Husband approached me yesterday and said our handyman (who was standing right there next to him) is selling enough wood flooring to finish our attic for $200 total. He said, "That's a really good deal, it's already stained. What do you think?"
I knew there was a catch somewhere. It has become my job to find the catch, cuz if I don't, I'll be sorry later.
"How much is it going to cost to install?" I asked.
"$500" replied the handyman selling the flooring.
Ahhh hah!! there was the catch. I wouldn't be committing to a $200 purchase, which would be a good deal. It was a $700 purchase.
I shook my head and said "No." Husband whined.
I told him I was still thinking I wanted carpet up there anyways. Husband argued that this wood is cheaper than carpet.
So I shrugged and said "I'm out of money. It's coming from your workman comp savings account. If you want to pay $700, then do it. But I don't. Just make sure the workers do it in a few consecutive days. I don't want this dragging out for months."
Then the handyman broke in and said "well, nothing should be done until the rest of the space is done. Flooring should go in last."
ANOTHER CATCH! We would need to replace the sheet rock, baseboards, quarter inch molding and stairway wall before the flooring could be installed!
I looked at husband and said "So we were going to buy this wood and we cant even use it until we remodel the rest of the space?!" Husband shrugged and said "We'll just store it in the attic until we are ready to use it. It's a really good deal."
"NO!" I said. We had just (true story) PAID the same handyman and his crew several hundred dollars to CLEAN OUT the attic. They hauled away wood scraps, insulation, boxes and crap. And now husband wants to fill the freshly clean space with more wood?! No Way!
My "No" was met with more whining. Husband said (another true story) "well I won $250 in my fantasy football league, and the handyman just paid me $100 for my xbox stuff- that's like half the money right there. We would just need to come up with the rest (he was referring to ME putting in the rest) and we'll have flooring in the attic."
I said, "If you want to use your Football winnings on a pile of wood- go ahead. But I dont want to half ass the attic and put down flooring that looks bad when we fix the walls and replace the stairway banister. So we'll wait to install it until we can afford the rest of the work. I really thought you would want to spend that money on video games and electronics."
Husband thought for a second and said "your right. I do want some new video games. I wont get the wood. I just thought it would be a good investment in the house. We would spend $200 and get like, $5000 back when we sell the house." Hmmm...That was a manipulative sentence. Because it would be financial
stupidity to ignore a return on investment like that. Except he is omitting the part about $500 to install the wood. I don't think anyone is going to pay $5000 for a pile of wood in the attic.
And did you catch that he still wants video games?! He would use his money to buy the woodpile...and a week later when the pile of wood is no longer entertaining- he would whine to me that he wants new video games but spent all him money on the attic flooring. He would say he nobly sacrificed his spending money on investing in the house...so he would want me to buy him video games. I know how he thinks.
So the conversation is over. That last piece was husband trying to get me to cough up the remaining amount so we can have the flooring installed. Which I will refuse until the rest of the work is done, so I'll find money to remodel the whole attic. And he knows this. He just needed to lure me by making me think $200 was going to get us an attic with pretty new hardwood floors. Then I'd be trapped. I already spent the money and bought the wood- so he'd be able to argue much easier to get the rest of the work done.
BUT I CAUGHT HIM! I played the game and WON!
No attic wood pile for husband.
And he is not all that mad about it. Actually- he's already forgot the whole episode.
This game is fun now that I know how to play.
Archive for December, 2013
Husband approached me yesterday and said our handyman (who was standing right there next to him) is selling enough wood flooring to finish our attic for $200 total. He said, "That's a really good deal, it's already stained. What do you think?"
This will be a bit of a brain dump.
I appreciate the comments from yesterday's post. It was so long I am surprised you read it until the end! But I had a bit of an epiphany there and kept going with it.
To address one comment- husband is pretty disabled and for a few years that kept me skeptical of having a child. I didn't want to get 100% responsibility due to his injuries.But as it always is when husband wants something he can argue me until he gets it. And he really wanted a child. He's not nearly as useful as a normal functioning human. But because he can't function so well- he can't work- so he's home all day. That gives him time and focus to put all energy to the baby with no other responsibility (except the rentals, but they require minimal hours). So he does about 40% of the baby care. Which is probably more than a man with a full time job does. But that was a good point that we might need to bring in help sometimes. I didn't think of that, but it is a possibility down the road.
