Why I won’t own a house Part 1

homeownershipI get a lot of people that are both friends or coworkers who constantly don’t understand why Jello and I don’t buy an adult house (meaning the American ideal of a house or condo, we would buy a mobile home but that is a different post). There are several reasons for our lack of interesting buying a home, price being the biggest, but also flexibility, commute and a few other reasons. Let me see if I can break out the biggest reason of price here.

First a little background, I live in the Seattle area and evidently the median price is $513,000. Let’s be honest I won’t even come close to that in affording it (no way I want to buy something that is a half a million dollars, or about 10 years of my income at this point before taxes). So I will pick one of the lower priced neighborhoods.

I do love the Seattle area.

Westlake (the other areas can be sketchier and honestly harder to get places to buy). The average price is $367,000. Seattle is very dense, so I will need to probably pick a condo to get a low price like this. Looking over the available condos in the area on Zillow I found a 783 square foot condo for about this price (actually slightly higher) in a more run down area of Westlake.

Overview at Westlake, yep no houses around to buy, but “cheap” condos are here.

Let’s say I have $67,000 in my pocket to put down to avoid the extra insurance needed for homebuyers with less than 20% (no, I don’t have that money anywhere but for argument sake let’s say I do). The best interest rate I can get seems to be 4%, and 25 year loan will be normal. So I borrow $300,000 (see the attached report for breakdown of a loan with NO PITI, insurance, etc, it is purely for the loan).

Per the bankrate website, I will end up paying $475,000 out of pocket ($175,00 in interest), plus the downpayment (for a total of $635,000) for a $367,000 house. I realize people will say “but what is the cost compared to rent”. It comes out to $1,583.00 a month. Which is $400 more a month than what I pay now.

Yes yes, I own it, but that isn’t the end of my cost. I still have to pay for regular condo insurance (not counting the loan insurance for under 20%), taxes and home owner’s association dues since it will probably have to be a condo. I looked up the following utilizing Geico insurance and King County website for taxes owed on a unit that is actually only $337,000 (10% less value then what I have here, so the actual taxes would be more).

Definitely more than just a mortgage payment.

Condo Insurance costs me approximately $112 a month for only $200,000 to fix the home. Property tax for the sample unit I picked out that was similar price was $2,900 a year, or $240 a month. The Home Owner’s Association dues are $350 a month (which isn’t that bad in the area).

Let’s not forget maintenance, the average maintenance recommended by many organizations is 1%. I have linked HSH’s website for source. That means for a $367,000 house, I should be putting away $3,670 a year, or approximately $300 a month. So let’s break down the total cost:

  • Mortgage:              $1,583.00
  • Condo Insurance: $    112.00
  • Property Tax:        $   240.00
  • HOA Dues:            $   350.00
  • Maintenance:        $   360.00
  • TOTAL:               $2,645.00

Let’s compare that to my rent, which is approximately $1,200 a month, plus $25 in rental insurance for a whopping $1,225. Which comes down to $1,420 LESS than what I would pay for a condo at the medium price. Remember, all a condo really is, is an overdone apartment (and not even overdone well usually). To own a house that has actual yard is probably close to 50-100% or more than what I have outlined here.

Important note: if you look at the attached report Mortgage Calculator Report – 300k Home, the first five years of payments an average person pays $580-710 a month in principal, the rest is interest and does not add to the equity of the house. That means for the first five years, $1,980 a month is going away just for the “honor” to buy a house. An equivalent apartment I have found (that is far nicer than the condo I looked at) runs about that much.

I could turn around, take that extra $700 I have left a month and invest, party, pay off debts, or just find a different job that pays up to $5 an hour less.

I think instead of buying a house, I am good with living in a super nice apartment, with extra pocket money and not worrying that something will break (that is the owner’s responsibility).

 

9/11 Unpopular Opinion

Lovely husband's magic egg!
Lovely husband’s magic egg!

Oh dear god I am going to get bombarded with “Never forget” posts. I hate these posts for one reason, certain groups bang the drums to this shouting how we are in danger and the evil of Muslims. That we should reduce our freedoms and invade other countries in the name of security.

