As for envelopes

he has a company truck so only have to worry about my car. I should get several more years out of it, but will still add to an envelope for a new (to me) car down the road. And down payment on a house is a must. Guess we should look at what houses are going for around here to see what 20% would roughly be. This money won’t pay for college completely of course, but will help in the long term savings for it.

Just an opinion of mine I’d like to throw in

I would heartily recommend making sure you have a six FULL month EF. You said $18-20k would cover 6 months of bare-bones, 4-walls.

So regardless of what the final amount ends up being, I would:

1. Pay off the debt.

2. Put six FULL months aside for FFEF.

3. Make sure you are putting the full 15% at least into retirement. I would personally in your situation do dh’s 401k 7% up to the match, the 6% that’s going into your pension. After that, I’d set up a Roth IRA for each of you and throw the rest of your 15% into there. If some left over, THEN go back to your 401k without a match for the rest.

4. With what is left – will you be needing to beef up any envelopes? I’d recommend putting 2/3rds of what is left into envelopes for down payment for a house, saving for an automobile, any other envelopes that need it. Put the other 1/3 into starting the kids college funds. At that point, you can possibly contribute to those accounts in some capacity on an ongoing basis (as part of your budget).

5. Then you’ll be at Baby Step 6… and you will want to keep saving money for paying for a house/paying down mortgage when you do get one.

Inheritance – What to do?

I’m much more of a lurker than a poster here, but I have learned so much from those of you that do post.

We are currently almost finished paying off debt. We have our $1000 emergency fund. With current snowball and assuming Murphy doesn’t come to visit, we should be debt free by the end of February, 2015. We never had a ton of debt, just not always smart about our money.

My grandfather recently passed away. He was a young 92! :) He had a good life and he grew up during the depression on a farm. He definitely knew the value of a dollar and tried to teach all of us that.

I was informed last week that I will be getting $76,000 minimum. The final amount will be determined after the house and personal items are sold. Based on my percent of inheritance and estimated value of his home, I could get anywhere from $90-95,000. But we know for sure it is at least $76,000. No telling when I will actually get the check. We were all told at the reading of the will (I thought they only sat around a table in the movies) to make sure we take care of his great grandchildren and to remember how important we all know that he thought college was.

DH and I have two children, 8 and 5. We both work and make enough to cover all of our bills, especially when we are no longer in debt. We currently rent so no mortgage. I can’t believe it’s almost here!

I know after paying off debt is to fund 3-6 months of living expenses. We can easily put that much into savings from the inheritance. Just basic, 4 walls, living expenses would be about $18000-20,000 for 6 months. The next step is retirement. Then college fund.

After we are finished with debt, we will apply the snowball to investing in each of our 401K’s. We already invest some. I’m a teacher so 6% of my salary is taken off the top to go to the state retirement plan. I also have a 401K that gets $75 a month right now (no match). DH’s employer requires them to participate in a 401K that is company matched 50 cents on the dollar up to 7% of income. He’s only putting in 7% right now. He also has a pension. He works for one of the largest aggregate companies in the nation (rock quarry) so we don’t have a fear of the company and pension dissolving before retirement. (At least 20 years from now for both of us).

So my question, if it were you, how would you handle the other $56000-58,000? How should I separate this into college funds for both of our boys? They have 529 accounts with very little in them (less than $1500 each). We stopped contributions while we get out of debt. We still have time to continue saving for the boys and they will be required to work as well.

We don’t want to buy a house now. DH should be getting a promotion before too long (next year or so) and that will probably be another move. But that should put us there for the long haul and we will buy then. Should probably save a chunk of inheritance for a down payment.

Thanks in advance. Sorry this is so long. We had no idea we would be getting this much and this has definitely been a mixed blessing and windfall. I have to work 3 years to brig home this much as a teacher. We don’t want to make any quick decisions and look back in 10 years and wonder where the heck all of the money went.

Well, we have a nice big unexpected bill looking us right in the face

A windstorm several years ago sent a tall cottonwood leaning against a Doug fir. Over the years it’s gotten locked into the branches of that Doug fir and was fairly stable. But in our first windstorm of the season about 10 days ago, it apparently shifted or rotated, such that it’s no longer locked into place. Yep, it’s on the way down. I have been hearing popping and cracking sounds from the Doug fir branches as they let go under the weight, one at a time. And here’s the really neato part of this story – it’s immediately over our driveway, and would come down right across where we wait to pull out onto the road. Yes, this now constitutes an emergency.

