Author Topic: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt  (Read 5907 times)

anisotropy

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"Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« on: August 11, 2014, 09:18:36 AM »
Gotta recognize his efforts but I feel it's somewhat misguided.

http://metronews.ca/news/calgary/1122664/calgary-urban-nomad-goes-nfa-no-fixed-address-to-pay-down-debts/

Faced with mounting personal debt, Geoffrey Westlock came up with a drastic solution.

He decided to go NFA – no fixed address.

The 44-year-old has been living in an RV trailer in Calgary since May, in a deliberate effort to pay down $15,000 in debt he amassed as a film-school student.

Westlock now parks his truck and trailer in big-box store lots around the city, and calls himself an “urban nomad.”

It’s more economical than renting a room, or leasing a townhouse, he said, as his fixed expenses amount only to a phone bill, a truck payment, and $122 every two weeks for the trailer.

“It frees up a massive amount of cash to pay down my debts,” Westlock said.

Originally from Vancouver, Westlock moved to Edmonton in 1997 before heading to Red Deer in 2008 to enroll in film school. He graduated in 2010 with a BA in Motion Picture Studies and $15,000 in credit card debt.

“I was paying minimum payments of $500 a month, and scratching my head,” he said. “I thought, ‘This is nuts.’”

He hatched the urban nomad plan as a solution to his debt.

“If I drastically reduced my lifestyle for a very short period of time, I could get through this,” he said. “There’s no other method, other than to buckle down and somehow pay these off.”

Westlock said he makes use of truck stops and big-box store parking lots to park his truck and trailer. He said he was kicked out of a Costco parking lot one night but on the whole hasn’t had much trouble in other locations.

His plan is to keep it up until he pays off the debt, which he expects to accomplish by next summer.

Westlock plans to move to Toronto after that, to work in the film industry.

PQ:

“Near the end of my BA, I ran out of money and was living on credit cards the last couple of months. The bills piled up and before I knew it, I ended up maxing out my credit cards to the tune of $15,000.”

– “Urban Nomad” Geoffrey Westlock


Forcus

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2014, 11:52:57 AM »
Truck payment and $122 x 2 = $244/mo for the trailer.

Although I don't know what rental units go for in Calgary... might be a lot more than that.

anisotropy

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2014, 01:18:51 PM »
rental would be at least 800/month, most likely 1000/month.

The problem is with the truck payments, which could easily be over 600 a month.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2014, 05:24:51 PM »
Welcome to the Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy, where we make fun of anyone who isn't 100% hardcore Mustachian.

Guy sees he's in trouble financially, and takes drastic action to get out of debt. Let's make fun of him because...um...he's making a truck payment in lieu of rent! Hahaha sucker, of course the right answer is to dump the truck and live in a cardboard box. What a moron!

On a more serious note, our family did something semi similar to this. We lived in a converted bookmobile for the majority of a year. Paid cheap rent at one place, were camper hosts at another. Did it end up being a good financial move? Just by the numbers, it was probably a wash. But look deeper, and the lessons learned were invaluable. For one, we now know just how little we need to actually live (a small 2-bedroom house seems positively luxurious, when compared to a 25ft by ~8ft RV). For another, we realized how adaptable we really are.

It's not for everyone, and I'm sure we can point at a lot of things the guy's doing wrong. Any chance we could give him credit for what he's doing right?

Theadyn

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2014, 06:42:42 PM »
Perhaps he already had the truck payment?  Decided to blow up the credit card debt and rent is high, so if a person already has a useable truck to tow it with, I say 'Kudos!'.   Maybe he'll decide to get rid of the truck payment as his next thing to pay off.   At least he is thinking outside the box.

dragoncar

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2014, 07:45:57 PM »
Welcome to the Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy, where we make fun of anyone who isn't 100% hardcore Mustachian.


FTFY

anisotropy

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2014, 11:21:35 AM »
Welcome to the Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy, where we make fun of anyone who isn't 100% hardcore Mustachian.

Guy sees he's in trouble financially, and takes drastic action to get out of debt. Let's make fun of him because...um...he's making a truck payment in lieu of rent! Hahaha sucker, of course the right answer is to dump the truck and live in a cardboard box. What a moron!

On a more serious note, our family did something semi similar to this. We lived in a converted bookmobile for the majority of a year. Paid cheap rent at one place, were camper hosts at another. Did it end up being a good financial move? Just by the numbers, it was probably a wash. But look deeper, and the lessons learned were invaluable. For one, we now know just how little we need to actually live (a small 2-bedroom house seems positively luxurious, when compared to a 25ft by ~8ft RV). For another, we realized how adaptable we really are.

It's not for everyone, and I'm sure we can point at a lot of things the guy's doing wrong. Any chance we could give him credit for what he's doing right?

I will make a post to make fun of myself in the near future lol.

LalsConstant

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2014, 11:49:28 AM »
I have been reading books and articles about people who live in vehicles by choice for some time now.

While I think you don't have to be one of those people to reduce your lifestyle,  their space and financial constraints lead to some very frugal living you can adapt to your own situation.

I have even considered that as a retiree I could spend a year or two vandwelling and deciding where to live permanently.  If I lost my current job and had to go back to service work I would probably live in my car for a while while figuring something out.   I don't see the big fuss here.

greenmimama

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2014, 12:10:12 PM »
Where can he rent a trailer for that little? maybe from a friend?

