Is there a price to pay for Progress

Discussion in 'The Meadow' started by Hornet3d, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. carmen indorato

    carmen indorato Extraordinary

    If you have a PC use the library wifi so you can hide in a cubicle and surf as you like all snug and private-like. That is what I do when i have trouble with my connection. My library is a 5 minute walk and I'm on!
    No PC? Smart phone or tablet. much cheaper and do the trick.
     
  2. carmen indorato

    carmen indorato Extraordinary

    I have used a darn computer since it all came out of the devious tech minds as well as internet which of ate i believe has ruined my life..along with computers. I know we can't go back but I was more product, in better shape, and overall happier before all this damn tech came out of hell into my life and I know a lot of folk who feel the same (writes the dummy on his laptop while surfing the web to keep busy while my house work builds up undone!) :)
     
  3. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    Oh, I haven't thought of that! And here I thought led clusters would be cheaper than a glass vacuum lamp with an expensive rare metal filament.

    My wife is a meteorologist, and she has shown me satellite data history where Earth was warmer 500 years ago than it is now, where they had no cars or heavy industry to produce carbon dioxide back then. How's that for global warming?

    It may sound odd coming from a computer scientist, but I miss the days before computers, where life was slower, and children (including myself) used to play on the parks instead of sitting in catatonic state in front of a video game.
     
  4. Satira Capriccio

    Satira Capriccio Distinguished CV-BEE Contributing Artist

    That's certainly a problem for a great many people. Credit cards have certainly contributed a lot toward this situation. Although, I'm tempted to say credit cards with their easy access to more credit than most anyone can afford, more than anything else, is the major cause for it.

     
  5. Miss B

    Miss B Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time CV-BEE

    Very true Satira. I know it took me about 5 years after I retired to get my spending under control. I've been much better the past 9 years, but it does take a lot of getting used to, that's for sure.
     
  6. Terre

    Terre Distinguished

    At least you have learned. That's not an easy adjustment to make.
     
  7. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished


    I know that is true for a lot of people and it certainly was true of my situation many moons ago when life decided to turn my world upside down for a couple of years. Overall though I have been very lucky in life and had a very varied and well paid career even though I never went to university so, although I was a free spender, that was only after I made sure of having a nestegg. When I was made redundant the company had to pay me a rather large redundancy bonus, much more than they expected as my contract that was held by Inhuman Resources was out of date. As a result they not only had to pay me a the statutory redundancy money but also three months money and a 40% loyalty bonus which I was entitled to as they were getting rid of me rather than the other way round. In the end I left with about two and a half years salary and not having to pay my massive petrol bill as I worked a long way from home and commuted at my own cost. What also helped was that I was able to find work locally within three months so I was earning again with no travel costs.

    I have now retired and as you can take up to 25% of the lump sum tax free the nest egg has grown further. I am well aware that this does not make me immune from being homeless, my personal experience of nearly that many years ago taught me that lesson long ago but thankfully I am a little more than two paychecks away. If my personal experience was not enough, I know from friends and some voluntary work I do that there are a large number of people in the situation you describe.

    There are many downsides to getting old but if you are lucky in life and plan well there are benefits too. I now longer have to worry about being made redundant, five times was enough for me. I do not have to worry about being sacked and as I am old enough to have a free bus pass the only travel cost I have is those I decide to incur for pleasure purposes.
     
  8. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    There was a very good web documentary called "Zeitgeist" that clearly explained the history behind credit card interest rates. They were calculated to make it impossible to pay back if you ever get late on the payments. Such interest rates used to be prohibited by the US constitution (by the founding fathers), until special groups started to embed it into law amendments with disguised names and wordings. Those were being successfully blocked many times until they finally managed to pass by an absent congress during the silence of the night on a new years eve. I think it was in Ronald Reagan's term. This has opened the floodgates for private bankers to freely prey on the general public.

    All this seems to be directly related to the creation of the "Federal Reserve", which in spite of its name, is a private institution. The documentary shows how the founding fathers have predicted such things could be created (a threat to personal freedom), and made clear in the US constitution that they should never be allowed to exist - until amendments were [stealthily] made and people's freedom was left to the discretion of private bankers, who now have gained nationwide control of the money supply.
     
  9. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished

    There has been changes in the UK have been introduced in this area.

    New rules have been introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with the aim of helping credit card customers avoid long-term debt.

    If you’ve been making minimum or low payments over the past 18 months, you’ve paid more in interest, fees and charges on your Barclaycard than towards paying back what you’ve borrowed. And under the new rules, this means your account is in something called ‘persistent debt’.

    This is the example given by one bank.

    Let’s say you have a balance of £5,000 on your card with an interest rate of 18.9% APR, and no balance transfer or purchase offers. If you only make the minimum payment each month, just before your billing date – it’ll take you 31 years and 10 months to pay off your balance.

