Andy Borgmann's Blog
Where The Producer Gets the Mic
Category: Money
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For The Love of Money
For the Love Of Money - Why Will People Talk About Their Sex Life Before Talking About Their Money?Someone in my life came to me a couple of months ago and asked for advice on how to pay for his last semester of college. I began to lay out the options that he had; like I have done many times with other college-age individuals. We got to the point where we realized that he would have to take out a small loan. When I went through the different options with him on that, he elected to go with a higher interest rate option of a private lender than attempt to qualify for the federally subsidized Stafford loan because qualifying for the loan would require him to ask his parents for their income tax return. He didn't like this idea because he didn't think his parents would give him that information because they wouldn't want him to know how much they made.

Now I would like to think this is just a weird incident, but I have come to realize that people will talk about anything before they will talk about money. Seriously. Think about it. People will share intimate details of their sex life before talking about their money. People will talk about the medication they are on before they talk about money. Men will share their struggles with pornography, and woman their struggles with eating disorders; but if you bring up money…whoa that’s none of your business.

Maybe it is because I really don't look to anybody for a handout, especially those who have a lot of money. Maybe it is because I live my life pretty transparent in other areas, so I don't think money should be any different. But for whatever reason, I just don't get why money is such a big deal.

A few years ago, a mentor of mine in the ministry made a comment about the fact he makes his IRS income tax return available to anybody in his congregation who wanted to see it. He did this for accountability reasons so that people could see that he practiced what he preached when it came to giving 10% of your income. I often reflected on that conversation and I realized that while I think that is good, it is only half the story. Giving is only half the picture when it comes to money. Materialism and greed are the other half. So from that point on, I have always made my entire financial income / expense report available online for the past six years (when I started keeping track of every penny I made and spent, and yes, I know, I am anal retentive).

It has gotten me in a little trouble from time to time - usually from people who think I make too much. But yet there are people in the tech community that think I make way too little for the job and services I provide. And maybe that is why people are afraid to talk about money. Maybe we have wrapped so much of our identity and self-wroth in our income. To share about our money means to literally share our most intimate identification of our (or our families) self-worth. But I still have to ask the question, why? Why does money say anything about identity at all?

1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

I think it is a pretty freeing thing to acknowledge the truth in this verse. When we are no longer a slave to our money, we are no longer a slave to the perceptions that come with it. We find our true self-worth in our relationship with God and each other and not how many zeros are on our income tax return.

I Am A Slave to My Sunroof
I Am a Slave to My SunroofI haven't been writing very frequently this month and I apologize. It has been a hard, but GREAT month. I have been working 60-hour weeks trying to get our studio ready for our national syndication (some real exciting stuff), but I have also been spending the weekends at Hilton Head Island - which has been a blast. Last weekend I was down there with just friends, this past weekend I went down and met up with family, this upcoming weekend I am going down with Molly.

Last weekend was really a great time. On the first night we went to this amazing restaurant, that had these beautiful, huge windows that overlooked a cove on the island. I had some great shrimp and scallops, and enjoyed some good time with some family.

About 20 minutes into the dinner, a huge storm rolled through out of the blue - and when I say huge, it was huge. For someone who loves storms, it was awesome! But the first thing that came to my mind was, "crap, did I close my sunroof." This got me thinking about materialism.

I was sitting at the end of the table with my Uncle and I vocalized, "you know what is strange, I add this 'luxury' item to my life (yes, a sunroof is a luxury item to me), and look how it adds complication and becomes something that 'owns' me."

Back when I didn't have a sunroof, I never worried when it rained. I just enjoyed the thunderstorm and the company of those I was with. But now, it "ruined" the moment - because I couldn't get it out of my head.

Now obviously I don't think having a sunroof is wrong (or other luxuries) but it does make you realize that Jesus was right when he says that, "it is easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven." Why? Because the only thing that is suppose to "own" us is God.

We want the beach house, but then would worry about hurricanes. We want the nice car, but then would worry about it getting dented. We want the huge house, but then we got to hire people to tend to it and everything is more expensive to fix. And then we realize life is unnecessarily complicated. Now don't get me wrong, I am still going to enjoy the luxuries of life. But I think the idea is to recognize that if we aren't careful, that which we strive to own in life, eventually owns us.

Buying a New Car - Lessons and Tips Learned from First Time Buyer
Buying a New Car - Lessons and Tips Learned from a First Time BuyerMost of you know that I recently bought a new car. While the first post on this focused on my sadness of leaving the old car, this post is hopefully going to be more helpful for those of you out there, like me, who have never bought your own car. I am calling this, lessons learned. This post is long, but I hope it helps.

If you are like me, the idea of haggling for the cost of something is not your cup of tea. When I lived in Jerusalem, you were always suppose to haggle for prices when you went to the market. I just paid full price. You would think someone who likes to argue as much as I do would love this, but I don't. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to this process.

