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Wednesday, June 3

Author: shalady

Home Buying : The drama, dilemma and true costs.
Money Matters

Home Buying : The drama, dilemma and true costs.

We are a DINK (Dual Income No Kids) couple on work visas in the USA. Within this amazing country, we have moved for our jobs, we have moved to be with each other and we have moved for the weather. For the past 3 years though – we have lived in the same apartment that is 1 mile down the road from our place-of-work and we have adopted a beautiful dog. One could say that we are enjoying our lives. Being that we are finance conscious, our friends (home-owners) have repeatedly asked us about our intentions on home buying. The thought does have its merits – after all who doesn’t like the idea of pride of ownership, the idea of putting your stamp on a place, the idea of a white kitchen with a large island, the idea that our fur baby will have an entire backyard to run around, the idea of ...
Those Miscellaneous Home owner Expenses
Money Matters

Those Miscellaneous Home owner Expenses

The other day, I ran into my colleague at work who was dejected that he did not know pest control charges on his new home was 500$. He had closed on his new home just the week before and I just did not have the heart to point out the other expenses heading his way. We have also run into a lot of folks who think that just because they can afford to stay in an apartment where monthly Rent = 1500$, it means that they can afford a Mortgage of 1500$ per month. When we did the research for our buy vs rent scenario, we came up with so many other costs associated with home ownership that it blew our minds. Below are some of the annual costs that we came across: Charge TypeAnnual Cost ($)Mortgage Insurance1200Property Tax4000Home Insurance1000Utilities3000HOA660Pest control500Yard Care350Was...
The Florida National Parks – Perfect Trifecta !
Travel Tales

The Florida National Parks – Perfect Trifecta !

Everglades National Park Staying indoors has us reminiscing constantly about our most recent vacation that we had. It is the most perfect vacation we have had till date. It also opened our eyes to benefits of early retirement. Below is a guide (sort of), if you decide to visit the National Parks of Florida. The first week of January presented us with an interesting present. J’s team had a budget mix up and he was forced to take 10 day no-pay vacation in January. I decided to tag along. We had a great debate on the destination – I wanted to head to Las Vegas and do the Grand Canyon circuit while he was adamant on driving to Florida. Luckily for him – we had 1 week to plan the whole thing and Vegas weather wasn’t looking great so we ended up with Florida. He snuck up on us. Day ...
Past comes knocking
Others

Past comes knocking

As a middle aged white American male, I had it all. A wife, a white picket fence, 2 kids and a dog - the perfect American life. All this changed sometime back. As the inevitability of my mortality dawned on me, the skeletons and emotions that I had kept hidden successfully for decades started to haunt me. The traumas of childhood, that we men are expected to ignore, came back to torment me. The pledges of childhood, once forgotten now consumed me in a fashion I cannot describe. As empty-nesters, my personal ghosts ended up affecting my wife who had no other outlet. This continued until she could not take it anymore and left me for someone far younger. Mid Life Crisis. Such a simple phrase that sums up such a vast array of problems. Even during the troubling times, I knew that th...
John Wick Chapter 3 – No Spoilers Review
Reviews, Uncategorized

John Wick Chapter 3 – No Spoilers Review

As the movie began, I asked my partner ‘What does Parabellum mean?’ and got a shrug as response. Little did I know that the movie would demonstrate in detail what it means. John Wick Chapter 3 is a movie that has inspired me to pick up a pen(hypothetically) and write a review after eons. Delicious is the only word that comes to mind. I was scared that the third installment of the John Wick series might not be up to the mark as the first 2 had set the bars high. I have to say that the third one exceeds all my expectations and surpasses 1 and 2 by leaps. The fight scenes are not limited to Guns this time around, there are a lot of fights with knives, swords and sometimes random things like books, belts and horses. Keanu Reeves has delivered an amazing performance and it helps that...
How much $$$ do I need to Retire ?
Money Matters

How much $$$ do I need to Retire ?

A lot of people go through their lives doing what they are supposed to do. Get education, get a job, get married, make kids, retire and finally the inevitable. Most forget to live their lives amongst all these. What if someone told you that you didn’t have to do all these, or at least…some of these. Recently, I asked a colleague what was the age that he wished to retire. His surprise was genuine when he said he had not given any thoughts to the matter since it was decades into the future. On yet another occasion, I asked another colleague how much did he think was needed to retire peacefully. He scoffed and said ‘Probably in the millions’. The two scenarios above kept making loops in my mind. Most people do not know that Retiring early is an Option. Most do not know how mu...
Universal Orlando in a Day: Part I
Travel Tales

Universal Orlando in a Day: Part I

PARKING: We reached at 8:30am. We asked for Regular Parking (20$) but the lady at the counter suggested that we go for preferred parking (25$) as it means less to walk. We paid for preferred parking, it was near the entrance and saved us a lot of time both in the morning and in the evening while leaving the park. THE PARKS: The park is located in the form of a circle. When you walk in from the parking, you have an option of going Left to Island of Adventures or going left towards Universal Studios. The day we visited, Universal Studios was set to close at 7:00pm and Island of Adventures at 8:00pm. We started with Universal Studios. There is a Train - Hogwarts Express to go between the parks. TICKETS: I was visiting Tampa for a weekend and I wished to visit Harry Potter W...
What’s in a Name ?
Humor

What’s in a Name ?

As a rule, a bunch of colleagues head out for lunch on every Friday. We try out different restaurants in the area. There is this one restaurant that most of us love and pretty much have our 'Usual' defined. Today, we had been to this restaurant. I asked for my favorite - Cashew Nut Rice. Stir fried veggies in a special gravy, rice on the side and golden brown roasted cashew nuts on top. When we were served, the cashews were no where in sight. I called the waitress and asked her about this. She dismissed me and said they are below the veggies. Surprised that they had changed the way they serve their food, I took my fork and shifted the veggies around searching for my much loved cashew nuts. But Nope, no cashews were to be found in my plate. I called out to the waitress again and pointed ...
Humor

English We-nglish

Before coming to the USA, I had always been prepared to face difficulties related to accents. As difficult as it is for me as an Asian-Indian, to understand other foreign accents, it is equally difficult for the others to understand the distinct Indian Accent. But more than the accents, I faced difficulties in the way words are used and so did many others with whom I had a chance to discover my adventures. Here are a few of my experiences: 1. This was at a local Store near my place and was within the first week of me landing in the US. I wanted a couple of postage Stamps as I had to mail something to another part of the USA. I walked to the counter and asked for couple of stamps and when I asked how much it was, the man at the counter said ‘Dollar Ten’. When I looked up at him blankly, ...
The Full Circle
Humor

The Full Circle

For the uninitiated, the Hierarchy at the IT Office where I work is as follows: Software Developer Reports to the Business Analyst who reports to the Project Manager who takes inputs from the Data Architect, who in turn, may at times consult the Solution Architect. Software Developer to Business Analyst: For the files I have been asked to build, is there any specific order to be followed or can I start with the easiest one first. Business Analyst: Let me check with the Project Manager. Business Analyst to Project Manager: The files do not seem to be interconnected. Can I ask the developer to build the files according to the level of ease? Project Manager: Let me check with the Data Architect. Project Manager to Data Architect: I have been asked if there is an explicit sequence ...