May mortgage update and would you prepay or increase your monthly payments when the escrow increases?

Last month (April):
Balance:$12,174.40
Years left: 0.91666666667
P =$1,161.61, I =$52.79, Escrow =$809.48

This month (May):
Balance:$11,008.18
Years left: 0.833333333
P =$1,166.21, I =$48.19, Escrow =$812.79

Amount saved from prepayment:  $0

Our escrow went up as it does almost every year.  When this happens, Wells Fargo gives us the option to pay the difference upfront to keep our payments the same or smaller.

Used to be when this happened I’d pay the difference so I could prepay more each month when I rounded the number up to a round number when writing the checks.  Also I like paying stuff early so I don’t have to worry about it later when I might have less money than I was expecting.

But we’re not currently doing any prepayment (since Paradise is expensive and I’m at half pay), not even the little rounding up prepayments that we did when we were just starting the mortgage.  It bothers my OCD a little bit not to write a round number on the check, but I’m getting used to it.

And because we’re spending more money than we’re taking in (not counting retirement savings) and because we have less than a year on the mortgage and there’s not even a full year left for the escrow, I decided to let them increase our monthly payment for the second time this year.

(Note also that that $812 or more will be the minimum average monthly cost of home ownership once we’re done with the mortgage not including utilities or repairs– home ownership isn’t free!)

Would you prefer to pay increases upfront or to amortize payment increases?

Link Love

Sleep is more than a personal choice

#notallberniebros

tiny house hunters the drinking game (enjoy responsibly)

Get your woman card .  Here’s the benefits.

The humanities have too much whimsy

This is the dude who made Cyberpunk and Castle Falkenstein

Yet another school with yet another sex scandal.  Ugh.

Are you believing Republican propaganda?

with the good hair

I am really sorry that I complained (here on the blog, not to like facilities or anything) when our single sex stalls turned unisex.  My complaints about my male colleague’s inability to aim are insignificant compared to the trouble that some folks have when using a single-sex restroom.  (aside:  F* NC)  Now I am aware and sorry!

From 3 years ago.

this cat is my cat’s spiritual brother

Berniebro math

Why does Piers Morgan still have a platform?

light reads for heavy hearts (though I confess, I do not understand bee and puppycat)

 

Ask the grumpies: Socially responsible investing

Linda asks:

So many times I read/hear about “greedy corporations” doing bad things, but then I start to think about the following.

Public companies (which are mostly what people mean when they call out corporate greed) are owned by shareholders. The executives of those companies have a responsibility to earn money for those shareholders, which is why so many of these “greedy things” happen: execs make decisions based on the bottom line. (Yeah, those execs are also earning money (a LOT of money) for themselves, as well. They are hired to make money for the company (a.ka. the shareholders) and if they meet the goals/targets for sales, etc. they get lots of money and bonuses. But that’s a sideline here.)

However, just who are these shareholders who are ultimately behind this drive for making profits and increasing the value of their shares? Why…it’s us! We’re the ones putting money in our 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and/or state and private pension funds, which are comprised of shares in these “greedy corporations.” Right?

And if I’m not misunderstanding it…holy hell, isn’t this a moral dilemma for people who care about values and issues, such as the environment, human rights, and social justice? How many of us who say (for example) we abhor Walmart’s employment practices and/or boycott shopping there, are actually shareholders in Walmart? Or if we hate frakking, yet are also shareholders in companies that do so?

Ethical investing is HARD when you have a limited set of funds to choose from. I’ve poured over the prospectuses of my Vanguard 401(k) funds and shut that information away in my brain so I can pretend I don’t know what’s in those funds and that life is all sunshine, blue skies, kittens, and puppies.

Am I totally misunderstanding how my 401(k) works? Or is there really a utopia of steady investment growth for a comfortable retirement (one where I don’t have to live in a box and eat cat food) that doesn’t exploit others?

