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Old 08-24-2010, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Arizona
410 posts, read 386,554 times
Reputation: 777

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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Thanks for your thoughts. I saw the same report today in the WashPost.

I also have several windows to replace (the roof, furnace, water heater and everything else is new) besides any home modifcation I need, but I don't want to put any of my own current money into the house as I will need it in my retirement funds. If I spend money of my own now, will I ever get it back if existing houses continue to drop in value?

What is going on in this country? Is this a problem in all states, or in just a few? Why aren't people buying existing homes?? If they have families they have to live somewhere and rents are really high. How are new home sales doing?

Is anyone else on this thread have a home up for sale, or about to?

People are not buying houses because of fear of losing their jobs or having their hours cut. Instead, they are saving their money or paying down debt. In addition, there are many people who do not have a high enough credit score to qualify for a loan. Those people who have the means and will to buy are waiting on the sidelines for prices to fall further. I think the problem is pretty much all over the country, but some areas are worse than others.

I just received my $8,000 first time homebuyers credit. When I bought my condo last year, I intended to use the money to remodel my bathroom and upgrade some flooring. Now, I am not sure I am going to spend the money. If I do, it will be very modest improvements.

Home Depot stated recently that people were not spending money on major improvements. Instead, the bulk of their sales is for items people need for repairs. Around here, contractors are still demanding high prices even though their work has dramatically fallen off. I refuse to pay their prices until they face reality and adjust their prices accordingly. I have no problem paying a fair price but I do not want to be gouged.
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Verde Valley AZ
5,055 posts, read 3,845,907 times
Reputation: 5026
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
It was posted at my bank, on the counter. Maybe google "banks waive fees for seniors"-- I'll see if I can find it online.
I bank with Wells Fargo and (almost) totally free banking. I have two direct deposits, savings and their credit card. And I do all my banking online. I still have to pay for checks and they DO charge me $3 month "maintenance fee" if my savings gets below $300, which is aggravating sometimes. Out of my second paycheck I plunked $300 into savings to save that $3. lol
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:18 PM
 
Location: New England
12,289 posts, read 8,469,575 times
Reputation: 8831
Someone asked awhile back about the original "Possum Living" gal.

Found her blog by accident while looking for something else--


Possum Living)
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
2,220 posts, read 3,402,493 times
Reputation: 1625
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Thanks for your thoughts. I saw the same report today in the WashPost.

I also have several windows to replace (the roof, furnace, water heater and everything else is new) besides any home modifcation I need, but I don't want to put any of my own current money into the house as I will need it in my retirement funds. If I spend money of my own now, will I ever get it back if existing houses continue to drop in value?

What is going on in this country? Is this a problem in all states, or in just a few? Why aren't people buying existing homes?? If they have families they have to live somewhere and rents are really high. How are new home sales doing?
People aren't buying homes because they have become too expensive in relation to incomes. With kamikaze financing options disappearing, we are reverting back to the historical mean of about 3x annual income. So until house prices drop to levels reachable by incomes, sales will be depressed. Add to that the downward pressure on incomes from global wage arbitrage, and real (inflation adjusted) house prices are likely to fall even further as a result of falling incomes.

I think this will be sorting itself out for at least a decade still, with the government trying everything it can think of along the way to keep prices up in order to serve their banker masters.
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:55 PM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 8,707,546 times
Reputation: 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZDesertBrat View Post
I bank with Wells Fargo and (almost) totally free banking. I have two direct deposits, savings and their credit card. And I do all my banking online. I still have to pay for checks and they DO charge me $3 month "maintenance fee" if my savings gets below $300, which is aggravating sometimes. Out of my second paycheck I plunked $300 into savings to save that $3. lol
I get free checking, free checks, no fees and only have to keep a balance of $5 at my credit union. Plus they are solvent with good reserves, guarantee the accounts up to $500k and none of that dangerous investing the commercial banks indulge in. I have free on line banking too and they can do just about anything over the phone as well. Plus a huge free network of ATMs at my disposal. I have no intention of using a commercial bank ever again.

