Thur. April 29, 2021 – ah, a breather, not…

Warm and moist again, possible rain. I had to water the potted plants yesterday, we haven’t gotten any real rain in days despite the spatterings and grumbles.

I spent yesterday mostly driving around, and buying a truck. Details are in the comments yesterday, but basically, I got lucky and something new came on the market after I backed away from another deal. In general, the car buying experience is very different than even just 5 or 6 years ago. Being able to get Carfax reports for pretty much any potential vehicle, and see the original window sticker for most, really helps to even the playing field for the buyer. The new style sellers like Carmax and Carvana offer significant ‘peace of mind’ benefits, and well done search tools, with out of market transfers as well. They are disruptors and will probably change used car sales for all the traditional dealers too. My experience was also a classic example of being flexible, and ready to move when the opportunity presented itself. Unless this truck is a lemon, I got a great deal and it’s because I knew what a great deal looked like, and I was very lucky with timing. I’ll be very glad to get this whole thing behind me and to stop spending time and energy on it.

Between the two trucks, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and the other stuff this and last month, I’m feeling very behind where I’d like to be. I’ve got to start making some progress.

To that end, I think the electrician is coming to do my transfer switch install today, or possibly tomorrow. My wife scheduled it, and I can’t remember. I’m hoping for tomorrow. I’ve also got piled up groceries to put away, additions to my FIFO can organizer to get set up and stocked, and auction stuff to stack for delivery.

I note that Biden’s DOJ is going after his political opponents. I guess the gentleman’s agreement is null and void. When will we see raids and indictments for the Clintons? Oh right.

The end is nigh-er. Stack it high-er.

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

103 thoughts on “Thur. April 29, 2021 – ah, a breather, not…”


  1. I knew what a great deal looked like

    So many people don’t know or don’t care what a deal looks like.

  2. 73F and 85%RH this morning and supposed to be in the middle of the bad weather system. Not raining at the moment.

    n

  3. Late yesterday evening, the weather geeks started predicting the worst for Austin last night.

    Not much happened where we live, not even wind.

    I figure that the media outlets are taking advantage of the usual Austin hysteria following significant weather events. The fallout from the hail storm on 4/15 is going to last a while, and the first hurricane in the Atlantic will be Texas bound, 100% certain … until it isn’t.

    Of course, GasBuddy.com as a sponsor of traffic updates is a given.

    My wife’s Exploder has 10 dents from the event on the 15th, spread between the roof and the hood. I’ll get an estimate Saturday. Hopefully, we avoid getting The Lizard involved.

    Surprisingly, my 2001 Solara has only one dent in a easy to remove spot on the hood. Same storm.

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  4. Don’t people who live where there are hail and weather threats make sheltered parking a priority? I grew up without a garage, but when I finally got one I used it for our cars. Have ever since. It will probably burn down with all of them inside. 🙁

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  5. Been lurking for a few days. Tax filings are more time consuming this year. They seem to get more complicated each year. My outcome was OK, but what a struggle. 😛

  6. Greg, you probably already know this, but the paintless dent removal wizards can do wonders – but they usually need access to the reverse side of the panel. That might mean headliner removal, which can be easy or labor intensive. The cost might be high, but at least you will have original paint. Hopefully, you can find someone who can do everything from the outside, but there is a risk of pulling paint. This appears to be the trend, but there are limits. Hope you get someone very skilled.

  7. Don’t people who live where there are hail and weather threats make sheltered parking a priority? I grew up without a garage, but when I finally got one I used it for our cars. Have ever since. It will probably burn down with all of them inside.

    My wife’s Exploder was in a parking lot when her car received the hail damage. The vehicle is garaged at home.

    However, drive around the suburbs of a sunbelt area like Austin and you’ll notice most homeowners can’t get even one car in their garages.


  8. However, drive around the suburbs of a sunbelt area like Austin and you’ll notice most homeowners can’t get even one car in their garages.

    Yes, the number of houses in SoCal where the $40k SUV and the  $30k car are in the driveway to make room for $500 worth of yard sale junk in the two car garage is astounding.


  9. However, drive around the suburbs of a sunbelt area like Austin and you’ll notice most homeowners can’t get even one car in their garages.

    Garages are storage units for a lot of people. Others use them as workshops and hobby rooms. One guy in our neighborhood has a full bar with large screen TV in his garage. He smokes cigars and his wife won’t let him smoke them in the house so he has turned his garage into a cigar bar. Another guy has a woodworking shop set up in his and his large table saw, jointer, and whatnot can’t be easily shoved out of the way for a car. Unfortunately, there are also those people who just have theirs filled with junk. It does point to a glaring shortcoming in home design and layout that so many people have to use their garage for something other than vehicles. It probably doesn’t help that modern lots barely fit the home, so building an outbuilding for a hobby or for storage isn’t very feasible.

    Ever notice farms are the worst for this? They’ll have 8 outbuildings and 7 of them are crammed full of crap and that’s on top of the fact that every tractor, implement, and vehicle they’ve ever owned (and that their dad and grandpa ever owned) is parked in the grass with a couple decades of weeds growing around and through them. I’d say 75% of farms have either a hoarding problem, junkyard problem, or both. Then they’ll be living in the double-wide they parked next to the original farmhouse that they never bothered to maintain and had to move out of. When was the last time you saw a wood barn that actually had a decent coat of paint on it? When did farmers become so trashy?

    If it hails anytime other than overnight (and around here hail seems to be an afternoon or evening thing) most people’s cars are probably not in the garage. Pandemic aside, nobody is home anymore. They wake up and leave and don’t come back to the house for any meaningful length of time until it’s time for bed. People spend gobs of money on a structure where they’re unconscious 90% of the time they’re there.

  10. Yes, the number of houses in SoCal where the $40k SUV and the  $30k car are in the driveway to make room for $500 worth of yard sale junk in the two car garage is astounding.

    Yup. The real problem is that people don’t design their own houses.


  11. Yup. The real problem is that people don’t design their own houses.

    Houses have become just status symbols. They always were to a certain extent, but we’ve gone off the deep end. There’s only so much money in the budget and it gets spent on gigantic kitchens and master bathrooms. Because people who eat 90% of their meals out and microwave the rest need huge kitchens and who doesn’t want to spend $30K on a room they shit in? Try telling your wife she’ll have to make do with a single sink master bathroom and a modest-sized kitchen so you can have a workshop. lol Good luck with that. 🙂 Your workshop doesn’t impress her friends on Facebook and life is now all about rubbing your friends’ noses in what you want them to perceive you have. What an increasingly ridiculous world we live in.

  12. Pandemic aside, nobody is home anymore. They wake up and leave and don’t come back to the house for any meaningful length of time until it’s time for bed.

    Not me. I’m almost like our former host. When I go out, maybe once a week, I am usually back in an hour. I like being home, and consider errands very disruptive. Just me.

  13. Farmers don’t maintain buildings because they are old and don’t notice anymore, or because they don’t have the money. Most family farms in the US lose money on farming. It’s shocking how many have second jobs or other income streams. There are lots of family farmers on youtube and while most don’t talk about it directly, you can easily read between the lines or see what’s going on in the background.