    But if you increase your payments to a fixed £150 each month, you could pay off your balance in three years and 10 months – that’s quite a difference.

    Increasing your monthly payments today could take years off the time it takes to pay back what you’ve borrowed, save you money on interest, and help improve your credit rating.

    Most banks are now advising the minimum you need to pay off each month

    I can see the logic of this and it does seem a good move I just worry for those who use their cards to live from day to day. The rich can either pay the card off in full or just pay the new increase payment but for some finding and extra £20 or £30, let alone £150 is going to be an issue. Of course you could argue that such people should have a card in the first place, but this does not change the fact that the debt exist and, despite the good intentions, the goal post are being moved and once again the poor will suffer in at least in the short to medium term. It should also be noted that for some with a poor credit record pay way more than the 18.9% given in the example and I also wonder how many will be driven to payday loan companies where 100%+ rates are common and even 1000% rates possible.
     
  10. Miss B

    Miss B Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time CV-BEE

    This is why I always pay my credit card bills in full every month. I never want to get into a situation of being in constant debt. I know a lot of folk live like that, but I never could, and since retiring and getting my spending under control, I'll hopefully never be in that situation.
     
  11. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    Like Miss B, I could never spend more than I have, especially because I am not particularly rich. I always know exactly how much I have in the bank, and I only buy what I can afford at the moment. If needed, I can wait until I have enough in my account, even if it takes me years. Even when my wife and I financed our first new car from the bank, we did it for 60 months, but paid in full in only 18 months because we don't like owing money to anyone - especially to banks. To this day I still keep a stellar credit report, mostly because I avoid loans at any cost, and I always pay my credit card balance "religiously". However, basically everyone in my family is the opposite of me on these things, and banks take full advantage of them. Some people never learn....
     
  12. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished


    I sort of take a middle way depending on the situation. If we go back a number of years when you were getting a good return on savings I would sometimes put large purchases on a credit card as long as it was interest free and the transfer fee was less than the interest I would make on my money. There is also the danger that once I take money from savings it will not go back. These days the interest in any savings is so pitiful there is no point in not drawing the cash and using that. I think the only time I would consider a credit card for a major purchase these days is if I did not have enough ready cash, there was a sale on and the only option would be to cash in shares. At the moment, due to both Brexit and other problems around the world, it is really not that time to sell shares so I would look for an interest free period on a card. For example I need to have the driveway relaid and if I have it done now I can get 20% discount but only because there is not much of this sort of work about at this time of year. In practice this is not an option as this is a small one man concern and he does not take credit cards but I could be tempted otherwise.

    I have a good credit record having paid back anything I have ever loaned early and not only do I watch my money on a day to day basis my finances are also set out on a rolling three year prediction. This way I can see where I am today and where I should be in the future, financially at least, even this is an educated guess which is why I do not plan further than three years..
     
  13. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished

    Sometimes being in that situation is not by choice. I know I stretched my finances and credit when I purchased the house I now own. I am glad I did but it was touch for a few years but that was by choice and a calculated risk. Some years later my wife and I looked at a much bigger house and really fell in love with it. I worked the finances every which way but I knew it was a great gamble and in the end we sadly decided to stay put. Two years after that decision the UK fell out of the Euro and mortgage rates almost doubled in the space of a few months and we would have been homeless very quickly. Now it would have been our fault as we knew we were taking a gamble but then no one, not even the experts, were predicting such a massive rise in rates so I can understand how people could be caught out. Even today I wonder just what our life would be like if we had decided to buy that house.

    Being retired does make it easier to get your spending under control. To a large degree you know your income and are fairly well assured it will be the same every month for a very long time. Not something that it easy to do when you have to work.
     
  14. Miss B

    Miss B Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time CV-BEE

    OK, now that's a different story. I was lucky as I bought my co-op apartment long before I retired, and since I was already living in the apartment for several years before the apartment building was converted, I got what they call an insider's price so it was, by today's standards, cheap. Even so, I had a 30 year mortgage, because I couldn't afford the monthly payments for a shorter term. I don't consider that "unnecessary debt", as most folks want to own a home, co-op or condominium apartment at some point in their life.

    This sort of "debt" I can understand. It's the kind of debt where folks use their credit cards to buy, buy, buy, every piece of clothing they like, every book they ever wanted to read, every piece of jewelry that strikes their fancy, or in our case, every 3D product (or software) that catches their eyes, without thinking about what the monthly credit card payment is going to be. They just charge, charge, charge, and charge some more. Many years ago I had a friend who went into bankruptcy because he couldn't pay his bills. That's a sickness too many folks fall into because they don't sit down and think about it.
     
