Wednesday morning I had read an article about checking your banks/credit unions "health".
I did a search and found various sites that offer a breakdown of information on the requested bank/CU. (I liked this one the best. Bank Rate / Safe and Sound but there are a lot of sites you can look at.)
*Back story. The bank that we've been with for the last ten years, closed their branches locally a few years ago. We kept the bulk of our financial dealings with them because we liked them, even though they were now "out of town". We did open up another (smaller) account with a different bank locally for small stuff like cash.
Long story short. I really didn't like some of the reports that I was reading on our "main" bank. Actually...I was very pissed off. I expressed my opinion to SM, called into work and told them I'd be late, and stomped off to the bank in town (whose "health" was listed as better) and transferred the bulk of our money into our other account.
It's hard to put into words the "vibe" that's out there in the world right now. Insecurity, loss of confidence...whatever. Who can you trust? I trust my gut.
I hate the fact that I can't trust my bank anymore. It's a "funny money" world out there now. Everything feels like it's a gamble. And I don't gamble.
Me "Let's just pay off the house...please." (My insecurity is talking.)
For the last 1-2 years I've been pushing hard asking SM if we could pay off the house. It would take everything we've got, but it could be done.
SM "I know it's the right thing to do, but we'd basically be starting over."
Me "Not really...You just need to change your mindset. The house is ours. Paid off. A tangible asset. Money that's going to pay the mortgage would be going into our savings instead. And we could rapidly rebuild our savings account."
SM "What if there's an emergency? What if one of the cars dies? What if one of us gets sick? What do we do then? We can't eat the bushes."
Me "We can get a home equity loan."
SM "And if we can't pay or fall behind?...The bank can take the house."
I don't want a mortgage. Period. End of story. As much as I love this house, I feel it's chain around my neck every day. Dragging me down.
On the other hand, paying it off makes me feel in control. I feel accomplished. I feel that now I'm working for me. And that the house is now my security.
But that's silly in a way. A tornado could take it all away. (No chance of a tsunami here.) But doesn't everyone live with a certain confidence that nothing will happen to their home. And if it does...then what's left? Just you, just me. Starting over.
Sm points out that "cash is king". Very true. We have flexibility now.
But what do I want more? Flexibility or freedom? Or is the freedom an illusion?
The house will still require care. One of us will get sick. Maybe not tomorrow, but someday.
But what is it that's different today that's making me feel this urgency?
Sure. But I could have been just as afraid 5 years ago. Why wasn't I afraid then? Was I just one of the happy sheep (no offense to sheep) plodding
along in life, not asking too many questions, not looking too far down the road? I feel an increase of fear in the world right now. Everybody is nervous.
I do know one thing. There is no certainty. Never has been, never will. All you can do is make the best choice you can and hope for the best.
Will we pay off the house? Someday. I'd rather it be sooner than later.
Will my bank be open on Monday? Probably. The FDIC says that I'm covered.
Who's covering the FDIC? The government?
The same government that can't make a budget? (I have to make a budget.)
The same government that can't pay it's bills? (I have to pay my bills.)
(Sigh.) It was so much easier when I was ignorant. When I was a sheep, pulling the wool over my own eyes.