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#85957 - 08/23/06 05:47 PM Finances - Why so Scary?
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
This is one subject that I love to discuss. There are a bazillion areas of it that I find fasinating, and others where my eyes glaze over when someone starts elaborating on them. I'm wondering if you ladies feel the same way that I do about discussing finances...

What got me started on this was reading an old post by Stacy. (Thank you Stacy! I hope you found your backing!)

She had started a new biz online and was trying to find backing or a loan but was meeting with opposition because of a less than stellar credit rating. I feel for her, and can relate somewhat.

Things I like to discuss is

1. How to save money (new ways)
2. How to get out of debt (a favorite of mine)
3. How to STAY out of debt (another favorite)

Things I HATE to discuss are

1. Investing (mutual funds, stocks, bonds)
2. Investing (mutual funds, stocks, bonds)
3. Need I repeat it?

How do you and yours handle discussing these issues? Does one handle all? Do you share it? How about your children? Do they know the pitfalls of Credit Cards?

Who should declare bankruptcy? What happens when you do?
Who should get credit counseling?
What are the latest scams for these things?

Please jump in...discuss any or ALL with me. I love it.

JJ

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#85958 - 08/23/06 06:46 PM Re: Finances - Why so Scary? [Re: jawjaw]
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
Is this subject so scary that nobody wants to tackle it? Maybe I wrote too much? How bout this? How do you save dollars in your budgets? Or make extra moola?

JJ

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#85959 - 08/23/06 07:03 PM Re: Finances - Why so Scary? [Re: jawjaw]
Dancing Dolphin Offline
Member

Registered: 03/06/06
Posts: 2529
Loc: Southern California
Just missed it JJ - so...what the heck do you want, my checkbook balance? Does this forum use red ink?

Actually, I'm one of those anal folks that balances my checkbook to the penny every month. I handle all the money, cash flow, etc, and my hubby handles the investments - like where to put the 401k money. This has worked well for us for 30 years.

I have one credit card I use all the time, and then pay it off every month. I get frequent flyer miles for it, and that's one reason I can afford to go on vacation this year.

We think we're on track for retirement, but you never know what health surprises are in store. That alone could throw everything off track.

So...JJ... is this a good start? More another day...
Kathy

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#85960 - 08/23/06 07:41 PM Re: Finances - Why so Scary? [Re: Dancing Dolphin]
flipperjo Offline
Member

Registered: 10/22/05
Posts: 254
Loc: ND
JJ, do I have a reply for you - later though, grandbabe is waking up!

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#85961 - 08/23/06 08:29 PM Re: Finances - Why so Scary? [Re: flipperjo]
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
Kathy,
Your situation sounds so finanically healthy. I'm so glad for that. To what do you attribute the sound money management practices of your family? Were you raised with the same good practices around you? Did you have a "money mentor?" I would love to know.

Flipperjo...can't wait to hear your story as well!

JJ

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#85962 - 08/23/06 09:54 PM Re: Finances - Why so Scary? [Re: jawjaw]
Edelweiss Offline
Member

Registered: 06/05/06
Posts: 4136
Loc: American living in Europe
Okey, I got two good quotes for this subject:

The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
-- John F. Kennedy

The best way to realize the pleasure of feeling rich is to live in a smaller house than your means would entitle you to have.
-- Edward Clarke

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#85963 - 08/23/06 10:51 PM Re: Finances - Why so Scary? [Re: Edelweiss]
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
Very good quotes...I just loved JFK!

It amazes me that the CC companies have been allowed to run amuck. They can send young people these enticing offers and then hear this! If they are late making a payment to ANYONE....not necessarily the CC company....ANYONE they owe money to, the CC company is allowed to raise their interest rate! That is unjustified and criminal! I have a very large dislike for CC companies and their tactics.

I'm also amazed that the rate of savings for US vs. other countries, say like Japan. I wish I could put my finger on my research I did on this, but I can't at the moment. But trust me when I say it was embarassing!

