Jan 7, 2008


Caution! Bragging ahead!

Dave Ramsey, the get out of debt guru, talks about doing the Snoopy dance when you are out of debt. Nose in the air and feet flying. Today my feet arre flying.

The reason that I bring this up is that today was a big day in the life of Merle Sneed. A few minutes past nine this morning I was at our bank for the purpose of having the balance on our mortgage wired to the fine folks at Chase Bank. By nine thirty, the money was wired and Casa Sneed was all ours.

A lot of seemingly smart people say that having a home mortgage is a good idea. I disagree. The lovely Mrs. Sneed and I don't have enough deductions to itemize on our federal taxes, so the meager deductible interest didn't help us anyway. Besides, unless the top marginal tax rate goes to 100%, you are always sending the mortgage company 100 cents to avoid sending the federal government about 30 cents on the dollar.

Plus, when I last checked, no matter how bad the economy gets, they can't kick you out of a paid for house.

When Tedious Systems laid me off in 2001, I never expected to go back to work there. In fact, they made me sign an agreement stipulating that I was not re-employable by them and to be honest, I didn't ever want to go back. So, when they came calling to offer me a job in 2003, I took it for the express purpose of paying off the house mortgage, which was slightly under $100,000 at the time.

During that four-year period I paid extra on the mortgage and also socked away the as much money as I could in savings. The result is that I had the money to knock off the mortgage this morning. Since our property taxes are very, very low in Arizona, our money housing cost for taxes and insurance is only about $250. Pretty sweet.

In other news, I mentioned former coworkers coming into the hardware store in Saturday's post. One guy who came in really gets under my skin. This fellow retired from Tedious some time ago is particularly irksome. I shouldn't let him get to me, but he can be so annoying. When I encountered him in the lighting aisle Saturday, his first words were, "I hope you're not doing this because you need the money". Exactly the reaction I would have predicted.

This fellow, let's call him Dennis, which happens to be his real name, is among the cheapest men living. He wouldn't give a nickel to see an earthquake, as the saying goes. He has driven the same car for twenty-five years and lived in the same house longer than that. I admire Dennis for some of his frugal skills, but he is often way over the top on the cheap-o-meter and as I mentioned, a smug SOB.

How cheap, you ask? Dennis is single and he once asked a woman on our floor out to dinner. After the meal was enjoyed and the bill came, he calculated her half and patiently waited for her to fish out her cash. That ended the relationship and provided many moments of hilarity when she spread the story around our floor.

Dennis told me on a hundred occasions that he only worked because he wanted to, not because he had to. He loves to tell the world that his vast hoard of cash produces more income than he could ever make by working. When I came back to work at Tedious, he advised me to really save so that I could be independent like him. I like to let Dennis think he is smarter and better than me. I means so much to him. Just kidding.

Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky


taco fetishist said...

Congrats on owning Casa Sneed free and clear.

Dennis sounds creepy.

Kurt said...

I've always wanted to say this: I agree with taco fetishist. Just remember, there is nothing to stop them from raising the property taxes tomorrow.

Steve said...

Woo hoo! A big day! I've always thought if I could pay off my mortgage I'd be able to survive almost anything -- though of course my monthly expenses would still be much higher than yours (NYC taxes, building maintenance, etc). I envy you this milestone!

Julia said...


bella rum said...

I'm sitting here eating my soup and a biscuit, and you're making me smile.

Congrats! It's a big day. Enjoy!
As for Dennis, he's a spoiler. I hate spoilers.

Marcia said...

I hope your success makes you walk lighter, and with your head held high. You have completed a task many men do not consider important in life. Over the past year Mr Sneed(mr v), I really have admired you and typically walk away from your blog happy that I have stumbled upon it, and your "round about" (or so i call it) wisdom. You put the passion in me to go after the things I want and care about. GOOD FOR YOU and all the wonderful memories you have in your life, Im proud of you.

NCN said...

YES!!! Great, great job! Thanks for letting me know!!!
Being debt-free rocks!!!