July 2009: Net Worth Update and First Time Home Buyer Plans


July 2009: Net Worth Update and First Time Home Buyer Plans

Published 7/31/09  (Modified 3/8/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

It's time for my monthly net worth report. As long time readers know, for months now, I've been calculating my networth changes and posting an analysis at the end of every month to chart the step by step progress I've been making in my lifelong financial journey. The purpose of such networth updates is not to necessarily boast about monetary successes or lament about the investment mistakes made during the preceding month - but rather, it's to serve as a routine reminder that the daily decisions, actions, and inactions in one's life truly have a ripple impact on one's long term financial health. While I post my own financial net worth reports throughout the year for my own statistical benefit and to share with readers a little about about what I've been up to during the previous weeks, this habitual exercise is also to encourage others to do the same as well.

It's About Time - I'm Finally Looking To Buy A Home For The Very First Time

This month has been a bit more hectic than usual. For one thing, I'm in the early stages of becoming a first time home buyer. Right now, my anticipated home purchase date is still likely months away, but I can already envision the prospect of finally moving out of my longtime apartment rental after all these years and into my very own single family home or town house for the very first time. If you've been following my previous networth reports, you probably already know that I've

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Pest Control: How to Kill Roaches

Published 7/21/08  (Modified 6/17/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

I have a little secret to share. Well it's not really a secret so much as it's a phobia that I've held since I was a little kid. Here's the�  secret - I am deathly afraid of household insects, but in particular - cockroaches. There, I've said it - the cat's out of the bag - go ahead and laugh, but it's not funny (maybe just a little bit). Funny or not, it's something that makes my heart beat fast, makes my pupils dilate like saucers, and summons forth caveman like instincts to grab the nearest bunny slipper or rolled up U.S. News and World Report magazine for some self-preservation-inspired bug pounding.

The mere sight of the creepy crawly legs and wiggling antennas of the common household cockroach jetting out from dark corners and scampering across bathroom counters and kitchen floors utterly freaks me out. While I don't instantly jump onto chairs, call my mommy, or scream at the top of my lungs like a little girl, I do become visibly startled and immediately shift into fight mode whenever I encounter a lost spider or resident evil roach in my apartment. I'm sure you PETA fanatics out there may be turned off by my disdain and opposition to the plight of roaches and other household vermin, but I don't care. Roaches and insects have no place in my home and I'll do whatever it takes to eradicate the pests. I've had too many unfortunate experiences and bad memories of living with roaches during my student years.

Fortunately,

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What Is My Credit Score and How Is My FICO Calculated?

Published 7/7/08  (Modified 3/8/11)

What Is My Credit Score and How Is My FICO Calculated? By MoneyBlueBook

If you're like most people out there, there's inevitably going to come some point in your life when you'll need to apply for credit and seek out deeper pockets to help you fulfill your personal financial goals and objectives. While the traditional American dream of home ownership seemed to be fading out of reach during the last few years, the housing meltdown is now thankfully forcing out of control real estate prices back down into sync with reality. But with the resultant repercussions and reverberations of the financial credit crisis, mortgage lenders have grown extra vigilant in weeding out unproven and unreliable mortgage debtors. While a mortgage applicant with a FICO score of 700 in the past could have easily obtained a lofty prime interest rate on their loan, lenders are now increasingly demanding higher FICO's in excess of 760 for the same prime interest package. The subprime credit mess has made one's credit report and credit score even more important gateway factors to determining who qualifies and who doesn't for the loan conditions of their choice. It's not just for expensive, higher denominational credit prospects like mortgage loans either - even routine applications for things like credit cards, checking accounts, auto loans, and even new jobs are undergoing greater credit worthiness scrutiny.

