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financial wisdom

High Flying, Annoyed

By airplanes/airports, breaking news, drama, financial wisdom, hazards to my well-being, lists, mortgage No Comments

Today, my mortgage company practically forced me to call Quicken Loans to discuss refinance options. I figured just doing what they said might be less of a waste of time than listening to their awful hold music for one more second, so I called. A customer service rep answered the phone, took down some of my information, and then explained why all of the options LBPS told me to ask about wouldn’t work.

“I know,” I said. “But they made me call.”

I then proceeded to ask a series of questions beginning with phrases like, Correct me if I’m wrong but and And isn’t it also true that and But those programs won’t help me because, to which the customer service rep responded, “Whoa. You know more about mortgages than anyone that even works here.”

Well, duh. That’s why I keep having to call you loony tunes over and over in the first place.

Moving on.

My friend told me this afternoon that a notification light was flashing on her dash, suggesting that she had a light bulb out. I told her I’d look around the car when we left work tonight, and she said, “It’s okay. My husband already looked. There aren’t any lights out.”

And I said, “I’ll look anyway. I’m smarter than him.” I found the busted light after one tap on the brakes.

In the meantime, it’s become evident that in their ongoing quest to improve the security at major airports, the U.S. government has taken up practices like sexual assault, nude photography, pedophilia, and might I say mildly terrorizing the general public before allowing them to board a plane. Perhaps their reasoning is that if more people are unwilling to fly at all, terrorists will be less likely to target planes?

I understand where they’re coming from but, here’s the thing. Whereas, no one was making much of a scene about avoiding air travel after that moron boarded a plane with explosives in his underpants last year, now people don’t want to fly because they don’t want Joe Schmoe TSA employee touching their “junk” or comparing the outline of their practically naked image to the next passenger’s. Nice.

In all honesty, I’m trying to be satirical here, but don’t take any of this too seriously because I haven’t formulated my complete opinion on this topic yet. I’m not really sure how I’ll cope with these changes in airport security procedures, and I’m going to put off figuring it out for as long as possible. I’ll tell you why.

1. I don’t want to be standing in line at security behind the belligerent idiot who won’t cooperate. I consider myself a pretty well-traveled person. I fly more than the average American in any given year, but the next time I’m scheduled to travel is around Christmas…along with a whole bunch of people who never fly. I’m simply not interested in navigating my way through the battle of the aggressive security personnel versus the defensive passengers. Not this year, anyway.

2. I don’t want to become the belligerent idiot who won’t cooperate. This is highly unlikely, but always possible. I never thought I’d smack a Russian bouncer upside the head at Lunasea for forcefully grabbing (and bruising!) my arm, but that happened once, so I can’t make any promises.

3. I don’t know if you know this or not, but it’s a pretty well-known fact (to me and my mom, anyway) that I am destined to become disgustingly rich and famous, and I don’t want to become the future victim of blackmail when some psychotic, disgruntled TSA employee threatens to¬† leak my body scan image online. (Yeah, they say they’re deleting them, but I’ve seen my boyfriend recover deleted images off my camera, so I don’t buy it. Besides, are you trying to tell me that if there is another underwear bomber, they won’t go back and review his body scan image to see what they missed?) I’ll be much hotter then, and I won’t want people mocking the naked-ish image of me in 2010. It’s true.

4. (This is the main reason.) I don’t want to get arrested (which I probably will — for punching that pat-down person in the face — because I don’t even let my co-workers hug me, much less allow strangers to stick their fingers down the waistband of my pants).

I guess what it really comes down to is this — if I have to choose between posing for nude photographs or being molested at the airport this holiday season, then I guess I just choose to drive home to New Jersey for Christmas. Sorry, Continental. It’s Wawa that will be profiting off of me this year.

Finally, in other less pressing and far more entertaining news, a mysterious blob was discovered in Newport News.

P.S. When I do become disgustingly rich and famous, I’ll just buy my own plane, and then this won’t be an issue.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: grounded
And I’m singin’ along to: Like A G6 – Far East Movement

Over-the-Counter Disappointment

By financial wisdom, political views 7 Comments

I’ve always been a pretty big proponent of HSAs and FSAs when my friends ask me about them — well maybe not always, but at least as long as I’ve known about their existence. Just last week, I recommended a friend look into the new FSA benefit being offered by our company starting in January. Of course, I spoke too soon. Now I’m not so sure how I feel about FSAs because of this.

FSAs are a “use it or lose it” plan, so I think having the ability to use the money up on over-the-counter supplies at the end of the year makes the plan more user-friendly. Now that you’ll need a prescription…I’m not so sure. Who’s to say your doctor will write you a “prescription” for your OTC drugs? Do you have to pay to see the doctor in order to get this “prescription”? Will you keep track of it, in case you ever get audited? See the problem? The average person is going to have to do a lot more planning ahead to determine exactly how much money goes into the FSA.

As far as HSAs go, I don’t see this as a really big deal. HSA money carries over from one year to the next, and the money is yours to keep for qualifying health care expenses. If you can’t waste it on six bottles of Advil and some allergy medicine at the end of the year, it’s no big deal. It’s still kind of a pain though. I like having the freedom to spend my HSA money on OTC drugs when I’m sick. I can relax and spend money specifically put away for nursing my cold, rather than blow $40 out of my checking account on NyQuil, Sudafed, and cough drops.

I think I would have to consider the effects of this new rule at length before making a final decision, but so far, I’m not a fan.

Thoughts?

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: skeptical
And I’m singin’ along to: November – Azure Ray

Making Progress

By financial wisdom, shopping One Comment

I’m pretty sure that the economy is finally getting better. I’m no financial expert, but here’s how I can tell:

TJ Maxx is beginning to come up short when it comes to stocking cool shit that I want to buy.

It’s as simple as that. If the cool stuff I want to buy isn’t ending up at TJ Maxx, then people are buying it for a higher price somewhere else. And if people are starting to pay full price for things again, then they must have money. And if they have money, then they must have all gotten jobs. See? That’s how I know.

Of course, I have other supporting evidence, as well. For instance, all kinds of things that I want to buy are selling out in my size before I can find them on sale – and not cheap, shitty things. Expensive things like $195 silver Tory Burch Reva flats. I’ve also noticed that I lot more people are actually toting shopping bags full of purchases at the mall.

I’m all for the economy getting better (I celebrated by purchasing an $8 bottle of Essie nail polish); however I would prefer if people would start buying real estate again first. Leave all my designer desires at the store, so that I can continue to acquire them for a fraction of the price, and start gobbling up real estate instead. I’d really like to refinance my condo – that way I can free up some of my monthly income to be able to buy my clothes at higher prices again when TJ Maxx turns into a major void again. Okay?

Good. Glad we’ve got that settled.