Author Topic: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack  (Read 11807 times)

surfastarian

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Income: Between $30,000 and $31,500 per year after taxes and various other deductions (health insurance, 403B, etc.) Supposedly around $38,000 or so before taxes, but I'm not certain. Income comes from two sources. Primary source is my teaching job. That's pretty much consistent. I also make a little scratch with my music gig that happens one or two weekends out of the month.

Basically, I'm bringing in between 2,500 to 2,700 per month depending on furloughs, gigs, etc. For the next few months, it looks like it'll be around 2,550 or so.

Expenses:
Mortgage: $130,301.68. 2400 square feet out in the middle of the country. Far too big for little old me. Refinanced this past March to get my payments down from 1100 per month to 860 per month (4.25 interest rate).
Car Loan: $2,928.
"Credit card": $200. I put this in quotation marks because that was the only way I could afford the repairs on my now defunct old Honda.  The shop said they offered credit through some GE Financing thing. I have another three months before the interest kicks in. Minimum payments are only $25, but I've been putting around $100 to $125 on it to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
Gym Membership: $25 per month.  Just cancelled it two days ago. November's payment will be my last one.
Netflix: $8 per month. Will most likely end up canceling this as well. I hardly ever use it.
Internet service: $70 per month. 
Electricity: Anywhere between $85 or so in the spring and fall to $180 or so in the summer to upwards of $250 or even $300 in the winter. I live in the south, so our houses probably aren't built to heat as efficiently as some of the northern houses are.
Student Loans: $4,360.28. Monthly payment is $83.
Garbage: $21 per month.
Food: Somewhere around $600 per month.
Gas: Around $200 per month
Car Insurance: $328 per month

Assets:
Retirement Acct. through Lincoln Financial: $17,969.46


That's about the long and short of it, as far as I know.
Knowns:
1. Got to obliterate that car loan. I didn't even like getting it, so the sooner I'm rid of it, the happier I'll be. Same goes for the credit card and Netflix. Knocking out the car loan should help the insurance premiums. Normally, I only just use liability because I try not to drive like a damn fool.
2. Need to obliterate that student loan debt at some point, too.
3. Food expenditures are insane. Cutting down on beer and eating out should go a long way to fix this.
4. I can probably cut down fuel expenditures, too.

Unknowns:
1. Got to cut down on my heating costs. My heating is electric. Apparently I don't have a heat pump. At least, that's what the one guy told me. This was the reason given as to why it takes so much juice to heat my home. I've noticed that some rooms will get hot while others will be ice cold. Have no idea why.
2. Am planning on setting up a Vanguard Index fund. Someone told me that I have to put a certain amount into my Lincoln account first before I do that. Going to meet with my school's financial advisor next week to see what's up with that. Would be useful to know how much I need to put into the Vanguard fund to start out with. May just look that up on my own this weekend.
3. Could use some thoughts on my plan of attack. Do I focus on the loans or the index fund? As it is, I'm considering doing both, but emphasizing the loans so that I can free up more cash to put into the fund.

Thanks for the input. Let me know if more info is needed. I know that it's a bit of a mess, but you've got to start somewhere, right?

Frankies Girl

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2013, 04:26:09 PM »
The real elephant in the room is the house. Why have a house that you state is way too big and has such a hefty price tag as well... it seems like that is way more house than you technically can even afford? The standard amount of house that is generally recommended is 2.5 times your salary and if I go with the high of $38K income, would be in the neighborhood of $95K or so. Why have a really expensive house that you don't need? That's just a huge waste of money.

So the biggie for me would be to sell the house and find a much more reasonable one or even an a nice apartment for MUCH less than what you're paying in mortgage and insurance. A smaller house or apartment would also mean much smaller utility bills as well. And if you can get something closer to your work, you'll drop the gas money for the car as well.

Your car insurance is REALLY high. Even with full coverage, you're getting boned.

How many people are eating on $600 a month? If it's just you... that is insane. You should be able to get that under $200 easy with some basic meal planning and comparison shopping.

