Tag Archive: money


Last time, we found out that you will either get a home that is totally run down, but in your price range except for the massive overhaul you’ll have to do to make that house a home, or you’ll end up buying a house that is more expensive than you are comfortable with.

You can rejoice, though, because you can QUIT LOOKING FOR HOUSES!! That frees up about 10 hours a day for you to start writing checks! Yay! As it turns out, even if the house you are going to buy is too expensive, revel in the fact that you won’t have to sanitize the entire thing just to move in. It’s a give and take.

Now comes the real craziness that no one prepares a first-time home buyer for. I thought that I had read up on what needed to be done, what would be expected, and such, but there wasn’t really a solid, to-the-point kind of guide, save a Dave Barry book that I thought couldn’t be true because he’s a humorist. He jokes about writing so many checks that they litter the side-walks. That’s crazy. There are only enough to cover the dining room table.

Okay, okay, maybe not that many, but there are checks to be written, and right away.

The first and more important thing that you have to realize about real estate is that you have to enter into a binding contract when you start haggling about the cost of the home. Either side can negate the contract within the first 10-days, presuming you don’t have a dolt for a realtor, but it will cost you money to break the contract within this period of time, even if you back out because the house is lemon and you didn’t find it out until you got an inspection.

The contract thing was a little dizzying, at first. I swear, the legalese sound like this, “THIS IS A LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT. IF YOU SO MUCH A STEP OUT OF LINE, YOUR SOUL WILL BE BANISHED TO EVERLASTING DARKNESS!” when it, in reality, is basically saying, “Don’t be a dirt-bag. If you say you’ll buy the house, y’all agree on a price, and you make a deal, then, follow through. Don’t say you’ll buy the house and then back out at the last second because you have cold feet or find another house you like better. These people have taken their house off the market for you, and if you get flighty, they might have missed out on a real buyer.” Makes sense, but it’s still a little intimidating.

My beloved realtor, Willita Thompson, was quite patient with us about being so ill-informed, but she deals with this all the time, and so she just stated, as a mater-of-fact, that we needed this money…today. Well, it’s not just her! Everyone else (including former real estate agents) among our friends never once thought to sit us down and say, “Now, you know, you’re going to have to have thousands of dollars to spend to be able to get a loan, right?” If you’ve never bought a house, you’re thinking, “Wait…thousands?” If you’ve bought a house, you’re nodding your head, knowingly.

I’m presuming that people think we know this because they’d like to think that we’d be well-informed, and on the ball. Well, they’d be WRONG. But, that’s another blog, altogether. I mean, NOW we are. But, before we started this whole thing? Not so much.

If you are in that same boat that we were in, after reading this series of blogs, you’ll be all set! So, if you’ve never bought a house before, you’re wondering what option money is. Well, you are asking the seller to take their house off the market while you haggle. This costs you, the buyer, money…usually around $100. Write a check.

Then, you have to prove that you are not some joker that is just being a pest and really has no intention of buying the house. This is called “earnest money,” a befitting name and is around $1,000. Write a check.

Presuming the seller doesn’t laugh your offer into the trash, you have a deal! But, wait, there’s more! You really ought to get the house inspected. Just do it. It’ll cost you about $500, depending on where you are located. Write a check.

Next time: Inspection findings, pools, and closing costs!

 

Money and Me

I was listening to Dave Ramsey the other day and he was talking about the “ouch factor” that one feels when spending cash. I love his show and tend to see the wisdom in most of what he preaches. However, this day, his premise was that, when one spends cash, the brain sees that as “real” and then makes one feel the pain of the cash leaving your hand and going to someone else, the way that a debit and/or swiping a card just can’t do.

Well, that may be true for those people who get paid by check instead of direct deposit, used cash for purchases and/or paying bills at some point in their lives, and such. But, even I, at age 39, have never really used cash, except as a wee little. When I was 16, I marched myself to the bank and opened an account. Since I had an official paycheck and about $50 (kids, this was a substantial amount back in the day!) the bank officer opened an account for me.

