Friday, May 10, 2013

My financial career

As it turns out, I went into the bank last night to formalize and complete the mortgage transfer application. The whole thing took not quite an hour. A lot of it was paperwork, of course. Check this. Confirm that. Do you have this? How many of those do you have? I was surprised to learn my credit rating wasn't just good, but unusually good. I haven't had a credit card in about three years and I'd always heard that counted against you, but I guess having had several you built up a debt on and then paid off without blowing payments counts.

She actually had this big print out from the credit agency. Pretty much every credit instrument I've been involved with for years. Her mission was to make sure there wasn't anything outstanding, and I got to watch her... circle, check; circle, check... I kind of felt like I was back in university, in an end-of-year interview with a professor, or one where I'm trying to get into a course and need to show the prereqs. I guess in a way I was.

I had to bring in a few things. Statement of employment and annual wage... which I was surprised is actually about fifty dollars a month higher than I remembered... must have gotten a COLA in there I was never told about... property tax statement, estimate of resale from my real estate agent based on recent sales of similar units in my complex... last two pay stubs; things like that.

So off the thing goes now. It looks like it should go through. The sticking point will be whether or not they actually demand an appraisal. I hope to God they don't; not over a difference of about ten grand either way. Since they only lend you 80% of the value, that's only a difference of about two or three grand. Peanuts to them; but every thousand dollars is a month I do, or don't, have to live like a monk to kill off my line of credit debt. And what we're pitching for is right up the middle of what my agent says places have sold for.

I stand to come out ahead in a lot of little ways. For instance, the life insurance my current mortgage company insisted I get costs me $74 a month. The insurance my bank is suggesting I have tacks on only about $32 a month. That's $500 a year, right there. Not to mention the $60 or so a month I'm currently giving the bank in interest on the outstanding $13,000 in the line of credit, which is about 2.5% higher than the rate on the mortgage that, I hope, is about to absorb most of that. There's another $700... well, give or take; obviously that would come down as the months pass, but still... I've been paying pretty close to that every month for a year and a half. That's a thousand bucks or so that just vanished into thin air since I lost Twinkle. Anyway, it's hard to put a precise number on it, but if you were to ballpark it, it probably frees up well over a thousand dollars in the next year or so.

I've been thinking about it this morning and there are really two factors that put me here right now. One is, of course, Bonnie's passing on Monday. The other was actually a leg-up I got just about exactly a month ago. It came right out of the blue, unsolicited and unexpected, and when I realized what it was, I was literally breathless for a moment. It was, I believe, a gesture of financial understanding and sympathy with what was about to be undertaken for Bonnie's sake. But it was something else, too. I took it as a vote of confidence. What I mean is, I don't believe it would have been made, everything else considered, if I'd spent the last year flashing credit cards around, buying whatever I pleased, or acting like I didn't care at all about the debt that was on my shoulders. And I recognize that there was a risk involved in making that gesture. I might have taken it as a sign that I didn't need to worry after all; that other people would bail me out. For me, it was kind of the opposite. It was humbling, in a good way, and I felt it put a moral obligation on me... I realized I had to be worthy of the gesture. To earn it, retroactively, by how I marshalled it and how I behaved afterward. Part of the drive to do what I'm doing is a conscious effort to show my appreciation and live up to what was done for me. To show how seriously I take it and how much it meant to me.

I feel compelled, not just for my own sake, to take this opportunity as a chance to responsibly put money into my retirement funds and to sock more into the mortgage, and not just to pay off the debt and start living like a sailor on shore leave. I want to be in a position where it will be possible for someone else to depend on me someday.

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