Don’t get me wrong, it was horrible that approximately 3,000 people died, but our stupid “never forget” backlash got us into a war in Iraq, lost our freedoms and soared the debt and deficit (notice I did agree with Afghanistan but our subsequent halting to attack Iraq doomed the good in Afghanistan).

We now live in an age of fear, not because of terrorism but because we choose fear and fake security over the ideals of free citizens. The terrorists won, not because they enslaved us, but because we allowed our fear to enslave ourselves.

Let’s put this into perspective. 3,000 poor souls died that day. However approximately 10,000 – 18,000 people die every year from drunk driving. Since the 9/11 attack if we are super conservative with the numbers,about 150,000 people have died from drunk driving. That is 50 times more than died on 9/11 (and that is HUGELY underestimating alcohol related deaths).

I am not saying it isn’t sad, but we need to focus on the here and now, not the fear mongering that the term “never forget” really means.

http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/by_the_numbers/drunk_driving/index.html

Blue Lives What?

freedmanstreetcops1First, I need to say I feel badly for the two cops executed and their families. That is a horrendous thing that should never have happened. Most cops are good, (although I won’t call a cop good if they are in the same department and don’t point a finger at the bad cops) and I assume these specific cops did not deserve it.

However, I see this trend on several social media sites were people (usually white middle class or above) are ranting that they “better see some protests now” for the cops, as if this is the same thing as what happened to Eric Garner or Mike Brown. I am sorry but your white privilege blinders are showing.

It is by no means the same thing. 

Cops have access to their own powers of law (arresting people, killing people, etc) but in addition to this they have the entire societal, court and government systems behind them. You can be guaranteed that any cop beat up, let alone killed will have the person accused of doing that indicted for a crime. The cops have the power, they not only have it, they ARE it.

The reason for the protests is because minorities do not have any recourse. They don’t have the power to arrest someone who victimized them, they don’t even have the power to stop from being victimized. They especially don’t have the ability to stop being victimized by those with power (aka COPS). A minority group member is unlikely to have the victimizer be indicted or charged, especially if that victimizer is a cop.

The idea of protesting is to underline that power imbalance and to protest it. It is to bring to the people in charge, that everyone else isn’t being treated “equal”. It is to protest the victimization of minorities who daily have to worry how someone in power (e.g. a cop) is going to treat them.

This is why there are no protests to underline the power imbalance for cops, because they are the power imbalance. Cops don’t need attention or support, they already can do what they want.

The whole switching #BlackLivesMatter to that stupid Blue Lives Matter (no I won’t actually hashtag it) just shows the complete misunderstanding that both the cops and the white media have of the situation.

End Day 2 in Atlanta

opinionYesterday wrapped up pretty well. The schooling was long, and not very effective, but the first day of this type of training is often like that. The people are nice enough, the trainers are working hard.

Got home and worked out on a cardio bike for 20 minutes, then a 30 minute upper body workout (the new app I have turns out to kind of suck, so going with a different program). The workout room here is a lot worse then the one at our apartment complex (mostly just cardio and a few free weights) so I doubt I will get much working out here.

A friend pointed out that it is election time (which I forgot, we just get our mail in ballot and do research from there, we don’t watch tv) after I talked about the horror of the political ads here. Almost every ad isn’t about the issues, but about either illegal immigrants are taking all the jobs, or that Obama’s “horrible laws” will be upheld if they don’t vote in or out certain candidates. The worst part is people freaking about Obamacare!!!!! (yes the exclamation points are needed). It is obvious no one has ever researched the Affordable Healthcare Act.

In fact I was talking with a group and they were against Obamacare, I asked about if they read it and they said no. Not even two minutes later they were bitching about health insurance companies and the fact that medicaid wasn’t expanded. Then several of them were bitching about feminists and the gays (and yes, “the gays” is how they referred to it). I quickly retracted myself from the situation.