Oh yeah, I also get very low rates on credit cards (< 10%) with cash back rewards. And they don't punish me when I pay them off every month and don't carry a balance.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
1,905 posts, read 4,605,842 times
Reputation: 2471
Quote:
From the Possum Lady's Blog:
I just watched a show where the narrator was trying to demonstrate people’s complete dependency on technology. “If civilization fell,” he asked in a dramatic and scary voice, “do know how to raise your own food? Could you even tell the difference between a cucumber seed and corn seed?” I had to smiled, because, yes, I do and, yes, I can. You, too, can smile when you hear such scary things if you have a few possum skills. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Know how to grow vegetables. Gardening has to be learned, but, hey, it’s not rocket science, and I ought to know. If you are really new, start with something easy, say, basil or lettuce in a pot, and get a soil-moisture meter. (Staff at a nursery will be glad to get you started.) Once you are ready to do more, look up organic gardening for your area or join a community garden. If you end up hating gardening, well then, you’ll know. But if you like it, you will experience the joy of making your own food magically appear from the ground.
2. Find cheap or free things to do for entertainment and to relieve stress. We like to go to a park, volunteer, exercise, check out free activities, join social groups, play with our pets, visit museums, have friends over, play games, or do any of a hundred other inexpensive things.
3. Give up any notion of status related to possessions. If it’s workable, clean, and in good repair, it doesn’t have to be as good as your neighbors’ or friends’. I try to remember that my luxury is being in control of my time and money.
4. Know how to forage, find, or scavenge. Go wild berry picking, learn how to fish, forage for nuts, join a mushroom-hunting group, research and eat invasive species, read a survival manual, or get a field guide to edible weeds. I’m not sure how much this would really help if civilization fell, but just knowing what food sources are around you is satisfying and fun.
I’d love to hear your ideas, please send them to me at Possum Living.
I would think that anyone on a budget would know this stuff. I never understood the concept of having to have so much money when there is so much in nature that is free and, to me, much more satisfying. I just don't get any comfort or satisfaction out of a couch or chair, or any other object, quite frankly. (I do like the internet, though! )

It surprises me that there are blogs like this that talk about how to live on less and enjoy what's already there. Maybe most of the world, or at least the U.S., is like that – I don't know. I try to stay away from consumers – mostly because I have no interest in it and I find it boring. I'd much rather hang out with someone who is interested in nature, or creating art, appreciates it, and knows how to do some fascinating things with very little. And a great sense of humor -- that is priceless!! These, to me, are much more appealing.

And then I saw this site about living in Belize – which is supposed to be an American retiree's "cheap" place to live: Top Ten Reasons To Live Or Retire In Belize - Retire in Comfort For Under $1,500. a month

I realized that I actually have just as nice an environment and with less costs, especially with utilities. Not only that, I live right near a beautiful boat harbor that does bring in fresh fish each day, and one can go to the beach there, eat in a nice restaurant overlooking the harbor or just walk around and enjoy the sea lions and pelicans that frequent there. I also live within a block of a big Farmers' Market. After adding up the expenses, and realizing that I'd have to live way out in the country to afford Belize, I recognized that my circumstances are actually better here.

Not only that, all those things the Possum lady talks about are things I grew up with. Having most of my immediate family on farms, we often ate wild things. I certainly know how to flush a toilet with a pail of water (I thought everyone knew that trick?). And I forage for blackberries each autumn here – they grow all over the place and one can just pull over and pick, pick, pick!

I remember using Euell Gibbons' books to forage for "weeds," and my friend made an absolutely delicious wine from dandelions that we picked! I don't have much space in my most recent home, but I do have two nice tomato plants producing now and a lemon and a lime bush.

Obviously, being on a very tight budget, I do most of my things for free – but depending on where you live, you don't have to spend much. Here, the ocean is just steps away and is free to enjoy. I know of tons of hiking places both around the ocean and in the mountains. I adore nature!! I rarely spend any money on "activities." If I do, it's at a festival that might cost a few bucks to get in, or to buy a treat. I am not a consumer, and I could care less about keeping up with the Joneses or anyone else!

After reading that blog, it made me wonder if there are that many people who honestly don't know these things?? Maybe there are, but I don't know.

Obviously, we have some posters here who are similar to the Possum Lady. It's just kind of mind-blowing to think that maybe the majority of the population is consumption-driven.

I guess that's how I lived on a shoestring most of my life….I just was never a consumer, nor competitive about "things." I've always been a hard worker, always had high ethics, and have always been very honest. I guess the things I value most are not tangible…..
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Verde Valley AZ
5,055 posts, read 3,845,907 times
Reputation: 5026
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesaje View Post
I get free checking, free checks, no fees and only have to keep a balance of $5 at my credit union. Plus they are solvent with good reserves, guarantee the accounts up to $500k and none of that dangerous investing the commercial banks indulge in. I have free on line banking too and they can do just about anything over the phone as well. Plus a huge free network of ATMs at my disposal. I have no intention of using a commercial bank ever again.

Oh yeah, I also get very low rates on credit cards (< 10%) with cash back rewards. And they don't punish me when I pay them off every month and don't carry a balance.
My mom used to bank at a credit union bank and got all the stuff you do. I guess I've just been with Wells Fargo so long I hate to change. I was with them when they were still First Interstate and that's been years ago.

My credit card rate isn't all that small and, right now, it's sorta killing me because I have...to me...a large balance. I had planned to have it paid off in three months, or less, but got hit with a $800 car repair this month! And I'm going to physical therapy three times a week with a $40 a pop co-pay...it adds up. If it ain't one thing it's another!