What's your interest rate on the school loan? If it's lower than 5%, then it would be one of the last things to really hit hard.

Good for you on cancelling the gym membership and netflix. Would also start checking around on the internet but I know that can be high if you're our in a rural area.

Hit the credit card first and try to knock that out before the interest kicks in. You don't mention what it's going to jump to, but it's never good usually. Same thing with the car loan - the interest is the thing to check and compare as far as I'm concerned. Pay the high interest (or soon to be high interest) things off first, then hit the lower interest debts.

burly

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2013, 04:32:10 PM »
In concurrence with the above reply... Can you sell your home, move closer to work and ditch the car all together?

surfastarian

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2013, 05:16:37 PM »
My plan with the house currently is to rent it out. I'm reasonably certain that I'm underwater on my mortgage, so that may be my only option for a while. Honestly, I think part of the reason why I've not been more active in that area is because I've been afraid that it would involve too much to get it ready.

Even as I typed that last sentence, I was realizing how ludicrous that is. I've also been hesitant to move too much closer to my job because crime is such an issue, but surely there's got to be somewhere that's safe near my job.

600 usually ends up being for two people a good bit of the time, and even then, I'd still call it insane, so I'm not letting myself off of the hook that easily.

Does car insurance work like health insurance in that there's an open enrollment period?

Interest on loans is 4.75%.

Fully intend to obliterate the card from orbit before interest rate kicks in.

Moving to a place close enough to bike to work would be perfect. That's what I'm aiming for, at least.


Frankies Girl

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2013, 05:26:15 PM »
My plan with the house currently is to rent it out. I'm reasonably certain that I'm underwater on my mortgage, so that may be my only option for a while. Honestly, I think part of the reason why I've not been more active in that area is because I've been afraid that it would involve too much to get it ready.

Even as I typed that last sentence, I was realizing how ludicrous that is. I've also been hesitant to move too much closer to my job because crime is such an issue, but surely there's got to be somewhere that's safe near my job.

600 usually ends up being for two people a good bit of the time, and even then, I'd still call it insane, so I'm not letting myself off of the hook that easily.

Does car insurance work like health insurance in that there's an open enrollment period?

Interest on loans is 4.75%.

Fully intend to obliterate the card from orbit before interest rate kicks in.

Moving to a place close enough to bike to work would be perfect. That's what I'm aiming for, at least.

You sound like you've got a good head on your shoulders and are looking at things pretty seriously so good on you. :)

If the student loans are at 4.75%, then definitely let that be further down the priority list of what to pay off first.

Work on that food bill -  it's literally hundreds of dollars more towards your debt and shouldn't be too painful.

Car insurance is not like health - you can call around and shop for the best rate out there any time you feel like it. You can go to some websites and run comparisons, but I've always found that it's better to get a real human being to ask all the questions necessary to understand exactly what you need and what you pay, and to get the absolute best rate possible. You can also get a better rate if you bundle your homeowner's insurance most of the time as well, so I'd definitely approach the comparison shopping from that angle - you're looking to get the best rate possible on both your car and house.  I would almost guarantee you'll find a better rate than what you're currently paying.

And do start looking into the real numbers on selling that house and what is actually out there closer to your work. You might be pleasantly surprised or horribly shocked, but at least then you'd have a better idea of what your options are.

Richard3

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2013, 05:34:44 PM »
When I was shopping around for car insurance I would tell the call center person after I got the quote "thanks, but somewhere else was cheaper." about half of them "spoke to a manager" (or just put me on hold, I don't care which) and got me some sort of concession like upping my no claims bonus level  or throwing in the glass coverage. Might be obvious, but thought I'd mention it - car insurance is negotiable it seems.

StarryC

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2013, 05:54:53 PM »
Your heat is electric, your home is large, and you don't seem to know how your heat works.  Do you have "forced air" (with little grates in the floor that blow warm air sometimes, or baseboard heaters that are on the wall and heat up, or electric wall heaters in each room you turn on and off or something else? 

