Catching Up and Stuff.

So, yeah, about that blogging 2x a week thing….

I swear I’ll do better. I have a lot of stuff going on – all good so far – but a lot. If you aren’t interested in a boring financial saga you might want to skip this one and come back later when I talk about knitting.

My 90 day life reboot is proceeding in fits and starts, but there is actual progress. I feel like I’m coming out of a two year sleepwalking state; it’s taking a while to sort out my life and get it back on track, but it’s happening.

I think I’ve mentioned on the old blog that I own an “investment property” – I put it in quotes because it doesn’t generate actual cash flow. It’s the house I bought with my late husband in 1996, and my daughter and son-in-law have rented it from me since I moved temporarily to Asheville 9 years ago. When I returned to FL for employment reasons (Asheville’s job market is challenging, to say the least) I had a small inheritance from my mother, which gave me the opportunity to buy a condo in a neighborhood I loved, really cheap – like for less than it sold for new in the 80s. (Of all of the somewhat questionable financial decisions I’ve made over the years, this was a smart one.) So they continued to rent the house, with a vague plan that one of these days they’d buy it from me. That’s still the vague plan. They do all the maintenance, including replacing the fence when it fell down in Hurricane Irma, and but for the student loans keeping them from getting their own mortgage, it’s their house.

So time passed, my employment situation varied, and my income never returned to pre-Great-Recession level. I kept my nose above the water, but have been somewhat “cash poor” for the past decade. This has resulted in things like having to put absolutely necessary car and A/C repairs and vet bills and such on credit cards, and you know how that goes. I’ve been diligently and carefully paying everything off, but it was a discouraging thought that I’d be out of debt about two weeks before I can collect Social Security, IF I never take another vacation and give up buying books and yarn and all fun things. And IF Social Security is still there after this National Disaster is finally over, which, who the hell knows? But we won’t go down that depressing road.

Then a couple of weeks ago I got a mailer from a mortgage company offering the chance to refinance the “investment property,” and they actually did the math on a cash out refinance that wouldn’t dramatically change the monthly payment OR eat too much into my equity. I had nearly thrown that piece of “junk mail” away unopened, but something made me open it and skim it, and then read it, and then it clicked! I had an Ah-HAH! moment! This would fix as lot of day to day issues for me; I could pay off a couple of bills, fix some things both at the house and in my home, plunk a wee bit into my emergency fund, and generally give myself some financial breathing room.

And so, did I call that company about the refinance? I did not. I called my current lender, Quicken Loans/Rocket Mortgage. (I am not getting compensated for singing their praises, because did I mention I’m really bad at this making money from blogging thing?) Anyway, I called them on October 1, I think – and the refi will probably close this coming week. When they say Rocket Mortgage, they aren’t kidding – they’re hyper efficient and a pleasure to deal with. And because I was an existing customer, I just had to update some information and provide current tax returns, etc. – easy and peasy, and they waived a lot of fees.

So anyway, that’s both a happy development in my financial situation and a story about how linear my thinking gets when I feel trapped in a rut. For the past several years I’ve been in “just getting by” mode, alternating with When the HELL Will They Finally Be Ready to Buy THAT HOUSE? mode, because I felt like that was the only way out. I had never even thought of refinancing the house, and that’s truly sad considering I do know quite a bit about real estate, and knew I had a boatload of equity trapped there. I’ll still have plenty of equity, but I’ll be out from under other debts and be able to increase my retirement savings contribution, etc. I just did not think about doing this, and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think of doing this three years ago. This is what happens when you get to the point where you just put one foot in front of the other, on a treadmill, day after day, sleepwalking through life. It’s making me think about other ways I’ve been sleepwalking through my life. It’s funny how this one thing made me realize how little I’ve been paying attention to my life. Who knew boring financial stuff could revive my interest in knitting?

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