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I wish everyone a better new year

by Roger NC / December 31, 2012 7:50 AM PST

May we all have a better year, a better economy, and better health for all.


On the miracle list, may our elected officials grow a brain and a heart.

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that's a BIG wish
by James Denison / December 31, 2012 8:02 AM PST

all considered.

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No matter what
by TONI H / December 31, 2012 9:27 AM PST
In reply to: that's a BIG wish

I hope our Republicans finally grow a large pair.........

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(NT) So you prefer testosterone to wisdom and compassion
by Roger NC / December 31, 2012 9:51 AM PST
In reply to: No matter what
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for what passes in today's politics
by James Denison / December 31, 2012 1:42 PM PST

as "wisdom" and "compassion". Too often it's just foolishness and waste.

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(NT) and bullheadedness substituted for reason
by Roger NC / December 31, 2012 9:06 PM PST
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See, say something sensible and pleasant and the Humpty
by Ziks511 / December 31, 2012 2:26 PM PST

Dumpty Twins turn it upside down and into a bun fight. I vote for wisdom and compassion, and a lot of restraint until we sort this out.

Rob

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Thank you Roger, and the same to you.
by Ziks511 / December 31, 2012 2:22 PM PST

I certainly pray for intelligence to break out among the entrenched foes of Obama in the Congress and Senate. Nor would I be opposed to some intelligent cost cutting with regard to government, but even more, could one principle be dinned into both sides' heads. You govern frugally in good times so you can govern generously in bad times. That prinicple is even mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible in the Seven Fat Years versus the Seven Lean Years. When times are good, don't squander it all, save something for the future. That's what a budgetary surplus is supposed to be for.

Rob

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There is a huge difference
by TONI H / December 31, 2012 7:35 PM PST

between 'governing', Rob, and 'dictating'........did you happen to see BO's campaign speech again yesterday? While the most critical compromising was going on between McConnell and Biden, BO was again dictating what he WON'T accept from Republicans and his Senate. It was also a stern warning to his Senate base DURING the talks.....the applause when he 'reminded' everyone publicly that he's going to be president for another four years was disgusting. His ego comes before country every time.

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(NT) Sorry Zik, but I think one side is as bad as the other
by Roger NC / December 31, 2012 9:06 PM PST
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because after they get elected
by James Denison / January 1, 2013 12:35 AM PST

they spend so much time in DC, they begin to act like it's all about them and only them, one upping the other and forget about the rest of the country. Congress critters used to spend less time in DC and more time in their home states when it all first began. For most of them it wasn't a primary job either, they had a regular job or business back in their home states. The professional politician of today spends the majority of his time learning methods to shake out money in contributions and getting himself elected I think. Some states have term limits, maybe that's helped, but the end result are states which don't then keep electing the same person who can then have "seniority" which helps their people get all the top committee positions, due to the Senate and House "rules" which enforce such a system. While such rules may keep novices out of positions of power, at the same time instead of favoring experience, it favors political power brokering even more. Committees are one means of depriving the majority of House or Senate from even having debate on some bills, much less coming up for a vote.

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I can agree with all that. They're all for sell.
by Roger NC / January 1, 2013 1:04 AM PST

And with what it costs to get elected now, to match the other guy, and with a House of Representives member having to get re-elected every 2 years, it's not really any surprise they're for sell to the hightest bidder and start thinking about the next campaign before they even take the oath of office.

The Senate was suppose to be a senior statesman type assembly, to provide a measure of discipline and continuity, to dampen wild swings in government changes, but has become a haven for power and spotlight hungry professional politicians, espcially those thinking about the ultimate power trip, the presidency.

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The US public would never allow a budgetary surplus
by Roger NC / December 31, 2012 10:33 PM PST

to be maintain, no matter how good times were.

Everyone would be howling for tax cuts since we didn't need money.

I'm still hopeful that after the last 10 years, when our economy does improve to where most can, the American public has releared to save. I include myself in that. I actually realized 2 decades ago that I was over my head in debt even though I was making timely payments. I finally stopped charging everything and doing anything anytime.