I would determine what rooms you usually live in, and when you want them to be warm.  Say a bedroom and the living room mostly.  The bedroom from 10PM to 11:30PM and from 6AM to 8AM, and the living room from 5PM to 10PM, for example.  If you have one thermostat for the whole house I would "set it and forget it" at 55.  Then get 2 electric oil radiant heaters.   Use those to heat the rooms you are in when you are in them.  You might need to get some outlet timers to turn them off at night and on before you wake up.   Insulate any windows with shrink plastic.  Insulate unused rooms from the rest of the house by throwing a towel under the door, turning off baseboard heaters, and closing air vents.  For probably $200 you should be able to greatly reduce your electric bill all winter and for winters to come.

If you have individually controlled baseboard heaters or individual room thermostats you could do this without buying the oil heaters. 

surfastarian

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2013, 06:52:49 PM »
@ Frankie's Girl:  Thanks!  I will take all of these suggestions under advisement.

@ Richard3:  I've often been surprised at how many things we encounter truly are negotiable.

@ StarryC:  All three of those first statements are indeed correct.  Apparently, I have what you describe as "forced air."  I actually set my thermostat to 50 the first time that I realized that something had to be done, much to the chagrin of my mother who was crashing at my place at the time and my girlfriend (both of whom thought that anything below 60 was a little extreme). 

The only thing about the radiant heaters is that I'd be a little concerned about fire hazards with those.  Or am I just being paranoid?

I'm sure I can find some shrink plastic somewhere.

surfastarian

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2013, 02:44:58 PM »
Was poking around with my Retirement plan.  It's through Lincoln Financial.  I didn't realize that one of my choices for investments was the Vanguard 500 Index.  Went ahead and changed my allocations so that 80% of my future contributions go there and another 20% go to the Vanguard Wellington II.

One thing I noticed:  Apparently there's a process to withdraw money from this fund (not that I would do that), but there doesn't seem to be any means of adding money to it aside from setting it up through my employer.  Or am I missing something here?

As in if a random dude off the street just were to decide to give me a hundred bucks because I'm wearing an awesome shirt, I wouldn't be able to just turn around and put that hundred bucks into my retirement account, would I?

Does that question make sense?

Frankies Girl

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2013, 07:12:17 PM »
I am not aware of any way to add to an existing workplace-sponsored retirement fund like a 401K except through payroll deductions. I'm not up on all of the financial intricacies however.

I do recommend that if you have extra funds you'd like to put to work, checking into opening a traditional or Roth IRA.  I opened a Roth for myself this year and feel a bit behind that I didn't already have one, but you do what you can when you learn about these things... so I suggest you do some reading on traditional and Roths and see whether they sound like a route you can take.

You can add up to $5,500 a year as of 2013, and can open one anywhere - like Vanguard - and invest in just about anything you'd like with the money. I opened mine at Fidelity since that is where the rest of my accounts already were, and have it maxed out and all in the Spartan Total Stock Market Index fund.

Stache In Training

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2013, 08:11:08 PM »
I have to agree, try to move away (sell, rent out, something) from that house.  Crime is an understandable concern for your relocation, but to that, I'm going to suggest what is usually considered an anti-mustachian suggestion, but even ERE uses this: A dog.  You can get a great ROI, when you compare to an alarm system.  Much lower "installation" cost (100 bucks for a dog at a shelter as opposed to a couple hundred to maybe even thousands); and depending on how much it eats, probably a lower monthly cost for food, instead of the monthly subscription.  Also, alarm systems can be disabled easily.

Couple that with the savings of living closer to work, and having a house (or condo, or apartment, whatever) that is more affordable, and the dog will probably pay for itself within the first month.

Also, it'll make a great running partner, which will help you not want to re-start that gym membership.  And the companionship is priceless!

Other than that, the suggestions have been great, but have to agree that you're getting boned on the car insurance.

Those were the two things that jumped out at me, other than your heating costs for Atlanta, but moving to another place may solve that, and look slike you're already setting the thermostat lower!

Good luck!

Zamboni

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2013, 05:42:04 AM »
Quote
I've noticed that some rooms will get hot while others will be ice cold. Have no idea why.

