Are you buying house, stocks, car . . .?

kellyengOctober 10, 2008

Just wondering if anybody is actually buying anything right now. We mostly pulled out of the stock market a few months ago and we're about to jump back in. However, house projects are on the back burner and we've just planned a couple of budget vacations for the next year.

How about you?

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Oooh, stocks, lots & lots of stocks right now (bargain basement prices!). And we close (hopefully) on our new house next week - will need to buy new flooring and an air conditioner; it also could use updating but we'll wait on that. We're planning (and have been saving for) a big family vacation next year for our 10th anniversary. We need a bigger vehicle but I think we'll wait on that because I'm pretty sure the prices will go down - we were going to pay cash for a 2-3yo used but maybe soon we can get new for the same price?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 4:30PM
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We didn't pull out of the stock market, which is good because many of our stocks are actually doing very well!
We just bought some utility stock and will be sending a check for a telecommunication stock on Monday.

House projects... well, that won't change as they are all planned for and budgeted.

You *only* have a couple vacations planned for the next year??? We go on one.

The way DH & I see it... It is all a matter of doing what is important to you (the general 'you', not anyone in particular).

With the OP, vacations are more important than house projects.
With us, dining out and going to concerts/shows/events are more important than vacations.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 4:56PM
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Staying in the stock market, looking to replace my 2001 Camry at the first of the year, and I was just looking online at homes to buy in an eastern state. I live in So. Cal and the home prices back east have come down so far I'm actually thinking about buying something! But of course that's a huge decision so I will get advice and take my time.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 5:54PM
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Buying at the close everyday for the last 10 days....If the market isn't higher in the next 12-18 months i'll be very surprised...also bought 2 new cars in last 3 months...Opportunities are there for anyone who doesn't think the world is coming to an end..

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 6:58PM
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Not really buying anything other than regular contributions to my 401K. Investment portfolio is geared for use 15 years from now so just sitting tight on all of that. I have lots of cash for peace of mind in the event of some longer term economic slump - which I expect we will be in for some number of years. I don't really need anything and the current state of affairs doesn't make me inclined to fritter money away on stuff I don't need.

Ironically I watched a movie about the depression today. Foreclosures, soup kitchens, hobo camps, etc. I have been saying for awhile that I thought we were on the verge of a major depression like downturn and amazingly I was on the right track - amazing as I'm no expert. World certainly not coming to an end but I think life altering events for people who have habitually over spent and over leveraged and under saved. I don't think we're any where near seeing the fallout of people who are underwater on their mortages.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 9:39PM
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Just bought a brand new boat.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 12:32PM
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Bought an Acura DMX seven months ago.

A significant portion of our portfolio is in 17th & 18th century American antiques. We continue adding to our collection when an opportunity arises. They've performed consistently well over several decades. No plans to liquidate any hard assets.

Of our remaining assets we're about 80% in cash with no plans to decrease that percentage as we'll soon retire.

We've taken a hit in our equities portion just like many others. I'm looking for specific opportunities now; but not randomly laddering into the market & have no plans to do so. I won't be surprised to see a market pop of 1500; but I'll also not be surprised to see a one-day 1500 drop. That's too volatile for people less than 4 years from retirement, IMO. I've been active this week in my relatively small high-risk day trading account.

We are still fussing with the saga of our "dream house" for those of you who remember my posts of last year. I need to make an update post on the house as there's movement & progress. I've also got some new pictures.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 3:06PM
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Retired. No debt beyond monthly daily living charges on two credit cards; will be paid on time, in full. Income exceeds outgo. Still saving. Still giving to selected local charities that provide basics like food and shelter and where we know who's squeezing the dimes. But...we aren't not 'scrimping' for its own sake. We live neither beyond nor below our means -- occupying that territory between the grasshopper and the ant. LOL Hope to do so for another twenty years.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 3:18PM
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Tricia -- Oh! Do tell us more about the old house. Now I see why you 'need' it: to store your antiques! -- Sue

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 11:54AM
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Tricia -- I just read a post from haus_proud in the finances forum, and I re-read your post (above) about holding 80% in cash. He's thinking about investing in foreign currencies (Swiss francs or euros.) and/or gold mining stocks -- worried about inflation. May I ask HOW your cash is held?

