Way to go, Mavericks!!! 
I suddenly feel like a Dallas Mavericks fan. I mean, their wacky owner is living the dream, so why shouldn't they be the ones to put a stop to the idiocy that is the Miami Heat?

I'm no basketball fan, but I do know that what they've done in Miami is an insult to the game, so I'm as happy as everyone else that they didn't win the championship.

Looks like karma still has some legs under it.

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A Bit of Mortgage Advice 
I entered a contest on moneyville.ca by writing a blog entry with some financial advice.

They didn't like it enough to put me in the final five, but I'd hate for nobody to ever read it. It took some effort to pare it down to (EXACTLY!) 500 words, so it would be a shame for that effort to be in vane.

So I'll post it here. Now 2 or 3 people will read it. :)

So here it is. My advice on paying down your mortgage early.


Your lender tells you about Accelerated Bi-Weekly payments as a way to pay off your mortgage quicker without much impact to your wallet. Take your monthly payment, divide it by two, and pay that amount every other week (bi-weekly). Itís like magic.

Itís a great idea.

Itís not magic though. Whatís happening is youíre choosing a bi-weekly payment and a shorter amortization period. Thatís the time itís expected to take to pay off your mortgage. The standard to start with is 25 years.

I suggest you take that further. You can make higher payments. Paying more each month may not make a huge difference now, but youíll thank me in 10 years when youíve got a year or two of payments left instead of 15 years. With 5 years left, youíll look forward to being mortgage free and thinking about how youíll spend all that money each month. With 10+ years remaining, thatís just science fiction.

Understand that the amortization period, so long as itís less than you got approved for, is an arbitrary number and you can ask for whatever you want.

RBC has a ďdouble-upĒ option that allows you to manage this yourself on a payment to payment basis. I expect other lenders have similar things. My wife and I used this to manage our mortgage as follows.

First, buy a house you can afford. If you can barely make your payments, then youíve taken away your options.

Next, decide how much you can pay every other week.

This should be higher than what the bank is expecting. Then drop it down to give yourself some buffer, and make that your payment. Finally, increase your payment to be up to double that (which should be way too much or you started too low) and test the waters, adjusting up and down as you feel comfortable.

Hereís an example.

You're borrowing $300k and the current variable rate is 3%.

A 25 year mortgage will have a bi-weekly payment of $655.27.

The "accelerated bi-weekly" option will change the amortization to 22.2 years and make the payment $709.87.

You then decide to make payments of $900.

Set the bi-weekly payment to $800, so even though you can pay $900, you can drop it down later if you were too ambitious, or just want to put $200/mo toward something else.

Ask the lender for an amortization period of 18 years and 10 months. Your bi-weekly payment becomes $801.43. Immediately set a schedule to add $98.57 to each payment, making it $900.

When your husband seems to have too much money at the end of each month, convince him that you can each pay an extra $200 a month toward your future. If it's too much, you can drop it back down again. So you increase your payment to $1100. Now, your mortgage will be paid off in 12 years and 7 months and you'll have paid $50,000 less in interest than if you'd done the accelerated bi-weekly option. How cool is that??

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Apparently Bible Math is Hard 
It appears we got all worked up over nothing, as Harold Camping has declared that he apparently got the math wrong... again... and that now the apocolypse starts October 21st instead of this past weekend.

I can't help but think that if he just showed his work, maybe we could help him along and see where he keeps going wrong.

That seems to work reasonably well in school. You can't get part marks for just plunking down the wrong answer. You have to show how you got there so you can get some credit for anything you've done right and some guidance on where you've gone wrong.

I mean... I strongly suspect he's missed the part where the bible says that nobody but God can know when the end times will come... but maybe he's got that worked in and just forgot to carry a digit or something. Without seeing his work, who can know?

All we can know is that he's repeatedly getting it wrong, which makes it even harder to pretend to lend credibility to this new October date.

I wonder if he's just going to keep revising his dates until he's dead and doesn't have to answer questions anymore. Looking at pictures, he's really not far off.

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What time is the apocolypse? 
It seems like kind of a big deal... but I don't want to wake up early on a Saturday if I don't have to.

Have they set a time yet?

If I don't set an alarm, and end up getting raptured in my sleep, do you think there's a chance I could believe the whole thing is a dream and end up in a sort of mental limbo like in Inception??

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A Fighter Jet Just Buzzed My House 
Weird. I don't think I've ever seen one in this area before, and one just went by... circled around... and came within a few hundred metres of my roof.

That was weird!

I can't imagine what business they have flying so low over residential areas.

Edit: I added a link to a news story indicating nobody seems to be talking about what was going on. Very strange indeed!

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