    Paint doesn’t help your bottom line, but a new $900000 combine does.

    Cole the Cornstar on youtube has some good insights.

    it’s 82F in the sun, with 70%RH and sunny. Jeez.

    Taking daughter two for a covid test. She’ll need it for GS camp this weekend, and just to be considerate of the other kids if no other reason. If she is still ordinary sick, she’ll be staying home with me this weekend.

    n

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  14. Hey France, if you want to build the hierarchy and cadre for the revolution, this is one way to do it….

    Macron Government Ignores Warning, Announces 20 French Generals Who Warned of “Civil War” Over Leftist and Islamist Radicalization Will Be Punished

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/04/macron-government-ignores-warning-announces-20-french-generals-warned-civil-war-leftist-islamist-radicalization-will-punished/

    –and I missed linking to it, but I thought I saw that China was ending or considering an end to the One Child Policy. That would be HUGE news long term.

    n

  15. Yes, the number of houses in SoCal where the $40k SUV and the $30k car are in the driveway to make room for $500 worth of yard sale junk in the two car garage is astounding. 

    Around my section of the Austin metro, it is the $60k truck, which probably wouldn’t fit in the garage anyway, and crossover grocery getter, preferably German, $40k minimum. I’ve started to see Tonymobiles, but anything beyond a Model 3 is still rare outside of the reserved parking at the airport, and I gotta wonder, pre-pandemic, how many of those were brought out from CA by services catering to high end business travelers.

    The paint jobs on new cars are very advanced to compensate for the neglect, but the downside of that is a minor fender hit becomes an insurance claim for $3000 worth of body work.


  16. True depending on what your age requirement is for traditional, but the Wuhan lying Chicom coronavirus is not close cousin to tetanus or diptheria either in origin or numbers.

    Ah, a motte-and-bailey. OK. Fine. Whatever.

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  17. John Wilder wrote this a couple of days ago and I missed it then for some reason. It seems like a nice linkable summary that you can safely pass to your non-redpilled friends and relations to explain what they see when they look around bewilderedly….

    https://wilderwealthywise.com/the-left-has-plenty-of-plans-for-this-crisis/

    And it fits nicely with my confirmation bias that we are currently in one of those times in history where everything changes. (which seems to be what the Fourth Turning stuff is about)

    n

  18. Houses have become just status symbols. They always were to a certain extent, but we’ve gone off the deep end. There’s only so much money in the budget and it gets spent on gigantic kitchens and master bathrooms. 

    With money cheap, houses are viewed as being CA-style “10 bagger” investments, which is even more of a problem distorting the market than simply being status symbols.

    I’ve noted before that our rental in WA State was a divorced woman’s “settlement” house. The elaborate kitchen went unused to the point that the owners were clueless that the range vent did not send air outside. Of course, I got dinged for stains on the ceiling where the vent actually sent the air.

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  19. WRT the passenger door glass, I’m going to pretend I don’t know it was ever broken if it looks right when I go to pick it up. If it doesn’t look right, we’ll have a discussion. It has a star shaped chip, and I don’t know why it didn’t shatter.

    My accountant walked out of our office yesterday and found the driver side window of her 2008 Suburban shattered. There was a small chip missing in the middle upper portion of the window and the rest of the window was totally shattered but still in place. She came back in and got me. I ran it down a little and it promptly started coming apart. One of my guy drove up and had some duck tape so we duck taped it for her.

    We could not figure out how her window got shattered. The only guess I had was a bullet or a large bird. And the broken window was on the opposite side of her truck from the prevailing wind. I told her to call the car window guys and put a used window in it.

  20. My wife’s Exploder has 10 dents from the event on the 15th, spread between the roof and the hood. I’ll get an estimate Saturday. Hopefully, we avoid getting The Lizard involved.

    Surprisingly, my 2001 Solara has only one dent in a easy to remove spot on the hood. Same storm.

    I had a new VW Rabbit diesel when it got destroyed by a hail storm in west Texas in 1982, over a hundred hail dings. The auto shop was talking about removing the roof of my car and putting a new one on, I figured all that welding and bondo would be a disaster down the road. So I parked the car in the sun one day and got some dry ice. Over half of the hail dents in the roof and hood popped right out when I put the dry ice on the hot steel. I did have to replace the passenger’s side outside mirror as the hail broke it.

    I took the insurance money and used it for the down payment on a 2/1/1 house that we bought for $28,000 in Sweetwater, Texas. The house note was a first time buyers program where we got to put 5% down and the loan was at 14 and 7/8ths interest. Our local bank was only willing to do a 17% loan and floating at that so we got a “deal”.

  21. “Critical Race Theory: What It Is and How to Fight It”
    https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/critical-race-theory-fight/

    “Critical race theory is fast becoming America’s new institutional orthodoxy. Yet most Americans have never heard of it—and of those who have, many don’t understand it. It’s time for this to change. We need to know what it is so we can know how to fight it.”

    “In explaining critical race theory, it helps to begin with a brief history of Marxism. Originally, the Marxist Left built its political program on the theory of class conflict. Marx believed that the primary characteristic of industrial societies was the imbalance of power between capitalists and workers. The solution to that imbalance, according to Marx, was revolution: the workers would eventually gain consciousness of their plight, seize the means of production, overthrow the capitalist class, and usher in a new socialist society.”

    “During the 20th century, a number of regimes underwent Marxist-style revolutions, and each ended in disaster. Socialist governments in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba, and elsewhere racked up a body count of nearly 100 million of their own people. They are remembered for their gulags, show trials, executions, and mass starvations. In practice, Marx’s ideas unleashed man’s darkest brutalities.”

    I cannot believe that our educational institutions are pushing this crap.

  22. The paint jobs on new cars are very advanced to compensate for the neglect, but the downside of that is a minor fender hit becomes an insurance claim for $3000 worth of body work.

    Oh, yes, and sad. Now they look great for a while, but the weather failure modes are ugly. My experience goes back to the 1950s living in the rust belt. My father chose colors that were mostly easy to match when the inevitable rust repairs were needed. He and I did some meatball repairs to keep the commuter cars looking respectable another year or two. It was common to see rusted out hulks in junkyards with perfectly good drivelines and accessories. We rarely bought new generators (alternators,) starters, and other things because they were cheap and good enough to last the short remaining life of a car. Cars took a lot of maintenance then, and only lasted about five years in typical commuter service.

    I have painted a whole car or two, outside to prevent a mess in a garage. It is a LOT of work to do it right. No more painting a whole panel, because the newer ones are very hard to match; even the pros can’t do very well on some. I do touchups, and that is a real art. My 1977 Dodge PU was in need of paint, and I had planned to paint it with a textured roller as an experiment. That’s when I found my 1994 Ram 1500, so I sold the old one to a friend. He loves it, but will never paint it, even though he could. It looks OK from a distance, and the interior is nice. That textured roller would have allowed me to do a two color gradient starting dark at the bottom and going to white at the top. Here, we have lots of sun, so the upper parts of cars, especially the roofs,  need to be highly reflective. It rains so infrequently and lightly that the splash deposits stains on the bottom foot or two, and that needs to be a darker color. Hence the gradient. The truck was already a two tone, white over dark red, but I didn’t like the dividing lines. I would have also had a semi gloss finish for easy maintenance.