While we don't need to become a nation of misers, from about 1980 to 2000, plus or minus another decade, Americans on the whole didn't believe in saving for the future. What was the rough rule?10% of your income to saving and investment? That could include your home, when you bought a reasonable house for your situation.

Too many of us got caught up in bigger is automatically better, and were encouraged that you can't buy too much house because it would always increase in value. I wonder if in another 20 years if anyone will remember? That seems to be about as long as lessons are remembered, as a society if not individually.

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Savers don't always get all the advantages
by Steven Haninger / December 31, 2012 10:51 PM PST

Today's saver can't even get anything that will grow without taking a lot of risk or being lucky. You know about the bird in the hand. Even though we're constantly warned otherwise, we've gotten accustomed to believing the government will take care of our necessities if something else doesn't fall into our laps. My own saving which began with the '80s traditional IRA turned out to be a loss. I can take the money out now but at a higher tax rate than when I earned it and with much lower buying power. I don't think, at present, the small saver has any real opportunities unless they have a good company matching 401k that's well managed and will still be there decades later.

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a former coworker liked to quote Susie
by Roger NC / December 31, 2012 11:23 PM PST

Ormond (I think that's the name) on cable network. I've seen one or two, her advice isn't bad, although some of it I'm not sure applies as broadly as the show portrays it. Of course, her savings is by convincing people she knows best.

The thing he talked about, and I noticed in even a couple of shows, she discourages traditional IRA and non-matched 401K savings. As far as tax advantaged savings, Roth IRA and matched 401K was her only acceptable types.

Now taxes may end up being higher when you retire, or at least as high for you. Of course, calculating what you've earned on the taxes not taken out when contributed to a tax deferred plan would be complicated to say the least. The same for the earnings on taxes not paid on earnings in those plans.

One thing obvious, after tax savings at least you have what you have, the investment has been taxed already, and the earnings are taxed yearly as you go. So what is there is yours, not subject to taxes as you withdraw it.

And some municiple bonds and other such are tax exempted, sometimes federally, sometimes state wise, sometimes both.

Regarding,

I don't think, at present, the small saver has any real opportunities unless they have a good company matching 401k that's well managed and will still be there decades later.

Perhaps, but savings is still the only way you'll have anything unless you are going to count on government or family support when you can't work anymore. Even if it you do end up with 85 cent on the dollar (random percentage just for example), without that you have nothing.

I do put into a 401K, even a small amount more than the company match, but not as much as I use to do. Right now my goal is paying off my house loan early. I could cut my interest rate from 6 to 3, but given what I owe and what it would cost to refinance (apprasil, inspections, orgination fees, etc), if I can pay it off in the minimum time I think I can, I will save more than refinancing would, so that's my current priority.


After I pay the house off, I'll re-evaluate tax deferred savings.

I would say everyone should be able to go a year minimum without cashing stocks out to ride things out. Of course, it was a full 2 years this time before my fund turned around.

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that's what I did.
by James Denison / January 1, 2013 12:41 AM PST
"Right now my goal is paying off my house loan early. I could cut my interest rate from 6 to 3, but given what I owe and what it would cost to refinance (apprasil, inspections, orgination fees, etc), if I can pay it off in the minimum time I think I can, I will save more than refinancing would, so that's my current priority.""

That's what we did, paid it off in 15 years, even to early financial hurt, and that made it easier when the kids reached high school age. Sure is a great feeling when it's paid off and just face upkeep and yearly taxes.
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My ambition is to pay if off this year
by Roger NC / January 1, 2013 1:15 AM PST
In reply to: that's what I did.

my more reasonable goal is two years.

I work with a guy who keeps repeating he knew when he bought his house on a 30 year mortgage he might not live to pay it off. Given he was over 50 at the time, maybe so. He did get a good price because the owner tried to hold on too long after a divorce on one income instead of two. The seller had to sell it finally for just what was owed.

Now of course even though his father in law (in real estate professionally) insist it's worth more than he owes the chances of selling it around here are decreasing. The job opportunities in the region are steadily decreasing, and his house isn't a starter home size, not with the acreage attached.

