Author Topic: Seeking Advice/Opinions  (Read 4052 times)

FromRedToBlack

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Seeking Advice/Opinions
« on: February 03, 2015, 09:56:04 PM »
Here is our story & I'd love advice on what we should do.

Combined income of 99k on average (63k me & about 36k hubby) but I will need to go to part time because grad program.

Debt:
*Car loan 23k (we live in LA, a car is non negotiable & we share 1)
*Student loans totaling 50k (but in grad school for SLP which will nearly double my income when complete in 3 yrs, that will add approx 60k more loans)
*Bills that affect credit in total about $3500 total (combined credit cards & a small loan; making payments & have paid off most other things)
*Bills that don't affect credit rating about $3000 total (old medical bills and an old former business debt)

We live in Los Angeles in a large 1br, its about 900 sq ft and is an insane steal at $1133 monthly. The apartments in areas with better schools are about $1450. The issue is that the schools around our apartment are horrible and our 5 year old son starts school in August. We would like to stay & milk the apartment since my income will be going down some. It is cheaper to buy a condo than to rent nowadays with FHA but that would take most of our savings. We want to know what would make sense, stay in our 1br & try to pay off as much as possible, move to a 2 br in a better area or stay where we are & save 3.5% downpayment & buy a condo in an area with better schools.



MDM

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Re: Seeking Advice/Opinions
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2015, 10:06:21 PM »
Do you have the option of "School Choice"?  In other words, you apply to send your child to a school other than the default location.  With these programs, the chosen school likes it because the per pupil funding goes to the school attended.  Catch is that you are responsible for transportation - don't know if that is feasible for you.

FromRedToBlack

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Re: Seeking Advice/Opinions
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2015, 10:16:43 PM »
Nope, in LA there are only lotteries. So we are going to enter all of them but it is no guarantees. The school across from us is 5/10 rating, the other schools we want are at least 8/10.

CDP45

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Re: Seeking Advice/Opinions
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2015, 10:28:18 PM »
The price of the car is negotiable, save yourself 10k and go with a 2008 Honda accord. Hubby needs to make more, less than $20/hr in LA??

MDM

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Re: Seeking Advice/Opinions
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2015, 10:28:49 PM »
Not an obvious choice.  Much will depend on the specific teacher(s) your son gets.  Within any school there can be differences in the ability of individual teachers.

Without knowing just how bad the nearby school is, I'd be inclined to stay where you are and put extra effort into time with your son.  E.g., getting him to be a proficient reader, good at math, and generally a good learner by you and your spouse taking time with him now could have a larger impact than which specific school he attends. 

innerscorecard

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Re: Seeking Advice/Opinions
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2015, 10:34:08 PM »
Zero savings or other assets?

FromRedToBlack

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Re: Seeking Advice/Opinions
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2015, 10:55:44 PM »
We have $6500 saved but no other assets other than my 401k which has like $1600 in it & his which is about the same. My hubby works as a Claims Auditor they make about $18/hr and then he has OT sometimes but didn't attend college so income earning is limited. We got the car last year and it was under bluebook, had a different car that was about to conk out & added neg equity to it but the total value is slightly over what's owed so I suppose it is an option; albeit very hard one as we have to have at least 1 reliable car.

innerscorecard

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Re: Seeking Advice/Opinions
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2015, 11:10:35 PM »
It's important not to have your son in a bad school, but I wouldn't buy a condo at this stage. Even if the lifetime costs of buying rather than renting would make sense, you guys are already stretched very thin with debt. If something goes wrong, you don't have the capacity to absorb it at the present. I would look to rent or stay with family, if that option is available.

FromRedToBlack

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Re: Seeking Advice/Opinions
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2015, 11:29:47 PM »
Thank you all! I really appreciate the insights. I think we will just stay where we are unless the deal of the century comes up on an apartment (i.e. less than $150 more than current and with great schools). I think you all are right in that we should save, invest more time into helping our son learn and focus on bettering our financial situation.

innerscorecard

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Re: Seeking Advice/Opinions
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2015, 11:42:41 PM »
Yeah, I think that's right. The problem is that you have to manage the risk of your situation. You don't want to be in a place where you can't handle a disaster, because bad things do happen.

Allie

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Re: Seeking Advice/Opinions
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2015, 01:32:24 AM »
This probably just me preaching to the choir, but before you enroll your son in a school that may not be optimal, take the time to visit the school, meet the principal, and meet the teachers.  Learn the full area that the school draws from and consider the neighborhoods.  I had the pleasure of being bused into a school that was awful as a child.  Awful.  Fights, low standards, weapons, gang related families, etc. 

No amount of parenting and support at home will make up for that. 

If you have any concerns about the environment your 5yo will be entering and spending most of his day, pay the money and move.

FromRedToBlack

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Re: Seeking Advice/Opinions
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2015, 10:24:47 PM »
Thank you Allie! That is very true perspective. We definitely value education very highly and do not want him to have a substandard one. We got information for 10 charter schools in the area today and will be submitting for each ones lottery. I will be applying for as many as possible to improve his chances of a quality school and of course still work with him to reinforce his learning at home. The school in our district is not dangerous just not an environment that fosters creativity or helps to bring forth their best strengths or creative elements. Regarding test scores they are rated 5/10 and the other schools outside our area as well as charters are rated at minimum 8/10 & above. We just want him to have the best opportunity possible while also striving to reach our goals.