Side note: It was many years later that I figured out that he really didn’t have to open an account for me, that they had no legal way to bind me to any contract, as I was 16. I now understand why he seemed so surprised to have me march in and decidedly announce that I needed an account and that I asked about interest rates on a saving account. Funny how it just seemed the thing to do, so I did it. No one told me I couldn’t, I didn’t know it wasn’t supposed to be possible, so I went ahead and did it.

Anyhow, I got checks with the account, and an ATM card. I almost NEVER took out cash. When I did, I would spend it because the amount was already taken out of my account and was reflected on my check register. If my check register logged it as a reduction from my account, whatever I had in my wallet was found money and I could spend it until it was gone, without any thought.

This is the problem with the “ouch factor.” What Dave needs to realize is that, for anyone who has been born in the last few decades, the “ouch factor” comes, for many of us, not with the spending of cash, but from seeing our bank send us a notice of our transaction (along with a balance) as a banner on our smart phone. We have access to our bank account at all times, now, and that’s how many of us determine how much money we “have.”

So, when I make a transaction with my debit card, I feel the “ouch.” When I have cash, it’s free money day!!

I’ll leave you with an example. Someone gave my son some money as a gift to put into his savings account. Well, he uses the Bank of Mom and Dad, and so he gave us the cash, and I put the money from our checking account into savings, making a notation that this was his money. This left me with $50 burning a hole in my pocketbook.

Fast forward to this past Saturday when I was in town with the kids. Snacks were bought, lunch was acquired and consumed, the car was washed, a yard sale was made use of…and all with the cash I had in my wallet. At the end of the day, it was gone. As we drove home, after having put gas in the van and paying with my debit card, the thought that crossed my mind was this:

“Man, that was kind of awesome. We were in town most of the day and all I spent money on was gas!”

Yeah. It’s like that.

The Second Amendment. It’s a statement of a natural right that each human possesses. It’s not a human right. Those are given and taken away by other humans. No, fundamental rights are rights that are endowed to us by our Creator, and we shaped the government around them. These rights existed BEFORE the government of the nation that became known as The United States was formed.

We have other rights like that. The right to move about, to speak, to write, to not be found guilty of crimes without proof, etc. We cherish our rights, but don’t seem to give the same level of credence to all of them.

I’m going to say something that will shock even those who support a person’s right to keep and bear arms. There should be NO CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE LAWS. I mean it, and here’s why.

Gun Pic

Do we press for laws that make it necessary for a person to obtain a license before they speak, lest they commit slander?

No.

Do we press for laws that make is necessary for a person to get a license before they write, lest they commit libel?

No.

Do we press for laws that make it necessary for a person to obtain a license before they walk from one place to another, lest they jay-walk or walk into someone else’s private property?

No.

Then, why do we require a permit for a person to carry a gun?

Some of the arguments are that a person might not know how to use it, they might hurt someone, or they might be a criminal.

1. If a person doesn’t know how to use a gun, they might make a mistake. That’s true. Does anyone here believe that a 4 hour course is going to make a person an expert. If you believe that, I have some land for sale I’d like to talk to you about later. For more on this, by an expert that will “out-expert” just about everyone reading this, read here.

Also, in this, I might point out that people can do considerable damage to a person’s life with slander and/or libel. A person could be ruined, made destitute, and end up dying on the street with slanderous statements, if enough people believe. That’s why there are laws against it. Just like there are laws against reckless discharges of a gun, yada, yada. Next!

2. Of course they might hurt someone. It’s called risk. You might get hit by a bus when you walk outside your front door. Do you risk it? Yes, because it’s a low risk. There are plenty of states that allow open carry without a permit. Do you hear about these states having gargantuan numbers of random people randomly shooting? Nope. You hear of mass shootings in “gun free zones.” Next!

