It's busy busy busy here. Busy at work, and busy on the home front. Just a lot of stuff going on this week.
I'll see tonight at stock close how our net worth did this month. I think we were down $500 or so as of yesterday. On the net worth front. Wasn't bad really. (My goal is $25k-$30k for the year so yes I have a long way to go. Won't be quite so easy on a bad stock year, if this continues). The budget has been VERY good this month. I think I have -$50 in my checking account unofficially BUT I think our credit card bill will be on or under budget and we may be able to pay for the windshield from the budget instead of savings. So that is all good good good. (Officially I am doing my medical saving transfer after the first to avoid a negative in my checking account. But I put everything in Quicken the date I should do it so I can see when I am falling behind. I hate all those negatives, but I think for February we are caught up. Let's just say I don't expect a negative in February. Of course, never do. )
I have a CD coming due and a balance transfer coming due as well. Which is fine with the interest rates not being so hot. I thought I would be able to get another 8 months at 5.7% on the CD. I really remember that being a promotion but I don't have it anywhere in writing. I may just be crazy, and likewise, the balance transfers are no longer so lucrative. But it's still easy money and I can still get 4.5% (for now) at my bank. Anyway, I'll call the bank and ask. If no 5.7% I'll move. I don't know if they will care so much with my $10k. But they could always offer me a deal to stay. They have a good CD deal right now but only if you have direct deposit. Not much I can do since my boss does not offer DD. Bummer for me.
We are waiting on the sidelines to lock in a great refi rate. We'll see. If the lower than low rates comes by... Our broker is very gung ho since we actually have equity and good credit. I guess we are a rarity around here. The CU just wasn't going to let us sit on the sidelines and wait to see if 5% would materialize again. So this may be better - was referred by a friend. Very untrusting of the mortgage bunch, but we can save so much money with a refi!!!! So we are moving forward.
I was worried about the BTs on my credit score but the guy just LAUGHED. He said my credit score was in the 95% percentile at 730 and he didn't care basically. The payments are so little they don't matter either. Phew!!!! (I think he was shocked we were only paying $400/month on all those cards (But helps in this case). HE was like, "I thought those cards were upping their minimums." Like I Said before, squeaks our "debt payments" and mortgage under 33% so the refi is not a biggie. Phew. Since I never expected to refi this year. But the guy was really shocked with our financial situation. He said we were one in a million. Yay! Well considering he is mostly working with people desparate to fix their mortgage messes. It's all relative I guess. I got the sense he was relieved to have someone who qualified so readily for refi, and I feel he will pull for us, likewise. He had much more incentive than our CU.
So I leave you with this.
Anyway, beyond all that, switching gears. HEre are some thoughts on the Fair tax. IT always struck me as the Fair tax supporters glossed over some of the more complicated aspects of this system, plus it always struck me as very unfair to the middle class. Anyway, this is just a tax expert guy who I knew would have a very intelligent write up on the Fair tax. With all the talk about it I thought I would share. If nothing else it's a pretty practical point of view that you don't see much on the debates.
I honestly don't know if my initial reaction (cringing at the idea) is just because the complicated tax system is my livelihood. I think any change like this would be HUGE. Huge ramifications for everyone because it would so greatly change the way we do things. So I don't know if my viceral reaction is because it's bad or because I fear change. I am sure much of it is the latter. But thinking it through I see a lot of holes that the supporters aren't going to talk about or really even grasp. There are just a lot of kinks to work out, if nothing else. So just another point of view:
This is probably my favorite paragraph (below). BEcause unintended tax consequences and loopholes always pop up in local legislation when these things are not thought through. For example, California passed a law for a 1% income tax surcharge to tax returns over $1 million. They didn't really define this very well. So basically whether you are married or single, or file separate, the limit is $1 million per TAX RETURN to avoid the surtax. We had few clients who make this money, but all we had to do for the very few was file their taxes "married filing separately" to avoid the surcharge. It's just a perfect example. Completely unintended tax loophole because they just didn't write the law the way it should have been.
Here it is:
"Each of the terms in this description need to be defined. What is a common residence? Who is the spouse? Is a person a spouse if he or she abandons the residence during the year? Who qualifies as a student? How is support calculated? What constitutes incarceration? What happens if someone is not a member of the household for some portion of the year due to illness? How are kidnaped children counted? In other words, all of the complexities that afflict sections 151 and 152 of the current Internal Revenue Code would still be with us. There are special rules for hobby losses that resemble section 183, special rules for gaming activities, an exemption for intermediate sales, provisions affecting purchases by governments, rules for mixed-use property, not-for-profit organizations, and financial intermediation services. Each of these provisions includes all sorts of terms that need to be defined. For example, the need for complex definitions dealing with non-profit organizations will be no less under the Fair Tax than under the current income tax. Bottom line? The Fair Tax is nowhere near as simple as advertised. That it is presumably less complicated than the current income tax is not a noteworthy achievement. Everything is less complicated that the current income tax."
Yeah, I like that last tax line too. LOL.
Man, I am ALL FOR simpler tax system. For sure.