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Refinance mortgage & equity

Posted by MoAtWork (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 15, 02 at 13:03

Does it make sense to do both? I wanted to take an equity on the house to pay off the cars, cc and do some renovations. But with the interest rates down, should we refinance the mortgage and take an equity loan? or can we just increase the amount of the mortgage?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Do the math to see what your new monthly payments will be at today's lower rates, then see how much more you can borrow under a new mortgage. If the new mortgage rate is less than an equity loan rate, fold it into the mortgage. If the mortgage rate is higher, take an equity loan. In all cases, evaluate carefully how it will affect your overall payments.

In these times, this is a great investment. We bought a home 1 1/2 years ago, $216K at 30 years/7.375%. We just refinanced at 15 years/5.875%, appraisal came in at $245K. That's a 15% gain in one year.


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Hi MoAtWork,

The answer to your question will depend on a few things we don't know about you;
A) credit scores,
B) Total loan to value of the combined debts,
C) Interest rates on the consumer debts,

I recommend consulting with a good Loan Officer, perhaps at a Mortgage Brokerage.

Cheers,
Dave Donhoff
Just some mortgage guy ;~)


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Yes, and just remember that if you roll things like cars and credit cards into a mortgage, you will be paying for them for the next 30 years, or however long you stay in the house. What that means is, even though you can probably shave a few percentage points off of the interest you're paying on those things, you will in all likelihood wind up paying more for them in total than you would have if you'd left them alone.

Also, I'm really happy to hear when the value of anyone's home goes up, but it's definitely not always the case. I can personally testify that, often times, real estate goes down and not up in value -- especially if you live in a depressed area with a stagnant economy.

Ken


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Hi Ken,

While you're right, IF the person merely pays their lower minimums...

IF the person pays the same monthly payment after refinancing that they do currently, they will SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the amount of interest they pay for ALL of their leveraged expenses.

I think it's always good to keep this in mind, and strive to pay consistently what can be afforded, rather than merely what is allowed.

Cheers!
Dave


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Dave, I can see that, but let's say a person could lower a $1,000 house payment to $800 by refinancing the existing balance at a lower rate and not taking any money out. Wouldn't it be better to do that and apply the extra $200 a month to the existing car and credit card loan(s) -- considering that they'd be paid off so much sooner that way?

Ken


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Great question, Ken! I invite the exploration!

Assume a $1,000 mortgage payment... let's say $136,283 balance @ 8% interest rate.

Now let's say the borrower has a $10,000 car loan, 5 year term at 12% = $222.45/month.

There are 3 credit cards at an aggregate of $15,000 balance at an average interest rate of 17% = $212.50/month minimum pymt.

Total payments = $1,434.95

If you were to roll them all together into a new loan at a rate that WOULD ahve yielded $800 payments, that rate would have been 5.8%

So... let's ad them up;
$136,283,
$10,000
$15,000
Total = $161,283

At 5.8% the new payment is $946.33
Savings of $488.62 per month.

Now, if you plug that $488 into an amoritzation table as extra principle each month, you'll see not only will the mortgage loan pay down quicker than otherwise, but the amounts for the consumer credit will be eliminated much faster as well.

When you consider that there IS tax deductibility with the mortgage loan that there is not with the CC's & Car Loans, it makes it even smarter.

Great exercise to try in many situations.

Cheers!
Dave


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

This is all quite confusing!
Ok, current mortgage is about 130K, houses in the neighborhood are selling for 200-250K. Payment (6.75 current interest) including escrow is 1300, cars and cc 975 (oh yeah, dh wants a new car - argh!)
My calculations (as inaccurate as they are!) 130K at 5.75 percent including escrow is a payment of 1480 (current 1300 for 30 yrs), 175K for 15 yrs at 5.75 is approximately 1850. Equity for 50k for 5 yrs at 5.74 is about 960 for 10 yrs at 6.24 is 560.
Looks like 175 for 15 puts more in the wallet each month, but I'm not crazy about paying for the cars and cc for 15 years, even though we will cut 12 yrs off of the mortgage. Then there is the question about financing the car. Do we pay off the current with the loan or just put a larger down payment on it?
Eeekss! math was not my favorite subject in school!


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Hi Mo,
I didn't follow your thoughts... perhaps because of abbreviations & assumptions.