I just got off the phone with our tree service whom we’ve used before, and they’re going to send their top guy out within the next day or so to assess and give us some options. We already know from a prior bid to drop the tree, that due to its nearness to the road, it would cost at least $1K to bring it down safely. It was our collective opinion at that time that we didn’t have the money, and the problem could wait. That was two years ago. I haven’t told the DH yet about this change in status, and I don’t know what his response will be. My opinion is that we need to fell it ASAP before it falls on its own. As in, this week or as soon as the tree crew can get out here to do it.

I understand your frustration!

I am not implying that he’s definitely scamming me, I just can’t be blind to the possibility. It could just be by chance that several things have happened, as it has been in your experience! Your landlord doesn’t sound very reasonable, and sounds judgy (not a word I realize).
Was more freaked out about the money/finances, and trying to decide what to do moving forward. Either way, I’ll have to have him move out and put a bunch of funds into the property – whether to make it saleable or rentable again. And it’s just unfortunate, because I have sunk so much money into it already! So not sure which way is in my family’s best interest.

I debated about whether to respond, I’ll be brief

I sit on the other side of the coin. In a house that is falling apart, (not saying yours is) and a landlord who is just SURE that it is all my fault. He hasn’t done a thing to this place unless he has been compelled to…examples include:

the 20 year old furnace that went out (somehow that’s my fault)

the last time this place was tented for termites was 40 years ago, but somehow the fact there are termites here is my fault.
the termites ate through the fascia boards, and the fact that he has painted over them multiple times but now the city wants him to replace them is all my fault

the dishwasher which was broken when we moved in, he replaced. it’s a cheap piece of garbage, and what a surprise, within two years the timing board broke, somehow that’s my fault too.

many of the pipes and fixtures have rusted away and somehow since they’ve completely rusted through while we’ve been living here, that’s something I caused

You get the point.

IMO – you should put an end to him being a handyman who fixes thing while he is your tenant

It blurs the line between your business relationship. It may be that he is totally honest and forthright and all of these issues just fell under Murphy’s umbrella. It could also be that he sees ways to get around paying rent by “fixing up” your property, although that isn’t the arrangement you were looking for.

Find yourself a local and reputable service company (check homeadvisor or angies list for reviewed companies!) and tell your tenant that while you appreciate his help, you are now in a contract with a company and need all repairs to go through them. Be clear: no deductions will be made to his rent for anything (put this in writing) unless YOU pre-approve it. You didn’t hire him as a handyman, you are his landlord and expect to make your fair profit for renting the home to him.

If the issues and un-approved deductions suddenly disappear, then you might consider the odds in favor of him being a not so honest tenant and give him that “out” to leave when you find a suitable replacement.

Above all else – stay positive! It’ll work out. Your tenant odds of good ones 2 out of 3 is not bad at all 😉

Just sharing experience

I know there are other folks on the list with some property management experience; they may have some additional ideas too. In the meantime, take a deep breath and just remind yourself that there are multiple options which perhaps are not immediately visible at the moment. Give the topic a “time out” and see what other ideas, if any, come forward. Then come back to it when you’re refreshed. I often find that if I put aside concerns about some big thing and go do something else, the answer will come to me out of the blue while I’m working on other things. Hope the little angel of inspired ideas comes to you soon.

I rented a 2000sqft home for three years

It taught me a lot about what happens with that type of arrangement. You can get tenants that are worth gold, and you can get tenants where you can’t get the sheriff there fast enough to throw their butts out. I went through both.

Two ideas for you:
1. Hire a property manager. I was managing my rental from out of state, and it was a PITA. I hired a property manager to take care of the ins and outs of the property maintenance and tenant negotiations. I found that working with a reputable property management company took a lot of the hassle out of the arrangements. They don’t have any emotional attachment to the house (not that you do per se, but you do have some mixed feelings about that house which they won’t have). It’s just a business proposition for them, and they’ll manage it as such. They’re practiced at balancing the cost of keeping a place going and finding good tenants, while returning a profit. There’s a lot that goes into property management and sometimes hiring a manager is a very nice way to go. They’ll take a percentage of the rent as their fee, but you sleep better at night knowing that if something goes wrong, it won’t be your phone that rings at 2am.