The first two things I suggest anybody do when they are buying a new car are pretty simple 1.) do tons of research (more later on this point), and 2.) I don't care if you like the car and the price, no matter what leave the dealer the first time you talk to them. Do not take the car for the evening if they offer (which mine did). Make sure you make it clear that you will be buying a car soon (within the week) but leave the dealership. You want to send the message to them that you have absolutely no reason to come back. Trust me, this one step right here could save you $1,000s of dollars.

Now back to step one: do your research. Most people say this, but they confuse which research you should do. Most people say you should consult Consumer Reports to figure out which car you want. I don't care much about that. Most people know which car they want before they even start looking. The research I am talking about is price. And this is what I mean.

Two prices are usually thrown at you: MSRP and Invoice. MSRP is a joke. Unless your car is so unbelievably hot right now (like the PT Cruiser was when first released, or the current CRV is), you will never pay this price. Invoice is more tricky however. Car dealers will lead you to believe this is what the car costs them, it isn't true.

The best website I found regarding this was Fightingchance.com. They give you tons of free information and tips, and if you are willing to pay $35, they will send you the actual invoice cost of your car (exactly what the dealer pays). This is a huge help. Also, go to CarBuyingTips.com and download the Buyer's Offer Spreadsheet. This document is phenomenal and will walk you through what you need to do to submit and offer (they also have some examples).

Also, don't take Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds advice: it isn't worth anything and is frankly a better friend to the auto dealers than it is to the consumer. When concering your trade in value, do what the insurance companies know to do which is to consult NADA. This will give you a much more accurate representation of what your Used Car is worth - especially if it is in good condition (which mine wasn't).

Now when all done, you can do one of two things: 1.) FaxAttack offer a bunch of dealers (explained at Fightingchance.com) or 2.) if you are lazy like me, submit an offer to one dealership. You will get the better deal if you do FaxAttack, but frankly, I wanted a new car now and I thought I had a pretty good deal lined up. Click this link to view my PDF offer sheet.

Now I think I did pretty well my first time doing this, but I did get suckered in one area and it wasn't until I got home that I realized it. So I am going to explain this trick so you don't get suckered like I did. We agreed on the price of the car ($17,100) and we agreed on the trade-in value ($3,000). Taxes and fees are mandatory, which came to about $2,200. This amounted to about $16,200 waking out the door. Pretty good considering their first offer was $21,500 walking out the door - I talked them down $5,300! But then they got me. We switched the conversation over from price to car payment - and this is where I was stupid. I just assumed their numbers were correct. He told me the car payment would be $499 a month for 36 months and I believed him. What I didn't notice is that he slipped an extra $1000 bucks in there. The car, which I thought was $17,100, in the end was $18,100. Man I felt like an idiot. But lesson learned, never, never, never let your guard down. My mistake was assuming the negotiations were done and I could put my guard down. No siree.

When I e-mailed the sales person about this discrepancy (and supplied him the numbers in question), he told me he'd look into it, and then got back to me and told me the bottom line is my car payment is $499. I am assuming he wasn't disputing the fact he slipped and extra $1000 bucks in there. But he as right, the bottom line is my car payment is $499 and the other bottom line is that I am quite angry at this particular car dealership and salesmen.

One last thing. Your sales person will try and convince you to give him all "5s" on the phone survey that will certainly be coming your way. I am not saying don't do this, but it is important to be 100% honest. I gave some 5s on my survey (even though I am not a big fan of the dealership after this), but I also gave some 2s and some 3s as well. Be honest. It is more than just a survey. They use this to determine dealer compensation levels and other things. If you are unhappy, send the message that you like the car, but you hate the dealership - that's what I did.

All in all, I still feel ok. I walked out the door paying $4,300 less than they wanted me to originally, I learned a lesson, I got a new car, and I am happy. I won't go back to ***** ******* in *******, GA (email me if you want to know which car dealer I am not happy with) ever again (for service or sales), but I will always return to Honda.

The Cost of Education
The Cost of Education - One Private School Students AccountThis week was a great week. Why? Because I paid off my $11,000 student loan. After 15 months, I had accumulated $517.45 in interest, and averaged $767.83 a month in payments. For the first time in 4 years, I have no debt to my name, and it feels great.

But I am a nerd and I didn't stop there. Now that I know exactly how much I paid in interest, I, of course, consulted my Quicken to figure out just how much college cost me.