Would you please line-item everything out again for us?
Thanks
Dave


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Sorry Dave!
I'll try again:
We have a $130K mortgage on the house with a 6.75% interest (30 year loan).
Real estate is at a peak in our area, the sister to our house across the street just sold for $230K so it doesn't look like equity will be a problem.
The current mortgage payment is $1,300 per month (this includes escrow for tax and insurance)
Other debt (cars and credit card) is $975 per month (3 more years one, 4 years on the other).

It looks like a refinancing $130K with a rate of 5.75 for 15 years would run about $1480 per month (again including escrow)
An equity loan of $50K for 5 years at 5.74% is about $960 per month.
The same amount for 10 years at 6.24% is about $560 per month.
A 15 year mortgage for $175K at 5.75% is about $1,850 per month, again including escrow.
So, it looks like taking a 15 year mortgage and a 5 year equity would be a monthly payment of $2,440
A 15 year mortgage and a 10 year equity would be a payment of $2,040.
A 15 year mortgage based on $175K would be a monthly payment of $1,850.

I wanted to pay off the cars and the credit cards and have enough left to do some renovations to the house. Dh wants a new car, so another question is: when paying off the debt should the "old" car be paid off or should that money go towards the down payment. The current payoff on that car is just about equal to the trade-in value, the new car would be an additional $10K

I hope this makes more sense!
Thanks!!


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

I think using a home equity loan to pay off a car loan is a bad idea, becuase even though the rate and your payments will be lower, you will end up paying more in interest because the term of the loan is too long. Not only that, you will be paying for your car for the next 15 years, long after you even own the thing. Further, this type of arrangement causes you to buy more car than you can really afford. You've worked very hard building equity in your house, I would'nt blow that on new cars.

Without running through any calcuations, here is my advice:

-Always keep your cars as long as possible, but AT LEAST the term of the loan.
-Don't ever tap into your home equity to buy a new car or pay off a car.
-If your car loan rates are exorbitant, i.e. over 10%, look to refinance the car loans but prepay the loans so they will be paid off at the same time the original loans would have been paid off.
-If you are going to take equity out of your house for a house improvement, that's fine; I guess I would lean toward the 15 year FRM mortgage to do that over the HELOC, since you are refinancing anyway.
-I would also not pay off the credit card with home equity either. My personal opinion on that is people are generally comfortable living with a certain amount of credit card debt, for example $20,000. So most people who wipe that slate clean using home equity just wind up back in their credit card debt comfort zone within a short time. If one works hard focusing on elminating CC debt (rather than wiping the slate clean) then they tend to stay out of debt in the future.


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

"My personal opinion on that is people are generally comfortable living with a certain amount of credit card debt, for example $20,000."

WOW! I couldn't sleep at night living like that. I had a lot of car repairs and built up some debt, and paid it off on a strict schedule over 2 years. Now I pay in full every month. Debt like that will haunt you and hold you back from what you can accomplish financially.


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Hi Mo & All,

My first comment is to concur with Landmarker regarding folks' general tolerance to a certain level of credit card balances, which are typically quite expensive intere-rate-wise.

My NEXT comment is to dispell the myth about having longer to pay off the car loan if you refinance it into a mortgage.

Folks... we need to DRAMATICALLY simplify our understanding of finance.

When you borrow money and pay it back the payments consist of 2 things;

a) Interest (which is the rate of renting the remaining outstanding borrowed money,) and,
b) Principal (which is a chunk of the money you have borrowed which you are giving back to the lender, and thus no longer "renting.")

If you leave the TOTAL PAYMENT constant, then no matter what the TERMS are (5 year car payment, 30 year loan, whatever,) your greatest benefit will come from lowering your TOTAL INTEREST RATE.

When you reduce your total interest rate, and leave the total PAYMENT the same, you have less of the payment going to interest, and more going to principal... thus you eliminate your debt FASTER!

It doesn't matter if the terms are a 30 Year Mortgage. If your total payment budget stays the same, you will PAY OFF THE CAR LOAN FASTER IN THE MORTGAGE AT 7%, than you would in a 5 year car loan at 9%.

Make sense yet?

Cheers,
Dave Donhoff
Just some mortgage guy ;~)


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Yes Dave you are correct in what you say. Maybe someone would come out a few dollars ahead if they did it, but if they got lazy or started spending recklessly on other things and did not keep up with the prepays, then it will not have worked out so well. Also, taking equity out of your house to buy a new car to replace a car that is still so new it's being financed is not a good idea, in my opinion.


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

It really comes down to a person's responsibility around money.

"Home Equity" is nothing but a combination of forced savings and real estate appreciation. It's cash in the form of dirt, bricks & sticks. It grows at approximately the rate of inflation.