Now, I complain a lot about here, but I did watch something on their news I have to take my hat off to. Evidently a guy ran his car into a group of people (including a cop). It wasn’t until he hit the cop that the cop fired a single shot at him. If this was in Seattle, the police department would have shot the wrong person 22 times, then charged that person’s family for the bullets. At least at this point it seems like Georgia police are less likely to just shoot people (although that could be wrong, I have only been here two days).

Fred Phelps

Today there was an article that Fred Phelps, the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, is in a hospice dying. I have thought about this day in the far past, the final days of one of the most hateful men is actually something I put thought into before.

Years ago I would have cheered his death. I would have hollered, hooted and made it a reason to throw a party. Even before my husband came out, I had many friends (including my at the time wife) who were either gay or bisexual. Not only that, but his treatment of pretty much everyone else made me hope for his death. It wasn’t just the protests of funerals, but the way he treated his own church members as well.

I would hope not only that he dies, but that he would die in extreme agony, alone and distraught that no one cared for him. I even hoped that maybe he would think at the end that it had all been a lie. I hoped for whatever last moment crushing of his spirit (and body) that could happen.

However, today when I heard about his impending death I realized a few things.

  1. I haven’t actually thought about him in a long time, even when I see the shenanigans on the tv, he leaves my mind as soon as the news article is over. I haven’t given him a single ounce of energy beyond the initial response everyone has to his church’s actions.
  2. I realized that I wasn’t ecstatic that he was dying. There is no overwhelming joy, and no desire to throw a party. In fact I kind of felt empty about it.
  3. After I read the article, my response was for me to hope that he found some sort of peace in these last few days. I know some people don’t think he was troubled by what he did, and that may be true. Something was broken inside of him though, I hope maybe he got some clarity.

I am not sure what the change in my outlook is, or really when it happened. I suspect as I grow older that maybe I take a longer view of the world, or maybe I have just seen enough hatred in the world that I don’t want to give it any more energy then it gets from me.

I don’t forgive him for what he did, and I wouldn’t weep if he ended up in his own hell (if something like that exists), but I don’t have the hatred myself towards him. Unlike a lot of people who are crowing upon his demise, I just sighed, clicked the link and moved on (well except for this blog post and my realization I didn’t have the hatred anymore).

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/16/fred-phelps-dying-death-westboro-baptist_n_4974584.html

Hobbies

Well, even though I am tired a lot from working, evidently my current job is less draining then my higher end prior job. I feel like doing things. I am running Shadowrun fairly regularly, I am starting to collect Warhammer 40k (and will start playing when I get my army built up enough), and I am considering a D&D or some other “easy running” game for Sundays.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get into Warhammer, but Vince and Chuck have gotten me interested. So interested in fact that I bought a Space Marine squad and Captain (Space Marines because they are a good neutral army to start with). These are the first figs I have bought and began to paint in 20 years. Also I just noticed how bad my eyes are, I am going to have to buy one of those lighted magnifying setups so I can paint, so I can keep my lines straight.

http://flic.kr/p/jvP5qg

I decided to play a no-name Chapter. I don’t want a Chapter of Marines that has a specific paint scheme, I want to paint all different types of colors, above is the first squad painted about 3/4 of the way, of course after getting this far I have decided to paint my future Marines in German Wehrmacht colors (color scheme depending on squad). But I can always add four extra standard Marines painted differently if I need to.

I do plan on collecting a sizable Space Marine force, and then a second army that I am debating on. Once that is underway I want to also collect Bolt Action (World War II miniature game) and then finally Warhammer Fantasy. If nothing else I really like painting figs (and they will only get better from here).

I also want to play some Song of Blades, I need to pick up some generic fantasy figures for that though.

One other hobby I have gotten into is expanding my Youtube experience by opening a channel called “Things You Should Know”. Basically it will be short 5-10 minute videos on different subjects such as accounting/auditing, government workings (I find a lot of misinformation here), historical things, biography and gaming (such as reviews of game systems, gaming techniques, etc). I put the first one  up last week. I am working on a sizable list of future videos, should have them regularly starting sometime this week.