JJ

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#85964 - 08/24/06 12:12 AM Re: Finances - Why so Scary? [Re: jawjaw]
Pam R. Offline
Member

Registered: 03/10/06
Posts: 404
All I can say is "I'm scared". We did the best we could when the kids were young to stay afloat. Now, we are looking toward retirement and I worry about paying these high property taxes while on fixed income. I'm not sure what we think is enough, is really enough. As far as the credit card companies, I agree with you JJ. They are on college campuses and offer a ton of money to these kids who don't even have a job. I know of kids who come out with thousands of dollars in debt before their 1st job. They will never dig themselves out. Don't we all get those credit applications on a daily basis in the mail? They can afford to spend a fortune in these mass mailings daily. As far as investments, I take the advice of the broker that comes into my office only since I am dumb when it comes to all that jargon. My husband is better than me and handles his while making sure he agrees with my statements as well. I say it's all a crap shoot! Of course, if you are lucky enough to be left old family money.....that can ease the fear. We are not, so it is all up to us. That's okay, we just need good health to get us by and keep on working.
_________________________
Pam

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#85965 - 08/24/06 01:50 AM Re: Finances - Why so Scary? [Re: Pam R.]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
I've had a difficult time "getting" the whole finance thing. As a young girl, whatever allowance or babysitting money I earned just slipped right through my fingers. I had no sense of the true cost of things, or the true value of money. As I ventured out into the working world after high school, I somehow managed my money well enough to pay the rent, but other than that, I was clueless. I literally drifted my way across the country, and eventually landed myself into dire financial straits where bankruptcy was the only choice left. It ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me. For one thing, it forced me to get rid of all my credit cards (I had a bad credit rating anyway so they were no good to me). And a side benefit of bankruptcy was that I lost all of my furniture, but then ended up with an apartment full of borrowed stuff - which taught me a living lesson about the true generosity and kindness of my friends, and it also taught me how to ask for help (which I'd always had trouble doing before).

For seven years following my declaration of bankruptcy, I had to pay everything by cash. The bankruptcy counsellors taught me how to budget. But the reality was that I was not able to make enough money to make ends meet - even though I was living in a mouse-infested dive of an apartment and probably paying the lowest possible rent, I still wasn't bringing in enough to house, feed, clothe and transport myself. So it remained a struggle for many years. I'd like to say that I figured it out on my own, but the truth is that it wasn't until my hubby came into my life that I was finally able to manage my finances satisfactorily - and that's because I finally had enough money to manage!

He's taught me all about managing my money, to the point where I have been able to invest almost all of my parent's inheritance money, which brings me in dividends, which give me enough spending money each month to enjoy retirement at 50. I'm not rich by any means, and have had to scale down the budget considerably, but we're comfortable enough. Twenty years ago, it would have been so far beyond my wildest dreams to think that I would ever be able to retire, much less at 50!! (Mind you, the premature retirement was forced by my breakdown in 2002.) Still, I'm delighted with my new ability to manage money now!

If anyone's interested, I'll share how I also broke my shopping addiction. I inherited that from my Mom and it took me close to 40 years to get it under control. It's still one of my favourite pasttimes, but now I control it, it doesn't control me or my bank account.
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

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#85966 - 08/24/06 04:51 AM Re: Finances - Why so Scary? [Re: Eagle Heart]
flipperjo Offline
Member

Registered: 10/22/05
Posts: 254
Loc: ND
JJ, I don't know if I should post or not - financial issues have become HUGE here in the last 2 years and this is a big can of worms!

We have always handled our finances as one - no mine or yours. It is not a power issue with us. That is not to say we never argue about money - we do, but only because we sometimes have different ideas about how to handle things that come up, not because one has a need to be right.

We have always been ok financially - not rich, not poor – and we are not extravagant spenders. I drove my 1993 Honda to 175,000 miles and my 2002 model will go just as long or longer. We built a modest home in 1989.

Two years ago when we sold our dairy herd (we continue to raise cash crops and beef), the credit union where we had been doing business loans for 25 years, tried to destroy us.

The head loan officer destroyed us on paper (devalued assets to the tune of $400,000) and proceeded to do everything in his power to put us out of business. Even though we had never defaulted on a loan, he started handling our accounts as though we were the worst risk that ever walked through the doors. He put all our business loans on our credit reports with bad information, and without notifying us of these reports as the law requires.