If someone is responsible with their funds, and has consumer leverage costing them more than what they would pay if they secured the leverage with their real estate, then it makes sense to do so.

All leverage (mortgages and consumer debt) is merely a tool. It can be used wisely or foolishly.

Here's hoping most of our message board participants are either already wise enough, or are becoming wise enough to use the tool effectively and responsibly.

Cheers,
Dave


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Dave I understand you totally. But you do a little Engfishing with your explanations.

I've been grimacing as I read thru the responses, wondering why people couldn't see that if their car payment was $211 at %7.74 before refinancing, that the same $211 would pay off the car quicker if the rate was %6.00 after refinancing. But Landmarker cuts to the prob: most folks won't put that $211 into extra principle payment on the new mortgage. The responses here show that folks don't even consider it!


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Hi Cube,

While some (most?) folks are generally ignorant when it comes to personal finance, my belief is that the folks who tend to show up here have a greater desire TO LEARN and GROW in their understanding of their finances.

So... we've got two choices; Write answers as though people are ignorant and doomed to stay that way, or write answers from simplified intelligence & wisdom, so folks have the opportunity to learn.

I figure if I lay it out straight and correct, and someone STILL chooses to be ignorant of it, then at the very least we've done our best up to that point. Ignorance is now THEIR choice & responsibility.

If, instead, we give answers dummied-down for those who CANNOT learn, then we've thoroughly ripped off those who came here to learn & improve. WE'VE become the perpetrators of ignorance!

Learning to look at your whole budget from a big picture is certainly not complicated... but how many of us grew up with that as an influence? Many folks may stumble across this idea for the very first time here on these boards!

Where you point out Landmarker's observation that "most folks won't put that $211 into extra principle..." it's a meaningless observation because the people who find their way here have already (by their own behaviour) seperated themselves from "the average." Even though the internet has grown amazingly, the people who dwell on these message boards are a distinctive cut ABOVE the average.

It's pointless to comment on behaviours of "most people" with the intent of constructive advice among the people on THESE boards & communities.

Now... what kind of bait do you use to fish for Eng?

Cheers!
Dave


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Didn't mean to start a heated discussion here. My goal is to pay down the debt, do some renovations and get some money into savings so that the credit card use (yes, card - only one) is eliminated. For example, installing new windows would cut down on heating costs, but installing new windows means taking an equity. I cannot afford to have another monthly payment so I thought it made sense to use that equity to pay off cars and the credit card. Doing so, would lower the monthly payments for those items (at a lower rate) while being able to do the renovations. I always pay more than the minimum on the card and make an extra payment per year on the mortgage.
Our cars are only 2 years old, but are not ones we would like to keep for the next 10 years. This is not because we just want something newer, it is because the cars are adding to physical pain levels. My little suv is causing major sciatic flare-ups.
I also like the idea of 15 year mortgage rather than a 30. Our current mortgage is fixed for another 3 years, then it goes to an adjustable. I would like to lock in at the lower rates.
I didn't mean to give the impression that we are reckless with money and are deep in debt. I don't make this type of decision easily, gosh I've been thinking about this for almost a year. I just wanted to know if my rationale was on target or would be a bad decision.
Thanks for all the input, there is a lot to think about.


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

I didn't say that most people don't prepay. The point I was making that if any future cash flow problem occurs, then the "optional" monthly payments will not be paid, even if someone is smart enough to want to. Very few important financial decisions are purely dollars and cents, IMO. My belief is that people do not become financially independent in life by choosing interest rates on their debt. They become independent by making a long term financial plan and buying only things that fit within that plan. Looking at the long term means deciding when should the house be paid off and how will your retirement be funded. This should be coupled with an annual budget that shows what will be spent on discretionary and non-discretionary items. A car is the ultimate in discretionary spending, so deciding which monthly payment you can afford on a car falls out after just about all other items.

If one were to follow Dave's advice and it led them to buy a brand new car for $30,000, taken out of home equity, at 7%, versus following my advice of leaving your home equity alone and buying only a car that you can afford after funding retirement and monthly living expenses, and this led them to buy a 2 year old car for $15,000 at 9%, which scenario is more financially wise?


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

A few years back, we used our HELOC to buy a $24,000 nine-month-old car and paid it off in about two years. In the meantime, we deducted the interest, which we couldn't have done if we'd taken out a conventional car loan. And one of my partners uses his HELOC to make tuition payments for his kids. Again, he pays it off quickly.