We sold some mutuals last autumn. Most of that cash is still sitting in the brokerage's low-paying MM fund or is in CDs. Uncomfortable!

I don't think my single pair of Swiss franc earrings would buy many potatoes. The burglars got my diamond earrings last summer -- home from the vault; uninsured.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 12:49PM
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Hi chisue!

DH is in Mystic for the Columbus Day weekend so I don't have much time. I'll get caught up on answering questions & make that update post on the old house in a couple days!

Just quick, we also hold bullion (Maple Leafs & Kruggerands, 100 ounce silver bars, & bags of junk silver). It's kept adjusted to always be about 5-7% of our total assets. Also some coins with numismatic value. Plus we always have one bag of junk silver for each of our children & grandchildren (that's our "doomsday" portfolio! lol).

I'll get back with you on the rest...DH wants to work in the garden. The weather's beautiful here this weekend!


    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 1:52PM
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Np panic in this household!

I just purchased an 05 Ford Explorer with 30,000 miles on it. Great deal and it didn't hurt that our oldest son was the salesman! Plus he gets the commission. We don't buy new cars - depreciation off the lot in the first year is a killer. Always purchase a quality pre-owned. If fact, this vehicle purchase was the 11th from the same dealership/ family.

The only bill is the monthly mortgage and property taxes that are included. Our investments are diverse so we haven't taken a bad hit. Some areas are down but nothing drastic. I just retired and have no need at this point to tap into the investments.

We have our week on Arizona coming up which we will take.

We have always watched our spending and have not rolled up a lot of credit debt. Use a credit card during the month, pay it off when comes in!

I take my wife out to dinner every Friday night as we have done for the last several years - no more kids at home! We also will continue to take in shows and concerts in the city.

Tricia - the weekend is spectacular!!!!!! Spent it camping the in woods training new Boy Scout leaders. Nothing like sleeping under the stars on a clear, cool night! A good camp fire, a good meal and good friendship - there is nothing better!

Enjoy the journey.
eal51 in western CT

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 3:04PM
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This board is full of people that are SO NOT representative of the US in general... me, I've been buying every time the market drops another 10% (this is getting expensive!) and I think we could well have another 2000 or so to drop in the Dow.

As far as other buying goes, we aren't skimping on little things, but we've defered all the major purchases. I've never had such little job security in my life.

1 in 6 US homeowners is underwater - but judging from the people who post on this board you'd think its 1 in a thousand.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 10:34PM
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mfbenson -- Yes, there are few 'clueless' people here, but some of us (me! me!) need some help figuring out what our options are. As you said, jobs are not secure. A health emergency would put a lot of people in the red. Family members may need bailouts, too.

Of the one in six homeowners underwater, how many must sell right now, or will need to do so before things turn up in the housing/mortgage market -- in two years, five years, TEN? Don't a third of homeowners have no mortgages? Less than 60% of Americans are homeowners; what's up with finances for the rest?

In my suburb (pop. 21,000) spring sales were down by a third and prices were down 14% from 2007. According to Trulia, we have 28 homes in foreclosure status (from first arrears notices to REO). Most of these mortages are over $1 million. A story in today's Tribune tells of a homeowner in a suburb near mine with a loan of over $700,000. He short-sold his house for $450,000; his bank forgave the difference. This mid-50's man is now living in a place for which his father co-signed.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 10:19AM
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"Don't a third of homeowners have no mortgages?"

Basically, yes - 24 million out of 75.5 million.

"About 75.5 million U.S. households own the homes they live in. After a housing slump that has pushed values down 30% in some areas, roughly 12 million households, or 16%, owe more than their homes are worth, according to Moody's

In contrast with the 12 million home borrowers estimated to be under water, 64 million have equity in their homes. These include 24 million households who own their homes free and clear."

