anomie's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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anomie
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Location: midwest, usa

Post by anomie » Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:27 pm

Married white male, in mid-40's. No children. Live in a small midwestern town. Wife walks to work. I telecommute.
*Philosophy
Vegetarian-ish with a long history of interest in simple-living.
I am now also pretty skeptical of authority, society, and other things that end in y. I consider myself a post-environmentalist --- I used to care about the environment; now I spend time looking for scientists who will publicly assert that time has run out for humanity to save itself. I guess that makes me a 'doomer'.
I recycle because our recycling is free and our trash here costs $3/ can. I am vegetarian because for me it is a more humane and sensible way to live; though recently been eating seafood since I need the vitamin-D and fish oil (and I figure that I may as well enjoy the seafood now since it will be all gone in 10 years). So am now a pescatarian after being a vegetarian for 10 years.
My spouse has some interest in living reasonable cost lifestyle, but is also interested in world travel, and likes to eat out. Fortunately, her job

allows her to do a little of both of those things.
We have a 13 year-old honda civic that we hope to get a couple of more years out of.
In the past 15 years, I have already taken 2 periods off from work - the first time was 11 years ago to explore homestead-type living at an 'eco-village' for a year; the second time was last year, when I quit my job to reassess my career direction, and to travel with wife to Japan for 2 months.
*Finances
**Expenses
I have habits - smoking and drinking whiskey. averages probably $230/month for the both.
Smoking 3 packs/ week * $6.50 = 19.50 / week * 52 weeks/ year = $1014 / year cigs. Plus my work charges an extra $57 / month 'smoker's premium' for health insurance. So $1014 + $684 = $1698 total / year costs cigarrettes.
And alcohol - $30/week * 52 = $1560 / year alcohol.
So $3258 / year for both.
Monthly Expenses - my half of living expenses, 1st draft.

Housing 380

Food 200

Gas/Electric 60

Phone+Internet 50

Health Insurance 50

Smoker's Premium Health Insurance extra 57

Cigarrettes 80

Alcohol 120
Medical Bills 20

Car Insurance 10

Travel to visit familly 50
Total Monthly 1077
***Debt

2 years left on the mortgage on the house; all other debts paid.
***Food

We do the buy local food thing , subscribe to a csa for fresh produce, we also have our own garden for a few things.

We eat out a couple of times / week. I enjoy what I have read of ere food ideas and discussions of food.
***Medical

We have both have minor medical issues that equate to a couple of thousand / year in expenses total.
**Income

We are fortunate right now, with two good paying jobs.

Wife walks to work. I work from home.
We probably save about 50% of our pay. Going to check on that number.
***Investments

I do the buy and hold approach to investing. I do not have capacity to be a day trader, or otherwise actively trade. We have most of our savings in 403(b)'s, IRA's, and Roth IRA's. We were once really interested in socially-responsible investing, but have moved away from that over time since returns were lower. In general I bet against the American industrial base in my investing philosophy, so was interested in as many global or overseas investment alternatives as I could find. This has not worked out so well over past 5 years, but not much worse than other types of investments asfaik.
***Net Worth

using http://earlyretirementextreme.com/day-1 ... worth.html
Net Worth: $10k (not including retirement or house)
*My Plan
I will separate my situation from my wife's for purposes of ERE since she is not interested in ERE.
My goals for next 24 months:
--pay off mortgage

--quit smoking

--exercise more

--track my monthly expenses more accurately

--study more of ERE blog; buy Jacob's book


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akratic
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Post by akratic » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:07 am

Nice username!
That cigarette situation seems like an EMERGENCY. Good luck there, that definitely seems like it should be priority #1. It's even more expensive if you factor in the health costs too (above and beyond the extra insurance premiums).
Here's a suggestion for reducing alcohol expenses: whatever your favorite drink is, buy a few different cheap brands of the same type of drink, then have your wife administer a blind taste test on you. If red wine is your favorite drink, but it turns out that you can't tell box wine from bottled wine in a blind taste test... then you just dramatically reduced your alcohol expenses. In my experience about half of people can't tell cheap alcohol from expensive alcohol in a blind test, even people who are confident that they can.
Outside of those expenses, it seems like you're in pretty good shape.
PS: I personally prefer when people include their retirement savings in their net worth.