It really depends on your cash flow. If it's sufficient to pay off the amount of a major purchase in a reasonable time, then a HELOC is a sensible way to finance it. If not, then it would, as Landmarker says, be better not to use your house equity to buy a car.


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Landmarker - you are right, if cash flow becomes a problem, then the extra principal payment goes to the wayside. I'm not going to kid myself on that one. But, isn't it better to refinance at today's rate and take 12 years off of my mortgage? Also, on the car issue. We have to have good reliable cars since we both have a commute to deal with and comfort is a major concern. I loved my car until I herniated a lumbar disk and started with the sciatic problems.
I really don't want to take a HELOC. My banker thinks it is the best way to go. But I can't see an end to that payment at all. I guess I need to work the numbers on that and determine how long it would take to pay that off.
I really appreciate all the input here!


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

If you are planning on staying in your house for more than 5 years, than the 15 yr fixed mortgage is a good idea in my opinion. Without running all the numbers, it will take you around 2 years (maybe more) to recover your closing costs, so you better be planning to stay there for at least 2 years to make the refinancing from 30 yr to 15 yr worth it.

Regarding the car issue, I'm wondering why both cars need to be replaced. Secondly, if you are replacing for health / comfort reasons, then I would buy a 2 year old used car for the amount you can get for your present car, and consider the sales tax as the cost of learing a lesson.

Regarding the HELOC, if you are uncomfortable with it, and it will cause you stress in your life, then don't do it.


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Thanks Landmarker! Yes, we plan on staying in our current home until we are too old to maintain it (hope that means a very long time!). The mortgage that I was looking into, is a no cost/fee.
Dh has hardware in his back so comfort is an issue for him too. His commute is a lot longer than mine and the miles add up quickly. We have learned that his cars (meticulously maintained) have little trade-in value due to the mileage. Payment on a car for him (including tax) would be the same as his current payment, however it would add an additional 2 years to the loan. We will be spending a lot of time this weekend reviewing the options and going over the numbers. I will print out all the advice given here also, to make sure that we make the best decision possible.
The HELOC makes me uncomfortable because I don't understand how it works. You get a line of credit, and use it as you need it. Your payments are interest only for a certain number of years. So when do you actually pay off the principal? I know that I would pay more than the interest, but how do I figure out when that debt will be eliminated?
Thanks again for your help!


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

I've never had a HELOC and don't know much about them. The ones that I was offered on my house had a 15 year amortization. You write a check against it say for 5,000 and pay back the $5000 as if it were a 15 year loan (paid back at the end of 15 years). The rate varies according to Prime. You can prepay (pay extra principal each month) the loan AS IF it were a 3, 4 or 5 year car loan and then it will be done whenever you want. The rate should be much lower than a car loan and the interest is also tax deductable which is why many people think they are good. But in order for it to be good, you MUST prepay or else the payments on the car could drag on for 15 years and ulitmately you pay alot more in interest on the car than you even paid for the car itself.

When you say the trade in value of your car is nil due to miles, what you are getting at is the #1 cost of a car - depreciation. So every time you buy a more expensive car than you are currently driving, you incur this cost, even though your payments may stay the same.


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

I'm not familiar with interest-only HELOCs. The one we had amoritized over a fixed number of years, but I can't recall how many because we always paid them off in a few years.

You should definitely avoid an interest-only HELOC, but one with a fixed term might be worth consideration, IF you have the finacial discipline to pay it off within a reasonable time, as Landmarker says.

There are many loan calculators available on the Internet that will tell you what monthly payments you would need to make to pay off a loan of a given amount at a particular interest rate in a period of, say, three years.


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Thanks again! I'm getting a better handle on all of this!
I didn't know that you could get a HELOC with a fixed term. My bank only offers interest only, or that is what they are pushing. I'll ask more questions on that. I'll also try to find some on-line calculators.
We consider our debt to be on the low side, especially when we hear what others owe on credit cards and cars. I think we are doing ok, but there is always room for improvement!


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

HELOCS ("Lines Of Credit") are typically (always?) adjustable, tied to a specific index (usually the Fed Prime.)

Home Equity Loans (HELs... subtle difference in nomenclature) may be fixed for 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years.

Currently HELOCS are quite significantly cheaper than most fixed HELs. Even if the Fed started raising the Prime rate at normal intervals (typically 1/4% per 3 months when the Fed is rambunctious) you would be "safe" with savings interest-rate-wise for several years versus the fixed loans.