This was in the spring, at planting time, and we were unable to get financed at another bank in time to put the crop in so were forced to stay there that year. We hired a consultant who turned out to do more damage than good because he went to the banks for us and discussed the "B" word (bankruptcy) regards our operation, rather than correcting the false information on the credit union's balance sheet. We didn't know this until later.

Rather than a conventional operating loan for the farm season, we had to give him a list of expenses every two weeks. Each time, he would short us by thousands of dollars making sure all of our payments were late creating more bad information on the credit report. Also each time, all four of us had to go in and sign a whole new set of loan papers.

We prepared new balance sheets every few weeks. Between the numbers he misrepresented and continuous inventory changes, even WE didn’t know what we had by summer’s end.

The credit union made us a whole month late getting into the field, and that did major damage to the final yields of our crops that year. I tried to get the cr. union president to mediate with the loan dept. but he was too lazy or too stupid to look into it. He told me they took the actions they did to "protect our members"! Apparently our 25 years there weren't enough to rate "member status".

Our son farms with us so he and his wife have experienced it all right along with us. We are now financed with Farm Credit Services and that hasn't been much better. The ND banks are way behind the rest of the world in ag. financing issues. At this time, dairy farmers are selling their operations in other states, and moving here where their dollar goes farther. They are getting financing from their home state banks, NOT North Dakota banks! Our banks are doing more to put us out of business than keep us solvent.

As to investing and stocks, we have now spent all but a few thousand dollars that we'd saved for retirement. We are fighting for survival, which is where "Farming by the Yard" comes in. It is my way of trying to make us independent of the banks. I want so badly to walk in there and say, "Here's your money - GOOD BYE!" The only decent banker I have met in the last 2 years is the one who believes in Farming by the Yard and gave me an unsecured startup loan.

Credit cards are another nightmare. Through all of this we have not been able to pay off the two cards we have been forced to use for misc. expenses. Credit card banks thrive on fees and high interest rates charged to people like us.

Ag. businesses (seed, fertilizer etc. sales) can make mistakes that destroy hundreds of acres of crops, and we still have to pay them. If we don’t, they will file liens on our crops, further complicating things. One ag supplier sold us bad seed and then destroyed other growing crops by not spraying properly. We held back money for damages and he filed a lien filled with misinformation and beyond the time limit provided by state law. It cost us $1200 in legal fees to apply to the courts for a release of lien. He withdrew the lien the day before the judge was to look at our brief. By the time the lien was off the county list, the damage had been done with other local businesses and our financing was delayed, making us late to the field for yet another spring. He is still sending us bills and we will be spending more on legal fees before we are through with him.

We have NEVER defaulted on a loan. My husband has more integrity in his little finger than all of these bankers put together. We honor our commitments and are getting slammed from every direction. We are now wondering why we bothered to pay everything. Our credit reflects the same damage as if we had simply not paid our bills.

Our daughter died in 1994 so on the personal side we’ve been dealing with that loss. In 1997 a load of bad feed made all our dairy cows sick and we pretty much lost the herd and gradually built it back up. We sued the feed company and after 3 years of litigation, settled out of court and ended up with about 20% of our losses. Also in 1997, a railroad crew welding on the tracks started a grass fire that destroyed 2 of our pastures, cracked the block on our tractor that our son used cultivating around the fire to try to keep it from our home and barns and burned across the cemetery where our daughter is buried, killing all of the trees there. It took a year of negotiating before the railroad paid us and they never did pay the $15,000 damage to the tractor.

We have never been negative people but are finding it more and more difficult to find a reason to keep trying. We try to concentrate on the joys provided by our sons, their wife/fiancé and beautiful granddaughter.

I look around and see other people with much bigger problems than mine. I remember my dad who lived with the devastation of polio all of his life and never became a “victim” by living with a positive, smiling spirit. What right do I have to give up when he endured so much to provide for me?

So, JJ, are you sorry you asked? Thanks for providing me with a vent!

jo

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