2. If the tenant really wants to get out of the lease and you want him to go, and don’t want to carry the house utilities through winter, make it a caveat that a replacement tenant must be found, which meets YOUR criteria for rental history, etc, before he can break his lease. If you hired a property manager prior to letting this guy go, they’d handle all that for you.

I got out of my rental house management after three years because it was just too much to keep up with. I had other career plans and property management wasn’t amongst them. But my dad has been a property manager now for almost 30 years, and he loves it. He treats it like a business and isn’t shy about telling tenants to shape up or get out. He’s done pretty well with that business too, better than some of his other small biz ideas. So it really can go in a variety of different directions, depending a lot on what you want to do with it.

I would suggest since your frustration level is so very high, you may not be in a position to make any big decisions right now. If nothing else, perhaps sit down with a property management consultant or mentor to help you pencil out the various alternatives and discuss which of them are really the most in step with your own personal goals for that house (and the rest of your current/future plans).

Oh. My. Goodness.

I have leased out my old house for the last 2.5 years. All three times, I have offered the home for SALE or LEASE or LEASE PURCHASE, but leasing it out is what has taken place. The first two tenants were great with payment, there were a few maintenance issues that came up (and I promptly had taken care of), and generally speaking did better than break even. Not by much, but something.

This new guy moved in April 1st, and quite the April Fools joke on me it has been. Lots of things have “happened” which I can’t prove they were by the tenant or just “happened to happen” all at once here. All in the last few months:

1. Water damage, mold in a downstairs room… he did have a swimming pool in the back yard dump 1000 gallons or so right by that room. But it *could* be from a drainage issue or something like that. Homeowners insurance will not be covering anything on that.

2. A plumbing/septic tank issue. Apparently this older house (built in 72) still has some cast iron plumbing. It can start to disintegrate over time, and we started having an issue with that on the drainage pipe leading out to the septic tank. Ended up paying about $1300 (the tenant is a handyman, he did it and didn’t pay rent).

3. The water heater went out, and I just paid him to replace that.

4. Now he’s saying that he has no water, thinks the well pump went out, so I just called a plumber to go out.

5. In addition, he has “paid for some things out of his pockets” and taken it off of the rent without pre-approval (about $350 worth).
6. (also, he said the washer tube came unhinged and some water got into the basement).

Goodness sakes. He is interested in moving out whenever I want to let him. But now, before I could sell it OR lease it again… going to have to fix all KINDS of things. And if I let him move out during the winter, the electric bill I’d have to sign back over to me would be super high during those months (all electric heat). I feel like his family has been really hard on the place. I have put HUGE money into renovations at this place (mostly when I lived there, then also before I leased it out the first time). But I’m going to have to completely gut and fix this room, probably take all of the wainscoting out of the lower level. I’m betting carpet/painting and everything. This is a 2000+ sq ft tri-level, so that won’t be cheap. UGH… not sure what to do. Ironically, I’m very interested in investment property when I get to Baby Step #4, but this is going to cost a boatload of money.

Sorry for the long post, just really confused about what to do.

A food for thought story on your subject:

A childhood friend of mine’s father always made her save some of her earnings… whether that be babysitting money, odd job earnings, or when we were older, from an actual part-time job.

He set this money aside and gave it back to her as needed when she needed to make large purchases – i.e., a class trip, sports uniforms, car, etc.

He enforced this savings rule as long as she lived under his roof. Guess what? When she moved out, she amassed enough money to buy a fixer-upper house in Michigan with cash. She is a hair dresser of modest income, but now she can live comfortably. And she still saves a good chunk of her checks since she doesn’t have a mortgage payment, and she puts that money into her house – adding value for the future.

Her parents taught her a great lesson about looking to the future and planning. I remember when we were young and she and I did not understand, but gosh do we now!