In other news- There are a few minor financial things I'm working on.
One of the renters for FIL's property has not paid his portion of the rent for 3 months. FIL had a property manager while we were in California and the manager collected the rent and deposited it. FIL never checked the account, just assumed all was good.
When we moved back to GA we didn't want to manage that property while the baby was coming. Too much already trying to get our properties in order and us settled in.
We just took over property management in December and I followed the bank account to see the rent was not in the full amount every month. It was short $450/month in Oct & November. In talking to the former manager- he said he was told by the tenant they had worked out an agreement with the owner.
So we called the tenant. He's a waiter, claimed business was so slow and he was cut off from his parents. He would get back on track.
Well no December payment and January is due now. So we have to meet with him and his roommates.
Additionally, one of the roommates Dec check bounced.
On Monday I need to work on our health insurance. We have been paying $1500/month, but it was going up to $3000/month in January.
So I found new insurance for $985/month. But when I received the package of info- the deductible is $950 PER PERSON and I thought it was per family. So I'm not excited.
Meanwhile I got a letter from my old insurance saying my bill would be $950/month. Not $3000/month as I thought. So I need to compare coverages on Monday.
My FIL is coming to visit for Christmas, and then right after he leaves- my brother & his family are coming to visit. They have never seen the new house so I'm excited.
Goals have always been hard for me because I find it difficult to make plans when there are uncertain variables looming. But if everyone else can do it- I will as well.
In 2014 I will...
1) STICK TO the monthly budget I have already prepared.
2) Add $700/month to our income. Of that money; $200/month goes to baby future education & $500/month goes to horseback riding.
3)Start horseback riding when extra funding for it has been created.
4) Develop a plan to own a horse in 2015.
5) Add $100/month towards the monthly mortgage payment.
6) Finish 2014 with $3800 saved towards future car purchase.
7) Finish 2014 with $1300 saved in Emergency Fund.
8)Finish out the year at my goal weight of 120 lbs.
9) Tell my husband NO twice a month.
Of those goals, #4 (develop a plan to own a horse in 2015) is the biggest stretch. I have denied myself a horse up to this point saying it was unaffordable.
Right now we are the leanest we have ever been and I'm tired of denying myself this indulgence. If push came to shove- we really CAN afford afford a horse, but since they are such a huge financial drain I have never allowed myself to get a horse.
But 2013 was husbands year. Between his "repair sucking truck" purchase & his failed "spend everything we have in the bank to stay afloat in California" plan we ended up spending the money it would have taken to comfortably house a horse for 4 years. I'm tired of denying myself the luxury when husband does not do the same. I feel that the money will get spent by him if I don't jump in and claim it for myself.
And also don't freak out thinking we will only have $1300 in an emergency fund while I am out gallavanting on horses. We do have money tucked away in nooks and crannies that have no immediate future use that can be used in an emergency. But currently we have no dedicated emergency fund. Ok, we HAD one that I had been trying to fund on/off for a few years but it never got off the ground. Husband does not appreciate the concept/think we will ever encounter an emergency/thinks his impulse purchases ARE an emergency and is always demanding we use the money to fund his next idea. He can see the money sitting in the bank and the next time an unorthodox purchase comes up that is not in the budget he argues with me to use that money. I end up giving in (because I ALWAYS give in), and the account goes empty. Its like he sees the money in the bank account and thinks to himself "hmmm...we have $5200 sitting there...what can I buy?" NOT THIS YEAR! I am in recovery from California mode, I now realize it is never a one-time-purchase with him, I see that he actually has NO sense of risk/boundaries when it comes to spending money and if allowed he would spend every dollar we have in the bank (well- he did do that this year), so I'm feeling DEAD SET DETERMINED to tell him No.
You know what? That is going to be a goal. To tell my husband "No" on purchase requests. Goal #9. Tell my husband "NO" on 10...no..24! Purchase requests in 2014. That is 2 denials a month. Twice a month when my husband runs some idea by me to purchase an unnecessary TV (well he already did that. We have a 55 inch TV sitting in its box in the attic.) Ok when he wants to...I don't know...make an unnecessary improvement at a rental property or buy some electronic gadget...I will tell him "NO!", I will tell him "2014 is for SAVING NOT SPENDING!"
