Tele-Marketing annoyances

telemarketingI was trying to sleep in on Saturday morning, but who calls me but a call center tele-marketer employee from India trying to sell me 1 cent calls to India.

How did I know this call was from India? First off the the guy says he was calling from Florida, USA.My first response to myself, this must be a call from India. I could hear the chatter of the call center in the background of course..

I’m groggy and trying to tell him to take me off his calling list and he just keeps on talking! Now that really P*ssed me off. That’s when I hung up!

I guess even being on the Do not call list is not good enough these days for this calls from  telemarketers from India..

As soon a I hung up and went back to Sleep…

Comcast calls me with a survey on how I like their customer service.. Needless to say they got pretty low ratings…

Credit Card Debt

Drowning in credit Card debt and strategies for payoff

Dad is in debt
Dad is in debt

I’ve been off line from posting on Dad’s taxi for a few weeks as I was kind of depressed, but life must go on, so here we go again with my posts..

Today we are going to talk about the number one priority that is gnawing the inside of my brain.

I’m sure many readers are facing similar problems like this. This is drowning in credit card debt!

  • My number one priority for the remainder of the year is to dig out from continuous cycle of credit card debt that I find myself in. It’s not like we splurge on big ticket items that cause the balance to go up, but I’m trying to figure out the right balance between necessary expenses and the frivolous expenses.  As I pondered this situation, I’m reading some of the articles on how to tackle (my) credit card debt.

Here are some ideas that I have and some options.  I’m also looking at the article on Wisebread about Beer-Pong for credit card debts

  1. Dip into my HELOC and pay off everything in one shot – Good idea but fraught with dangers. If you do this once, now you build up your HELOC balance and pay interest there (tax deductible).  Over the past year, I’ve done this multiple times and I find myself having a balance that goes into 20k Plus.. Not a good trend… 😦 I find that I do this too much yet I think that this is the least of all evils. Summary: Possible, yet this solution is Evil without a doubt. You are just shifting bad debt to good debt. Not elimination of debt!
  2. Take a loan against my 401 K – Good idea, but you are still reducing your take home pay, as you you pay off the debt with pre-tax dollar. Also if you leave the company, immediate payback or pay penalties for early withdrawal. In this economy, regardless of how secure you think you are, you are just one downsizing from being on the unemployment line. Summary: Has positives and negatives. Negative far outweigh the positives. No go on this one.
  3. If you own stocks, take some profits/losses: For me, I do have a good portfolio of diversified stocks. Yet I seem to be going to this solution far too often. When will I just run out of Stocks to sell? Very likely scenario. Summary: Pay capital gains and/or take losses. Will extinguish your stock portfolio very quickly.
  4. Do the credit balance Shuffle – Every day I continue to get teaser emails (1.99%, 3.99%) saying how easy it is to transfer all my balances to one card for a 6 to 8 month low rate balance transfer. Of course, each of these balance transfer offers tell me what a great credit rating I have and how I’ve been “pre-approved”.  Don’t forget the 3% cost  against the balance for doing this. This solution is ok, but your credit score will get impacted as you increase the number of credit cards you have (total debt to credit ratio). Summary: Possible Solution, but will have to pay the balance transfer fees regardless of the length of low rate to the transferred card.
  5. credit_pieMake Minimum payments on Each Balance  and go after the lowest balance first and on and on: Pretty simple idea. Payoff the lowest balance first, while at the same time, making the minimum payments on all the other cards. Of course, the interest continues to accrue on the ones that you are not paying off. This idea to me sounds good, but fraught with dangers.  Which card to I use for non-discretionary expenses (gas, food, clothing, etc..). Summary:  I like this idea, but still is dangerous in the long term, as you will be paying large sums of interest on the cards that you are making the minimum payments on.. This will require lots of patience.

In my opinion, each of the ideas has it’s benefits and obvious flaws. Believe me, I’ve tried every one of the ideas above as well as combination. I’m actually thinking of going to strictly cash, but that’s another formula for disaster. You can easily run out of monthly and be living on savings when you do this. If you do this, how do you pay off your credit card debt?

My first step today is to use Suze Orman‘s Debt Eliminator  tool and see what suggestions that are presented there. I do know one thing, if I don’t address this situation soon, Dad’s taxi will truly become Dad driving a taxi to make ends meet.