Both Your Credit Report History and Credit Score Help Determine Your Credit Worthiness, But Credit Scores Are More Uniform Measures Of Comparison From Individual To Individual

While credit reports, like your high school transcript does a better overall job in revealing the compete

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Even Celebrities Can Fall On Hard Times And Face Home Foreclosure

Published 6/8/08  (Modified 3/8/11)

Even Celebrities Can Fall On Hard Times And Face Home Foreclosure By MoneyBlueBook

When you think of Ed McMahon, you don't exactly associate or lump him with big time wasteful spenders like MC Hammer and some of the other well known celebrities of the past who rose to fame and fortune quickly but ultimately frittered away their money into bankruptcy on trivial pursuits. No, when you think of Ed McMahon, you think of the aging but charismatic late night show announcer, the TV personality, and the face and voice of the American Family Publishing sweepstakes team (not to be confused with the more popular Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes) that arrives unannounced at the homes of winners to present them their grand prize. You certainly don't see or hear about him throwing his money away on fast cars, fast women, or holding lavish sleaze parties to great excess.

So I was quite surprised when I learned that someone like the now 80 plus year old Ed McMahon has now found himself in difficult financial straits and faced with the prospect of mortgage foreclosure on his multi million dollar home. This housing bubble and credit crisis seems to be quite merciless and universally brutal, even to those who simply lived their lives with the best intentions, but still succumbed to hard times. With little regard to feelings or reason, the mortgage credit crisis and the powerful forces of housing supply and demand have devastated many good families.

Ed McMahon and His Wife Pam Speak Out About Home Foreclosure and The Possibility Of Losing Their House

Ed McMahon recently appeared on

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Pursuing The Slowly Fading and Elusive American Dream of Home Ownership

Published 3/13/08  (Modified 3/8/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

It's unbelievable how much it costs to buy a house these days. Looking at single family home prices in my area and even those located in less appealing crime ridden neighborhoods, I am just now realizing that I may never be able to afford one in my lifetime. Well, at least not the American dream home I always imagined. Not that I ever really wanted the traditional country home with the proverbial white picket fences, but somehow I always envisioned I would be closer to this dream by my late 20's. I always figured by this time I would already be the proud owner of a brand new single family home or at least a newly constructed townhouse. So far, due to the lack of sufficient finances to match the out of control housing prices, I have not been able to attain my goal. Is this dream becoming a fantasy I wonder?

Ever since the beginning, the great American dream of prosperity and happiness has always revolved around owning a piece of land (preferably with a house on top of it). Home ownership has always been associated with security and stability. The mere act of possessing a parcel to call your own has always symbolized the triumph of moving from the unexplainable stigma of renting to a greater plane, found only on higher rungs up the economic and social ladder. But in recent years, even those who thought they had found their American dream have seen it shatter into a nightmare of swirling foreclosures and defaulting

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A Review Of Popular House Flipping and Home Hunting Television Shows

Published 2/20/08  (Modified 3/14/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

For a while now I've had an obsession with watching house flipping reality programs on TV. That is, until the real estate market collapsed. Since then, the hype and fascination seems to have subsided a bit with the feeling that perhaps many of these shows did the public a great disservice by over glamorizing the flipping experience. By oversimplifying the renovating process and featuring only the greatly successful flips, some of these housing shows perhaps gave many the misleading impression that flipping is so easy, even a caveman can do it - prompting many to foolishly dive in without proper real estate education.

These popular house flipping shows should be regarded as entertainment only and not seen as a step by step blueprint guide to flipping projects. If you are looking to get inspired and want to become more involved in the real estate investing business, watching these shows will certainly give you a good introduction into the realm of flipping. But they won't teach you how to properly finance your flip project or even address necessary aspects like how to obtain the appropriate construction loan or even how to properly budget for unexpected repairs. But entertaining they most certainly are.

Here Are A Few Of My Favorite Flipping and House Hunting Shows:

1) Flip This House (A&E Channel) - This show is probably the original house flipping program of recent years. Each episode tracks the purchase and renovation of a single home, listing the price of the home, renovation cost, and the

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