Did you look up in the attic (or down in the basement depending up where the vents come into the rooms) to see the the air is split into ducts for different rooms that are controlled by baffles?  You are looking for a metal plate in the air duct that slides up and down to open up or close off air flow to a particular room.  If a prior owner closed that to a particular room, or have it in a midway position to split off most of the hot air to a neighboring room, then that room won't heat up well even if you have the vent wide open because the airflow to the vent is limited or even shut off upstream.  Does that make sense?
« Last Edit: November 03, 2013, 04:19:18 PM by Zamboni »

surfastarian

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2013, 08:36:01 AM »
@Frankie's Girl:  I'll take a look into the Roth IRA stuff.  Right now, I've got my mind set on putting my money into a Vanguard Total Stock Index Fund, but that doesn't mean I can't look at other options as well.

@Stache:  The dog question has come up before, and I am a dog lover.  My biggest concern is that I won't really won't have time to adequately take care of a dog as I'm so rarely at home in the first place.  That's always been my biggest deterrent for getting a dog.

For the time being, my most solid theft prevention plan is to minimalize to the point where I don't really have much that someone would want to steal.

@Zamboni:  It does.  I'll give it a look-see and report back.

engineerjourney

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2013, 09:56:18 AM »
@Frankie's Girl:  I'll take a look into the Roth IRA stuff.  Right now, I've got my mind set on putting my money into a Vanguard Total Stock Index Fund, but that doesn't mean I can't look at other options as well.

We just opened and maxed out Roth accounts through Vanguard and put all that into the Vanguard Total Stock Index Fund.  You can have both :)
« Last Edit: November 03, 2013, 11:43:25 AM by engineerjourney »

surfastarian

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2013, 11:29:28 AM »
@engineerjourney:  Did you mean "through" or "thought"?  Not trying to be an ass or anything.  Just want to make sure that I understand your response.

engineerjourney

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2013, 11:43:02 AM »
@engineerjourney:  Did you mean "through" or "thought"?  Not trying to be an ass or anything.  Just want to make sure that I understand your response.
Fixed it!  Typo :)

surfastarian

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2013, 12:34:38 PM »
Thanks!

Stache In Training

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2013, 08:40:20 PM »
@Stache:  The dog question has come up before, and I am a dog lover.  My biggest concern is that I won't really won't have time to adequately take care of a dog as I'm so rarely at home in the first place.  That's always been my biggest deterrent for getting a dog.

For the time being, my most solid theft prevention plan is to minimalize to the point where I don't really have much that someone would want to steal.

Understandable. My question would be: why aren't you home that much?  If having a dog enables you to live close to work, and cut down your commute time, then you can use the old commute time to spend with your dog.  Also, as I said, you're no longer going to the gym, so your gym time can be spent with the dog too. (running with/exercising with the dog)

I just don't believe that not having a lot of stuff (or good stuff) will keep someone from breaking in, because unless they have already been in your house, there's no way for someone to know if you have a lot or not.  Does that make sense?  They could look in the window, but if they do that and see a dog, they'll move on.

surfastarian

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2013, 04:55:08 AM »
@ Maigahane:  Guess it's a good thing I went ahead and paid the whole thing off.  That wouldn't surprise me at all that they'd pull a cheap trick like that.  Still, if that were to happen, I'd only have myself to blame.

@ Stache:  True.  For me, these days work has kept me out of the house.  Especially now that I've got so many seniors failing this semester (In one class, I have only four kids who are passing out of 26!!).  That means lots of staying after the bell to grade essays, hold tutorials, club meetings, and the occasional theater night.

I will say that working for a school does confer plenty of Mustachian benefits:  Free entertainment, relatively cheap lunch (though I still just bring my own food), and free workout facilities.

chasesfish

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2013, 05:04:27 AM »
Where around Atlanta do you work/live?   How bad is your commute?  You said county house and underwater, it makes me think you live in one of the far away counties.

You should really look at the car insurance, I pay about $100/mo for full coverage on two cars/two drivers in Atlanta with State Farm.  Allstate was cheaper and I think American Family is now the cheapest in town?