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anomie
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Post by anomie » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:39 am

@akratic -- Thanks for the response!
Yes. Smoking is number one priority. I have been quit now for 2 weeks.
Thanks for mentioning the alcohol taste test. Will keep that in mind. I am now Wild Turkey fan ($22 / fifth) compared to Jack Daniels ($27/fifth), or even good scotch ($40/fifth).
I will respond later with more details about the complications of my situation (spouse, the retirement savings you mention), and my July results next week.


xxxsrxxxx
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Post by xxxsrxxxx » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:24 am

Stay strong anomie! Kicking the cigarettes and cutting back on the booze will pay bigger dividends over time than any financial investment. Good Luck!


secretwealth
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Post by secretwealth » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:08 pm

I quit smoking after reading Allen Carr's "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking" and I couldn't recommend it any higher. The book approaches the reader as a rational, logical human being who has got into an addictive trap and it effectively deconstructs the idea of smoking on an intellectual and emotional level that really worked for me. I think the people whom the book would help the most won't read it because they have contempt for "self-help" books, but this isn't really a self-help book--it teaches you how to quick smoking like The Intelligent Investor teaches you how to make money.
Give it a shot, if you can. The savings alone should motivate you to quit, but I can also tell you that I am so much healthier and happier now. Food tastes better, sex is better--life is just better all around.


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anomie
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Post by anomie » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:46 am

Thanks for the responses!
@secretwealth -

pdf Download of the book Allen_Carr-Easy_Way_To_Stop_Smoking.pdf

Thanks for mentioning this book. I appreciate its straightforward style.
@Expat Sean - cutting down on the booze is now the goal for August!
I will post my July report soon.


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anomie
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Post by anomie » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:17 am

July Expenses
Cat had mouth surgery and teeth removed - mouth cancer which is now healing nicely. Never fed cats wet food before this one recently. Man that's expensive! Hope to get her back to dry food soon. Apparently cats eat food by crushing it with their tongue against the roof of their mouth so this is a possibility for a toothless cat, believe it or not.
Have quit smoking for almost 5 weeks now.
Image
Income 4259

Expenses 1208

Savings 3051 71.64%
Bought Jacob's Book. Really impressive accomplishments, and some inspiring approaches to things.
Shooting for 18 months to pay off mortgage. It is 5%, and I really like the idea of having $100/month housing costs, which will be my share when it is paid
I used to track money religiously - anyone remember Quicken 2000 Deluxe? Do most of that stuff in Mint.com now, and automatic bill pay from my bank simplifies things ;
Goals for August
Get the drinking down to around $80 / month.
Continue to think about and research an online broker. Start planning to move some $$ to that account and plan to build a fund

Permanent Portfolio, Dividend Investing, and Index Funds are 3 areas to learn more about
Last edited by anomie on Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bigato
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Post by bigato » Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:34 pm

Congratulations!!!

What about getting involved in some sport as a way to consolidate your freedom from smoking?


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anomie
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Post by anomie » Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:58 pm

Excellent suggestion bigato.
My current most favorable sport is sleeping. Which I do fitfully, but get plenty of. :)
I have started to do a bit of cycling with the DW, but only twice a week at most.
I should get on top of the cycling and go out at least 3 good times / week.
And get out and walk more often. In fact, think I'll step out now..
Thanks for the prompt!


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bigato
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Post by bigato » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:48 am

If you would like to choose and commit to a sport that will really push your limits, it will be great for your accomplishments. I guess that something where there is competition and goals, either competition with other people or with yourself. It could be running if you like it, you could set a big goal in the future and smaller goals in between. To me it is martial arts training these days. There are a lot of options.


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anomie
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Post by anomie » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:49 am

Image
dental crownwork - Had ~$2000 worth of dental work (I paid ~1200 , insurance the rest)

The dental work is a residual of youthful alcoholic mistakes - 2 crowns replaced that were over 20 years old.
I had a long, graphic story about the costs of drinking that I truncated. alcohol - 8 days sober this month to bring the budget in line towards target $100 / month
still not smoking ! 2 months.
re: exercise -- I get plenty of walking and mild exercise. Noticed that the longer am sober, the more energy have towards light weight lifting and other exercise, too. You have someone to do housework? (another forum topic I want to ask about) I stay busy on weekends just cleaning house.
Goals:
focusing on paying off mortgage.
start studying investing.
reduce my retirement deduction to start channelling $ towards a livable investment account
just wanted to get an entry in for August.
Last edited by anomie on Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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anomie
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Post by anomie » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:17 am

Hello. Want to post to this journal a belated entry for September and one for October 2012.