Now there are some out there that could careless, and that's cool. Just stop reading. It's alright. But I find this fascinating and I think in the end it will have a point ;)

For the four years between 6/1/01 and 5/5/05 (plus interest afterwards related to student loan) my expenses were as followed:

  • Direct Education: $91,411.09 (tuition, books, fees, educational travel & student loan interest)
  • Room or Rent: $16,198.04 (both on and off-campus housing)
  • Food: $13,244.59 (board, groceries, and dining out)
  • Utilities: $3,984.94 (gas, water, electricity, cell phone)
  • Tithe & Non-Profit Giving: $5,030.75
  • Other Expenses: $18,802.33 (taxes, travel, auto fuel, etc...)
  • Total Expenses: $148,671.84

Holy cow! Direct expenses only relating to my education was $91,411.09, and once you include living expenses like eating and having an apartment/dorm the sum was $148,671.84. Now, lets see how the bills were paid:

  • Dividend Income: $70.56
  • Savings Interest: $173.08
  • Gifts from Others: $2,365.61 (mainly high school graduation & "Charlie's travel gifts")
  • Investment Income: $4,4710.44 (GE Stock)
  • Mom: $5,341.54 ($5,016.54 was for Summer of '01 and Freshman year)
  • Grandma Borgmann Gift: $10,000
  • Scholarships: $20,275.00
  • Dad: $26,500.25
  • Salary Earned from Working During College: $27,698.84
  • Grandma Neslund Gift: $40,000
  • Total Income: 137,135.32

The income/expense difference was $11,536.42, and after you subtract out $11,000 in student loan and the $517.45 in interest related to the loan, that left a "real college debt" of $18.97.

Now, I could take this is so many different ways, and I am going to try to hit them all.

First of all, it all was worth it. APU prepared me for the real world and my profession better than any university I can imagine. Even at the stark cost of almost $150k (that's a freakin' house in Indiana), it was still worth it.

Second of all, REDACTED FOR SENSITIVITY Which is lesson number two: I am very grateful for all of those who sacrificed for my education and I do not tread lightly on the idea that while I paid more than $40,000 of my own education, there was still $110,000 that came from elsewhere.

My third point is this: debt! Debt sucks. I hate debt probably more than most (hence the reason I have no savings right now besides a 401(k) but I have no debt). But still, the average student leaving college has $19,000 in debt (and if you are in private school like me and my alumni, it is far worse).

Debt when used correctly is a good thing (school, house, etc...). But even when it is a good thing, it is still a bad thing. As talk radio host (and friend of our show) Dave Ramsey says:
Debt is not a tool; it is a method to make banks wealthy, not you. Debt is dumb. Most normal people are just plain broke because they are in debt up to their eyeballs with no hope of help. If you're in debt then you're a slave, in the sense that you do not have the freedom to use your money to help change your family tree. According to a recent USA Today article about debt, 78 percent of baby boomers have mortgage debt, 59 percent have credit card debt, 56 percent have car payments.

The point is, get out of debt as fast as you can. Don't buy into the lie of "good debt."

It was a great four years of college. It was worth the extra 15 months of paying for it, but I am very releaved to be out form under it. I am glad I can now look onto the horizon as I look towards taking my next $140k venture of buying a place ;) (although I am still not sure if that makes sense).

Getting Older
Getting Old & Doing TaxesThis morning I woke up around the time I usually do (11:00 am) and I started doing that which I usually do (paroose the internet, you know MySpace, Newsvine, CNN, Airliners.net). Of course this also includes a cursory look at the Buddy List. It is here I realized that I am getting old.

On my buddy list, I can see all the people on, and if they have an away message, it will display the first three words or so. If I hover over the name, it will display the entire away message (reference image to the left). Now I am reading through, same old, same old, but then I come to a friend (I will call her Amy) who's away message says "Finally doing my..." (I know stalkerish, but don't even try and convince me you don't do the same). With out even thinking about it, I think, ohh Amy's doing her taxes. Then I step back and think, wait a minute, why do I think that, I don't know that for sure.

So sure enough, I scroll over and bam, she's doing her taxes, just like I guessed. But it is now where I realize the 20s is a collective time in which we realize we are getting old. In the past, I might have thought "Finally doing my..." could be filled with homework, laundry, cleaning, or anything else we used to procrastinate.

After this I hop in the shower and I am still reflecting on Amy's buddy list revelation. I start to reflect on the topics of most of my conversations with other 20-somethings. I find increasingly that my conversations are on the topic of money, especially regarding the long-term. From the ever so classic, should I buy a place conversation, to 401(k)s, to having my salary deposited directly into a savings account vs. a checking account because I only pay three bills all month (rent, credit card, and tithe) and I could probably make some money on the $2,800 after taxes every month sitting in a 5.05% interest account while I wait to pay my bills. And I think to myself, man the 20s are one sexy time to be alive ;)

My uncle tells me that as people approach their mid-40s, they start asking the question, "does my life really matter," or "was their purpose to my existence." Although I feel like I have been asking that question since 9th grade, I bet when the 40s come along it will have a new meaning. For now, I am going to go out on a limb and say the question 20s are asking themselves is "how can I make sure I survive to my 40s and be ok." And as soon as you start talking survival, you know you are getting old.

