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Archive for November, 2013

I am thankful for ...

November 25th, 2013 at 07:38 am

Since this is Thanksgiving week, I thought I'd share something for which I'm Thankful, especially as it pertains to personal finance.

I am thankful for the example set for me by my paternal grandparents.

My grandparents died about six years ago, about 16 months apart. Grandpa was about 5 weeks short of his 90th birthday, and Grandma was less than a week short of hers.

They were both children of the Great Depression. They were also both raised on a farm. Many of the stories I heard from them were related to the depression. And, being farm kids, what they always said was that they may not have had any money, but they never went to bed hungry. They ate a lot of pork and corn bread, but were never hungry.

I grew up about a quarter mile from their home (I now live in their home). And, I heard a lot of stories. OK, most of the stories were from Grandpa, Grandma was much quieter. But, their words and actions did a lot to shape me and my thinking.

I wish I would have done more reflection on their teachings when I was in my 20s and 30s. But, alas, with age (and mistakes) comes wisdom. And, I'm not there even yet.

They lived like absolute paupers. But, when they died, their net worth was somewhere in the neighborhood of 800-900K. Not millionaires, but close. They owned the 200 acre family farm, two houses (the farm house and my grandmother's family house in town), and (as I found out after their deaths) about 200K in the bank.

I'll also add that neither one of them spent an extended period in a nursing home. Grandpa was in a home for about 3-4 months prior to his death, and my aunt stayed with my grandma during her short final illness. Extended stays in nursing homes can eat up savings very quickly.

My maternal grandparents were also a good example for me. They didn't live quite as close to me as a child, so their influence on me wasn't quite as profound.

I am thankful for the foundation that all of my grandparents built for me, and I can only hope that I am doing them proud as I try to figure out what being an adult is all about.

Update on truck loan

November 20th, 2013 at 09:25 am

Besides our mortgage, my truck loan is the only debt we currently carry.

I bought the truck last December. I borrowed $12,750. The term on the loan is 36 months. It's a 2004 Dodge Ram half-ton.

The current balance on the loan is $7,777.67. Minimum payment is $378. Of the 10 months I've made payments (the first payment wasn't due until Feb. 1), I've made the $378 minimum payment four times, and I've paid something greater than the minimum payment the other six months.

If I make $425 payments each of the next 18 months, and a projected $387.20 payment in June 2015, I'll have the truck paid off six months early.

My hope is to have the truck paid off before we need a new family van. My goal is to have only one vehicle loan at any given time.

If there is more life in the van after June 2015, we'll save the truck payment toward a down payment for the new family vehicle.

I really don't see us saving enough money to buy a replacement family vehicle out right, but all things are possible.

Our electricity has been restored

November 19th, 2013 at 06:10 am

It's been a while since I've posted. October and November are busy months for me at work.

Those of you who don't live in the Mid West undoubtedly heard about the wind storms (and tornadoes for some) this past Sunday. We had no damage around our house. We did, however lose power at around 1:00 AM Monday morning. It was restored about 10:30 last night.

We're very thankful that we bought that generator late last summer. I'm especially thankful that we spent the extra for the direct hookup into our electric box. It made powering our home with the generator a simple task.

That generator sure did burn through the gasoline! It used a bit more than a gallon per hour. That's an expensive way to power a house.

But, as I said, the other effects of the wind storm were extremely minimal, and that wasn't true for so many others.

Fortunately, we had already planned to "winterize" our animals Sunday afternoon. We moved all of the chickens inside the barn, and we moved the two duck coops to their permanent winter locations, next to the barn and out of the wind. We couldn't have timed that move better.