Episode-248- Audience Questions for 8-03-09 — 18 Comments

  1. Hi Jack, thanks for answering my question. Here's the additional info you asked for. Our rent is $1,100 right now for a 1-bd apartment. The rent includes all utilities. We saved up the 130k in five years starting when we first got married. At first, we weren't saving up as much because I was still in college. But now we are saving about $40k a year. I'm a teacher and my husband is an IT Director (he is the one making all the money, haha). I know what you mean about Californians driving up the housing market in other areas – we had wanted to move to Oregon, but now the housing prices are high over there, too, because that's where all the Californians want to move to. In our area, a lot of jobs are being lost and one of the major source of jobs over here – a car manufacturing plant – just got closed down. So the housing prices are dropping and that's another reason we don't want to buy here – the house might lose a lot of its value pretty fast. I grew up in New Mexico and East Texas and moved here to go to college once I turned 18. So I'm not a surfer/hippie type and would be happy living in a rural area somewhere. My husband grew up here.

    • Hi Allison –
      We left california in 2002. My wife is a so cal native and I grew up in the midwest. We ended up in North Carolina. After about a year her homesickness wore off and we have been very glad with our move. Every time we go back to visit her family we are reminded why we moved (traffic, nuts housing prices, poor air quality, crazy school system. . . ). Housing here was very very inexpensive so long as you are willing to commute 30 or 40 min drive from the sticks. Our house payment is 25% less than my brother-in-law's BMW payment (3 bed 2 bath stick built on 2 acres is under 125k here) There are lots of high tech jobs here (usually anyway). The climate is OK

      I think you should sit down with your hubby and have a talk. Set clear goals about where you want your family to be in a couple of years. Then work out how you are going to get there. Right now saving 40k per year is huge. Even at very safe interest rates you could retire at 45 if you keep this up then move from california. However starting a family is crazy expensive in CA, you have to look at the whole picture and where you want to be.

      Don't make a hasty decision without really looking at hard numbers – all the numbers. You may find you are not-so-bad off where you are. There are lots of advantages to renting that people forget. Mainly the ability to relocate quickly, a month to month lease can be very liberating. Plus the time you don't have to spend on upkeep of your home is huge. Right now I would really love to get back some of the time I spend on upkeep.

      The best advice I can give is to have patience. This is long term life planning – treat the process with respect and you will be happier with the outcome.

      • Thanks Chris. I came across a website about housing and why renting is often better than buying ( He has some pretty convincing stuff on there. We decided our plan right now is to stick where we are, keep doing what we're doing and not make any decisions yet about where we will buy.

        • I think that is a great plan Alison because it is your plan. Glad we could help you sort it out. I will say this, SHOP, shop all over the country, window shop on the net. Dream big and dream small. Find a perfect dream home with money as no object and at the same time find the most you can get for the least amount of money. Find stuff between the two. This way when you are ready you will also be very informed. Shopping online for property and occasionally physically is free, fun and educational. If more people did it there would be a hell of a lot less of a mess in today's real estate market.

        • Thanks, I will definitely keep looking to see what is out there so that we are informed when the time comes to buy. And we might come across a really good deal in the meantime. You are right about shopping "physically" being fun… we have had a hysterical time going to open houses… we went to one house that was perched precariously on a cliff on top of a graveyard and there was a huge earthquake crack going all across the property… yyyyeah.

  2. Jack,

    I can completely understand the changes in accent. I haven't even heard this show yet, but I traveled all over the world and when I was a kid until recently when I settled in WA. I lived on a NATO base and my teachers were all British- so I ended up with a bit of an english accent, Then I lived in Tennesee for a few years and picked that up. I went to college in Maine and I picked up that too… I have the most screwy accent- ecpecially when I get angry. Noone can quite put a finger on where I am from by my voice- and that is why. I am also a good impersonator

    My Mom has a Texan accent and she only lived there for 4 years. It comes out more when she is drinking or PO'ed.