You would probably be interested in looking into SRIs (Socially Responsible Indices) within your retirement plan.

For the most part though, those of us doing broad-based index investing aren’t paid attention to by companies.  We’re neutral– sinning by omission, not by commission.  We’re not forcing them to change their behavior and we’re not causing them to have the bad behavior.  We’re not the people who move the markets because we’re not paying attention to individual companies.  Yes, we could do better by doing as you say, picking funds that are socially conscious companies and when we do that we miss out on Exxon’s growth or Phillips 66’s dividends.  We could do even better, if we’re wealthy, by buying huge amounts of stock and going to share-holder meetings to make our social justice positions known.  But of course that adds risk, and most of us aren’t that wealthy.

An alternative, of course, is to keep your money in the broad-based indices and invest your extra returns in charities that you care about.

Differences between your online persona and your IRL persona?

The blogosphere (including us) has recently been discussing how blogs are only a specific persona that the blogger shows (or curates, depending on your beliefs about the nature of truth and perception and personality).

That got us thinking about how we differ IRL vs. our blog personas.  We thought we’d share some of the differences.

I am a lot nicer IRL.  A LOT.  My snark only comes out with anonymity.  I may think things IRL but I don’t say things unless I can say something nice.  #2, however: I think I might actually be nicer on this blog than IRL.

I’m also more introverted IRL.  I’ve done meetups with groups of forum people and they are surprised that I’m quiet at the dinner table even though I’m super chatty online.  (This same thing isn’t true with people I know well IRL or when I’m at a conference on topics I’m an expert on– I’m perfectly chatty with subject matter I feel comfortable with.)  #2 is super-introverted all the time and prefers online communication.  Or books.

I’m less annoyed about giving an impromptu lecture on my subject matter of expertise IRL than online.  Online it often feels like someone should be paying me to argue with them.  (I know it may seem like this isn’t possible, but I promise, I lecture a LOT IRL.)

What don’t I share with you?  Mostly boring stuff.  I only online share things if I find them interesting and/or funny.  I also try not to share things that would hurt other people if our blog and real identities became front page news.

I’m often not as witty because online you only get the good stuff, not the stuff that failed at being funny or brilliant (at least IMO).

Who is the real us?  Well, what is reality anyway?

How do your IRL and online personas differ?  Who is the real you?

What are we reeeading

When previously we discussed books, #2 had recommended Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School.  #1 now vehemently recommends this book as well.  Sooooo good.  DC1 also loved it.

Speaking of DC1 and books about magical schools, both DC1 and I have really enjoyed the The Ever Afters Series by Shelby Bach, about a fairytale after school program.  I couldn’t put the second book down, though I had to put the third book down from time to time because, like with Harry Potter, that’s when stuff gets real.  We have the final book on hold at the library.  (Currently reading!)

I’ve started reading Elizabeth Hoyt.  Her books are fine, but it is true they are a bit repetitive.  Probably best not to read all of them in a row, but to just pick out the best or to take long breaks between.  Check out, don’t buy.  Think late 18th century batman complete with revenge motives.  Lots of batmans with lots of different revenge motives (including the standard dead parents) and different Arthurs and different aristocratic super villains.  Also, for some reason, dogs.  Duke of midnight was going fine until an attempted rape of a minor character whose sole purpose was as a macguffin and to show the good character of a male character, and shortly after the hero roughly shakes the heroine until it hurts her.  Ugh.  The next book in the series has a minor female character beaten to death (in the past) as another macguffin (also as character development for the heroine and another villain).  And after that Dearest Rogue has rape of a minor female character (in the past) as macguffin and character development for the hero!  Also attempted rape of the heroine.  Good grief, can’t she come up with any other way to drive the plot or develop character?  But if you don’t mind the violence-against-women-as-macguffin-and-character-development trope…

This Rake of Mine by Elizabeth Boyle was great fun if you can completely suspend your disbelief and ignore historical accuracy (the main complaints in low star reviews).  If you think of it as a farce it’s fun!  Though about 3/4 of the way through there’s a couple of spots where the author obviously ran out of time (and the editor didn’t fix it) and told rather than showed.  Not great literature, but no sexual violence against women!  Along came a duke though was super boring and I skipped most of the middle.  That could have used less writing.  Her highest rated, the viscount who lived down the lane was fine but could have used editing.  I think I will not seek out the rest of her stuff.