Wow, a lot has changed in the last 24 hrs

DH took the news well (whew!) and was very pleased I’d sort of jumped into action to prep the property for the tree coming down, whether it was by plan or by gravity. We were able to talk objectively and without blame or anger that yep, it’s going to be a big bill, but it’s something we have to do, so let’s just deal with it. Then it became clear that Ma Nature was taking things into her own hands, because more and more branches were snapping and popping (sort like listening to a bowl of Rice Krispies), and we knew it was coming down soon. I had just made a big feed and hay run, so we were good on “groceries” for the livestock. DH parked his truck on the other side of the road so that we had a vehicle on each side of where the tree would end up. I even called the neighbors to let them know that if they heard a big crash in the middle of the night, they didn’t have to go out in their bathrobes and bunny slippers to see if we were OK. And then we waited.
About 7pm, we heard it go. It was already dark but we knew pretty much where it was going to land. It was actually surprisingly quiet. The Doug fir branches sort of slowed and cushioned the fall such that the tree didn’t really fell down, it laid down. And we couldn’t have laid it down any better if we’d tried. I think the little angel of inspiration took the Big Angel of Protection aside late yesterday, and said “hey, these folks gave me some free advertising today. Can you do me a favor and make sure that tree of theirs doesn’t do any damage on the way down?” The tree landed exactly in our garden aisle, such that none of our raised bed frames were crushed. Missed the beehives, missed the few herbs I still had out there, clipped a dead branch of another tree, squashed an old fence. That’s it. Didn’t hit the power lines, didn’t even take out too many Doug fir branches on the way down. And now, we don’t have a $1K+ felling bill but we want to use payday loans online secure service, so as an added bonus, the DH is starting to see the value of the sinking funds! Is that a bank shot or what?!? He had muttered last night that darnit, he wants to find a way to save up for this sort of thing a little bit at a time, in advance, so that we can deal with emergencies like this when they come up unexpectedly. I very gently reminded him that’s the whole purpose of the sinking fund system. And for the first time ever, he seemed to think yea, that might actually be a good idea. YAY!!!!!

So today we have a lot of chainsaw work to do, but a very big thank you to the Big Angel of Protection and the little angel of inspiration, both of whom were working to help out here yesterday.


My son (who is 11) is making money making and selling cookies with his friend. He makes about 5-7 dollars a week.
Do you:

A) leave him alone and let him put all the money in his wallet (minus expenses for cookie dough) – he’s spending only on candy and soda (all his other needs are taken care of by us and he has no big “wants” right now to save up for)

B) require him to put some in savings and charity (ie a percentage or dollar amount)

C) allow him to decide what to do

D) something else


So we have 7 high schooling home schoolers and two parents (lol)

who are attending the Foundations in Personal Finance class. We’ve had two, both the same subject. I was so late in getting out invites to the various homeschooling groups in my area that only 3 were able to make it the first week. But those three were involved in something else (as a group) yesterday, so we did a makeup session with the 4 (and two parents) yesterday. Next week we will all be on the same page.

It’s really interesting. If you’ve been through FPU or read Total Money Makeover, Foundations is a really different format. In fact, if I was an adult, I’d do FPU/TMM then when I go to baby step 3 or 4 I’d make myself go through Foundations since its focus is on saving, investing and wealth building.

It’s also challenging because it’s hard to sell the concept of having an emergency fund even BS1 to teenagers. They just don’t see the need for one. The best the group could come up with as high schoolers that they might have as emergencies were breaking your cell phone, getting a ticket (most of them don’t even drive.) IT’s quite a different dynamic from adults who at least intellectually acknowledge WHY they should have an EF.

I WAS able to get them to agree that they are all 2- 2.5 years away from college, so if they sit around and do nothing, 2.5 years from now college will be here and they will still have nothing. We juxtaposed that against “two years ago” they were in the 8th grade, and now they’re halfway through high school (or more): doesn’t that feel like time flew by? (heads nod.)

Anyway, It’s fun, we’re learning a lot. They have homework (which is funny…homeschoolers…homework.) I’ll keep you posted.

Whether or not someone has health insurance

if someone ELSE caused the problem, that someone else should make it right. When my daughter was hit by a car (also by an elderly person) and dragged 25 feet, her insurance company didn’t want to pay for her medical bills etc because “we had insurance.” Well no kidding, but we wouldn’t need to USE our insurance if YOUR customer had paid attention and not hit her. The police were like, yeah, it’s obviously the victim’s (my daughter’s) fault for crossing in the crosswalk.

Insurance companies don’t pay out unless they’re forced to. It sounds like it is going to be a long convalescence with a lot more outlay than your BIL/SIL might have. It sounds like they need to find a lawyer and start proceedings. It’s one thing to file a frivolous lawsuit and another to have to because the offending party/insurance won’t take care of things.

