questions on their site for verification.  Then I didn’t get a debit card for 6 months.  I emailed them about every month and never received a reply.  I called them and they said it would be in within 10 days and it never showed up.  Then I called again and finally I got the card.  However, their products are awesome – free checking and checks for life; nearly 5% savings – which is why I’m with them.  I have no idea how they got JD Power and Associates Best Customer Service award.  I would write to JD if they screwed me over, but their in house customer service is very nice.  I like them a lot. I actually look forward to going to the bank. But come on WaMu cc – this is the 21st Century AD, not BC.

Nickling and Diming
I signed up for a few get paid for research sites such as pinecone.com as I’m totally broke.  I’ve been really stressing lately.  I had to buy a ticket for a domestic airline as my father is not doing too well.  I did put it on my swa cc so I can get something in return.  However, even bigger is the trip my wife and I are planning to go see her parents.  She hasn’t seen them in nearly a decade, so again we can’t put a price on that, but it is going to hurt. I was going to try and make some money before we go, but it doesn’t look likely now.  It’s an international flight which will set us back about $1500 each and we have to pay for our expenses here as well.  Anyway, this is going to kill me.  That’s why I’ve been trying to work harder on the blogs, but I feel so unfocused (I started another blog idea – not sure if I’m going to do it or not, but we’ll see).

End of Debt Consolidation Tunnel Starting to Emit Light

January 4, 2008

Today was a breakthrough that gave me a little bit of piece of mind.  I was supposed to pay about $350 tomorrow for my Bofa CC which had about $9K on it.  I missed the payment last time and it knocked me back a bit mentally.  But they went from $135/mo to  nearly $400.  I paid $130 a few days back which they vollied back to me with a 5 extra day grace period, but was still insistent on the full amount.  I started my hsbc card a few days back along with my 2nd wamu and 2nd chase cards.  Then the hsbc card came in the mail approved (0% til 12/08)!  Then I logged onto the bofa acct and about $2400 was paid from my wamu 1 cc.  So the nervousness about that amount instantly vanished.  The balanced dropped down to about $6K.  Then transferred another $2.5K to my hsbc which should go through w/in a week or so.  So interest per year went from $1800 to $1400 (monthly: $156 to $121) on just the 16%.  I’ve got 2 more pending cards with 0% hopfully approving soon.  I’m assuming that together it’ll be about $5K.

So then I will transfer the remaining bofa debt to the $4.7K debt on the usaa (limit $13K) and then transfer all that back to the bofa at 5% for the life of the debt. Then that will be my highest interest rate.  Not bad eh.  It all happened within one month.  Well, not really, as I spent the whole year making sure I paid my cc’s on time which allowed my fico score to go up by 100 points.  That allowed me to get the 0%s.  My debt ratio is about 40%.  If my second wamu card comes through, then I’ll use it for my checking overdraft and not really put anything on there.

Also, I told my wife that I will transfer her 18% over to one of my 0% cards, but that doesn’t look possible right now.  I can put it on my 5% card in about a month.

I can’t believe that this is just a simple game of chess.  Not at all like playing Kasparov.

Why did I neglect this for over a decade?!?!?!?

To Blog or Not to Blog?

January 2, 2008

I spent almost all of yesterday 6+ hours learning about blogging as well as this morning for a couple of hours.  I’m becoming slightly disheartened by the amount of time I’m spending and the potential return. I’m expecting to make $1K/mo.  I’m not looking to do this full time.  However, after watching Donald Trump on a show and seeing how if I were to put this same effort into real estate then, it might pay off much bigger.  Which is still a plan, but I have not taken any steps yet.

FOCUSING ON ABES OVER SUSANS
I keep thinking about what Robert Kiyosaki says in Rich Dad Poor Dad about how much time people spend clipping coupons to save fifty cents, but they won’t put that same amount of time into learning about finances which would bring them much bigger returns.  However, the plus side of this blog thing is that 1) I write in my journal anyway, which I’ve been doing for 5+ years, 2) I just need to set up a system (the blog site, adsense) and then it becomes just a maintainence issue of writing and analyzing and it is passive income if set properly.  I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but that’s why I’m spending so much time right now learning about what not to do, so I don’t waste 6mos and end up making enough to buy a pencil every week via google adsense.

I have even shied away from the financial stuff and have not really looked at the balance til this morning.

Personal Finance of My Wife FYGal

January 1, 2008

I got my wife to start blogging.  Mainly, because I always feel that every story has three sides: yours, mine, and the Truth.  (I got it from an Extreme album).  So I wanted her perspective esp since we’re so different in our thinking – almost like the odd couple – but we get along great and are best-friends and all those other mushy thing. 🙂

FYGal.wordpress.com

Debated With My Wife Regarding Finances

December 31, 2007

I offered my wife 20% for my half of the rent $425 (which equals to about $0.24/day). I didn’t want the emotion attached as if I’m a loafer husband who’s not pulling in the dough, so that’s why I offered double of what she could get with her money anywhere else.  She currently has about $3K sitting in a bank account earning about 0.25%.