(sorry no cute graphics this entry.)

Life is good.

Cigarrette cost/ month is now $0

Alcohol is around $110. go Wild Turkey.
Monthly Savings Rates are pretty good when including 403(b) tax-free contributions.
Monthly Savings

Jun-12 72.04%

Jul-12 71.63%

Aug-12 47.34%

Sep-12 68.52%

Oct-12 71.07%
Developing a 48 month plan, starting Oct 2 that results in my ERE (well... ER? or just pseudo-R I guess.) at age 48.
Having to plan for various externals, including my spouse with whom I share everything. Have finally developed "The Plan" that incorporates me and her, the universe, and everything. A subplan of which is the "48-month plan" ™ . (Ok, they are all Google spreadsheets and these are the Tab's names. )
the gravy

Recently found out that I will inherit a substantial amount around the age of 70 (maybe this year??), more details unfolding over next few months. I plan on spending / donating 50% of whatever I get towards undoing the damage wrought by the capitalists of interest that 'earned' the original wealth. willing to discuss if there is interest.
And around age 70, will get Social Security, or whatever it is called in the year 2038.
It is very liberating to know that I am not dependent on any largesse from others. But will enjoying getting whatever resources this society deems it will share with an old man. :)
re: Exercise, being tough guy, whatever: If anyone else has ever experienced blood clots and Pulmonary Emboli, interested in chatting about recovery. I used to be impervious 30 something, now a bit more mellow happy to be alive mid - 40's ..
and Anyone else trapped in midwest america in a small town, pm and we can discuss survival tactics ...
peace,

anomie


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anomie
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Post by anomie » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:05 pm

December 2012 Journal Entry
This is a November/December 2012 entry for me.
First, I need to pause and think about how fortunate I am; and me and DW are. 2012 was a great year financially that saw us resume a path to FI.
I started out trying to think about ERE individually, which does not work when you are married and share everything. I have a very understanding spouse, so that is not the issue. So many numbers and different ways to interpret them.

I have finally settled on a blend in my thinking and planning; I am happy paying for my 1/2 of shared assets (examples - house, car maintenance, groceries) and she mentally agrees to pay for extras for her lifestyle (example, $600/year for gym membership). Mentally meaning she realizes that her job is what allows her to fund her activities. This concept needs more work, but it has worked for us for 15 years.
Inheritance -- that stuff will be playing out, but I can't let it interfere with The Plan ® or the 48 month Plan ™. Inheritance possibilities are a big ball of possible emotional baggage that I would just soon cut loose.
48-month-plan ™

I save $100k in liquid investments and retire to be a househusband, assistant, and work part-time as needed to make it to 59.5; house paid; 403(b) accounts percolating for another 10 years or more ....
The Plan ®

a rough 20 year outline incorporating DW and mine's life events that incorporates the 48-month-plan
This journal is going to focus on the 48-month-plan I guess.
realizing that month to month tracking and reporting is not the way for me to go.
we have approx. 7% SWR at this time.
will work on tightening up the accuracy of this number.... will start thinking in terms of that number.. SWR!! so nice to have 1 number to think about.
Mortgage: that pia will now be paid off in 6 months, and housing expenses will be reduced to $200 / month / person or $400/ month. The last debt of my life .. That is the top number in my head at the moment..
Investment strategy:

Am increasingly happy with having managed funds - 403(b) and Vanguard mutual funds and such. Especially while I learn more about investing. Though I have opened a Fidelity brokerage account and am playing with a little bit in there.
starting to incorporate my DW into my calculations.

am concerned because The Plan ® has her working for 10 more years while it only has me working for 4 (3.8 and counting) She agrees to this situation, and her plans for travel shape all other plans. So be it.
I totally appreciate feedback from others, and apologize if my previous post curtailed that.
@bigato:

I should totally freakin' exercise more; you are dead on. Your body is your most important investment. I totally agree to that in principle.


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anomie
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Post by anomie » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:56 pm

January 2013

Expenses

Some unexpected expenses this month.

Bought a 2003 Honda CRV from in-laws for $4800. Will try to sell our 1998 Honda Civic for 2700. A nice vehicle upgrade for DW that will hopefully last for 5-10 years.