    Maybe I’ll do a motorcycle in semi gloss some day. I have always liked it, but it is now a Thing (TM) in the hot rod community, so I might not. Can’t follow the crowd. 🙂

  23. I had a new VW Rabbit diesel when it got destroyed by a hail storm in west Texas in 1982, over a hundred hail dings. The auto shop was talking about removing the roof of my car and putting a new one on, I figured all that welding and bondo would be a disaster down the road. So I parked the car in the sun one day and got some dry ice. Over half of the hail dents in the roof and hood popped right out when I put the dry ice on the hot steel. I did have to replace the passenger’s side outside mirror as the hail broke it.

    I know a really good dentless repair place who probably does something similar to what you describe among other tricks of the trade. We’ve had him work on the Exploder before for minor issues, including a noticeable door ding which the dealer wanted $2500 to remove and repaint the door under insurance.

    Paint and body repair tech were still iffy in 1982. You probably would have seen the welds rust through before Reagan left office.

    I’ve noted before that the most interesting footage I see in the bootleg “Star Wars Holiday Special” that floats around the Internet is the half-a**ed roof seam welding job that the GM workers were doing on the A-body line in 197 … 8 (?) while being interviewed for the commercials. My college girlfriend had a Cutlass from that model year which was completely rusted through at the welds by 1986.

    The “Dallas” house did have a late 70s Thunderbird from the series production on display, but the last time we went, the car was for sale. $1 million. Probably unique beyond the production use because it is the only one of that model year which hasn’t rusted.

  24. Wow, all that food would be $35 delivered nowadays.

    $60 in Portland plus tip at Uber Eats. The provenance of the free range chicken is known.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErRHJlE4PGI

    After that particular episode of “Portlandia” aired, I overheard a couple asking about the provenance of the chicken at a fancy lad place in Vantucky a few weeks later. Even on the WA Side of the river, the server obliged.

    We were there to interview an associate for my wife’s office. The only recognizable item on the menu was the steak I ordered — expensed but to be fair, I drank Diet Coke and passed on the $35/glass wine.

    The candidate also passed, both on the wine and the job offer.

  25. –and I missed linking to it, but I thought I saw that China was ending or considering an end to the One Child Policy. That would be HUGE news long term.

    From Britannica.com:

    The one-child policy was enforced for most Chinese into the 21st century, but in late 2015 Chinese officials announced that the program was ending. Beginning in early 2016, all families would be allowed to have two children.

    A quick search by google has a variety of dates for relaxation or elimination of the policy around 2013-2016. You are allowed a second child. More than 2 may still be a problem. The concern is that China will get old before it gets rich. How sad for them…

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  26. Over half of the hail dents in the roof and hood popped right out when I put the dry ice on the hot steel.

    Thanks. I have read about that, but probably would not think of it. Modern (starting in the late 1970s) HSLA (High Strength Low Alloy) steels are notoriously hard to work using traditional methods, especially forming with hammers. They spring back a lot, and do terrible things. That’s why body shops either weld in a new piece, a whole panel, or just use fillers as a final surface after gross reshaping. Modern fillers are pretty good, but their long term stability is always suspect. PDR (Paintless Dent Repair) guys use heat and sometimes cold, especially on plastics. They share their “secrets.”

    A new roof, properly welded on and finished, is a good option. Just needs to be done by someone qualified because it is a major part of the car’s structure. OTOH, some people might not see the center of a roof, so it could have some flaws. Choices…

  27. Yes, the number of houses in SoCal where the $40k SUV and the  $30k car are in the driveway to make room for $500 worth of yard sale junk in the two car garage is astounding.

    Roger that, for my SoCal house where our Grand Cherokees are in our 2 car garage at night.

    But for our neighbors:  https://nextdoor.com/news_feed/?post=184848865


  28. The concern is that China will get old before it gets rich. How sad for them…

    Perhaps that’s why Covid was invented…

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  29. Regarding the one child, there was something else much more recent, because they had a population decline and it must have scared them. last week or so….

    n

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  30. I cannot believe that our educational institutions are pushing this crap.

    You have trouble believing it because you believe they are educational institutions.

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  31. Perhaps that’s why Covid was invented…

    Tinfoil Hat! Welcome, Brother.

    It was a long, stormy night, last night in SA. But, no hail or tornadoes by me.

    MrsAtoz says her body has the blahs after our first Pfizer jab on Monday. Her arm is still sore. I feel fine.

    We are doing a Zoom training session for one of our programs. Tues – Fri for school admins from coast to coast. Sweet, sweet, goobermint SEL cash.

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  32. Friend of mine has a car with significant hail damage. Insurance totaled the car for $25K payable to him. He bought it back for $2K and continues to drive the vehicle. He cannot get comprehensive insurance, only liability insurance on the car. He really does not care if the car looks like the surface of the moon.

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  33. However, drive around the suburbs of a sunbelt area like Austin and you’ll notice most homeowners can’t get even one car in their garages.

    Should we ask @nick the last time he had a car in his garage? Driveway?? Probably not… 😉

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  34. One of my guy drove up and had some duck tape so we duck taped it for her.

    @lynn; pet peeve of mine…it’s duct tape…unless of course it was Duck ™ brand duct tape 😉
    https://www.duckbrand.com/about

    We could not figure out how her window got shattered. The only guess I had was a bullet or a large bird.

    BB or pellet gun maybe? Would think that even a .22 would have done more than chip it?

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  35. Ever notice farms are the worst for this? They’ll have 8 outbuildings and 7 of them are crammed full of crap and that’s on top of the fact that every tractor, implement, and vehicle they’ve ever owned (and that their dad and grandpa ever owned) is parked in the grass with a couple decades of weeds growing around and through them. I’d say 75% of farms have either a hoarding problem, junkyard problem, or both. Then they’ll be living in the double-wide they parked next to the original farmhouse that they never bothered to maintain and had to move out of. When was the last time you saw a wood barn that actually had a decent coat of paint on it? When did farmers become so trashy?

    Want to see this up close? Watch an episode or two of American Pickers.
    My wife loves the show but every time I suggest we could get another shed she just glares at me.
    Plenty of us here I’m sure have more than the average amount of stuff saved because ‘some day we’ll need that doodad’. My stuff, so far, is pretty well organized.

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  36. Regarding the one child, there was something else much more recent, because they had a population decline and it must have scared them. last week or so….

    They failed to take into consideration the stupid view that male children are preferable to female children. So, their One Child Policy resulted in a LOT of selective abortions of female fetuses. Then, all of a sudden there weren’t enough women to marry all of the men. So, they had to outlaw selective abortions based on sex in 2004. (I’m not sure how they do this as abortions are allowed and encouraged under the One Child Policy. So, perhaps they don’t allow the parents to know the sex of the fetus?) The shortage of females is expected to remain a problem through about 2030.

    One Child Policy did result in quite a decline in birthrate from 6.4 in 1965 to 1.6 in 2000.

