Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The final documents to sign/notarize on the home purchase arrived today. Tomorrow they get signed and UPSed back overnight. Monday the funds get wired to the title company. The 15th is official closing.

The loan I applied for last January fell through, even though I showed proof that I actually had a good chunk more than the needed funds to buy the house outright. I would have preferred not to take the tax bite on liquidating so many IRA funds in a single tax year - kinda defeats the purpose - but what is, is.

So I've been busy. I wasn't keeping all my eggs in the same basket.

At least I've been taking it in stages. Last year I took some out before the 31st of December, so it at least counts against 2011 for taxes, and the mandatory 10% they had to take out more than covers the debt. The refund will be going to this year's bite. Just after the first of the year I took out some more, still hoping at that point for a loan on the rest. Since then it's become almost a hobby to crunch numbers to figure out which combinations of liquidations will get me to my goal without costing me too much in penalties (most are in CDs) or ridding myself of the remaining high-earners. Yes, I still have 5% on some investments!

The much-hated U S Bank CDs will be staying with me until maturity. Their penalty is about 10%! Apparently it takes such outrageous penalties to get us to put up with the rest of their shenanigans, like their deciding they have the right to charge me $30/year just to "manage" my "retirement account".

Never again, U S Bank, never again! In fact, it tickles me to find out that the short sale on this house which is costing a bank money is actually through U S Bank! Yep, they were the original lender on the last mortgage. Hey guys, maybe what goes around comes around, as "they" say.

I say, "Tee hee!" "Har har har!" "Chortle!" "Glee glee!" And maybe something about mud in their eye. If it had to happen to somebody....

One CD was maturing this week anyway, so that goes into the pile. I may never again see 5.5% interest. Sigh.... Another sizable one hurts to break, though it only costs me about $50 in penalties, but it leaves me the flexibility of several small CDs, and one really large one which still earns 5% until next spring. That one will go towards paying taxes on this year's "income", making repairs and cosmetic improvements like floor tiles to the house, and paying back some of the loans I'm advancing myself against my credit limits on my credit cards.

Yep, credit cards.

The interest on one is lower than any loan I can get even these days, without maxing out the card, and the other, smaller loan has a higher but reasonable rate and will be the first paid off next year. At least that's money I won't have to declare as "income" for this tax year, and that balances out the interest quite well. It also leaves me more cash funds invested as a cushion against life's little happenings.

How, you might ask, do you put part of a house on a credit card? PayPal. I paid my son Paul the amount I wished to withdraw, PayPal took its chunk, and Paul got the money into his checking account. Then he wrote me a check for that amount, and I deposited it into my growing pile in my savings account. The other card is the Visa through my credit union with a nice limit available on it that I instituted several years back and have been careful not to use. It's there to prevent charges for any overdraft that might occur. They automatically take overages out as a "loan" without question and simply charge interest and pay themselves back on a monthly schedule. Unless, of course, I tell them to do it faster as funds come in.

Some of these processes take a few days. Paypal, for example, took three business days to deposit the funds to Paul's account. Nice for them, three days interest on however many millions are on site any given day! Other processes take a simple phone call and funds are transferred. In the middle are the ones which require a stop in a bank with a bunch of paperwork to establish ownership because they've never heard of me except for the day I popped in to take advantage of a great rate.

All together I'm combining funds from 7 different sources. I'll own two houses. No mortgages. Once I retire I can look to selling this place and moving to Arizona full time. With any kind of luck at all the market should have recovered enough that income from the Minnesota house will be double its original cost, more than double the cost of the Arizona house, and well more than any other investment could provide. Until then, no house payments.

And meanwhile we get to snowbird! That's the best part.

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