I did the reward points thing with Wells Fargo for two years. They charged me $25 a year for the (dubious) "privilege" and all I managed to earn was $50 worth of points. I finally decided it wasn't worth it to me because I don't spend a lot of money and I don't use my credit card that much...until the past six months. I should have cashed it in and closed it out but I'm dumb and figured they'd give me my $50 when I closed it out but no, they said I couldn't have ANY of it if I closed it out. So I basically lost $100. The $50 it cost to begin with plus the $50 I earned back. I figured I was getting ripped off royaly when my friends told me that had cash back cards...that they actually got cash back on!...and they didn't have to pay a fee for it either.

Hmmmmm...maybe I WILL change banks!! lol
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:20 PM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 8,707,546 times
Reputation: 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisteria View Post
I would think that anyone on a budget would know this stuff. I never understood the concept of having to have so much money when there is so much in nature that is free and, to me, much more satisfying. I just don't get any comfort or satisfaction out of a couch or chair, or any other object, quite frankly. (I do like the internet, though! )

It surprises me that there are blogs like this that talk about how to live on less and enjoy what's already there. Maybe most of the world, or at least the U.S., is like that – I don't know. I try to stay away from consumers – mostly because I have no interest in it and I find it boring. I'd much rather hang out with someone who is interested in nature, or creating art, appreciates it, and knows how to do some fascinating things with very little. And a great sense of humor -- that is priceless!! These, to me, are much more appealing.

And then I saw this site about living in Belize – which is supposed to be an American retiree's "cheap" place to live: Top Ten Reasons To Live Or Retire In Belize - Retire in Comfort For Under $1,500. a month

I realized that I actually have just as nice an environment and with less costs, especially with utilities. Not only that, I live right near a beautiful boat harbor that does bring in fresh fish each day, and one can go to the beach there, eat in a nice restaurant overlooking the harbor or just walk around and enjoy the sea lions and pelicans that frequent there. I also live within a block of a big Farmers' Market. After adding up the expenses, and realizing that I'd have to live way out in the country to afford Belize, I recognized that my circumstances are actually better here.

Not only that, all those things the Possum lady talks about are things I grew up with. Having most of my immediate family on farms, we often ate wild things. I certainly know how to flush a toilet with a pail of water (I thought everyone knew that trick?). And I forage for blackberries each autumn here – they grow all over the place and one can just pull over and pick, pick, pick!

I remember using Euell Gibbons' books to forage for "weeds," and my friend made an absolutely delicious wine from dandelions that we picked! I don't have much space in my most recent home, but I do have two nice tomato plants producing now and a lemon and a lime bush.

Obviously, being on a very tight budget, I do most of my things for free – but depending on where you live, you don't have to spend much. Here, the ocean is just steps away and is free to enjoy. I know of tons of hiking places both around the ocean and in the mountains. I adore nature!! I rarely spend any money on "activities." If I do, it's at a festival that might cost a few bucks to get in, or to buy a treat. I am not a consumer, and I could care less about keeping up with the Joneses or anyone else!

After reading that blog, it made me wonder if there are that many people who honestly don't know these things?? Maybe there are, but I don't know.

Obviously, we have some posters here who are similar to the Possum Lady. It's just kind of mind-blowing to think that maybe the majority of the population is consumption-driven.

I guess that's how I lived on a shoestring most of my life….I just was never a consumer, nor competitive about "things." I've always been a hard worker, always had high ethics, and have always been very honest. I guess the things I value most are not tangible…..
I very much agree with you but when the avg. savings rate has gone way up to 6% of income and they are all worried that such a "high" savings rate means the economy is further imperiled by the lack of spending, then it is obvious that there are a LOT of people whose lives are based on consumerism.

There is something inherently very wrong and unstable when the economic health of the country is dependent on the vast majority of the population behaving in a manner that is detrimental their personal financial future!
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:28 PM
 
Location: New England
12,289 posts, read 8,469,575 times
Reputation: 8831
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob from down south View Post
I think this will be sorting itself out for at least a decade still, with the government trying everything it can think of along the way to keep prices up in order to serve their banker masters.
If this is the case, and I believe you are right, should retirees sell now (take their chances on a decent offer) or wait as long as possible (take their chances, praying that housing prices don't do a complete freefall or we fall into a more severe de/re/cession)??

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Old 08-24-2010, 05:34 PM
 
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
1,905 posts, read 4,605,842 times
Reputation: 2471
Quote:
Newenglandgirl: If this is the case, and I believe you are right, should retirees sell now (take their chances on a decent offer) or wait as long as possible (take their chances, praying that housing prices don't do a complete freefall or we fall into a more severe de/re/cession)??
That's what I did, remember, last year? And I'm glad I did it. I just noticed that the house I sold went DOWN about 27% this past month (it does seem to bounce around -- but it's down enough to make me glad I sold when I did). I had a hunch this housing market wasn't going to go anywhere up too soon, so I figured that it all evens out anyway -- you sell low, you buy low. It's still even.

I wish I could have gotten more to relocate, but I didn't, so I'm still trudging away at the full-time job, but I still got a reasonably priced place for here, and still building my retirement funds.

It's all a personal decision. I'm glad I did it when I did, though.
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