    We don’t even have a One Child Policy in the US and our birthrate is down to 1.7. That’s likely not good. Japan is down to 1.4. Didn’t Japan institute a “stay home and make a baby” national holiday? IIRC, isn’t 2.1 the ideal birthrate to maintain a steady population?

  37. Regarding the one child, there was something else much more recent, because they had a population decline and it must have scared them. last week or so….

    Restricting the masses to one child meant enduring a lot of You Ain’t Got No Ice Cream sniping taking place among the population, creating dissatisfaction. If the decline was steeper than planned then they are absorbing more grief than is necessary to create the societal benefit of a reduced populace.

    I could hear my in-laws if they fate put them on Mainland instead of Taiwan.”You don’t have a boy. So sad. (Hee hee)”

    Also, strictly anecdotal, but, again, from observing my in-laws, a lot of soft authoritarianism flows from the Number One Son concept, the oldest boy in a group of siblings and, sometimes, first cousins. The Number One Sons in my wife’s family compete politically for control of the cash flow from the rackets, but the same energy could be harnessed to maintain a dictatorship with the right incentives.

  38. “The Man Who Wants to Help You Out of Debt – at Any Cost”
    https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-man-who-wants-to-help-you-out-of-debt-at-any-cost?utm_source=pocket-newtab

    “Millions turn to financial guru and radio host Dave Ramsey for his ‘tough love’. Many say he saved their lives. Critics say he ignores the structural reasons so many are in debt and poverty.”

    We have a 30 year 4% mortgage on our house and a 15 year 5.46% mortgage on our commercial property. No other debt. I guess that Ramsey would tell me to pay those off as soon as possible.

    My primary business has a boatload of debt that I have no control over since I am a minority shareholder. I have resolved to not worry about it.


  39. I just got my second Pfizer jab. I am still alive …

    Now, go get two Moderna jabs and a J&J jab for platinum status! 🙂

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  40. Friend of mine has a car with significant hail damage. Insurance totaled the car for $25K payable to him. He bought it back for $2K and continues to drive the vehicle. He cannot get comprehensive insurance, only liability insurance on the car. He really does not care if the car looks like the surface of the moon.

    That is what my 1982 VW Rabbit diesel looked like, little pock marks all over it, they did not even break the clear coat. They gave me $3K to fix it. I drove it 70 miles each day round trip to work and 25K miles per year at 50 mpg on diesel. At 103K miles, I sold it to my father-in-law for $600 who drove it for five years including a late summer trip to upper New York State to see his momma outside Chenango Falls.

  41. …financial guru and radio host Dave Ramsey…

    I have three words for Dave: “other people’s money.”

    I do admire that he has helped some who can’t seem to control themselves, but I respect Ric Edelman more.

  42. Regarding the one child, there was something else much more recent, because they had a population decline and it must have scared them. last week or so….

    n

    China is forecast to undergo a long term population decline very soon.
    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/01/17/world/asia/china-population-crisis.html

    China did have an exception to the one child policy. Farmers were allowed to have multiple children, recognizing that running a farm requires many hands. When a country has to import food, farming is very important to the people in charge. Usually. North Korea is an exception to this rule.

  43. “Plenty of us here I’m sure have more than the average amount of stuff saved because ‘some day we’ll need that doodad’. My stuff, so far, is pretty well organized.”

    [Dang editor won’t do Italics?]
    I have had a few hobbies that have needed… stuff. Early on, it was building electronics for ham radio and audio. I was blessed having mil surplus stores that sold high quality stuff cheap. I still have some of that. It is hard to part with things that took many hours to make, even though I haven’t used them in years. They have little value, so selling them is not productive. It is comforting to have them. Moderation is the key. It doesn’t take much room. Or so I tell myself.

  44. “POWELL STANDS FIRM AND AMERICAN EXCELLENCE ON FULL DISPLAY”
    https://www.wstreet.com/member/commentary.asp?con_id=49846

    “Yesterday, the market turned higher at the first part of chair Jerome Powell’s press conference, as he stressed several key points:
    They will continue buying $120 billion in assets each month.
    It will go on for a “long time.”
    Outcome-based guidance.
    They are not thinking about changing course.
    Inflation is real but “likely transitory.”
    The initial pop faded as the questions veered into several directions. I thought there was some doublespeak on scarring of the economy, where Powell didn’t come clean. There are 4.2 million folks unemployed 27-weeks or longer, up from 1.0 million back in April 2020, and yet, the Fed chair seemed nonchalant.”

    Uh, what is the Fed buying $120 billion of each month ?

    My son maintains the Fed is buying all the mortgages it can. And of course, tbills.

  45. @CowboySlim; care to enlighten us?

    There have been a lot od catalytic converter thefts in this area.  I think that they, criminals, can cut them of and be gone in 2  or 3 minjutes.  Always from street and driveways, never fron closed garages.

    Cops can meither stop that nor stop the second line criminals that buy them from the first liners.

    Nearby me, a 3 car garage with 3 big containers with potted plants in front of the doors and in front of 3 cars in driveway, with one on its 2nd converter.  Heard the noise about 3 AM, but running downstairs and out the front door as they drove away.

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  46. @lynn; pet peeve of mine…it’s duct tape…unless of course it was Duck ™ brand duct tape

    Uh, DuckDuckGo it, if you want to fall down a rabbit hole! 🙂

    There are many stories, including a claimed first use on DUKW amphibious vehicles, called… Ducks!!

    This one is a little whimsical: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/52151/it-duck-tape-or-duct-tape

    Don’t forget to come up for air! 😉

  47. Should we ask @nick the last time he had a car in his garage?

    —for about the first year we lived in this house… so 2008-2009

    n

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  48. My son maintains the Fed is buying all the mortgages it can. And of course, tbills.

    Remind me once again your son’s occupation? Something to do w/ banking, I think. IIRC, his observations have been interesting.

  49. My son maintains the Fed is buying all the mortgages it can. And of course, tbills.

    Remind me once again your son’s occupation? Something to do w/ banking, I think. IIRC, his observations have been interesting.

    My son is even more a conspiracy theorist than me. Former US Marine. Degrees in Chemistry and Physics. Works with me and is currently converting our Windows user interface in C++ from Ascii to Unicode. The conversion is not going well because the Win32 API is not type safe !

    My brother is President of a bank with 30+ branches. Wow, make that 45 locations now.

  50. My son is even more a conspiracy theorist than me. Former US Marine. Degrees in Chemistry and Physics. Works with me and is currently converting our Windows user interface in C++ from Ascii to Unicode. The conversion is not going well because the Win32 API is not type safe !

    WinRT was supposed to be the future of Windows development with C++, but Microsoft lost their nerve.

    After being embarrassed in an Intel interview in early 2011 by not being familiar with C++11 (cough) concepts such as future<>/async() — fancy way of doing threads —  I took a three semester program at UW for a C++ certificate. The online classes consisted of mostly Microsoft employees told to get busy learning C++ or get out since even C#/.Net would be a second class language in WinRT.

    Of course, it didn’t last for lots of reasons. In retrospect not divesting OS/languages into its own company in Issaquah probably cost Microsoft the dominance it had even as late as the release of Windows 8.