  • After I keyed in my respective credit card balances she suggested that I go after the one with the highest minimum payment and interest rate first and pay whatever extra I can afford towards that balance. Once I pay off that card, go after the other cards.

I went to Clark Howard (a consumer advocate that I follow),  and he suggested the “laddering” method for credit card

  • This plan is identical to Suze Orman’s plan..

Of course I welcome any insights you may have.. TTYL

PS: found this wonderful article on Debit and credit cards on the NY Times site.

Jimmy D: God Bless, we will miss you

Tribute to my friend Jimmy D L P who passed away on October 5th

Jimmy de la PenaThis post is a tribute to my friend Jimmy de la Pena, who died on October 5th, after his courageous battle with Cancer for the past 18 years. He was only 56 years old..

Not only did I lose a great friend, we lost a true angel who walked amongst us.  He finally succumbed to the cancer that ravaged his body for so many years.

He fought cancer valiantly, and never once did he complain of the surgeries, treatment he had to go through. He just rolled with the punches and always came back smiling. I never once heard him say that why was this happening to him.. Every time I saw him, he didn’t even mention what he was going through unless I asked him. Even then when I asked him, he just laughted it off.

I met Jimmy over almost 12 years ago and over the years, he became a part of my family. My kids called him “Uncle Jimmy” and he was like a brother to me.

Jimmy never said anything bad about anyone. Regardless of what they had done to him. Many had done injustice to him over the years that I knew him, yet he just shrugged it off and just laughed about it. His kindness and his love of life was infectious.

We love you Jimmy, and god bless you as you are now an angel in heaven!

Words cannot describe how much we will miss Jimmy. God Bless him wherever he is. I’m sure he is smiling down at us and just waiting to tell one of his funny stories from the MTA.

Mashable – Mega Lists

Mega List on Mashable for Twitter and your on-line life.

mashableI’ve spoken about mashable multiple times on this site, but this one really caught my eye for all those twitterholics ( I think I just invented that word here).

I was looking at Twitter and saw a posting for mashable and wanted to share it with you folks. Check out the Mega Lists page.

From comedians, artists, foodies, environmentalists, musicians, authors  that you can follow via twitter to much much more information, that I won’t bother repeating here, the mega lists site is an absolute must for your bookmark list.

The Twitter user lists is just the tip of the iceberg. There were multiple pages of lists that I know I will have to take a look at when I can.  Lists for web development, You tube help, Wiki Resources, and on and on and on…

Of course if you want to follow someone that is not at all famous , you can follow my infrequent and self serving tweets (dataguru61)…. I typically will tweet a post when I make one to this blog..

TTYL

Total Tennis: Review on Travelocity

So you want to learn to play Tennis?

Can you guess which one is me?
Can you guess which one is me?

As many of my friends know,  I’m pretty much a tennis fanatic.. This past week, I spent 4 days in Saugerties, NY at Total Tennis for tennis camp.

I can honestly say that if you want a really great place to get instruction at an extremely affordable price this place is for you.

As with all good things there are bad, but in this case the good far outweigh the Bad..

Take a look at my review on Travelocity.. You might find it entertaining.

I came back a few days ago and I’m still sore in places that I didn’t think I’d still be sore.. Overall the experience (my second) was great. I went with my tennis pals from work (Len, Eli and Bard).  I gotta tell you these guys are the best! Each one has their unique style and flair on and off the court.

Even with the heavy-duty tennis playing 3 to 4 hours a day, I managed to gain 8 pounds.. Simple reason for that.. When you eat high-class restaurant food for breakfast/lunch/dinner you will nullify any Tennis.. Learned this the hard way.. So this week starts my battle of the bulge..

I came back on Thursday evening and played again with my buddies from work on Friday night and I found out that I still had a long way to go AFTER all the brutal drills and practice I did during the week. oh well…

If you want to overdose on tennis and meet some great instructors and people, I would absolutely recommend you visit Saugerties, NY and stay for a few days at Total Tennis. It will be worth your time and money!

Just don’t expect 4 star luxury for accommodations, nor much customer service from the owner..

I recommend you visit the camp during the summer time (brutal heat), or the winter (5 indoor courts). Don’t do what we did.. we went when the weather was changing from late summer to early fall (cold and rain).

That’s all for now..

TTYL