Have you considered roommates?  Are you opposed to a townhouse?  High density housing can be pretty cheap close to town in some 90s townhouse developments..


surfastarian

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2013, 07:25:17 PM »
Walton. Commute is around 30 minutes or so.

I originally bought the house because I missed my hometown terribly. As in bouts of depression terrible. I'm from a small town, so going to a big city was a culture shock that I still haven't fully recovered from yet. I'm working on it, though. My old hometown grew so much, and I wanted a place that reminded me of what it used to be. So much for that idea.

Agreed. I'm using State Farm right now just because, well, that's pretty much what my family has always used. It's a silly reason, though, and I'm not against looking somewhere else for insurance. I'm a safe driver, so it's not like I'd be likely to use the insurance in the first place.

I wouldn't be against a roomie, and have considered it. Idea right now is to move in with girlfriend within about a year of so.

Townhouse you say?

chasesfish

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2013, 07:41:14 PM »
Walton, as in way out in NE metro?  I'm guessing you commute into Gwinnett for work.

That's actually not as bad as I expected. 

You should type in the high school district you're in on craigslist and get a good idea of what your place will rent for, that'll give you a better idea on whether or not to sell or become a landlord.

Unfortunately those of us who work out in the burbs don't have the "bike to work" option, we've had two cyclists killed on one of my commute roads this year over in Marietta. 

And yes on the townhouse, lots of developments in the mid 2000s built high density housing ( ITP product) way out in the suburbs.  There are some good deals still out there in terms of price to bedrooms if you can find some near you.   It may also be better suited for you and cut your commute way down.

chasesfish

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2013, 07:45:40 PM »
Oh yeah, shop the car insurance immediately unless you meant $328/yr.   My wife's old jeep is $235 every six months with State Farm and that includes comprehensive.   

I think your house might work as a nice rental property, even if it means becoming a roommate with someone for a little while while figuring out what to do.  Even if it just breaks even, you're not paying those utility bills


surfastarian

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2013, 06:16:00 PM »
328 every six months.

Is Craigslist more reliable than Zillow?

Unfortunately not the first untimely death in the Atlanta area that I've heard about that makes me wary of leaving a car.  You hear about the other guys gunned down in EAV, too?

surfastarian

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2013, 06:53:23 AM »
Hope you guys don't mind if I add some details about my brother (if you thought my situation was bad...)

Some backstory: My brother has made some absolutely awful financial decisions. Far worse than mine. While I'd normally wait until I was a more experienced mustachian, with him having two baby girls, time isn't exactly on my side. I'm riding up to see him today, so I was hoping I could elicit some input from you guys.

Here's what I know:
1. He lives in a trailer park. Rent is cheap. Don't know how much yet, but I'll ask him and report back. The place is basically a slum, though, and the sooner he can find a better place, the better. My school actually qualifies a trailer park as "homeless," so maybe that can qualify him for some aid. Thoughts?

2. He just paid off his truck. He was paying 75 per week. He only has liability coverage on it now. Don't know how much. It was a loan from his buddy, so banks weren't involved.

3. He knows he has around 1200 or so credit card debt. He's not sure. He says that they send him a letter once a year offering to settle, but I suspect he just ignores it. He does not know how much interest he has to pay.

4. I'll pause to allow you guys to recover from that last one. Pick yourself up off the floor, dust yourself off, and let's continue...

5. He got boned big time with Child Support from his first kid. First, he had a terrible lawyer (someone his work buddies mentioned) who didn't put up any sort of fight. Second, his ex girlfriend basically used one of the most vicious and notorious child support / divorce lawyers in our area. All of these factors plus just him being him added up to the courts screwing him over royally. At least, that's the story that I keep hearing.

I don't know what "royally" means thought until I see numbers, but I'm not anticipating good news.

I do suspect that if he is to get out of this mess, he is, at some point, going to have to go back and fight these charges. But I know that affording a lawyer is going to be tough. My social worker friend recommended some Free Legal Aid source, so I may look into that.  Any other thoughts?