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  15. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished


    I agree entirely. I am more likely to use a card a large expense under certain circumstances, like I don't have the money at the time, I can get a great deal and what I am buying will make my life better and will increase the value of my home. I spend more than I should on 3D content and sometimes bust my monthly self imposed limits, usually when there is a sale and then some months I will not spend at all. Other then that I have fairly simple tastes, in don't have the latest phone, never wear designer clothes and prefer, most the time to be at home or out for a walk with my wife. I am very reluctant to buy a new anything unless old one has stopped working and is either impossible to repair or not economical to do so. I do know of people who will spend a massive amount on something like a three piece suite and then change it months later because they have seen one of a better design or colour. Change their car every irrespective of the fact of the tax they paid and the depreciation incurred in that short period and in both cases they live from day to day food wise because they cannot afford to stock the fridge. I know many who seem to think that the card means they are not spending cash......ever as if there is no expectation they will be asked to pay the money back. Tragically I have also seen so many who have lost everything, their home, their partner and their job just because they were earning good money and that would never change, but it did.
     
  16. Satira Capriccio

    Satira Capriccio Distinguished CV-BEE Contributing Artist

    I don't know if it's changed now, but we weren't taught personal finance when I went to school. Which I consider to be just as essential as reading, writing, math, history, geography, etc.

    As with so many people, my ex and I became terribly overextended. My ex dreamed big ... all the time ... and he had always been into writing and playing music. So as we got a bit more established financially, he started buying music equipment. When our credit card debt got too bad, or when he wanted to buy a new piece of music equipment, he would consolidate all our debt into a new loan.

    By the time we'd been married 19 years, we were a mess financially. So, we filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. We argued for months over filing, but it just wasn't worth it when he was so determined to file. That more than the divorce made me feel like a failure as an adult. But, I'm also rather grateful for the chance to start over Chapter 13 gave me. We divorced, and a year later, I was laid off, sold my house (for a HUGE $1,000 profit), and fled the state. I fled real good! Like all the way from Oregon to Florida, then to Nantucket Island, and finally I stopped running in Philadelphia. Where I've been stuck ever since.

    Through that year of unemployment though, I never missed a car payment on the Camry, and I never abused my credit cards. I did, however, have to empty my retirement account to survive :( Being divorced, I had no safety net. If I were to become unemployed or injured or dreadfully sick, there wasn't a second income to carry me through. So, no question, but a savings account was important. My first goal was enough to cover three months of unemployment. Once I met that goal, I set another goal, and then another.

    It's rough when you have a spendthrift and a tightwad in a marriage. Mind you, I'm not always a tightwad. Just look at my Poser library. But, while I spent entirely too much money on 3D purchases I didn't need, I never spent more than I could cover with the money in my checking account. I also spent plenty of money on books (hard cover, of course), until I switched to the Kindle which is kinder on my eyes. Books and 3D content were my weakness. But I felt I could splurge on books and 3D content (and software) since I spent virtually nothing on clothing, eating out, and entertainment.

    It's hard to start out as adults knowing how to handle personal finances unless someone has actually taught us how to do so. It's even harder when we're constantly inundated with ads brainwashing us we need to buy this to be happy. Especially, since income for most of us doesn't quite cover the basic expenses in our early years. Credit card companies are more than happy to encourage us to spend more money than we can afford to. I've never taken "advantage" of a single credit card offer through the mail, but my mailbox is always stuffed with those offers. You'd think they'd figure out I'm a lost cause.

    It's even worse now when most young adults leave college with debt that boggles the mind. Debt that's far more than the mortgage on any house we bought during our marriage. For that matter, I'm not all that sure that most young people make all that much more than we did almost 30 years ago!

    Anyway ... that's my take on finances :wink: The only things I'm willing to go into long term debt on is for a car (only a couple years left on the loan), a house (haha!), or a new computer (as long as it's a six months no finance charges, no interest deal)
     
  17. Miss B

    Miss B Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time CV-BEE

    No they didn't teach finances at all when I was in high school, but my mother did, to an extent. I had an allowance, and if it didn't cover my weekly expenses, I had to do some chores around the house to get the extra money I needed.

    Then when I started working while attending college the first time around, she insisted I give her $20 a paycheck, and she put it in a savings account for me. After I graduated, started working on my second long-lasting job and moved out, I had a nice little backup savings account "just in case". Unfortunately, I didn't add much over the years to that account, but I did when I could, and I guess that helped me understand that you can't leave yourself broke and survive.

    The only reason I was able to make a quick decision to retire early was because I had no outstanding debts for several years, and I hadn't spent a single cent of the previous 3 years' income tax returns. That little nest egg helped me the first 1 1/2 years of retirement, until I was able to apply for Social Security, because the only income I had was my pension, which really doesn't cover it all. Once I started receiving my Social Security checks, I was finally able to breath easier. It didn't take long to replenish the funds I had spent that first 1 1/2 years, and then I really felt better. Not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but able to pay my monthly bills without worrying.
     