And he will argue that it is just a small amount of money compared to how much it will save us/make us money in the long run.
And I will have a gut feeling that it is not true. But he will have a rebuttal to every argument I put up.He will argue me until I can see no reason not to buy a TV set for an unfinished attic because one day it is going to be a man cave.
And he will huff and whine and get angry if I tell him the answer is no.
And I will feel guilty because he is disabled and in pain. More pain than I could tolerate for even a day. And all he can do is sit around and think of things to buy that will make him temporarily happy. And I know that while he is purchasing the item or using the item his pain becomes a little more tolerable and life is better for him. So I sigh and give in. I tell him to do whatever he wants.
But NOT THIS YEAR! Because I know that the purchased item will soon be forgotten and he will be on to the next want. And I will forever be staring at a repair sucking truck/trying to collect on money spent in California/an Apple TV remote that is NEVER USED/an air conditioner for the attic that has broken twice in the 1 month since we had it installed (AC guy is coming in the morning)and created HIDEOUS gutter pipes on the outside of our house.
THIS IS THE YEAR I will tell him "No". This is the year I will stop looking at crap I never would have purchased and had a bad feeling about but didn't know why until after he bought the item and it required $17k in repairs/cost 10x more than he anticipated/created ugly gutter pipes that run down the exterior of the house.
I now have come to realize that ALL of his plans cost more than he says they will, and cause additional purchases. I don't know if he purposely leaves out information when he explains his plan to me, or if he really is unaware of the extra required purchases...but this is the year I will not find out the hidden costs to his plans. Because I told him "No".
Seriously. I think goal #9 that will save us $30-50k this year.
Like Monkey Mama- I am DONE with 2013! Aside from my daughter's birth- I am remembering a lot of bad times.
2013 was one of those years where so much happened- it feels like it was 5 years long.
In the past I tracked my net worth randomly. So I don't have exact numbers.
Surprisingly (shockingly), we are UP in net worth at the end of this year. This is surprising considering that we have so many people who owe us money. And we spent so much money in California. And I quit my job in April. And our rentals were all vacant at one time or another for multiple months this year. And husband bought a used $12k truck that turned out to be a lemon and has cost us $17k in repairs (seriously I want to heave that truck over a cliff). And I have paid out over $12k in COBRA since I quit my job.
The reason we are up is threefold: Our real estate properties have increased in value because the market has gone up. And my mortgage payments decreased our debt. Also our retirement accounts have gone up. And husband got a workman comp settlement.
So amazingly our net worth has increased although liquid cash is way down.
2014 is going to be a banner year though. I am back on my A game.
Going to create goals in the next few days.
I am posting pictures of my baby girl. Everyday I get such cute pictures and I have no one to admire them!
And Merry Christmas!
In other news I have a job interview tomorrow! It's for a Regional Territory Manager. I didn't apply for the job, a recruiter found my resume on Monster.com.
It sounds super sales-y, just from the job title. I'm not a hard sales type of person. But the term "Manager" perked my interest. So I'll go and see if it is something I want to spend 40 hrs a week doing.
I applied to 5 jobs yesterday. I'm not feeling so optimistic about getting a job quickly, so I'm still thinking of ways we can increase our monthly income using the resources at our disposal.
And here is an option to increase my monthly income:
If I spend $107k on a property- I can bring in $935 a month income.
Is that a good deal? Something you would do?
I'm considering it. But hesitant.
Its one of my current rental properties. It brings in $1950 a month, but I owe $107k on the mortgage. So I pay $935 a month on the property.
The $935 also covers the escrow account and insurance, so it would be more like $800 a month income.
It's an option that crossed my mind today. I don't know why I had not considered it before.
I'll bring it up to husband. But I think I would rather wait and spend the next 6 months waiting to see what the real estate market does. If it goes down- I think we can get a property that will yeild a better return.
hmmm things to think about.
OK so I have recovered from the idea of getting the rental property back. Mentally I had to present my proposal and hear "No" to get me over it.