    Monkey Boy Ballmer could have fixed the Windows 8 gripers by buying Classic Shell. That’s how I run my Windows 8 partition.

    Of course, now, Win32 isn’t going anywhere.

  51. I guess that Ramsey would tell me to pay those off as soon as possible

    My financial advisor says a mortgage is a good thing to have. It is secured money. And rather than put the money into a house, invest the money. Investing will almost assuredly return more in interest than what is being paid on the house. The only time a mortgage should be paid off is at retirement. Being able to live debt free at retirement is a good feeling.

    I have not been real keen on some of Dave Ramsey’s advice. I think some of his thoughts and methods are based on his overwhelming desire to have everyone debt free. For certain get rid of credit card debt, but not credit cards. Have a six month reserve. Spend on things that bring enjoyment rather than frivolous stuff. Make kids pay for their own college is one of his mantras that I don’t fully agree with. Parents should not impoverish themselves to pay for the youngen’s college. Even then there should be a limit, five years at the maximum. And if the degree is a worthless humanities degree, make the kid pay for all of the costs.

  52. You have trouble believing it because you believe they are educational institutions.

    Ahhh, the wisdom of Steve!

  53. Have a six month reserve.

    We have about a 60 month reserve at the moment. Beyond that my crystal ball gets very cloudy.

    Make kids pay for their own college is one of his mantras that I don’t fully agree with. Parents should not impoverish themselves to pay for the youngen’s college. Even then there should be a limit, five years at the maximum. And if the degree is a worthless humanities degree, make the kid pay for all of the costs.

    Preach on brother ! I paid for a little of the son’s college education. Uncle Sam paid for a lot of it with the GI Bill. And Uncle Sam taught him a valuable lesson about trusting Uncle Sams’s promises.

    The wife has an undergrad in Psychology and a masters in Social Work. She uses them to analyze me. I have learned the hard way several times to never criticize her degrees. Of course, if we had it my way, Universities would only teach math, physics, chemistry, engineering, and farming. Kind of like TAMU (Texas A&M University) was at the beginning in the late 1800s with the students living in excess Confederate Civil War tents.

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  54. Uh, what is the Fed buying $120 billion of each month ?

    My son maintains the Fed is buying all the mortgages it can. And of course, tbills.

    I’ve recommended The Hidden Secrets of Money by Mike Maloney before. It is a good series on YouTube you can watch with your kids to show how money works and how The Fed sucks dead bunnies.

  55. I refinanced my house last year at about 350K/3%. Rates have gone done since then, of course.

    Original purchase was 315K (7 years ago). Current worth is about $675K  in this sellers’ market. (I think I could ask for $800k and get it, even though that is overpriced. But then I’d have to find a new place. Selling high in a sellers market means buying high.)  Area is Olympic Peninsula. Houses are selling over asking price in 1-2 weeks.

    We have minimal debts, and 3-5 months savings. Only big tickets are the house, the car, and the new HVAC system (which will get paid off in 6 months). Both retired, retirement income (from CalPers and SS) is good.

    I suspect housing market will cool a bit, especially with evictions starting back up again, maybe in the fall. House selling prices will come down a bit, but not to pre-2020 levels, I think. Perhaps foreclosures will increase. I am seeing a bit more inventory coming on line, but not much.

    So, refinance again at about $600K, and put excess in a conservative managed fund? Then wait for housing prices to dump and sell at a lower price, but buy at a lower price?  Or just ‘stay pat’?

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  56. [Dang editor won’t do Italics?]

    @JimB; It does…but the tag is “em”, not “i”

  57. John Wilder wrote this a couple of days ago and I missed it then for some reason. It seems like a nice linkable summary that you can safely pass to your non-redpilled friends and relations to explain what they see when they look around bewilderedly….

    https://wilderwealthywise.com/the-left-has-plenty-of-plans-for-this-crisis/

    And it fits nicely with my confirmation bias that we are currently in one of those times in history where everything changes. (which seems to be what the Fourth Turning stuff is about)

    n

    “Leftist controlled Chicago: arrests/stops are down 53 percent, murders are up 65 percent.
    Leftist controlled New York City: arrests/stops are down 38 percent, murders are up 58 percent.
    Leftist controlled Louisville: arrests/stops are down 35 percent, murders are up 87 (not a typo) percent.
    Leftist controlled Minneapolis: arrests/stops are down 42 percent, murders are up 64 percent.
    Leftist controlled Los Angeles: arrests/stops are down 33 percent, murders are up 51 percent.
    Leftist controlled St. Louis: in 2020, the murder rate hit “a 50-year high, with 87 out of every 100,000 residents being murdered.””

    “Universal basic income.
    Boards to approve hiring at private companies.
    Equity everywhere.
    More rules than you can imagine. All of them will be based on some fear – guns in rural areas will be restricted because people in the city can’t stop killing each other.
    Climate change lunacy: to meet Joe Biden’s climate goals, Americans would be restricted to four pounds (344 milliliters) of meat a year. This will be walked back.”

    Pretty good article. Yes, the USA is in the Winter season. Hopefully we can make it back to Spring.

  58. My financial advisor says a mortgage is a good thing to have. It is secured money. And rather than put the money into a house, invest the money. Investing will almost assuredly return more in interest than what is being paid on the house. The only time a mortgage should be paid off is at retirement. Being able to live debt free at retirement is a good feeling.

    As long as the mortgage is traditional with 20% down.

    A 3% down mortgage is still renting, but the leased item in question is cash, not real estate. I’d much rather rent a house with a landlord responsible for maintenance, but I have friends who think otherwise.

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  59. I refinanced my house last year at about 350K/3%. Rates have gone done since then, of course.

    Original purchase was 315K (7 years ago). Current worth is about $675K in this sellers’ market. (I think I could ask for $800k and get it, even though that is overpriced. But then I’d have to find a new place. Selling high in a sellers market means buying high.) Area is Olympic Peninsula. Houses are selling over asking price in 1-2 weeks.

    We have minimal debts, and 3-5 months savings. Only big tickets are the house, the car, and the new HVAC system (which will get paid off in 6 months). Both retired, retirement income (from CalPers and SS) is good.

    I suspect housing market will cool a bit, especially with evictions starting back up again, maybe in the fall. House selling prices will come down a bit, but not to pre-2020 levels, I think. Perhaps foreclosures will increase. I am seeing a bit more inventory coming on line, but not much.

    So, refinance again at about $600K, and put excess in a conservative managed fund? Then wait for housing prices to dump and sell at a lower price, but buy at a lower price? Or just ‘stay pat’?

    I would not take on any additional debt. My son still thinks that the housing market is going to crash hard. He also maintains that the Fed is buying houses but he has no proof to back this up. Still, many wealthy people are buying houses for their retirement. Sean Hannity reputedly owns 4,000+ houses that he rents out.

    What would it do to your income if Social Security became means tested ? I have no idea what the amounts would be but any assets over $100,000 ??? would count against that. Look at Medicaid to see what SS might become.

