Magazines & Money Lenders


One of the perils of subscribing to so many magazines is that I continually receive solicitations in the mail to subscribe to even more.

I suppose that once you subscribe to a few as the result of these solicitations, your information goes onto a “sucker list,” and every time you take one up on their offer of one year for ten measly bucks, your name goes on five more.

A topic that I have not yet written about but soon will, and will also be part of my upcoming New Years Resolutions list is to unsubscribe.

I do not just mean unsubscribing in the sense of magazines, which I would actually simply allow to expire rather than unsubscribing from them, but unsubscribing from the dozens and dozens of emails that I subscribe to or simply receive without having asked for them at home and at work.

In any typical week, I receive approximately five hundred emails in my personal Yahoo! account and another five hundred or more at work.

I had exactly 500 unread emails in one week in May.

With the arrival of my Inc Magazine in today’s mail, that makes twelve that I have received so far this month.  Fast Company and Fortune arrived yesterday.

My dozen magazine arrivals this month.

Also in yesterday’s mail were three, yes three, solicitations to subscribe to additional magazines.

Since I signed up for several of these via a $10 per year deal, it was very tempting for me to sign up for two of the three, National Geographic and Real Simple, the latter of which I have previously subscribed to for many years but allowed to expire.  In the interest of being truthful, I subscribed to Real Simple under my wife’s name for about ten years, ostenibly for her reading, but I was the one who read it while sitting on the throne or laying in the bathtub and she rarely read it at all.

In keeping with my current and future goal of unsubscribing, I am not going to subscribe to either of these, even for a mere $10 per year.

The one that I really must unsubscribe from is Architectural Digest.  Although I still dream of achieving a greater amount of personal and financial success, I know that I will never own a home remotely worthy of being photographed for mass consumption.

I used to enjoy looking at the splendorous homes of the mega-wealthy in this magazine, but looking over Claudia Schiffer’s amazing estate in the English countryside this past week while riding the train downtown made me very depressed.

Our home’s air conditioning unit just broke down for the second time this week and even though we have an excellent and honest repairman who has kept it working for the years that we have lived here, he has now declared beyond repair.  It is the same unit that was here when we purchased our house ten days before 9/11.

By the way, it has been record-breaking hot and humid in the Chicago area the past few days.  It is now ninety degrees with nearly fifty percent humidity.  Not a great day to be without working air conditioning.

I do realize that millions of people throughout Texas, Florida and now Puerto Rico have it far worse than we do.  But that sure does not make it feel any cooler in my house.

Point being that looking at estates worth eight figures with seven figures worth of furniture, art and landscaping does not make me feel good about myself when I have to shell out a hard-earned and unplanned $2,500 for a new air conditioning unit.

Que sera sera!

Time for me to toss out my numerous solicitations for more magazines.  Of course, I realize that they will continue to send these to me so if I ever do, in fact, decide to subscribe to any of these I will surely have an opportunity to do so.

I received over twenty magazine solicitations this month including three from Reader’s Digest and another three from Smithsonian Institution.








Money Lenders

During the Great Recession, many people lost their ability to obtain credit due to losing their jobs and ability to pay creditors.

Here in fall of 2017, Americans have once again racked up the highest amount of credit debt to date.  According to new data released by the Federal Reserve, U.S. credit card debt has reached a record high of $1.021 trillion .

Revolving debt, the type that includes credit card purchases, rose by $4.1 billion this past June alone. It’s down a bit: in May it rose a whopping $6.9 billion. Still, for individual consumers who are fighting to pay off their balances, it’s still a bad sign.

Credit card balances have never been higher and there is no reason to think they won’t just keep climbing.  If you combine that with steadily rising interest rates, you could  have a potentially volatile mix.

I have previously written about the years that it took me following completion of my master’s degree to pay off my and my wife’s credit card debts.  Not that we are flush with cash now, but I pay off the balances of our three credit cards every month.  Some months, that adds up to several thousands of dollars, but I pay it anyhow despite the pain associated with it.

So, like many of us hard working middle aged middle class guys, I get about two pre-approved credit card applications in the mail every week.

Capital One sent seven solicitations in six weeks.

In the past six weeks, I have received one from Capital One every single damned week, except for last week, when my wife and I both received one. Seven solicitations in six weeks!

The thing about that that irks me somewhat is that I have an online savings account and trading account (only with shares of NUGT in it) with Capital One after it acquired ING in 2011.

So the way I look at it is that Capital One wants to lend me some of the $25,000 or so that I have on deposit with them and, in turn, charge me a high interest rate for the benefit of doing so.

Other solicitations came from American Express and Harris Bank. Harris has my information since I recently opened a $10,000 savings account for three months, collected my $200 bonus, and then promptly closed the account.

I will close this by sharing that our HVAC contractor just called and told us that he will be able to have our new central AC unit installed on Monday, so we have to tough this out for two days.

Paying for this will most definitely throw off our budget for about the ninth month out of nine this year, but what would you suggest?

I am not going to put it on a credit card so I can tell you that we took in nearly as much as we spent in September instead of spending three grand more.  That would be the Cook County way, the Illinois way and perhaps even the American way.  Kicking the financial can down the line so that I could enjoy myself more now, but pay for it later.

No, I am a middle aged Middle Class Guy.   I work all the time and strive to improve my family’s and my own lot in life.  I am stressed out a lot at work but learning to cope with and overcome my anxiety there.

Working air conditioning has become more of a need than a want when you live in an area that routinely gets up into the nineties or higher.

It is our daughter’s first homecoming dance tonight.  Our son is home from college for the weekend.  My wife and I are getting along well. Our dog is being good.

So I am going to count my blessings for now and have gratitude that my hard work and attempts at being somewhat frugal over the years will allow my wife to stroke a check for $2,500 to our air conditioning guy this coming Monday when I am back at work.

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