Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lending America

Would you believe to add to the other day's blog that when DH deposited his check at the bank, the teller told him that we had been pre-authorized for a $5,000 credit card. I give my DH a real hats off when he told them, "NO!" He told them that I had called to reduce our rate, they had refused, and yet now they wanted to offer us more money. Our request would have cost them a couple $100 dollars in interest, but would have secured the principal that we have borrowed. Their offer would extend the principal that we have borrowed and possibly put us in a position that would put the entire borrowed amount in jeapordy.

Will this country never learn? Can't businesses be ethical and profitable? It is time for a new business model. I implore companies to begin to look at how their lending practices can add to their bottom line but at the same time be sensible for their customers and therefore the financial stability of this country as well.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Reading Essays

Well here is another Reading Challenge issued by

This may be the perfect reading challenge for those of you that are not quite out of the diaper and nap times. It is also a good addition to those of us who have a little more time.

Perhaps 2009 should be a time of thinking, a renisance, a renewal of the mind. Certainly we should have always done this, but this past year has emphasized that the world has problems, there are issues in our society that need to be solved. If our society can create i-phones, OnDemand, and blogs then we, each and everyone of us, can start to delve deeper into the problems of our society and begin considering solutions. I believe that the first step toward this is to THINK, to READ, and to DISCUSS. Essays maybe the perfect place to start as well as perhaps listening to some talk radio. Be sure to watch the news in the morning and / or read a paper. Then talk, debate, argue. I am probably preaching to the choir.

Let us Read, Think, Talk, Solve! Then come here and tell us all about your thoughts.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Financial Forcast by Mr. Sunshine

Mr. Sunshine, Congressional Budget Office Acting Director, is speaking about the Federal Budget deficit & Economic Outlook on C-Span. You can’t make this stuff up. I don’t know about you but the Federal, State, local, and my personal budgets and the word "Sunshine" don’t seem to go together anymore. Synonyms are instead: fear, frustration, gap, depression (psychological issue not monetary / economic issue). It seems that all those who do wrong are being helped and all those that are trying to do right are getting stamped on. I keep joking with the kids that they are experiencing the second depression and that they should remember this.

I feel so badly for the kids because they hear about our lack of money close to every day. I never thought it would be this way. For us, it is a convergence of so many issues: job change, labor dispute, truck problems, house not selling, and retroactive health insurance cancellation. The only sunshine that I can see is friends, family, laughter.

This week, I was very frustrated when I called one of our credit card companies (which shall remain nameless) in an attempt to reduce the rate on our credit card and was refused after a review. When I asked a few months ago, they said that they couldn’t reduce the rate on the card I had BUT I could open ANOTHER card and then transfer the money. I opted NOT to open another card. I waited a few months and called again– given the financial situation, you would think that credit card companies would consider reducing rates on credit cards in an attempt to help those that are paying their bills continue to do so. Instead they are waiting to help until customers are faltering, working with consumer credit companies, or declaring bankruptcy. Doesn’t this seem a little backwards? As she denied me, I thought to myself: let’s see, if you reviewed my accounts (which are paid timely) and I showed more assets, then you would have reduced my rate, but if I had more assets would I need the reduction? The government is giving money to companies that are raping us and we are left paying more to these companies and to paying more taxes. Frankly, I have nothing left to give.

Then to top off this financial week, we dropped our house price another $15,000. When we finally sell on the open market, we may get less and have endured a longer periof of frustration than the house down the street that was forclosed and settled for an amount almost equal to our current sales price. We continue to pay our mortgage and other bills, commute to another state for a job, and the owner of the other houses gets more for walking away from his house then we will get for sticking it out. Granted he still owes money because he took out more equity than the house was worth, but it all seems so backward. For me and my family, our financial sunshine is behind a very big cloud and I swear that cloud is getting darker everyday.

How are you all doing? If any of you have ideas or hints about how we can all get through this financial crisis, I would love to hear your ideas. I know that for us some of the small ways that we have been trying to save money:

- Our thermostat is down to 60 degrees and we are using our wood stove
- We have greatly curtailed our driving. I try not to move the cars for days on end.
- When we bought our new car, we actually bought used and looked for good gas mileage.
- We look for less expensive meals and cheaper foods.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Think Again

As I was flipping throught my Discover Magazine (one of my favorite magazines), I can by an ad that stopped me in my tracks. The picture of of dusk at a empty hotel pool has a neon sign "Can Jesus Save Hollywood?" reflecting in the water. What??? I asked myself. I scoured the page to figure out what was being advertised. . . The only hint, a web address, and a tag in the bottom right corner "The Atlantic Think Again." Ok, I have to admit this did not help me much.

The next chance I got online and looked it up.

Look very carefully for the question.

At first I wasn't much clearer on what was being sold. A website that made you think - I was intregued. There were questions like:

Why do presidents lie?
Was God an accident?
Are Good Books bad for you?

Apparently, it is a campaign to make people think, but also is an ad for The Atlantic magazine, I can't speak for the magazine as I have never read it, but I can say that this advertising campaign has caught my interest and I've been to the website a couple times now and will have to check out the magazine the next time that I get a chance. In the meantime, maybe you can think again.