3. They might be a criminal. Well, yeah. If they are, do you think they give a lick about laws anyway? What else ya got?

This is the bottom line: We are being charged BY THE STATE to exercise a fundamental right. They take finger prints. They charge a fee. They keep tabs on us.

If we had to register our editorials with the state and show our license to write, would you feel the same as you do about concealed carry laws?

Here is my radical proposal – allow people to exercise their right to defend themselves, and THEN, if they commit a crime with the weapon, they get punished. We’ll call it “due process of law.” Pretty snazzy title, right? I may have borrowed it from somewhere…

My sister is a cop. She told me open carry laws are a joke because you want to keep the criminals guessing who’s armed, always unsure, never bold like where they know all law-abiding citizens are unarmed. I agree. But, let’s not make people bow to the State to get the license that would allow them to defend themselves.

So, I restate my premise – the only concealed carry law I want to see is one that states that people have the right to exercise their Second Amendment right WITHOUT having to get a license to do so.

Some people seem to think that the money the government spends comes from some random magical place like unicorn butts. They talk about “the government” as if it’s a person, and it’s a nice one at that.

 

“OH, look,” people say, “that nice government is giving money to the poor!”

 

Well, that would be nice, if the money DID come out of thin air…or angel ear wax…or whatever, but the reality is, it comes from YOU and ME.

 

Now, it comes from you and me in the form of many, many, many types of taxes, and at many levels of government (state, local, federal), but in this post, we shall deal only with federal and only the income tax, for simplicity’s sake.

 

You have to realize that the money the feds take arrives to them because if you don’t pay, you will go to jail and they will come for you with guns.

 

Even if you owe a smallish amount, but don’t fork it over, they will take ALL your stuff. Your house, your car, your furniture…and sell it at auction to get their money. They are not kidding around. They are like the mob, but legalized.

 

Okay, so we know where the money comes from. Frederic Bastiat was a French writer who told us how to check and see if the government is doing right or wrong with the money it squeezes out of you this way:

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn’t belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

To translate: if a law allows those in government to take what belongs to one and give it to another, and it would be illegal for a regular citizen to do it, then it’s theft. Let’s do an example.

 

Let’s say I see some poor people on the street. I want to give them money but I have none to give. So, I take my gun and hold up someone on the street, take that money and give it to the poor people. Is that illegal? (Hint: YES) Then, it’s illegal for the government to do it, too.

 

Now, some (I can hear you saying it!) will say, “That’s like Robin Hood!” No, no, dear reader, it’s not. Remember, Robin Hood was taking back the taxes the evil king had squeezed out of his subjects  and giving them BACK to the peasants. Once again, it was the government that did the plundering!

 

Let’s go back and look at the initial scenario of the government taking money from YOU and giving it to ME because I make less money than you. Uh-oh. Looks like plunder…

 

So, the next time you hear on the news that the federal government will “help” by giving money to some “cause” or “invest” money in something, aside from national defense or one of the other things listed in the US Constitution that they are allowed to do, understand that they only got it by stealing it.

I live in a school district that used to be very, very poor. So, the state and the feds, in their infinite wisdom, made other school districts pay them money. My district was on board with this idea! It was FAIR, you see.

 

Fast forward a couple of decades and now we are flush. We are in the Eagle Ford Shale area, and, much to the chagrin of eco-spazoids and Obama, have lots of petroleum type substances on lots of private land being sucked out of the hard shale ground.

 

With that prosperity comes revenue. With that tax money come the unintended consequence of “reverse Robin Hood.” You guessed it, now the district has to give its money away to other districts!

 

They are sooper happy about this! Ecstatic, even, I…oh, wait. No. That’s not true. They’re actually very upset.

 

This election, they had some proposals on the ballots making sure that they get to choose how to spend their money, dash it all! They want to make it so they spend the money on students that come to their schools because it’s NOT FAIR that they should have to write a check to the state and have them distribute the money. They got that money fair and square, they say.