    I got my annual letter from Social Security the other day. I will be 62 next year should I make it that far.
    1. if I retire at 62, SS will give me $2,000/month
    2. if I retire at 67, SS will give me $3,000/month
    3. if I retire at 70, SS will give me $4,000/month
    These amounts both amaze and concern me.


  60. My financial advisor says a mortgage is a good thing to have. It is secured money. And rather than put the money into a house, invest the money. Investing will almost assuredly return more in interest than what is being paid on the house. The only time a mortgage should be paid off is at retirement. Being able to live debt free at retirement is a good feeling.

    Given the low rates we were going to take a small mortgage when we bought this house but in the end the mortgage guy we were working with kept jerking me around regarding the work verification info he wanted. My company (Fortune 50) has strict rules as to what info they give out and all employees are aware that disclosing anything else, either from yourself, your manager, or HR is grounds for dismissal. He kept at it and when it was clear the closing date was in jeopardy I nicely told him we were closing for all cash, tnak you very much for nothing, and to p!ss up a rope if he thought he was due any fees. Without a mortgage the closing took all of five minutes. FICO though says my credit score from them has taken a small dip for NOT having a mortgage. Screw them, my score is high enough. Oh, and close enough to retirement to already enjoy the ‘paid for house’ good feeling.

  61. @JimB; It does…but the tag is “em”, not “i”

    Makes sense, but I was trying to use the visual editor first. I claim brain fade from frustration over taxes. Works now, so maybe my brain is recovering. Wallet needs recovery.

  62. “COVID-19 Vaccine Card: Do Keep It Safe, Don’t Laminate It & Two More Do’s & Don’ts”
    https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2021/apr/covid-19-vaccine-card/

    “Since your vaccination card may need to be updated with booster shot information in the future, laminating your card may eventually cause more headache than help,” says Dr. Long. “If you really want to carry your original around, you’re better off placing it in a water-tight, sheet protector. They’re actually making these sized for vaccination cards these days.”

    Another item that should go into a safe.

    I would not put it into a safety deposit box. No telling when the FBI decides that safety deposit box is abandoned.

  63. Given the low rates we were going to take a small mortgage when we bought this house but in the end the mortgage guy we were working with kept jerking me around regarding the work verification info he wanted. My company (Fortune 50) has strict rules as to what info they give out and all employees are aware that disclosing anything else, either from yourself, your manager, or HR is grounds for dismissal. He kept at it and when it was clear the closing date was in jeopardy I nicely told him we were closing for all cash, tnak you very much for nothing, and to p!ss up a rope if he thought he was due any fees. Without a mortgage the closing took all of five minutes. FICO though says my credit score from them has taken a small dip for NOT having a mortgage. Screw them, my score is high enough. Oh, and close enough to retirement to already enjoy the ‘paid for house’ good feeling.

    I am not sure that the mortgage guy can get around this. The conventional mortgage rules and regulations require verification of employment with your employer on the day of the closing. I do not know about FHA and VA rules.


  64. I have not been real keen on some of Dave Ramsey’s advice. I think some of his thoughts and methods are based on his overwhelming desire to have everyone debt free.

     

    To some degree that’s true. But a lot of it is smart psychology. A finance guy will tell you to pay down your highest rate debt first. He says pay down the lowest balance first. That gives the person a faster feeling of accomplishment and the psychology behind that is sound for the people that call him are generally in a bad place. They need that win so that they can see their effort pay off. These are people for whom delayed gratification is something they can’t handle.

    Now, the way he allegedly runs his company is … strange.

     


  65. …financial guru and radio host Dave Ramsey…

    I have three words for Dave: “other people’s money.”

    I do admire that he has helped some who can’t seem to control themselves, but I respect Ric Edelman more.

    Our AM station carries both Dave and Del Walmsley. No love lost between those two, especially from Del’s end. Just a SWAG but I’d say Del has the bigger net worth.

    Always skeptical though about people selling books, seminars and even memberships rather than just following their own system and make more money than they know what to do with. ‘Those who can, do, those that can’t, teach’

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  66. So, refinance again at about $600K, and put excess in a conservative managed fund? Then wait for housing prices to dump and sell at a lower price, but buy at a lower price? Or just ‘stay pat’?

    At this stage in your life forget what the “experts” and others say. Do what makes you comfortable. You’ve made it this far so you are not prone to rash irrational decisions.

    As I told my financial advisor I am not seeking the big gains. I want to protect what I have and give as little as possible to the IRS. I may lose a few $K in gains but I have enough where I need to feel comfortable with what I currently have.

    FICO though says my credit score from them has taken a small dip for NOT having a mortgage

    Same problem. Penalized because I don’t have any active loans and no mortgage. Score is still high which only matters for car and home insurance. I don’t need a high score for loans as I have no intention of getting a loan. But to be penalized because I don’t carry any debt is just crazy. Lots of credit card use which is paid when accrued. I pay my Costco CITI card 15 times a month so the balance stays at zero.

    A finance guy will tell you to pay down your highest rate debt first. He [Dave Ramsey] says pay down the lowest balance first

    That is another part of which I disagree. Pay down the highest interest rate cards first. The overall amount owed will drop faster. Also call the credit card companies and ask/beg for a lower rate. Play the game on balance transfers to cards that offer 0%, or lower rates, for a finite period. Move the debt around if necessary.

    I got my annual letter from Social Security the other day

    I have heard many compelling arguments for taking SS at 62, don’t wait. Others say to wait until full retirement. All the arguments are valid. Arguments for waiting until 70 to get the maximum amount. All of them valid.

    The biggest issue with drawing at 62 is that if your income is over a certain level the SS money is reduced by as much as 50%. Thus in my opinion drawing early only works if the individual is not working and does not really have any other sources of income.

    Having run the numbers the benefit of waiting, as opposed to drawing at full retirement, the line crosses at 87 years old. If a person thinks, with a high probability, that they can live well beyond 87, then wait, especially if there other sources of income. Otherwise the choice comes between waiting until full retirement or pulling at 62. Only the person involved can decide.

    What would it do to your income if Social Security became means tested

    I don’t think that will happen to anyone over the age of 50, perhaps 55. Too much retirement planning is based on SS numbers. To have those ripped from the plans would put a lot of people on government assistance defeating the purpose of means testing. Assets over $100K would put a lot of people at that level who own a home other than a small shack. I could see the level at $1 million or perhaps $10 million.

    But what do I know? Not much. Just an opinionated old man.


  67. Always skeptical though about people selling books, seminars and even memberships rather than just following their own system

    Suzi Ormond ring a bell? She used to have reasonable advice but once she started appearing on QVC and selling her books and plans, nope, nope, nope.

  68. What would it do to your income if Social Security became means tested

    I don’t think that will happen to anyone over the age of 50, perhaps 55. Too much retirement planning is based on SS numbers. To have those ripped from the plans would put a lot of people on government assistance defeating the purpose of means testing. Assets over $100K would put a lot of people at that level who own a home other than a small shack. I could see the level at $1 million or perhaps $10 million.

    But what do I know? Not much. Just an opinionated old man.