Financially- we don't have enough money to buy another rental property. Even if FIL paid me today- we don't have enough money to buy a rental. The working properties are priced at $150k and above. Anything priced below that needs renovations and it would make us liable for repairs that we might not be able to pay for. That's why I was so fixed on getting that particular property back. So without the income stream that a rental would provide I am turning my energy elsewhere.
I plan to apply for jobs today. I know it is unlikely to hear anything over the holidays but at least my resume will be in the system when people return from their vacations.
There is a job as a Proofreader at an advertising company about an hour away. Grammar and spelling are not my greatest skills but if I am getting paid to pay attention then I will focus on my weaknesses and the work/practice will get me the expertize. -That was a run on sentence...wasn't it?
But I worry the HR dept will somehow 'KNOW' that I am not super qualified. I'm an "Underpromise/Overdeliver" type of girl. I've never applied for a job where I didn't think I could nail the workload quickly.
But I have often seen people less qualified and less capable then myself getting jobs above me. I figure the job requirements might be more like guidelines, and maybe HR is not expecting applicants who can meet every requirement. So I have decided to apply for a 'reach' job.
And of course I am applying for basic administration jobs too.
So that's what is going on here. Me (My? I think it is My working.) working and disabled husband staying home with the baby...sigh. Not the best arrangement. He loves her to pieces and is a better mother then I am. But since I am breastfeeding..well whenever I leave the house he is always calling me to cut my errands short to come home because the baby is screaming and he is out of milk. But we are new parents and we will get the hang of it. Millions do it everyday, we can as well.
Well I got husband's reluctant permission to approach FIL about a buyout deal.
I called and presented it like we were doing him a favor allowing him to get out of a deal he made before he needed so much cash.
Instantly he said No. He said he has it all planned out and everyone will be paid off by the time he retires. And he is counting on the $20k income as a second pension after he retires.
So then I repeated my line of thinking that he could pay everyone off faster by getting cash right now.
He then told me he wants to just continue the plan..."as long as you are still ok with the plan?"
I did a long hesitation trying to collect my thoughts. I said "well, we just thought we would get the money from you and reinvest in another property...but we havnt been able to do that...I didn't expect the money to be tied up for almost 4 years. "
Then he tells me he will stop paying the other payments to the other reletive to accelerate payments to me...he might be able to pay me off by 2015.
Well that really wont do anything for me. I've waited over a year, I'll be waiting another 12 months, whats another 12 months after that? We still cannot invest in a property, and right now is what I'm concerned about.
So I told him to keep it all as we have currently and got off the phone. I told husband the plan was a no go and husband got mad at me. He said he "told me so" and now he has to deal with the consequences. His dad would call him and ask a bunch of questions and get all freaked out.
Sure enough within an hour- FIL calls husband and husband has to backtrack my words to smooth out FIL's feelings. Saying its really no big deal and no one is mad about how things turned out.
I promtly burst into tears because I kind of thought he would go for it. I thought we could get the property back. Then husband is mad at me for crying saying I KNEW we wouldn't have enough money when we moved back from California but I wanted to come home anyways (remember husband didn't actually want to come back home- he still wishes things worked out better in Cali and we stayed).He reminded me that I KNEW I had to find a job when we returned home because our income was not enough to cover our expenses. And I was prepared to find a job.
And then I had a baby. And I wanted to find a way to not get a job right away. And thought this could work out. But it didn't. So I've already applied to 5 jobs.
So the proposal was rejected. My money is tied up and I wont get it for 2 years. UGH, time to figure out how to get over this.
My brain started going last night. I couldn't turn it off. I was thinking about something. Something that might be... BAD? Mean? Or it could be AWESOME.
So the California chapter is slowly closing and I'm optimistic we will recover the remaining debt owed.
Last night my mind turned to the other colossal financial mistake I made recently.
That would be the rental property that I bought, renovated, turned it into a FANTASTIC rental and then gave it to my FIL for exactly what was paid so he could get into rentals.
Where it got completely F---ed up was the fact that FIL couldnt afford to buy it from me for exactly what I paid.
Ugh. The problem was that FIL was going through a huge divorce and he was panicked about money. He was the primary breadwinner and it was looking like they were going to liquidate all assets for losses or break evens (during the real estate downturn), the wife was going to get half the pension and a large chunk of cash for several years beyond his retirement. He was really panicked and we were feeling really bad about it all.