Our extended family had a blow this week

when my sister in law was out jogging on a residential street and got hit by a car. She’s going to be Ok, but her knee was shattered and she required several hours of surgery to repair the damage. She’s home now installed on the couch, living on Percoset as the long recovery begins. My brother’s family has a lot of local support, with friends and neighbors all pitching in to help get their three kids where they need to go (school, soccer practice, gymnastics, and the 1001 other errands normal for a 3-kid household). So the immediate crisis is being dealt with.

However, there is a great deal of concern right now about the medical costs, in particular due to the details of how the accident occurred. My sis-in-law was jogging in what the locals treat as a bike path, which is a painted margin alongside the residential streets of her neighborhood. But it’s not marked as a bike path; instead it is officially designated as overflow parking in front of people’s houses. The accident occurred at an intersection, where a car was stopped prior to crossing the intersection. She saw the driver and the driver saw her, and they waved at each other like “yes, I see you”, and my sis-in-law thought the driver waved her across. But then the driver hit the gas and boom.

The police did respond, and took a full report there at the scene. Since the driver was stopped, and since my sis-in-law was in the road, no ticket was given to the driver. Furthermore, the police officer said my sis-in-law should have been running with traffic, rather than against the direction of traffic. Except that violates every single rule I’ve ever heard of for pedestrians sharing the road. We were always taught, and I have seen in various local codes since then, that bikes travel with traffic and pedestrians move against traffic for better visibility. But in this case, a lot of things are stacking up such that my sis-in-law may be found at fault. That’s where the concern comes in about medical bill payment.

My brother has a good job with good insurance and good benefits. But they have retained an attorney to go after the driver’s insurance and make that insurance pay. Except since the driver wasn’t sited, that’s going to be a really hard argument. If the driver’s insurance doesn’t pay, my brother’s intention is to go after the driver with a lawsuit so that his job’s insurance doesn’t have to pay for the medical bills. This is where I start to get dubious about this whole situation, and have some philosophical concerns with how it’s being handled. The driver is an 84 year old woman who was absolutely mortified about what happened. Maybe this is my own emotional prejudice creeping in. If it had been a young bratty kid who had an attitude of “hey, man, this isn’t my fault”, then I’d be inclined to pursue legal recourse. But going after an 84 year old driver who is almost as traumatized as my sis-in-law, that just doesn’t sit right with me. And the thought of not having our insurance pay for something, and instead going after someone else’s insurance to make them pay, bugs me too. That’s what insurance is for, to cover the costs of an accident, which is exactly what this was. Yet the question of how the medical bills will be paid, remains.

This all happened in Phoenix , AZ. I know rules really vary state by state. And frankly, this will probably be decided in the legal offices and/or courts for that location. I can only watch from the sidelines. Furthermore, I suspect that any “suggestions” or counsel I would offer, would be politely ignored. My brother has made good money in a good career, the best of all four of us adult kids, so he’s viewed as the responsible one. I’m the one who got into credit card debt trouble so my financial/legal advice isn’t worth much. But I have the sense that if this is handled wrong, it could really damage his family’s financial situation. I’d love to hear any suggestions that anyone has, or been-there-done-that for cases in AZ. The extended family will probably not ask my opinion but it would be nice to have an educated opinion just in case they do.

One of the “secrets ” of our nearly 42 year marriage is

taking time for just of the two of us. Those times have ranged everywhere from a late night picnicking in the back yard in the warm months or in front of the fireplace in colder months, we’ve even pitched a tent indoors before.

This special time was a 5 day holiday to WDW this last weekend. We took advantage of our annual pass discounts and bargain air fare to fly down. We are nearly home now.

One of the beautiful things about being cc debt free is the luxury of such a trip.

The beauty of the annual pass is it not only gives us rooms at a 30% off rate, but we had pre check in at the resort, and no tickets to purchase. Because we used the tickets in May we had already got our money’s worth then, so these were basically free entry. We also got other things at a discount.

The parks are especially beautiful this time of year and the weather was great.

I pretty well had completed our Christmas shopping before we left, so it is just a matter of putting the tree up when we get home, if ds hasn’t done it already.

I had set aside a chunk of cash for the trip, but we barely touched it. So I will be putting that as an additional principal on the mortgage this week. So another bonus of this last week.

The trip didn’t even cost us vacation time because of a rush job and extra hours at work for dh just before we left. It was a fun, but tiring trip.