I posted my first video for the channel. I talk about the common myth that we pay a flat tax rate and thus if we get a raise, sometimes we actually lose money because of taxes. Fortunately for all of us, that isn’t true.

Why the hate?

This morning I was reading an article about the idea of reducing the work week from 45+ hours a week down to 30. The idea is it would be healthier for employees and allow for a more well balanced work/life experience.

This is all stuff that is fairly straight forward and has been proven in many many studies. Stress and work anxiety is a huge reason for health issues (including cancer), it is also responsible for incredibly stress between partners and family members, almost as much as money is a problem.

All of this seems pretty logical to me. Personally once we get our credit cards paid off when Jello graduates, this might be a great thing to do. We could easily live off 30 hours each and still have a savings.

What caught me off guard was the vitriol that the commenters went on about. How it was only for lazy people, how it would destroy business, etc. Not even addressing the fact that there are countries where this is the norm and it hasn’t destroyed them. I keep wondering why the anger and taking it personally? It just seems weird that people would be so vitriolic.

Do they feel it invalidates the whole idea of consumerism? Does it put to question our desire to chain ourselves to more than a quarter of a million dollars of debt for something we don’t actually own until we pay it off? I have rants about those as well, but honestly I won’t go into that here, they deserve their own posts.

Then again, I know I get push back from possible employers because I don’t want to work 55 hour weeks as a norm (or even 45 hours). I personally would rather get paid less and work a max of 40 hours a week (and honestly once Jello is out of school I would be down for 32).

Does this make me lazy? No I don’t think so, but it does make me different then most of the commenters evidently.

Miley Cyrus Debacle

I am sad to see all the hate lumped onto Miley Cyrus. She is an adult woman and she did what she wanted to do (I am making the assumption that it was her choice and she wasn’t pressured since no evidence to the contrary has surfaced).

Do I think that behavior dumb, sure I do. Do I like Miley Cyrus? Not at all. However, everyone keeps wanting to take away her own agency on the choices she makes. She did nothing illegal, she harmed nobody, and that is that.

It is a non-story, it really isn’t anyone’s business. I have seen a specific blog post running around Facebook, a parent telling their daughter how they would stop them from doing this.

Take for example this quote from the blog:

“I will smack any male whom you decide to smash against his pelvis – after I first knock you on your butt for forgetting how a lady acts in public.”

She is an adult, the parent needs to sit down and shut up and let her live her own life.

What I hate most is I feel I have to defend someone I dislike, because people are dog-piling and making an issue when there is none. Damn you all for making me defend Miley Cyrus.

How come I don’t see people screaming about the chemical attacks in Syria, or about our poor dying without insurance, nope our society has become so shallow and sad that the fact that Miley Cyrus was dancing in a provocative way makes the headlines.
I weep for the world.

Oh, and she is not a possession of her dad’s, so it doesn’t matter if it “betrays him” she is an adult woman.

http://roadkillgoldfish.com/2013/08/26/dear-daughter-let-miley-cyrus-be-a-lesson-to-you/

Atheist Bullies Exist as Well

Original Airdate: 9/05/2012
Upload Date: 10/07/2020
Status: Pre transition
Subject: Bullies and Athiesm

Sadly being a dick isn’t only a religious based idea, it is evident everywhere. Atheists need to try and be more tolerant if they want their ideas to gain traction.

Not an Atheist

Honestly I am really surprised at some of the reaction to my breaking apart of the hypocrisy of religion (especially Christianity). Several unfriendings on facebook later (and actually not sad at all about that) I think I need to reiterate, unlike my wife, I am not an atheist. My problem with religion lies not in their belief that there is something more, but their refusal to adapt their outlook based on what we have discovered. The whole head in the sand avoidance of science is where I have the issue. Most of my problems are with Christianity because that is the dominate religion of my area, and the religion I see the most hypocrisy in.