And the title is in DW's name so I will soon (technically) no longer own a vehicle.
DW had medical expenses of $3k that we had only partially planned for. So was a surprise but not insurmountable...
Focus remains on paying off the house. I want $100/month/person housing by July ...
Alcohol this month: $30. New year's resolution to cut down on alcohol consumption.
Went away for 5 days to go pick up the 'new' car -- Cat went without wet food, so our toothless feline is now back on the DRY food! HA! awesome..
Income
Job + side gig = good income.
Market is crazy good this month. 14,000 DOW Feb 1 - wtf?
Resilience

New category. Web of skills / antifragile inspiration type goals to go here.

Health - diet and exercise. DW and I are each working on this in our own ways.
48 month Plan ™

psyched that am now 4 months into this plan. The savings are going to take a hit this month from the car and DW's medical, but we should recover within a month or two.
the straight up savings plan took a hit this mont due to about $8k in expenses , but hope to get about $2.5k back from Civic sale.
The Plan ®

The biggest next phase of The Plan ® is that in 2 months I am to turn off my 403(b) contributions and focus on after-tax investments; a little scary and will think more on this ... ;


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anomie
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Post by anomie » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:30 am

February 2013
Expenses

February was good. Nothing out of the way to report here.
Income

Sold 1998 Civic for $2500 on Craigslist 3 days after posting it. Wow & holy smokes it sold fast. I knocked $200 off the price after we found an oil leak that my mechanic estimated $200 to fix.

All other income remained the same.
Resilience

23 and me ran a special to process your DNA for $99 back in December, and I caved after watching the price come down from $2,000 4 years ago. I got my results back this month, and I spent part of this month fixating on my health deficiences.
On the plus side, been doing a little bit of exercise each week.
48 month Plan ™

5+ months down on this plan.
The Plan ®

no updates. Coming up I am to turn off my 403(b) and start dumping savings to investments + paying off rest of house. Scary but I think I am ready.
Misc

Have developed a new philosophy towards investment: Despite my exciting returns from dabbling in brokerage account with a few minor direct stock purchase, I remain convinced that playing in the stock market is a fool's game. I am willing to pay a mutual fund manager .5% to spend all of their time researching companies to invest in.
I do not understand how spending 5-10+ hours / week researching investing is 'retirement'. It is my idea of hell on earth, I think.


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m741
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Post by m741 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:50 am

You could skip paying the mutual fund manager (who likely will not do anything to improve returns), and just buy SPY, paying a .09% fee.


Seneca
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Post by Seneca » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:04 am

I second that.
If you don't want to work on your investment kung-fu, either buy a SPY ETF or the lowest cost S&P500 or total market mutual fund you can get. (Vanguard is a good start)
You'll beat most managers.
This has been pretty funny to watch-
http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2013/01/ ... -fund-bet/
If you don't like investing research and consider it a fool's game, I think you should strongly consider placing all extra funds currently in taxable investment accounts to paying off your house.


George the original one
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Post by George the original one » Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:18 pm

> I do not understand how spending 5-10+ hours / week

> researching investing is 'retirement'. It is my

> idea of hell on earth, I think.
Why pay someone to screw up your investing when you can screw it up yourself for free?
Since you're not inclined to do the work, being "average" and buying into SPY and government bonds is a pretty solid plan.


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anomie
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Post by anomie » Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:52 pm

Hello,

Thanks for the replies!
Thanks for mentioning index ETF's. What ever happened to QQQ? That used to be hot back a few years ago..
Despite my comments about investing, I remain "all in" the market, though mostly through mutual funds, and 403(b) retirement funds of various sorts.
@Seneca: yes, paying off the house is for me the conservative hedge against what I see as the insanity of the market.
Case in point -- when to sell? I basically just buy and hold and ride UP !!! and ride DOWN :(
The DOW is at a record high right now!!!! 14,277!! Should we sell????
Hell if I know. I tend to just start investing in other things, and let the previous fund/investment lie.
Example of one of my taxable funds: VHGEX with a 0.59% expense ratio . We drip into it right now about $100/month.
So I am more speaking about my inability / lack of confidence in investing when I speak of its futility. Obviously(?), some people have capacity to invest successfully.
It is a big hairy topic, and like you say, maybe why trust someone else to lose my money when I can do it all by myself.. :)


Seneca
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Post by Seneca » Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:58 pm

I think the market is high. Yesterday I wrote in my journal that I took a 401k loan last week to pay our house down some.
viewtopic.php?t=3270#post-46039


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m741
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Post by m741 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:02 pm

Just average into it. Set aside whatever money and buy 5% of SPY from that every week. QQQ is the equivalent of SPY for Nasdaq. If you want, you can put 80% in SPY and 20% in some bond fun and you're good to go.
Look at it this way: it's 80% cheaper in management fees than a mutual fund.