He doesn't see a point in paying it off and losing the tax deduction. He's ignoring he's getting maybe 20% of what he pays in interest in terms of what he actually saves on taxes. And even if the market continues to decline here, I figure that 6% I'm paying is more than I can make on any investment in the same time frame. And if I did end up out of work, or having to work for less, a paid for house keeps a shelter over your head for an extended time. I just had a new heat pump put in too, the old a/c gas pack had some problems. It was repairable, but given it was 12 years old and a 10 SEER, I went ahead and replaced it with a 14 SEER heat pump that should only require routine maintenance for 15 years or more. So far my electric bill average hasn't changed since it's summer loading, but it is early winter yet.

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after my oil burner died, again...
by James Denison / January 1, 2013 1:42 AM PST

...I decided not to repair it again. I figured it wouldn't be more than a few years before the heat exchanger would become a danger anyway. We decided to go with spaced out ceramic heaters across different house circuits and they only cost about $20-25 each. So, maintenance cost is toss an old one, unbox a new one, done quickly and no cost of a "house call" or expensive parts like on a large oil burning furnace. My stack for the oil burner now serves my wood burning stove, which gets used if outside temps get below 25, otherwise 5-7 ceramic heaters are sufficient. Electric goes up, fuel oil charge disappears. Depending on price of oil, since our electric rates are based on 42% coal and a large percentage nuclear, some years electric is cheaper, some years more than oil would be. Unfortunately gas lines end a mile or two from here and there seems no plan to extend to our area, but may change as more subdivisions have been built and even Verizon finally put FIOS cable through here. Ignoring any increased cost years using electricity, we have had less illness using electric heat than the furnace. No puffback during high winds when an oil furnace first kicks on in a cold stack. Air doesn't get as dry. We even had fresh air intake to the oil burner but it creates a vacuum somewhat in the house which pulls drier outside air in where it can, which means drier throats at night. We used to need a humidifier to correct for that. Don't need to run humidifiers anymore with the electric. Air stays cleaner, no fumes during high winds. I'd taken sheet metal and made my own chimney cap that fairly effectively blocked high wind interference eventually, but I'd not go back to oil burner again. Too many times replaced electrodes, sparking transformer, clean pump, clean filter, clear injector head, etc.

I might go with a heat pump for those months when temp is 40-65, but they lose efficiency as we discussed in a long previous thread when temps are near freezing, especially if defrost cycle increases to clear frozen moisture from the outside coils. Even there one has to consider the cost of someone doing the occassional repairs or recharging on the unit. Disposable ceramic units just seem to make the most sense for us right now. I have considered also installing just those backup 220v resistance heater coils direct in the existing duct works, to be used with it's fan which still works just fine. My neighbor had a setup like that, cut out his heatpump from running, and had better heat control and lower electric bills from trying to run the heatpump during sub 30 temps.

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we have sub 30's
by Roger NC / January 1, 2013 2:02 AM PST

but not as much as you would.

Cold here is normally 25 to 35 lows, 45 to 60 highs. We do have nights in the teens, but again not every night, there is probably 6 weeks here of really cold weather normally. We have had cold this season, but not below 25 yet. I guess our normal coldest is the 6 weeks starting with New Year's. It varies of course.

Co-worker just installed himself the new split units, two systems, two outside condensor/evap heatpump type, with individual coils and fans in each room on it's own thermostack. They actually claim a SEER near 20 I believe. I'm curious how it will work out for him.

I need to install a wall mounted unvented LP gas heater for really cold snaps, fast heat, and for heat when the power goes out. Out in the boonies, so low on the list of priority after major storm, be it wind or ice, damages powerlines.

I'm too spoiled by central heat/air I guess. Of course, I'm running the heat a lot less than I did before my wife died, I deal with cool better I guess, so my electric bill for the winter months may be no more than it has been for the summer. We'll see, I'm on twelve month averaging as far as what I have to pay each month, so I'll watch the balence owed/credit the next two and see how much it changes. Of course, with one instead of two there is savings in heating water, cooking, etc.

I rather have the bills.

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best wishes
by mariacateria / January 8, 2013 3:37 PM PST

better and better

everything. everyone,


wish i am not too late.


happy every day~

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