FIL makes almost a quarter of a million a year.
We were into the property for $155k.
So FIL asked if he could have this brand new fantastic property because it would be his salvation. It had already appreciated like crazy, and it is bringing in $1800 a month.
We thought we would take the $155k and find a new property.
But FIL paid me in small and large chunks of cash as he got it. $30k here...$4k there...$1k today...$1600 next week...
The chunks made it hard to track, and REALLY hard to save, and IMPOSSIBLE to re-invest in another property.
Its been over a year now and:
*We have spent all money FIL gave us towards the purchase. Not sure where it all went...some was spent in California, we had our roof replaced, bought a truck, ...not sure where the rest went.
*FIL divorce finalized. He's not coming out as bad as he thought.
*FIL still owes me $44k for the purchase.
*For the next 2 yrs FIL has to pay MIL yearly payments of $40k and then alimony is paid. So he owes MIL $80k and then he is out of the divorce.
*FIL has found a girlfriend, and PURCHASED a house in another state for girlfriend and him to live in (she does not work). FIL had to borrow $32k from a relative to use as down payment for this house and is on a 2 year repayment plan to pay it back.
*FIL has bought a $10k boat.
*FIL was just visiting us and is discussing buying a new truck. His truck is unreliable and he is debating buying and financing vs lease.
*FIL has decided the remaining $44k will be paid back through the monthly rent the property collects. So after expenses, the property collects about $1400/month and when it reaches $44k- that money is mine and property will be transferred into his name. So new payoff date is January 2016. -2016- So this property will have been tied up for 4 YEARS by the time it is finalized.
*Shortly after "buying" the property from us, he asked my husband's opinion about if he should sell it (it has appreciated about $75k). Husband was outraged and told FIL he can NEVER sell the property because it is a cash cow and the reason we agreed to the transaction was that we are planning to inherit it. (we had not thought that far into the future...but yeah- we were expecting it to stay in the family, otherwise we would have sold it at a profit) FIL agreed to not sell it. We have since told FIL he can never take out a HELOC on it either.
*FIL is taking the $1800/month rental income into consideration when discussing his retirement plan (he plans to retire in 2 years).
So those are the variables that have gone down since this whole thing started last year.
Needless- we assumed FIL would pay us within a year considering he makes so much money. But that didn't happen and its my fault I made assumptions instead of plans with FIL. It didn't occur to me this could get so messy. It didn't occur to me he would be so cash poor. It didn't occur to me he would also borrow from other family members to rebuild and now owes money to 3 different people.
So this whole thing weighs on me. Daily. Makes me angry. Frustrated. Bitter. Hearing about his plans to finance a truck this week made me upset.
Ok, here is where my mind went last night:
If I pool all my liquid cash from different accounts, including our tax refund, collecting the remaining Cali money owed to me, and some money coming in February...I can pull together $107k.
We "sold" the property for $155k. FIL still owes $44k. So FIL has paid us $111k.
We actually could offer to BUY THE PROPERTY BACK from FIL.
This could be awesome.
FIL owes $32k to a relative.
FIL owes ex wife $80k.
FIL wants to buy a new truck.
$111k could pay off a good chunk of that debt.
Husband and I NEED to increase our monthly income. We don't have enough liquid cash to re-invest in another property. Even when FIL pays us his debt in 2 years we still wont have enough to re-invest in a property.
Neither of us is working- so we do not qualify for a mortgage or HELOC to get us anything extra to buy a property.
Husband and I cannot save liquid money. Our track record is terrible. If we dont re-invest this $107k it will get spent on frivolous things. I need to tie it up in an income producing investment before it gets spent on stuff.
This property brings in $1800/month and neither FIL or us is getting the money. It's getting placed in an account to be paid to me when it reaches payoff amount. So for 4 years neither of us is really utilizing the rental income.
I brought up the option to approach FIL with a request to buy the property back and husband doesn't think FIL will be interested. Its such a cash cow that it would be stupid to unload it. The property pays for itself in 5 years and is in good enough condition that things wont start needing repairs or replaced for 5-7 years.
But maybe FIL has been kicking himself for taking on such a debt during a time when he needs liquid cash? Maybe he thinks about it daily and he gets upset thinking of how he really needs that cash that he has been paying to us? The same way I think about it daily and get mad that we gave away such a large monthly income and we cannot afford to replace it?