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anomie
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Post by anomie » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:17 pm


“Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.”
― Karl Marx (really?? must confirm this source somehow).

This quote really gets at the heart of the DIY ethic vs consumerism. So just wanted to share.


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anomie
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Post by anomie » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:39 pm

March 2013 Report
Expenses
Nothing unusual expense wise

example, Mint says we spent $456 on Groceries and Restaurants in March. For the 2 of us, that won't change much.
Income

Income remained same.

We do (DW manages it) Flexible Spending account for our medical / dental expenses. So we got our check from that plan that covered most of the January medical expenses. This is money that we pay in to plan over course of 12 months, so not really income, but is tax-protected.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexible_spending_account

I reduced my personal pretax retirement contribution to $0 to begin using that money for mortgage paydown and investing. My workplace continues to contribute $671.67/month to my 403(b). wow gonna really hate giving up this job..
Resilience

no great strides on personal physical resilience this month

continued to go to exercise class 2/ week.
multiple side projects are continuing to arise, which means multiple (all it/web/ technical) income streams possibilities aside from my FT job.
48 month Plan ™

Month 6 of 48.

Target: 14,500 Actual : 12,500

This will greatly accelerate in a few months when mortgage = none.
The Plan®
paid $2800 towards mortgage; $5935 now left on mortgage. Targeting pay off in next 90 days!
Misc

to many accounts to manage and review.

have started reorganizing spreadsheets to make it easier to track and plan.

I moved 5% of our 403(b) money to a money market , out of stock accounts, at the height of the 14,500-ish dow. Very empowering. I am buy and hold, not market timer, but we need to guarantee some of these gains. I can't stomach losing 20%- 30% again like back in 2008
Both DW and myself are working all the time right now, which is good for $, but not great interpersonally or personally.
Computer games are reasserting their hold on my life:

1. Steam for Linux is available now, which opens up PC gaming for this Linux idealist.

2. Nexus 7 = amazing tablet computer for $200 = more video games.

(yes, I am mid-forties and play video games)


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anomie
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Post by anomie » Wed May 15, 2013 11:49 am

May 2013

Paying off the mortgage - Part 1

So I was waiting to write a journal entry so that I could say "We paid off our mortgage this month!".
I was just getting ready to send the final payment to the bank from online bill-pay (~$2700), when I thought "I better call them to see if there are any special fees or other steps I need to take". Whoaaa Nellie!!
It turns out that paying off your mortgage is an entire process, which I will try to summarize below in hopes it may prepare/help someone else.
I am novice to finance and other nuanced human behavior. I find this all really archaic and a PIA.
We took our mortgage with a local credit union 7 years ago. They sold our mortgage to Suntrust, who went bankrupt I think; Bank of America then bought it from them. There may have been another bank in there somewhere. So I have been sending payments , and paying down extra, to Bank of America for several years, using our credit union's online bill pay.
(first draft; I am calling Bank of America again to talk to another representative to double-check the process.)
Pay Off Process

1. They are sending us a payoff letter stating the final amount to be paid.

2. The final payment must be paid by money order or cashier's check, and sent to a special address "Bank of America Payoff Unit".

3. Then later we have to call Bank of America to request a Letter of Satisfaction ( she mentioned a Letter of conveyance and lien release; that may be part of step 5 below). Then, they close the account and will send us our mortgage deed (?)

4. They will send us any money in the escrow account held for taxes and insurance.

5. Then it takes 90 days for them to notify the county that they are releasing the mortgage to us.

6. We have to call homeowner's insurance and let them know to send the bill to us.

-- End Process

Will write back when the deed is done. :)


RealPerson
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Post by RealPerson » Wed May 15, 2013 12:49 pm

This is roughly how the process went when we prepaid the balance of our mortgage some 15 years ago!! Nothing has changed it seems. Updating of the process seems in order.


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