  18. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    I wasn't that fortunate and had to learn it the hard way. My parents gave me no allowances, and the only thing I've got from them was debt. I've left home when I was still a teen to live at the other side of the planet. That's why I have never been late on a bill payment, and keep a stellar credit report. When you have no family, there is nowhere to fall back to when things go wrong. It's just me against the world, so I have to be financially responsible for my own sake. The only thing my father has ever taught me was that necessity is the best teacher. That's how I've got good on self-teaching me everything I've learned, because I couldn't count on anyone.

    To this date I am still the one-man-army on everything I do. But in computer science things change too fast, and I had to start over many times. I could never imagine that entire sets of technology I had invested so much of my time on could cease to exist overnight. First Microsoft killed Borland, and then Apple/Google killed Adobe Flash. There goes decades of field experience down the drain, like they had never existed. Who knows - even Poser may vanish overnight since SMSI's finances aren't doing so well. It was in times like those that I wished I was a physician or a lawyer, where their work experience won't vanish overnight.

    Things got to a point where I don't know where to invest my time anymore, since any digital technology is 100% volatile. Even out of the computer science realm, many professions will be at risk with the advent of AI deep learning, which has already achieved super-human abilities in many areas. That's the price to pay for progress. Things were much simpler before computers came out. They are both my passion and my plague. Just like women - can't live with or without them! LOL
     
  19. Hornet3d

    Hornet3d Distinguished

    My parents taught me the rudiments of handling money but there was no finance training in school, not that it is an issue as fifty odd years ago it was very different and everything was hire purchase. There no credit cards of any sort from what I can remember. When I purchased my first house I had to find a 10% deposit which was a massive £600 (I guess around $440) at the time. My next house was the same 10% but by then that was £1600 and that was a struggle. Then came the period of 100% mortgages and I know people that purchased show homes at the time and being fully furnished they were paying for that furniture for 15 or 20 years (or put another way, many times over). Then the mortgage rates soared, house prices dropped people were in negative equity, not difficult when you had a 100% mortgage. Also caught were those that purchased a house, sold it and made a profit and used that profit and cards to buy fast cars and luxury holidays. Now all of a sudden they still had to pay the mortgage but they could not sell their house and they still had to pay the credit cards as well. These day most people need to have a 10% deposit to buy a house and there is an outcry but I just see it as returning to the norm. plus there are many help to buy schemes around that were not about in my day.

    I am comfortable financially but still could not afford to buy my home today. I do spend more on 3D content than I should but then I do not smoke or drink so it is one of my few vices. I am relaxed about debt so long as I do not over extend and that I have everything in place to ensure my wife it well looked after if anything happens to me. I have savings and a little pot of shares along with a fairly extensive, and expensive, model steam railway stock. I see these a little like shares in that they are something that could be sold if I were in financial difficulties but I have the added pleasure of watching them run around the garden belching steam and smelling of hot oil.
     
  20. Satira Capriccio

    Satira Capriccio Distinguished CV-BEE Contributing Artist

    My parent's couldn't afford to give the four of us allowances. Didn't mean we didn't have chores. We just didn't get paid for them. Then again ... we were provided room and board, as well as clothing and school supplies. My cousins had to work in the fields during the summer for their clothing and school supplies. I rather thought that sucked since their fathers earned far more money than both my parents combined!

    When we were older, I babysat for a few families which gave me lunch money. Being we lived a block from Junior High and two blocks from High School, our parents expected us to go home for lunch. If we wanted to eat in the cafeteria, we had to pay for it ourselves. I married when I was 22, so I didn't live on my own until I was 40.

    I do a number of things to make life less stressful for me. I'm not good with dates. I tend to know the day of the week (because of work), but rarely the date. Needless to say, that caused me grieve every April because I'd miss my Mom's birthday. OMG, the guilt! Google calendar eventually helped with that, as does my phone. Now I don't have to struggle to remember birthdays or other events. The biggest cause of stress for me though was remembering to sit down and write out checks and mail them when they were due. That changed a few decades ago when my Credit Union provided online banking and Bill Pay! Seriously ... that may well be one of the best things the internet ever did. I also buy my groceries online. No more humiliation when you have to remove things from your cart when checking out because there are no witnesses.

    My Federal refund always goes into savings. (I'd do the same with a State refund, but haven't had one in years. Instead, I end up owing $1 or $2 to PA. Seriously?!?) My Transportation Spending Account (TSA) parking reimbursement also goes into savings, as does the rare bonus at work. Every payday, I have money automatically transferred from checking to savings. That really, really adds up over time.

    While I am so ready to retire, especially, as we are moving to a new, less convenient, location for work in May, I dread the day I retire. Tsuki and I will end up living on the street within a decade or so :p
     

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