  3. Jack,

    State of California levied my bank account for DMV fees and put liens on me while I was in Iraq. I am stationed her in California but a Texas resident. I just don't understand how they can yank money out of my bank account, but you mentioned they can steal you safety deposit contents without permission. I kept my vehicle registration current with insurance. My vehicle was in storage on base and found out this happened to several hundred servicemen because the military police electronically turned over the vehicle storage logs to the DMV and DMV decided that we should pay CA DMV fees and billed us for the registration and never even sent me a plate. $410 plus $100 service fee from bank to steal money out of my account. I have yet to get a refund. The point is that they will take anything out of your bank account without notice or permission. I use Navy Federal Credit Union and they pissed me off. I thought they would care but the people I spoke with barely spoke English and acted as if I deserved it. Any suggestions for protecting your money from illegal seizures like this besides burying it.

    Rob Collins

    • Rob,

      First, thank you for your service it is much appreciated. With regards to your DMV problem I would suggest contacting JAG to see if they can be of any help in getting your fees refunded. I have a friend who is a JAG in Maryland and I will see if he has any advice. If JAG is either unwilling to help or can't I would suggest contacting a local civil attorney. My area of practice is securities litigation and its in NY so I am unfamiliar with California law. However, at least in the cases I've handled I needed to show that the person was not overseas in the military before I was able to get a default judgment in court so I would assume that the same is true for the leins. Finally, if no one is willing to help legally I would appeal to the media and make a big stink over the whole matter. If this happened at your base I can only assume that the a**clowns in Cali did this to everyone who is deployed overseas. Thanks again for your service PM your email address to me at and if I learn anything further I will pass it along to you.

  4. Jack, I've got to give credit to the kid that wants to try to wake up his dad, at 24 I've been trying to wake up my family and it doesn't seem to get anywhere….. my family is so dependent on how things are now they can't figure out if the hot water heater dies you can heat up water on the stove. true story- sad but true

  5. Jack i seen the video on you tube bullsnake rabbit that was funny thanks for sharing the laugh with us

  6. We're storing food in buckets with 2.5 gallon ziplocks and oxygen absorbers. We do not have mylar bags or the heat seal machine. Our buckets have the rubber seal around the top.

    Question for Jack: what do you think about storing buckets of wheat, white rice and / or dried beans in a shed with no a/c? We live in Texas. We're out of room in the house and I want to store more food.

  7. Concerning bug control: you can buy wheat berries that unknown to you contain bug larvae that will hatch and devour the grain. A very effective method of control is diatomaceous earth. It is sold on the internet, it is commonly used in swimming pools, cockroach control. It is not a poison, and therefore bugs do not develop immunity to it.

  8. Hey Jack, did you ever post a link to that software that helps with food planning? You really got me thinking about features that a program like this should include. So far, here's what I came up with:

    It would have a feature that scans the barcodes, links to an online user updated database and logs the item along with calorie count and any nutritional information. The more users, the more complete the database.

    It would allow for logging in items manually as well for homegrown goodies and other packageless foods.

    It would have individual profiles on family members, taking into account any special or dietary needs.

    It would have the ability to project the number of days of sustainability based on an X calories per day diet. ("X" being a user defined variable).

    It would have the ability to determine a calories per day diet base on a given timeline of X number of days.

    It would be able to manage the rotation of food by logging expiration dates and giving notifications or visual cues when items are near expiration.

    It would tell you where you are lacking from a nutritional standpoint, based on your inventory.

    It would give random nutritional tips, cooking and recipe tips, tips on food storage, etc. upon start up.

    It would have the ability to generate indepth reports exportable in PDF format.

    I've never actually used one of these programs nor have I researched any to see what features they have to offer, so I may be missing some pretty crucial things or I may have gone a bit overboard with the ones I've suggested. When you mentioned it on your show, I just got to thinking and my brain went into beta-tester mode. I'm sure a basic excel sheet would work fine for most people, but idealistically this is what I'd like to see.