To Rent or to Buy: That is the Question
RentVsBuyI blogged a couple of days ago about the fact that I am looking to buy a condo. I have found an area I like and numerous options within that area that meet my "price range" requirements. So...what's the next step. That's right, you talk to a loan officer.

I will say this, what I am about to write below does not apply to people who "can't seem to control their spending." If you are a person like this, a house is a great way to "force" yourself to save, while at the same time, providing the most fundamental need we all share. This also probably doesn’t apply to those who have families to take care of. But I digress.

So I started to sit down and punch the numbers. I was debating between a 30-year fixed, a 30-year fixed but pre-paying it like it was a 15-year fixed, and a 15-year fixed. I would take the PMI hit as I still feel the 80/20 option is too sketchy - especially if it is a variable interest rate or even worse an interest only loan.

As I was doing this I had three "benchmarks" in place: 3-years, 5-years, and the life of the loan. I wanted to see at what "I owned" at each point. And the most fascinating thing revealed itself to me. I think it might be better to rent and save the rest. Take this for example. On a 30-year fixed mortgage, after 5-years I will have accumulated $7,027.80 in equity (on a $110,000 property). This is after paying a monthly payment of $1,072.44 THIRTY-SIX times (this includes taxes, insurance, PMI, association dues, etc...). Now, if I were to take that same monthly payment, subtract out rent ($545) and save the rest ($527.44) over the course of the same 5-years I will have accumulated $32,377.43 in savings! Here's the other deal, lets say I remain single for the rest of my life (lets pray not). If I carried this pattern of saving and renting over the course of a 30-year mortgage, making $527.77 deposits every month, at the end of the 30 years I would have $911,740.79 - there is no way my place would appreciate that much.

So this is what I don't get. Why the heck would anyone single, with no family, buy property under these circumstances. I keep thinking I must be missing something. But the numbers add up. The reason I am asking this isn't because I want to horde my money. However, we have all been very blessed by God, and I want to do the most I possibly can with the money He has blessed me with (including giving it away). So to me this all boils down to a question of stewardship - why give the bank money that God may want me to put elsewhere. Last weeks question was where to buy. But now I am asking, should I buy - and that is the question Shakespeare would be proud of.

P.S. For anyone who would like to see the worksheet I created, click here.

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What's Andy Up To?
Andy Borgmann - Twitter4th quarter. Time for PopPop and Caleb to get serious http://pic.borgmann.me/hC
Andy Borgmann - TwitterThat's my boy. Can sleep. A-N-Y-where. It is a billion decimals in the Georgia Dome and he is out. #BrookeIsStu... http://pic.borgmann.me/hB
Andy Borgmann - TwitterFirst football game and... He. Is. Excited. #TakingItAllIn #RollTideRoll http://pic.borgmann.me/hA
Andy Borgmann - TwitterThis is when the parties in Ellard get out of control. #SomeoneCallTheCops http://pic.borgmann.me/hz
Andy Borgmann - TwitterIntroducing Caleb to the gloriousness that is Hibachi Express. Ohh how I wish this were in St. Pete http://pic.borgmann.me/hw
Andy Borgmann - TwitterApparently coding with daddy is boring. #NapTimePartDeux http://pic.borgmann.me/hs
Andy Borgmann - TwitterI am probably the only 30-something tech person that is exhausted by the idea of working in Silicon Valley or an... http://on.borgmann.me/hr
Andy Borgmann - TwitterCaleb meeting Cecily and Jenny at the gloriousness that is Taco Maco. How I miss all three. http://pic.borgmann.me/hp
Andy Borgmann - TwitterThree Grande Mochas in four hours = not feeling too good. Here's hoping some Zaxby's chicken solves that problem.
Andy Borgmann - TwitterThree meetings before 1p at three different Starbucks. I fight even like coffee. Power of brand location.

Andy's blog aims to be like a Scrubs episode, mixed with a Chuck Klosterman column, centered around the topic of faith. It is open, honest, raw, and a little embarrassing. It is a place to discuss religion, politics, ministry, pop culture, and well, just life - especially focused on the time of life we call our 20s!

Andy is the Executive Producer of The Allen Hunt Show; a progressive (in the literal sense), talk radio show based in Atlanta, GA aimed at bringing faith back into the public discussion. Andy enjoys travel, aviation, web design, politics, friends, and faith. He holds that the secret to a full life is loving God and loving people - which he fails at constantly.

Andy grew up in Fort Wayne, IN. He now lives in Alpharetta, GA.

More information about Andy can be found at www.2timothy42.org or Andy's Facebook.

P.S. As has been mentioned on air, Andy is horrible at grammar and spelling. Please excuse any mistakes, trust me, he's sorry.

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