• Rebuilding

    Cutting Cable

    I saw a article on Yahoo today and it resonated with me, because my wife and I have recently gone through an exercise in reducing our cable bill. We had a package that offered a large number of channels and internet at about 20Mb/s, and we payed almost $200/month for it. We took a look at the channels we regularly watch, and the shows we like, and decided that we can cut a considerable number of channels from our channel line up. We also watch almost no real time TV shows. Almost everything we watch comes from either the DVR, or from Netflix / Hulu / Amazon. While we have…

  • Rebuilding

    The Cost of Education

    Having had a couple of crappy jobs, and figuring that my old industry is not coming back, it’s time to consider retraining. I’ve been working with data and telecom companies for years so I decided to make the move from semiconductors to IT and look into networking. Well today I took my Cisco CCNA and passed so I am now a Cisco Certified Network Associate. But how did I get here? Initially I considered going back to school. We have a local community college that has a couple of associate degrees in IT, and Cat and I considered the cost of this. The college was local so I would commute…

  • Rebuilding

    Mortgage lenders urged to approve a wider range of borrowers

    Soon, people who have experienced bankruptcy or foreclosure may find it a little easier to get a mortgage. When US Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury for Housing Finance Policy Michael Stegman addressed the 2013 American Securitization Forum in January, he acknowledged that during the recession, “bold and unprecedented actions” were needed to stabilize the housing market crash. He suggested that mortgage lenders essentially overcorrected in locking down their lending criteria, and now that the initial crisis has passed, it’s time to relax some of those restrictions. He mentioned that many financially-responsible people still can’t get approved for a mortgage, and this is effectively stalling the housing market recovery…

  • Rebuilding

    Qualifying for a mortgage after foreclosure

    It’s been about a year and a half since our Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge, and about eight months since the final foreclosure sale of our home. We’re living in a rental house, but we are beginning to think about buying a home of our own again. If we do this, we are determined to do it sustainably this time, so we will buy less house than we can afford, and put a significant amount down so we’re not underwater right from the start. The rules around getting a mortgage after foreclosure and/or bankruptcy vary, but most are focused on an initial waiting period. For bankruptcy alone, this period is typically…

  • Rebuilding

    Buying a car after bankruptcy

    I surrendered my beloved Mazda after our Chapter 7 closed in November, and then went three months with no car. I didn’t think I’d mind sharing a vehicle with Tony, and it worked reasonably well, but we live in a very rural area and I really missed having my independence. After going through bankruptcy and cleaning everything up I didn’t want to incur additional debt, but I finally realized that was my best option, both in terms of rebuilding my credit and getting a dependable vehicle. So I saved my pennies for a decent down payment, and headed off to Carmax. I thought about waiting another month or so, but…

  • Rebuilding

    Let the credit rebuilding begin

    It’s been nearly three months since our Chapter 7 bankruptcy was discharged, and we’re beginning the slow process of rebuilding our credit. Dave Ramsey maintains that you don’t need a credit score because you shouldn’t use credit for anything, which is pretty easy to say when you’re as wealthy as he is. We agree with that in principle and are committed to keeping as low a level of debt as possible. But we also know that for regular people in real life, large purchases such as homes require loans…which in turn require a reasonable credit score. With that in mind, credit rebuilding is a necessary evil. Here are the baby…

  • Disaster,  Rebuilding

    The Reset Button

    After a >5-month wait, our Chapter 7 bankruptcy case was finally discharged and closed thisĀ  week. While this is an enormous relief (the reality of all that discharged debt is just beginning to sink in), everything that was legally protected by the Automatic Stay during the process can now go. The repo man came for my Mazda on Thursday, which was more of an emotional ordeal than I expected. I had to keep reminding myself that giving her up was a conscious decision I made, and it was the right thing to do, but I was awfully sad to see her go. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t…

  • Disaster,  Rebuilding

    Are your kids financially literate?

    I had to explain bankruptcy to my boy yesterday. I mentioned to him that Tony had a job interview, and he said something like, “That would help a lot of things.” Without really thinking about it I said “Yes, it could even bring us back from the edge of bankruptcy,” so he asked me about bankruptcy and what it means. So on the way home from work and school, I gave him a quick overview of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, and said that we know some other people who have been through it, including several friends and one of my sisters. It wasn’t a secret that we were considering…