 

Oh, the irony! Because when they were getting the money, they were all about how it WASN’T FAIR that they didn’t get to spend the money they were getting from other districts as they saw fit.

 

Fiscal karma, I guess. Still sad for the kids. This type of thing is yet another reason I home school.

Profit? Or Profit MARGIN?

(Note: this post was co-authored by my beloved husband, Kristian Carter.)

Here’s the deal…when discussing how much businesses make, there is a HUGE difference between how much profit they make and what their profit margin is.

 

However much a company makes (call it Widgets, Inc.) is called profit. This is just the total amount of money this company makes by selling widgets. Inventive naming, I know. 😉

 

BUT, there is a column next to the “income” column that most businesspeople detest. It’s, in simplified form, “money we have to spend to operate this business.”  This column* contains all of the costs associated with that company: labor, raw materials, rent, utilities, etc. Yep, they have to pay money to make widgets!! You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but most people talk about profits, not profit margins.

 

(*Yes, yes, I know labor is its own column, but I’m trying to keep it simple! Stick with me, here!)

 

Let’s delve into Widgets, Inc. a little more. We find that they have made $3.4 million last year alone! They must be ROLLING IN THE DOUGH, right? Oops, not so fast.

 

They had to pay $4.1 million in costs!! Bummer. Many companies will have some money in reserve or can borrow money to carry them through a period of rough times. However, if business does not improve, the reserves will be depleted, and the company may become too risky for additional loans. Too bad Widgets, Inc. will likely be closing their doors. Their CEO gets no more paycheck (as well he or she shouldn’t…look at those numbers!), people will be fired, and no one gets to buy another widget from them. Sad.

 

If Widgets, Inc. were Apple, people would be ever so slightly ticked, no?

 

So, when discussing how well a business is doing (and for politicians, how much to tax them), think about what happens when the margin is negative. No way to tax a closed company (though, I’m sure they’ve wracked their teeny brains to find a way…).

 

Now, when people discuss the EVIL OIL COMPANIES and their OBSCENE PROFITS!…ask yourself this: what is the profit margin?

 

To get the answer, buy some stock in any company that has anything to do with the oil industry. You will be sad that you will never get rich. They are all almost always on the verge of making no profit margins.

I read a few articles discussing how many people voted about the economy…it’s still the number one issue. Then, I was puzzled to read that it was being blamed on BUSH. I mean, do people even realize it was Romney that Obama was running against? Not Bush? He wasn’t at any rallies that I missed was he? Weird.

 

Now, I am not going to go into the specifics of why the economy is not ALL Bush’s fault because of the change over in Congress, the creation of toxic assets that were never created before (and most people don’t even understand) and were a reaction to Clinton’s tripling down on the Community Reinvestment Act, the speeches that McCain and others gave on the senate floor warning of the collapse since 2005, etc. You’re welcome.

 

But, let’s discuss the reaction TO the financial collapse. Obama has not put ONE person in jail for the mess in the financial markets. He postured a lot, sure. He made some great speeches, but he never called for the House to bring up any charges or the Senate to have a hearing. Instead he gave lots and lots of money to the very people who helped create the mess in the first place.

 

Let’s time tunnel back to the Savings and Loan scandal. BIG problems, corruption, you name it. And people went to jail. For this disaster, Obama comes in, deftly assesses the situation and…throws more money at the people who created the mess and signs the new banking bill that let’s the banks get off scot-free. Wait…

 

To boot, Obama and the Democrats had TWO YEARS where they could have passed ANY bill they wanted, regardless of the feelings or objections of “the party of NO.” Yet, instead of making sure the people at fault for the financial mess went to jail, they extended Bush’s tax “cuts” (don’t get me started on the tax code and the lies therein), deemed Obamacare to be passed, and urged the Federal Reserve to print more money and buy our own debt.

 

At this point, only the willfully ignorant or those in the cult of personality will agree that Bush has any fault for what Obama has just ‘inherited’ as of last night.

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