You can ALWAYS voluntarily pay down your principal greater than your required minimum monthly payment.

Cheers,
Dave


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Thanks Dave! That was one thing I was worried about with the HELOC. I would treat the HELOC as a regular loan and pay as much as possible per month.


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Hi MoAtWork,

It's been over a year since this discussion took place.

I hope that you arranged a plan that suited you at the time.

How do you feel about it now?

Do you have other other questions, or ideas and opinions to offer on the situation currently?

joyful guy


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Hi Ed!
Wow, it has been over a year! Still no decision! I watched the rates go down, then up and now down again. I'm so slow when it comes to making decisions like this, DH is slower LOL!


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RE: Refinance mortgage & equity

Hi MoAtWork,

You have a car with only one forward speed, I assume - if you are so slow?

I sometimes use fully secured line of credit using equity investments as collateral. I don't worry about paying on principal that much and the bank doesn't worry if I don't. As I use the funds generated to buy more investments, making the interest deductible, that is a help.

I can make payments on pricipal at any time and in whatever amount that I choose. Which I do, as it suits me and have money on hand.

For people who, having used such a loan at lower interest rate to reduce interest rate on auto or credit card debts, might be tempted to go out and rack up new credit card debt in significant amounts, refinancing to pay off the current credit card (read "debt" card) debt is usually a poor idea.

Just gets you deeper into debt - and now you're paying on those newly created credit cards' debts at much higher interest rates, again.

Many borrow to buy a car but pay cash for investment programs.

Up here in Canada I call that an unwise move. If I borrow to buy a car, unless I use it for business (not including driving back and forth to my regular place of employment) the interest is not deductible.

If I pay cash for the car and borrow to invest, that makes the amount of interest paid deductible.

I've suggested to some clients on occasion that they liquidate their investments, use the proceeds to pay off their car loan, then borrow again to buy back the investments.

I figure that deductible interest beats non-deductible interest (at the same, or even comparable rates) every time.

I bought a 1990 Dodge Colt, 1.5 litre engine, standard tranny, in summer 1997, with 138,000 km. (something over 85,000 mi.) on it, paying about $2,700.

I've had to put some repairs on it in the more than 6 years that I've owned it - not an inordinate amount, in my opinion.

During a recent trip from London, Ontario to Edmonton, Alberta via Regina, Saskatchewan, we doubled that amount of mileage on the odometer. It has something over 282,000 km. on it now (over 175,000 mi.)

During the trip, it sat outside overnight (no block heater) when temperature in the early morning was -39 degrees (considering wind chill, something like -50 degrees).

Thick oil meant that it turned over very slowly in the morning - but it fired in about 5 seconds. Oil light stayed on, so I shut it down after about 5 seconds. Let it sit for about 10 seconds, started it again, ran it for about 6 seconds, oil light still on, so shut it down again.

After about four such starts, engine was turning over about usual speed while starting.

Started over a dozen times before the oil light went out.

It's a fuel-injected gas engine - which I thinks helps the starting in extreme cold like that.

When I ask new car salespeople if they can get me about 40,000 miles for about $4,000. - 5,000. - they tell me to get lost.

Driving the 5,000 mile or so with a leaky gas tank that could be filled only slightly under half full, my son complained about buying gas about 50 times. I told him that if that was the most major problem that he had - he was laughing, for he had very little to worry about.

I'd bought a rusty tank for $75. here, but didn't want to install it, as it was so rusty. Garage man said some recyclers bring them in from AB or AZ (dry climate) for something like $110., he thought - but on investigation it turned out to be over $300.

So, while I was in Alberta, I bought a tank for $50. and hauled it in the back seat for about 2,200 miles. Took the car to the garage to have the tank installed, this afternoon.

Recently received an offer from Citibank to lend me up to $3,500. (possibly more). When I called to ask them what rate of interest they'd charge, the respondent said it depended on the amount that I borrow, but the full $3,500. would cost me ... 26% per year.

I told her that I just received a report from my bank on my fully secured line of credit, which is unused at the moment - at offered rate of 4.5%. So I thought that I'd not be taking them up on their offer, any time soon.

Ain't life fun? Especially when one's retired, with three or four pensions and enjoying good health. Nice not to have to go out and scrape ice off of the windshield in the dark before going to work.

When I bought med insurance for travel through U.S., cost was $28. as I had no pre-existing medical conditions - would have been $52. had I had some.

Enjoy your winter, all.

ole joyful


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