So...how can I approach him about this?
Is it a SHITTY SHITTY thing for me to approach him about?
Long term this is a great investment. And I feel I would be manipulating him/taking advantage of his current debts owed to people to take the long term earning opportunity away from him.
But I REALLY want the property back. Husband and I are really disappointed and angry about how this transaction became so dirty.
So opinions? Be honest. Convince me not to pursue this if it is going to cause bad blood.
Here it is. Does not help that I am REALLY emotionally attached to it.
Regarding my California gang that owes me money-
I got a call today from the partner that institutionalized himself. He said he is starting to clean up his accounts and wants to know where we are with our repayments.
He promised to pay me his remaining amount owed in full by Jan 1st! So he'll be off my bill collections list and I'll just be dealing with the new business owner who owes me $14k.
I have a lot of bitterness and resentment regarding the whole episode but talking to the institutionalized partner made me feel better.
Since husband and I departed that business:
The air conditioning broke and a unit had to be replaced.
The water well broke.
The electricity has been on/off and had to be repaired.
Some equipment broke.
Its been nothing but things breaking since we left. If we had stayed even 1 month longer we would have had to cough up $4k for a new A/C unit. And it sounds like its one thing after another breaking- we would have been so broke if we had stayed.
So we stayed at the business a little too long- but we still got out before things got worse!
I'm just in a better mood because things are looking like we might collect all the money owed to us, and the new year is coming- which means our income might be increasing and our bills will be decreasing.
I am waiting to see how husband's disability hearing before I write 2014 goals.
Regarding the money owed to me from California. Well the debt has been split in half- with a new business owner agreeing to pay half, and the old partner who was bought out agreeing to pay half.
Yesterday the old bought out partners brother sent me $5k. Bringing his balance down to $7k left to pay. relief.
Also yesterday the new business owner sent me $1k. He said finances are so tight right now because he just bought out the old partner. Husband thinks he is going to bleed the money out to me because he is friends with our ex business partner. Whatever- as long as I get the money.
The only complicated thing is now keeping track of which party owes me what amount of money.
Just so that I can keep track and have a place to refer to when I am uncertain of amounts owed:
New owner owes me $14k
Old business partner owes me $7k
If I really recover all the money owed to me I'll be so relieved. I definitely learned my lesson. Never lend money and never take an informal payment plan. And never go into business with someone! So much of my daily energy is spent reliving the mistakes and trying to rectify the consequences.
In other news- every day is still devoted to the baby. She's doing well- she is just so time consuming. I am not used to dealing with things that do not have an on/off switch.
We have officially rented out the vacant apartment! The 4 waiters have signed a lease and given us 1 months security. They move in on Jan 1st.
So the apartment went 3 months vacant. Not great, but not unexpected given its large size and the time of the year.
But now we are back to 100% capacity!
I am trying to get motivated to start my taxes. I need to add up all our rental expenses, rental income, and health expenses. Then I'll be ready when my W2 comes in and my accountant sends me a little booklet to complete. Normally I do it Thanksgiving day...not this year. Now I wish I had just done it because I'm still not motivated. Even though I'm expecting around $4-5k refund...that should be motivation enough!
In other news- I talked to the business partner of the guy who owes me money. He has told me he will pay half since that was the agreement he made when entering the deal. He said he will make a payment at the end of next week. He wants to just pay it off ASAP so he'll get together what he can and make the payment. He alluded to between $1500-5000. Big spread but sounds good.
He also said he has completely bought his partner (the one who is institutionalized) out of the business. So now is the time to try and get the other half of the debt owed from the institutionalized brother because he is sitting on a big wad of cash.
I will be chasing down the brother for his half of the debt starting tomorrow.
And in baby news- she wants attention all the time. If I put her down she is quiet for like 10 mins and then starts inconsolably crying until she is picked back up. Husband hates the crying and also is tired of entertaining her all day so he just rocks her and tries to get her to fall asleep. I want her up during the day so she will sleep at night. So I end up carrying her and playing with her a lot in the day. She is very time consuming. I get exhausted thinking of the long road ahead...just teaching her to hold up her head is taking so much effort!
Baby raising is not for weak people.