Tried a Lisa Kleypas, specifically Dreaming of You, but she is REALLY into attempted rape as a trope.  I mean seriously, lady.  Also so much gratuitous stupidity.  I can buy the matchmaking lady inviting the hero and the heroine to a house party without them knowing about the other, but inviting the woman who sent the goons who scarred the hero’s face (that the heroine shot in the first chapter) to the same house party when you’re trying to set the hero and heroine up and you know that the villain will try to kill the heroine if she knows that the hero loves her…  That’s just causing drama for drama’s sake.  There was a better way to arrange that (and one that wouldn’t, you know, involve yet another attempted rape on the heroine).  *Sigh*

Meanwhile, back in #2 land, I finished Tam Lin by Pamela Dean.  This book is for you if you liked The Secret History by Donna Tartt.  It’s good, but long, and there’s quite a lot of the main characters talking about poetry and analyzing plays and quoting things at each other.  I’m on Volume 2 of Gotham Academy.  I’ve been catching up on Maria V. Snyder and some very naughty books and stories that can’t go on this blog.  I’ve also  caught up (almost?) on Ilona Andrews, and read a bit of nonfiction.  My current read, which I love so far, is Nevada, by Imogene Binnie.  At the start of the book, the main character works in a huge used bookstore and her life is kinda bad.  I sense that big changes are coming.

What are YOU reading, Grumpeteers?

We have a new washer!

After most of the year having a crappy washer and DH fixing it once when it wouldn’t drain (an experience which will be giving him nightmares for decades), it stopped agitating.  So we emailed the landlord and zie emailed back a day or two later telling us to buy a specific model at a specific store and to deduct the cost from next month’s rent.  (The specific store didn’t take credit cards over the phone or online and was far away so I asked if we could just get the same model at the same price from home depot and zie said that was ok, so yay.)

This is very different from #2’s experience wherein when her appliance breaks, the apartment manager sends someone to fix it right away and then takes care of everything, but #2 lives in a really nice apartment building and we have a somewhat scattered landlord who sometimes takes months to cash our checks (which are still being made out to, “The estate of” the previous landlord because zie hasn’t told us to do otherwise).

The new washer actually gets clothing clean.  It’s pretty amazing.

What do you do when a major appliance breaks?

Link Love

This is a bit mind-blowing.  (Though it may take reading through a bunch of them before the full power sinks in.)

Tubmans!

Creeeepy

It’s about the MONEY

I have been on this precipice

I have a beta hat

I think I’ve been doing this too.  The pro-Bernie people (disclaimer: #notallberniebros) can get kind of scary and they do tend to shut down showing support for HRC.  It’s less cool and who wants to deal with being harassed for not feeling the Bern.

Clinton vs. Sanders on policy.   Also, pretty much all the economists I’ve been seeing (and I have been seeing a LOT of them this election season) are pro-Hillary.  What’s weird is that many of them think that Trump supporters and Sanders supporters are tapping into the same populist movement created from rising inequality.  (The only difference between the two groups is blatant racism?)  I’m not sure how true that is, but I mostly only see well-off liberal Sanders supporters, not the millenial ones.  (Personally, I suspect that Sanders supporters are like #2 who is voting based on greater levels of policy agreement, or are misogynists who can’t handle the idea of a woman president.)

On becoming anti-bernie

why bother?

Chuck Wendig agrees with me about Tiny Houses

In which #2 explains 420 to me

Ben and Jerry arrested

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