    Australia did this several years ago. All of a sudden everyone on SS gave their real estate to their kids.
    https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/age-pension/who-can-get-it/assets-test


  69. Ahhh, the wisdom of Steve!

    -wise nod- It is indeed mighty and awe-inspiring.

  70. I don’t think that will happen to anyone over the age of 50, perhaps 55. Too much retirement planning is based on SS numbers. To have those ripped from the plans would put a lot of people on government assistance defeating the purpose of means testing.

    Once the “trust fund” accounting gimmick is gone, SS is essentially welfare.

    SS is arguably worse because the courts have ruled that while the SS Act mandates the collection of the payroll taxes separate from the income tax, the Federal Government is under no obligations to pay any out of the money collected.


  71. Australian did this several years ago

    Australia is a pension from the government. U.S. is SS into which we have paid money. Supposedly we are getting our money back. Do Australians pay into their pension? I cannot find this on the WEB as my kungfu is not working well today. That may be part of the difference.

  72. Australia is a pension from the government. U.S. is SS into which we have paid money. Supposedly we are getting our money back. Do Australians pay into their pension? I cannot find this on the WEB as my kungfu is not working well today. That may be part of the difference. 

    Australia has private pensions too. An Australian pension management company bought a 50% stake in future toll revenues from my last project for my previous employer.

    The express toll lanes serving the Pentagon fund Australian pensions!

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  73. Getting into high interest rate debt should be a last resort, and the first paid off. Cheap debt can be justified if not abused. That’s what I meant when I said “other people’s money.” Contrary to popular belief, having debt in bad times can be an advantage. There are situations where having an asset is better than a pile of near worthless cash. An example is a mortgage: now the only obligation is to make the payments, although having enough to pay it off is a greater degree of safety. Know all the angles, and act with discipline.

    Paying off a mortgage at retirement is for those who have lots of money, and don’t mind leaving some on the table. I agree with Ray, do it if it makes you feel good, but remember there is a price. Calculate that price any way that makes you feel good. Life is about more than money.

  74. Even though I regard tax as theft, I would like to pay $100k in federal income tax, while doing everything right. Imagine the income I would have if I did that. The amount is entirely arbitrary, but is based on reading about Standard Oil of NJ, which paid this amount one year in the 1960s. I have forgotten how much revenue they had that year, but it was considerable. Remember, it is not how much we pay, but how much we keep.

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  75. Pensions. I started out doing my own pension, saving and investing. Then I worked for two companies and left before vesting, thus losing all pension contributions. My original plan persisted through the years, and is a major part of retirement. I am skeptical of having anyone else run a pension for an employee. I have had friends who have built up nice accounts, only to have them taken away in whole or part before retirement, due to bankruptcies or mergers. I have no sympathy for people who have no discipline, and who squander their personal worth. They had the same opportunity I did.

    I used to know of a guy who was a was a self-described workaholic and aggressive investor early in life. He retired from an unconventional career in his mid-thirties. He continued to invest aggressively, and appeared to be worth a lot, although he lived modestly. He said he had no other obligations, and could afford risks. Through his middle years, he had a lot of free time to travel and ski. From what we discussed, he had a diverse portfolio, with conservative investments that gave him relative security. He had always concentrated on a small percent of his money aggressively invested, and put a percentage of the proceeds into his conservative side. He was a very good amateur athlete, with a “useless” art degree; a sculptor who never took a dime for his art. He died about ten years ago in his mid-eighties. To say he influenced me would be an understatement, although I was never a workaholic.


  76. I suspect housing market will cool a bit, especially with evictions starting back up again, maybe in the fall. House selling prices will come down a bit, but not to pre-2020 levels, I think. Perhaps foreclosures will increase. I am seeing a bit more inventory coming on line, but not much.

    Just wait for the downtrodden to start crying about the evictions and Sleepy Joe will yet again extend the moratorium. then begs the question as to what TPTB want Pres-Elect Kamala to do? Those without a hope of paying their back rent will wind up homeless (and heading to the tent city in Austin) and blacklisted.

    So, refinance again at about $600K, and put excess in a conservative managed fund? Then wait for housing prices to dump and sell at a lower price, but buy at a lower price? Or just ‘stay pat’?

    In part depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you looking to increase your net wealth to fund long term care, build an inheritance, something else?

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  77. Having run the numbers the benefit of waiting, as opposed to drawing at full retirement, the line crosses at 87 years old. If a person thinks, with a high probability, that they can live well beyond 87, then wait, especially if there other sources of income. Otherwise the choice comes between waiting until full retirement or pulling at 62. Only the person involved can decide.

    The way things are going in this country it’s more and more tempting to start as soon as possible and recoup what you paid in while there’s still time.

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  78. Same problem. Penalized because I don’t have any active loans and no mortgage. Score is still high which only matters for car and home insurance. I don’t need a high score for loans as I have no intention of getting a loan. But to be penalized because I don’t carry any debt is just crazy. Lots of credit card use which is paid when accrued. I pay my Costco CITI card 15 times a month so the balance stays at zero.

    It’s high time the auto insurance companies stopped looking at our credit histories. How I drive, how many miles I drive, my claim history, all fair game.

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  79. Western San Antonio last night: Thunderstorm warnings, tornado warnings, hail warnings. We got the thunderstorms and moderate hail, but the tornadoes were a little further out of town. (I went to the University of Kansas, so I’m an old hand with tornadoes.)  Wife’s ancient and revered PT Cruiser is always garaged, and my 2020 Ford F150 was parked under a tree, so no apparent hail damage. I haven’t noticed any hail damage to the roof, but I haven’t gotten on a ladder to look yet. But no apparent leaks, and it’s a new roof.

    I don’t actually have a rain gauge, but there was 5 inches of rain in a bucket in the yard. And the Edwards Aquifer was up 2.3 FEET overnight.

    A finance guy will tell you to pay down your highest rate debt first. He [Dave Ramsey] says pay down the lowest balance first

    That is another part of which I disagree. Pay down the highest interest rate cards first. The overall amount owed will drop faster.

    Pay down the highest interest rates first, to reduce your overall payments. Pay off your lowest-balance debt to give you the psychic satisfaction of eliminating that debt.  Both the actual reduction of total paid AND the satisfaction of paying off one debt are important, but only you can decide what percentage of your free cash flow to devote to each.

  80. I haven’t noticed any hail damage to the roof, but I haven’t gotten on a ladder to look yet. But no apparent leaks, and it’s a new roof.

    My roofing guy told me that a new roof with GOOD composition shingles should be able to resist hail damage for 8 to 10 years. Then the sun weakens the shingles and the hail will do them in.


  81. It’s high time the auto insurance companies stopped looking at our credit histories.

    Apparently people with poor credit are more likely to file false claims.

  82. Still looking for that “traditional” use of the mRNA vaccine.

    Should I drain the moat?

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  83. Still looking for that “traditional” use of the mRNA vaccine.

    Should I drain the moat?

    I can’t find anything except “the goobermint says mRNA = good” that Pfizer mRNA isn’t a big experiment. Who knowns, maybe it’s a cancer cure. Or the big one, a cure for AIDS (LOL!). I thought I read an article that a prison injected cons with a huge dose by mistake. That would make a great test group. Also, why is plugsy McSpongeBrain still pushing double masks and social distancing? Isn’t the vax supposed to limit symptoms to manageable levels?

