& 6 to go?
I got mail from Macy's and they said give me 60 days for them to "investigate." Blech. I think they told me that 60 days ago...
But then I got a letter from Sears. ID Theft resolved. Card closed for good. Off my report. Out of my name. Woohoo.
Sears is under Citi along with 3 other cards so I hope that means all of those are pretty much taken care of.
Of the other 3, at least none of them were bigger balances. Well Lowes was big but I haven't heard anything from them in ages. I'll have to check the paperwork, I get the feeling maybe that one was squared away too. I don't really care if they rid me of responsibility from the card with $0 balance (mush as it shouldn't be any sweat off their back to just let it go) so I am least worried about that one. Mostly leaves Macy's which was the smallest balance at $900 or so...
Oh yeah I got a Macy's statement as well (in the meantime while they take 60 days to figure out it obviously wasn't me). But with this one they were nice enough to not have a minimum payment (like Zales). No payments for a while I guess? What is more disturbing - that you could get $25k credit so easy, or that you can get $25k credit so easy and you don't pay any payments for x months? Yeesh. I think since it is California and I filed a police report that the Credit Bureaus would block the info from my report even if the credit company recorded non-payments in the interim. So that is nice. The credit bureaus seemed to block this info easily enough without the "investigations being complete." But for the most part it looks like it will all be cleared up before any payments would be due (knock on wood).
In other news yesterday I read something like 85% people pay more payroll taxes than income taxes. WOW! I actually looked at the site referenced and only found a 45% figure (which is still big). The Tax Policy Institute or something. I thin with the 85% figure they were trying to say that workers really shoulder the employer portion of social security by taking lesser wages so their employers could pay it. There is probably much truth to that. Must be the way accountants think since I think that about everything. You take from here it has to come from somewhere...
We are most certainly in this percentage though - our social security taxes are double our income taxes. & I am sure there are many in that situation. I think sometimes when people complain about the taxes coming from their checks they don't realize exactly what is coming out of their checks.
I almost fell over listening to Dave Ramsey yesterday. For one he was annoying me because he was going on and on how only idiots even mention pets in their wills (well it was an older podcast). I was thinking about scfr's post about making arrangements for your pets - just make sure they are cared for, etc. I don't think it is an idiotic thing at all. Not everyone who thinks of their pets leaves billions to their pets (well most wouldn't obviously - hehe). Then he was screaming at all us morons for having credit cards for ease of use. I just rolled my eyes. Some lady called all appalled that a financial advisor at her kids' school recommended getting cards and paying them every month to build credit. Of course he freaked out. But he doesn't get that people need a credit score. I know those people who never had a card in their life and couldn't buy a house. Couldn't finance a car when things went bad. It really doesn't help average joe blow to be so adverse to the idea of a card. Sure why not pay inflated insurance premiums just because you have no credit. (Doesn't sound very smart). Then again maybe we should be fighting the system. Anyone who can get through life with no credit, well they can't be doing that bad, can they? I guess it could be an indicator of both extremes. But it seems like it could be relatively easy enough to be audited or something as an alternative to prove credit-worthiness. If you feel that strongly about the credit industry, I agree there probably should be some other alternatives to major credit risk. It's a mess. This 3 Credit Bureau is just driving me insane with this ID theft thing. Why the hell are there 3 Bureaus?????? Makes life 3 times harder for me. So to an extent I am for fighting the system. But in the meantime I don't find it that hard to just play along.
Anyway, I went on a tangent. I almost fell over when Dave said that the value of your cars should be no more than 50% of you annual gross income. I almost choked. Thought I heard wrong. So I looked it up. & yes that is what he recommends. Of course since he recommends paying cash I guess mostly we are on the same page. But 50% just seems awfully generous. (We've spent most of our lives well under 10%. & with 2 "new" cars today we are squarely at 25% and looking at no new cars for like a decade - so it will shrink back to our 10%
average soon enough).
I thought wow this is generous coming from Dave. I wonder what most financial gurus recommend. Just out of curiosity. So I looked and I saw the recommendation that car payments should be no more than 15% - 20% of your take-home pay, on a monthly basis. For one, what financial guru bases car affordibility based on payments? Blech. But 20%. Are they serious???????? I assure you this included no expenses but the car payments. I reread the articles looking for clues - they must be talking insurance, license and all. But no, this was just payments.
So that puts us at $750-$1k monthly car payment we could afford? Are they insane? No way. We maybe put away $400/month on average towards our next car purchases (2). & I have to say we have never had this kind of money for a car before. This is like as good as it gets for us. I could never see spending more. When we made six figures we bought an $8 car. We just don't get the whole car thing. It's a VERY nice car by the way. Small, but nice.
But it's ironic. I have been wanting to buy a $5k 3rd car. We couldn't justify keeping our convertible when we had our first child (insurance and all) but I feel we are getting much closer to buying another very nice, used convertible. By Dave's standards I could afford a $18k car I guess. I mean, heck, I do have the cash.
It's funny because we were watching a show the other day where a husband gave a really nice convertible to his wife on her 40th birthday. I was telling dh, hint hint hint. What a nice birthday present. I said how about at 35? LOL.
Nah, I am going to wait until I can pay cash for a nice $5k car. & fully fund our retirement. Maybe in 5 years. PErhaps. It's harder right now with dh's car being so reliable and worthless at the same time. No collission insurance. I can't really justify spending the cash for a car if his car could be totaled tomorrow and we could need it for that. Then again I would have a car for him to drive. HE would just hate it and we would prefer it be a car that the kids don't ride in for now. So it will be a few years...
But yeah, I realize these are maximums. But they just seem insane to me. Of course the sad thing is that most people I know would find these "rules" rather restrictive. I guess it's some middle ground to give a wake up call to people really buying more than they can afford, but throwing a bone to those who want new cars every few years. We could buy some 2 really nice cars on credit with $1k monthly payments. For sure. I am so glad we put all that money to our house instead though. Phew.
1 Credit Card Resolved & Other Financial Ramblings
& 6 to go?