6. He has two daughters. To my knowledge, his current girlfriend does not work. He doesn't live too terribly far from family, but he has a tendency to alienate himself from people, and he's not big on reconciliation. Yet another trait that he inherited from my dad.

He needs allies to help him win this fight, but that means that he's going to have to ask people for help, and I know that's going to be difficult for him. Thoughts?

7. I do want to thank all of you for your invaluable aid to me. I know I'm asking a lot here, and I'm more than willing to pay it forward or return he favor by spreading the enlightenment of financial independence to others.

Seriously, I owe you guys some home brew.

chasesfish

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2013, 07:05:26 AM »
What kind of income does he have and what are support payments?

Trying to help family who may or may not want help is always very difficult.  Life is about a series of choices.  I hope he is working every waking hour of every day to earn income.

footenote

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2013, 07:22:19 AM »
You don't mention his income. That's a big factor for many of these decisions. (For example, child support is usually a percentage of income.)

Regarding resources, here's a good starting place: http://211online.unitedwayatlanta.org/

211 can help him find assistance for many different challenges, including legal:
http://211online.unitedwayatlanta.org/KeywordList.aspx?;;0;;N;0;584845;legal;All

Most important, as you already understand, is his attitude. If he is (as he sounds) fatalistic and "doomed," he may be difficult to help.

I, too, have an impossible-to-help sibling, so I will be thinking of you today. Good luck.

surfastarian

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2013, 04:23:57 PM »
Thanks for the assists. Many of these things were unknown to me, but I've managed to get some actual numbers. I've still got a long way to go, but I'll report back with updated data tomorrow when I get a free moment.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 04:42:58 AM by surfastarian »

StarryC

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2013, 04:52:07 PM »
In answer to your long ago question about fire hazards of radiant heaters:

Sure, they can be, if you put them too close to fabric or dried wood or tinder.  But they are heavy, and usually stand upright without a problem.  Since they have wheels usually, I'd just put it near to where you are in the room but at least a foot away from fabric.  Also, I believe most of them have an "auto shutoff" if they get "too hot."  Look for that if you are worried. 

See this one: http://www.amazon.com/DeLonghi-EW7707CM-Safeheat-ComforTemp-Oil-Filled/dp/B000TGDGLU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1384127038&sr=8-2&keywords=radiant+heater#productDetails

But, since you can close vents, I think it makes more sense to close off unused rooms, get a programmable thermostat, and insulate as much as you can.

surfastarian

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2013, 06:13:49 AM »
Just checking in real quick.  GF has raised some concerns and questions about her own finances, and she definitely wants to get back on track.  Would you guys be open to giving some feedback on her circumstances if I put it up here as well (with her permission, of course)?

Also, what are your thoughts on finding part time work via craigslist or any other means (LinkedIN)?  Manual labor stuff.  I don't care how much I get paid.  I just want something that's going to teach me some useful skills.  I was thinking something in carpentry or plumbing or something like that.

chasesfish

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #30 on: November 24, 2013, 06:47:32 AM »
If I remember correctly, you're a teacher with many weeks off in the summer.

One of the best way to start learning skills is habitat for humanity, it's not paid, but you're also not paying to learn the basic carpentry skills.  Here's one of the big upcoming builds this winter.

http://www.clarkhoward.com/s/habitat-for-humanity/




surfastarian

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2013, 07:03:52 AM »
You're exactly right, chasesfish.  I'd tossed around doing H4H in the past.  Maybe that's something I need to take another look at.

Zamboni

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Re: Reader Case Study-Thoughts on where to start/basic plan of attack
« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2013, 11:22:43 AM »
You are kind to worry about your brother and his girlfriend, and smart to learn construction skills.  Even if you don't end up in construction for a living, you can always use those skills in other ways (fixing up your own place, as a landlord, etc.)

I don't know how your state works, but child support is typically just calculated straight from a formula based on the income and extent of custody of each parent.  More custody = paying less.  Other than that it's not really negotiable.  I could see him getting screwed on the custody part, though, which results in higher support payments.  Does he want equal custody?