But renting a RV here is quite expensive, more than just renting hotel rooms

yyc-phil

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2014, 12:20:35 PM »
Rents in Calgary, where I own a couple of condos, are completely crazy if not indecent, and that is, if you can find a place to stay in the first place. Last year, the vacancy rate was close to zero. An inner city bachelor suite in a decrepit building will rent for about $900, again if you can find one. Last year, I was renting out a bachelor loft for $1200, all utilities included. When my tenant left, i decided to raise the rent to $1700, thinking that if I couldn't rent it, I would lower the rent until I found the right tenant. Believe or not, less than a minute after I posted the ad on Kijiji, I had 22 people contacting me. The lease is almost over, and I could rent this unit for $2200, the asking price for similar apartments in that area.

So I think what this guy is doing is the only way to survive in Calgary these days.

greenmimama

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2014, 12:25:37 PM »
Rents in Calgary, where I own a couple of condos, are completely crazy if not indecent, and that is, if you can find a place to stay in the first place. Last year, the vacancy rate was close to zero. An inner city bachelor suite in a decrepit building will rent for about $900, again if you can find one. Last year, I was renting out a bachelor loft for $1200, all utilities included. When my tenant left, i decided to raise the rent to $1700, thinking that if I couldn't rent it, I would lower the rent until I found the right tenant. Believe or not, less than a minute after I posted the ad on Kijiji, I had 22 people contacting me. The lease is almost over, and I could rent this unit for $2200, the asking price for similar apartments in that area.

So I think what this guy is doing is the only way to survive in Calgary these days.

wow, that puts some perspective on it.

yyc-phil

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2014, 12:29:09 PM »
This being said, I would have chosen an old Class C RV which you can easily pick up for a few thousand dollars in this city where cash is king and everybody wants to upgrade to a $100K RV.

anisotropy

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2014, 12:54:28 PM »
Rents in Calgary, where I own a couple of condos, are completely crazy if not indecent, and that is, if you can find a place to stay in the first place. Last year, the vacancy rate was close to zero. An inner city bachelor suite in a decrepit building will rent for about $900, again if you can find one. Last year, I was renting out a bachelor loft for $1200, all utilities included. When my tenant left, i decided to raise the rent to $1700, thinking that if I couldn't rent it, I would lower the rent until I found the right tenant. Believe or not, less than a minute after I posted the ad on Kijiji, I had 22 people contacting me. The lease is almost over, and I could rent this unit for $2200, the asking price for similar apartments in that area.

So I think what this guy is doing is the only way to survive in Calgary these days.

yes the rent is high when you are renting on your own. But as soon as you get a roommate and live further away (30mins from downtown by train/bus) the rent drops quite a bit. I was renting a 1400 two bed room unit by a train station in 2012. A friend is currently renting a two bed room unit for 2000 within walking distance to downtown. Another friend is sharing a house with 4 other people and his share of rent is less than 600.

but hey, plenty of money in calgary, people got money to spend how they want to.

Forcus

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2014, 12:10:29 PM »
Welcome to the Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy, where we make fun of anyone who isn't 100% hardcore Mustachian.

Guy sees he's in trouble financially, and takes drastic action to get out of debt. Let's make fun of him because...um...he's making a truck payment in lieu of rent! Hahaha sucker, of course the right answer is to dump the truck and live in a cardboard box. What a moron!

I see what you are saying and there is a lot of judginess in this forum but the truck payment stood in stark contrast to his other efforts. If I had to guess the true story is he bought the truck before his revelation and is way upside down on it, so he has no choice to keep it. But if it's just "cause he likes it" then there are cheaper choices for towing... There are three early 90's F250's with diesels for sale where I am right now for $1200-$1500. Stone reliable (even if aging) and cheap to maintain (most of the time). Based on the rest of the story though I doubt it's just cause he likes it, but around here, everyone is so overleveraged it's believable.

But who knows, not enough information to tell..

strider3700

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2014, 12:58:14 PM »
I'm pretty sure Calgary recently topped the list of cities in Canada when it comes to household debt levels

stevedoug

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2014, 02:46:46 PM »
Welcome to the Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy, where we make fun of anyone who isn't 100% hardcore Mustachian.


FTFY

this is very true.
And I am still ok with it.

daverobev

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Re: "Urban Nomad" goes NFA (no fixed address) to pay down debt
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2014, 05:19:42 PM »
Welcome to the Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy, where we make fun of anyone who isn't 100% hardcore Mustachian.

Guy sees he's in trouble financially, and takes drastic action to get out of debt. Let's make fun of him because...um...he's making a truck payment in lieu of rent! Hahaha sucker, of course the right answer is to dump the truck and live in a cardboard box. What a moron!

I see what you are saying and there is a lot of judginess in this forum but the truck payment stood in stark contrast to his other efforts. If I had to guess the true story is he bought the truck before his revelation and is way upside down on it, so he has no choice to keep it. But if it's just "cause he likes it" then there are cheaper choices for towing... There are three early 90's F250's with diesels for sale where I am right now for $1200-$1500. Stone reliable (even if aging) and cheap to maintain (most of the time). Based on the rest of the story though I doubt it's just cause he likes it, but around here, everyone is so overleveraged it's believable.

But who knows, not enough information to tell..

Prices in Canada != prices in the US

At the supermarket there is a 2001 F150 for sale for $3400... 1991, has some obvious rust though it might not be structural.