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  84. A snarky view of Chinese demographics:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTbILK0fxDY

    When the population ages up/out, China will no longer look 10′ tall, especially if they manage to avoid a financial meltdown of their own housing/debt bubbles. Seems to me that their system is even more corrupt and prone to meltdown than the one here. Of course, if their banks run into the wall, contagion would spread throughout the fiat world.

    That surplus of men is worrying for many reasons. The CCP has also been advocating against soy boy appearance and behaviors.

    I am not sure the Fed is buying actual mortgages or houses but rather mortgage backed securities. Still, it isn’t hard to speculate that the Fed/Treasury becomes a major landlord with the current foreclosure/eviction overhang. Just another place for corruption shenanigans. A drastic expansion of Section 8?

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  85. @Lynn

    ” And the broken window was on the opposite side of her truck from the prevailing wind. I told her to call the car window guys and put a used window in it.”

    The surface of tempered glass is in compression [corrected]. Slight damage that is not enough to cause immediate wholesale failure can hang around a while and be set off by something simple, like negative pressure on the lee side of a car.

     

    @Nick

    “Paint doesn’t help your bottom line, but a new $900000 combine does.”

    Maintenance always helps the bottom line. The farmer that does maintenance makes his equipment last longer and banks more money in the long run.

    Last time we took cattle to the locker the guy behind us had a Chebby pulling a 25-ft fifth wheel. His trailer was less than half the age of ours and had rust holes along each side at deck level, in addition to being generally dull, faded, and beat to dickens. Didn’t look inside, but doubt he prepped for the trip with lime and wood shavings. We got home, scooped the not-fresh-anymore shavings, pressure washed the whole thing, and let it dry before putting it away under shelter.

    One steer got frisky and threw a couple of mean side kicks at the interior door and broke a weld. That and a couple other things are enough that it goes back to the builder this summer for some repairs.

     

     

  86. I am not sure the Fed is buying actual mortgages or houses but rather mortgage backed securities. Still, it isn’t hard to speculate that the Fed/Treasury becomes a major landlord with the current foreclosure/eviction overhang. Just another place for corruption shenanigans. A drastic expansion of Section 8?

    And a goal of the dumbrocrats to get Section 8 housing throughout the suburbs.

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  87. Do Australians pay into their pension?

    Whether they nominally do or not is just accounting games. Australians pay a much higher income tax rate than do Americans.
    Note that that is only the national income tax.

    About 25 years ago we started a new scheme called Superannuation. The employer “contributed” A fixed percentage of your salary to a nominated fund (out of many of them) that would work your money for a fee. You can’t touch the money until you are eligible but that money is not taxable. (There are always caveats to the not taxable…).

    Contributions started at 5%(?) and are now at 9% with talks about 12%…

    Eligibility (you can start drawing money from that fund) started at 55 and is now set at 65 years. That changes in time.

    The contributions were actually salary sacrifices, meaning that employers quickly invented a Total Remuneration Package that now would include that superannuation contribution…

    We have high income taxes, capital gains taxes, land taxes, private health plus government health “contributions” -above certain level of income- and the Goods and Sales Tax that has fortunately been stable for many years at 10%.

    I do not complain. I think it is a reasonable approach and DotGov does provide safety nets. The only problem that I see is that those safety nets are getting ever more widespread and are transforming to entitlements and a lot of people just stop contributing to the “common” good (like work, you know?). That is sad and will create problems down the track.

    I have not worried about pensions yet. I doubt I will qualify and will not divest myself of property to get welfare money. Just stupid me, as always.

    Final comment: I know little about all these things. I pay all of the above mentioned taxes. I hire an accountant to do tax returns. My life philosophy has always been: Never spend more than what you are receiving and try and save as much as possible.

  88. Money may not be the most important thing in life, but life is a lot harder without enough money.

    Dave Ramsey has a system, with simple and rigid rules. He’s refined it over time. As soon as you add nuance, you add wiggle room, and a chance for barracks lawyering. The people that need his system are helped by it, because of what it is. And by following the “rules” it can remove a lot of strife in a marriage, because it’s not the partner making the decision or the rule, but Dave.

    There are other systems. In my experience, almost any system that is at all reasonable will work if applied consistently.

    The best advice I ever got was from a roommate. He told me to get ahead of my debt issues and spending issues, by not spending, and by going bankrupt. In addition, to get control of my savings- deposit every check and IMMEDIATELY transfer 10% to savings, no matter what. He suggested starting by not cashing my paycheck one week and trying to get thru the month without it, then deposit the whole check in savings to ‘kickstart’ the process. I did it, and when I left LA I had no debt, and money in the bank. It literally changed my life.

    Another piece of advice was from a friend and coworker with a few more years on him than me. He told me to maintain separate accounts when I got married, set up a ‘household’ account, and then both pay into the account for household expenses. Treat the household like a business. That worked very well for us, and we still use the accounts that way 16 years later, although I no longer have income to contribute every month.

    Different styles of relating to money can ruin an otherwise good marriage. I’d say that having compatible views on earning, saving, and spending is the single best predictor for success.

    I have passed those two pieces of advice along many times. No idea if it helped anyone else.

    n

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  89. Nick, have not heard of you going to the scrapyard lately with steel. I recommend you have a look at that. Prices seem to be hitting highs.

    China has now scrapped duties on imported scrap steel (nice one) amongst other reasons to control the ever increasing need of iron ore being shipped from Oz. Their 5 year plans will not allow them to slap huge tariffs on that item as they have been doing with barley, wine, lobsters and whatever they want lately in order to try and restrain the offensive comments and actions from Oz government about China’s internal and foreign affairs activities…

  90. @marcelo, that is a good idea. I watch a guy on youtube who lives in Houston and is a scrapper and dumpster diver, and his prices have been going up.

    I’m going to put a whole bunch of stuff I would have broken down and scrapped on pallets and try to sell it in an auction with a (new to me) auctioneer. Last time I did that, I sold 43 pallets at scrap prices- when I wanted more. At this point, I’ll be happy just to have someone else carry the stuff away.

    Steel fell to half a cent a pound here at the lowest point, and I think it might be as high as 6c or 8c/pound currently.

    I’ve got hundreds of pounds of circuit board scrap too, but only one place in Houston takes them so I have to save up, and then do a big run. I have about a dozen very expensive parts I want to salvage first, for a specific project. There are online buyers for motherboards and high grade boards but they are also factoring in shipping so must pay less than a local dealer. I might have to strip off the gold fingers too, as gold is back up, and I would like to retry my experiment with DIY recovery. SUPER low priority though.

    If I could get 8 or 10 pallets out the door that would help enormously. That new auctioneer is on my list to call tomorrow.

    n


  91. That is another part of which I disagree. Pay down the highest interest rate cards first. The overall amount owed will drop faster.

    Again, it’s about the psychology of the kinds of people that get into trouble and call Dave. They have (from listening a while back when commuting) poor impulse control and lack the skills to play that game.

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