Here is a very brief list of 3 of my issues with Christianity (and not even close to all of them):

  • That the bible was direct from god to man. Let’s be serious about this, it was written by man. They have already shown dozens of books from the bible are missing and were kept out due to politics. This doesn’t even count the fact it was written be sheep herders from two thousand years ago without the knowledge of any science or rational explanation. Also not including the issue that a lot of the stories were copied wholesale from other cultures that the hebrews traveled through. I am not saying that there may be something to it, rather that its possible that the authors misunderstood things, and the explanations were wrong. So its the literal belief that is wrong for me.
  • That there is any rational reason from the outside to believe Christianity over another religion. There is no proof or reason an outside person should believe Christianity is more accurate then Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or the worship of the Greek Gods. It is a paradigm that isn’t even understood by most of its adherents. I would like someone to show me a reason to believe in Christianity over even the Greek gods that doesn’t involve “read the bible” or “faith”. What rational example can be used to show that the bible is any more accurate than what Homer wrote about the Trojan War (and to be honest the same story that Homer wrote about Greek gods actually helped archeologists discover the city of Troy, not sure the bible can claim to help archeologists find things that wouldn’t be found elsewhere).
  • The hypocrisy of the believers. This is the absolute worst part of Christainity for me. From everything I read, the Quakers are by far the most adherent to Christian principles as spoken by Jesus. For some reason the right has decided to forget that Jesus was a socialist hippy (take care of the poor, give your goods away, render unto Ceasar and turn the other cheek). How a Christian can be pro-military, pro-capitalism and anti-help the poor makes it so mind twisting it hurts. People will try and point at either old testament or what Paul wrote but in my opinion neither works. Old Testament was superceded by Jesus (and if it wasn’t, then why aren’t those same Christians following the other Old Testament requirements) and the writings of Paul were from a man who claimed to be an apostle, but who never met Jesus (and none of the Apostles witnessed the whole scales over his eyes) and who had a dispute with Peter (whom Jesus is quoted as making the rock of Christianity). Everything I read about Paul makes him a mysoginistic rabble rouser who was in it for power and who never met Jesus, especially since a lot of what he wrote seemed to go against the words of Jesus.
    • Ok, the whole Paul thing is probably a bias. Most of the catholic families I grew up with actually didn’t acknowledge Paul. I realize that isn’t the Church’s doctrine, which is why I claim to be from Pagan Catholics (also believed in Purgatory when that wasn’t sanctified by the Vatican). Our group of Catholics definitely were not traditional catholics.

I realize this all makes me sound exactly like an atheist, but it isn’t true. In the end I do think something is out there. Do I believe the adherents of Chrstianity are correct? Not at all, but it doesn’t make them totally wrong. Part of me hopes there is something after we pass on. Whether its a heaven/hell paradigm or a reincarnation situation I don’t know.

However, with that belief there are things that I think still qualify me as a skeptic:

  • I am willing to admit part of my belief in something else is probably fueled by a fear that my family is mortal and only here for such a short time. Because of this I have to keep an open mind and not just stick my head in the sand in fear.
  • I believe science is impartial, and my belief in anything must be subject to revision depending on what we learn about our world.
  • I don’t believe any governmental or society decision should be based on religion. Government should at all times be secular in its outlook and not push religious doctrine. One god is no more provable as real then the others, and even if they were people should not be forced to follow religion.
  • Morals are not based on a specific religion. Cultures learn naturally that murder is wrong, rape is wrong and theft hurts society. We don’t learn how to be a civilization because a “god” writes it on some tablets. Hell, the Code of Hammurabi (from Babylon) predates the hebrews by a thousand years and had no influence from the Zorastrian/Hebrew paradigm.
  • Oh, and back to science, I firmly think science should be the most funded aspect of our society. Our quest to understand the world cannot be confirmed in religious texts, it can only be confirmed in science. So I will take science over religion anytime.

So, evidently I stepped away to handle something and have lost my train of thought when I came back. I thought I had something to wrap this up. I guess mostly I just wanted to reiterate that while I am not religious, I am not a stone cold atheist (which makes for some uncomfortable interactions at the atheist meetups as well for me).