She argued that I’m always on the edge every time prop tax comes around and questioned why I didn’t get a part-time job.  I told her that I refused to get a minimum wage job which is a waste of time. Instead I would rather put that time towards building a passive income system.

She works as a waitress like almost every other actor in town, but it’s not sustainable.  She makes decent income and can save, but it’s not what she wants to do.  So I told her that we’re at the opposite ends of almost everything we do – which is an excellent opportunity to see what the other person is doing and learn from them.  She said it breaks her heart to see me not having money. I told her that it breaks my heart that she’s working til 1am and coming home in the cold dark nights alone.  But didn’t fight and just kept each other in check to make sure we’re doing the right thing with our time.  This set up is so much better than both of us being in the same boat and not seeing a different type of life.  I told her that she has to learn about passive income every single day – whether it’s real estate, stocks, google adsense, etc.

BE KNOWLEDGEFUL BEFORE A FINANCIAL WINDFALL COMES YOUR WAY
Many of our friends land commercial gigs which pay about $20K for just a day’s work.  She even landed one recently, but you don’t start learning about what to do with the money ONCE you have the money.  You have to start learning BEFORE you have that money.  Usually what happens is that you get that kind of money and then you end up trying to save it and then six months later you realized that you worked less and spent all that on bills – like it happened to one of our friends just recently.  She moved into a nicer apt instead of setting up a system.  So, now she’s worse off than BEFORE she got the $20K because she lives in a ‘nicer’ place, but doesn’t have any more of the $20K to pay for it.

WAYS TO STOP EATING OUT
Also, we don’t have a system for food.  We usually go out and get something to eat when we have nothing in the house.  We should have at least 4-5 healthy choice frozen dinners as a back up.  We don’t like eating those things, but when we have no home cooked meals, we can dig into that which costs about $2 a pop – compared to $15 for two by going to a fast food restaurant.  We’ve been buying bags of beans and rice which is really cheap and easy to make and always readily available.  Another thing that really clicked for me in terms of cooking –  not sure if I mentioned it before – is to make gourmet food at home for about $5.  Usually when you cook pasta or something, it’s cheap and tastes cheap.  However, we started making fresh fish which at a restaurant would cost you about $25/plate.  We can make that for $3 at home.

Quest for Passive Income

December 31, 2007

Yesterday I spent about 5 hours on the website adding amazon’s omakase ad links hoping to get some sort of return.  But I know this will not be an overnight return.  I’ve had this site for years, but haven’t done anything financial with it.  It’s only been about film.

Next I will add amazon ads specific to the articles.  Then I will add the google ads.  I keep documenting these to see how much time I’m putting into it and what the return will be like.

KEEPING COSTS DOWN – JONS GROCERY
Yesterday, my wife and I decided to try out Jons grocery store instead of Ralph’s.  We went there for the first time a few weeks back and found the prices of mushrooms and other veggies to be almost half if not even less than half of what Ralph’s charges.  I always avoided that store because it seemed so dingy and didn’t seem like they could buy in volume like the other local grocery by our house.  Furthermore, it seemed like a real-life spoof in the vain of McDowel’s in the movie Coming to America and how they are always competing with McDonald’s.
We walked around the cereal section and it actually cost more than Ralph’s esp when they have the ralph’s club card sale.  You could tell by the distribution of the people in the store that no one was in those isles.  When we walked to the produce section, it was buzzing like some street market in China.  Obviously that’s where the savings were.  Same goes for the frozen foods, milk, cheeses, etc – nothing was cheaper.  We found a $3 bottle of wine that tasted better than he $2 Charles Shaw at Trader Joe’s.  It’s called Forest Ville.

Accounts
Nothing has gone through in terms of balance transfers to bring down the $9K.  I think it’s because of the holidays.  I surprisingly have about $400 still in my account, but rent of $425 is due tomorrow.   And cable is due which is about $25 (we don’t have tv cable, just internet).  And gas $10.

I don’t have enough, but I might take a loan from my wife.  I know what you’re thinking, ‘you guys are weird. That’s so business-like in a relationship.’ But it’s two-part.  One, I don’t want to her to suffer financially as she’s trying not to touch her savings account. Two, I want her to get into the mindset of making money from her money – passive income.  I had to borrow some about 6 months ago (usually occurs when prop tax is due) and I gave her 20% interest.  However, I paid her back within a week, so she made about $3, but it’s still a mindset.

One of our friends makes about $200K a year, but he doesn’t have the mindset to make passive income, so he’s working his life away.  I’ve got another friend who’s much older and has a McMansion and only 3 people live in it.  He’s about 65 years old and still has to work to pay for the extra rooms in his house which he uses a couple of times a year.  I don’t understand the mentality of material possessions, esp huge houses which are not paid off.  It’s not like he loves his work.  He works to pay for the house.  Why not downsize, pay off a smaller house with the value of the current one and I’m sure he’s getting social security.  You can use that for the food and utilities, etc.