I couldn't find any data about how many must sell now, but if the average mortgage lasts 7 years before being paid (generally due to the sale of the house) then that's one-seventh times 51 million which would be 7.28 million sales a year... one-sixth of that would be 1.21 million households a year that need to sell but are underwater.

That's an ADDITIONAL 100,000 households every month getting in serious trouble. To put it mildly.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 10:36PM
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Now being underwater is terrible but it doesn't necessarily mean "serious trouble". We just sold our rental house to a nice couple who had to bring cash to the table on their house in Detroit. I don't know how they did it - she was in grad school but I don't know what he does. This is a time when families may help out or lots of savings are wiped out. It is terrible but they were able to move and buy a nice house in a great area (my opinion). The house is far nicer than the home I grew up in ....

So being underwater is bad but it doesn't necessarily mean bankruptcy or starvation. What it does mean is that people won't move as often. I am moving but wouldn't do it if I was losing money since my reasons to move are not that compeling. We listed our house but were not going to move if we took a loss - we were okay with break even but no less. We lived here 3 years.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 4:59AM
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mfbenson -- Thank you for the stats!

I need to correct my number on houses in my suburb that are in some state of foreclosure. It's 38, not 28.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 12:01PM
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How large is your 'burb? I just checked Yahoo! Real Estate & they are showing 7 total foreclosures in my zipcode...5 are just Lis Pendens, there is 1 REO, & the last is a Lis Pendens on dirt.

Our market has stopped moving but prices just haven't budged to any significant degree. Guess we've got a bunch of tough old cougars living in these parts, or something. They don't seem to realize (or care) that we're having a real estate crisis! lol :)

DH & I yesterday looked at one of the most prime pieces of real estate in Mystic. It's for rent. Can you imagine? Anyway, it great...a circa 1790 cape right on the river. The owner's attitude seems to be that if they can't rent the place then it can just sit empty because they're not going to lower the amount they feel it's worth to sell in today's climate. Whatever.

For no other reason than I was feeling nasty yesterday morning I told the realtor they were asking too much for rent ($3,500 + all utilities + gardener + pool maintenance). Just ten minutes ago, she phoned & said, "If you think it's too much make an offer!" Geesh. "OK, I'll give them $600/month for the joint...feeling generous today so I'll pick-up the utilities!" I sent the realtor back to the owners to ask if they'd consider either an option or a first right of refusal. I doubt they will.

Your 38 foreclosures of $1M+ homes sounds like a lot compared to here??


    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 12:44PM
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Tricia -- Hope you aren't waiting by the phone for your offer to be accepted! LOL

Population here is about 21,000. I don't know whether to believe Trulia about this. It seems VERY high: Quadruple any other suburb I looked at.

But I was returning from walking our Westie this morning I noticed a new house in our area was having its first broker tour. I dropped the baggie outside, hoisted the dog on my hip and went in. This teardown sold for over $2 Million two years ago: 1.78 acres. The listing agent and the banker were on the premises. (I didn't spy a fainting couch.) It's 7800 sq ft on two floors, plus full, finished lower level. It can be yours for $6,700,000 in any of four financing scenarios laid out by the banker.

There's a 12,000 sq ft house going up at the top of our street, but it's owner-builder. Lordy! I dread seeing our next assessment. We're small potatoes (2900 sq ft), along with many other smaller homes here, but we are in *that* neighborhood!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 2:59PM
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I just re-checked Trulia. Now there are 39. Twelve have debt of over $1 Million ($4.5 tops); Eleven are over $500K. All but five are Lis Pendens. One is REO at $389K. Four have Judgements to Publish. (One of the Lis Pendens is for $100K and in a very posh area; probably somebody's ill or just forgot to write the check!)

Median price here for SFH is $1,050,000.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 5:34PM
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