The countdown continues, 4 months until launch! Though not a lot of ‘visible’ progress has been made since my last countdown post, I have eliminated a few of the obstacles that were blocking me. Many pending decisions are also being made, purchases are being planned, solar wattage is being determined, battery amp hours are being calculated, etc. I am more motivated than ever, but at the same time, more panicked than ever. Not much has gone as I had it planned. Some things were in my control and I simply dropped the ball, other things I couldn’t have controlled if I tried. The killer part of that scenario is that I am at my best, most productive, and most effective when things aren’t going quite right. The more challenging things get, the more determined I am to overcome them, and the more clever I seem to be at finding solutions.
A note about today’s blog: Some of what I am going to share is about my personal financial situation, and I really had to question whether I wanted to talk about it publicly. I was raised to believe that financial matters are private, and I very much prefer it that way, so it wasn’t an easy decision for me to share even the little bit I have. Ultimately I decided to reveal a few things about my credit situation and stupid mistakes because I think it might help others who find themselves encountering obstacles on the way to fulfilling their dreams and living their purpose. I want everyone to know that no matter how overwhelming the obstacle, giving up is never the right solution. Pushing forward with determination and not allowing those obstacles to stop you is sometimes the only way to get where you want to go. You may not alway have the BEST options, but there are usually options. Even when you only have 4 months to spare. Hahaha.
Buying My Van And The Credit Factor
One thing that has been holding me back from buying my van was work I needed to complete on my car. Since I am trading the car in to buy the van, I needed it to be in the best condition possible, to get the most trade in value from it. The good news is, I got almost everything done on the car that was needed. The bad news is, I shouldn’t have wasted my time or money.
Ok. Ok. That might be a bit dramatic. I am 100% glad I got the work done on the car, however, I found out just a few days ago that I am 3 grand upside down on my loan. There is a lot of blame to go around regarding how and why this happened. Some of it was an unscrupulous car salesman and his finance team, some of it was the greedy financial institution that provided the loan, but a good portion (most) of it falls on me. I didn’t read the fine print about the extra finance charges and somehow missed the outrageous interest rate I was going to be paying (I’m paying MUCH more in interest than I thought I was). Even though the purchase happened 30 months ago, I remember being very focused on getting the monthly payment amount I wanted and not much else. When I reflect on the memories I have of that day, I can see the red flags I ignored. A costly but valuable lesson.
I also learned I was naive about my credit rating/score and waited far too long to look into it. 2 years ago I canceled all my credit cards. Seems like a good idea, but as it turns out, canceling credit cards with a balance due, even if you are paying for them, is a bad thing. Despite having an auto loan with 100% on-time payments for over 2 years, my credit rating had dropped significantly because I had unresolved/outstanding credit card debt. It mattered that I didn’t have an active credit card.
That put me in a situation of needing a credit card to raise my credit rating, but I couldn’t seem to get one. After speaking to a credit counselor I opted for a secured credit card through my bank. Her advice was to keep a 25% credit balance while making payments. Apparently this shows my ability to make regular payments, while not maxing it out shows I am responsible with my credit. The process of improving my credit will be a long one, but the ‘up to’ 40 point credit rating bump the counselor says I may get from just acquiring the card and using it as she directed, will put me in a better place (within about 30 more days) to get a better deal on a loan for my van.
That still leaves me with an upside down car loan, but should allow me to wrap the money I am short on my car payoff into a new loan for my van at a MUCH improved interest rate. It also reduces the amount I will be able and willing to pay for a van. I am going to need to get a van with a couple more years and a few more miles on it. Not what I planned, but not the worst thing in the world by any means. At least I know I will not be as naive when negotiating this time around and I will have no problem walking away from something that does not work for me.
Money On The Road And The Insurance Factor
The streams of income I have been trying to build have not come along as well as I had hoped they would at 4 months until launch. A couple of them I have completely abandoned, others are still promising but not producing enough to support me. So, I will be looking for mobile work. I’m not terribly stressed about it, I knew this was a strong possibility late last year when the 3 major domicile states began to announce health insurance options dwindling. Health insurance options for 2016 were bad and it is looking a lot like 2017 is just going to get worse. I don’t plan to leave my current employer for several months and I can carry Cobra for a few months after that if necessary, but let’s be honest, those prices aren’t really affordable. I’m either going to have to get a full-time remote job with benefits, or I am going to have to freelance full time (instead of my preferred part-time) in order to have the extra money to pay for medical. I’m just not sure yet how big a problem heath insurance is going to be. Look for that to be more of a focus in a future update.
The First Place I Am Going
The plan has been and continues to be, that I will leave AZ and head to San Diego for a few days to visit a friend, then head north from there for a little more visiting. Things get tricky and could go in any number of directions after that. For now, let’s just say I plan to spend some time in CA when I start and where I go next will depend on the van build.
The Van Build
The build is why things get tricky. I have a good friend on the east coast who is interested in helping me design and build my van. Since I can’t seem to find anyone here on the west coast who has the knowledge or desire to do it, that might have to be an option. That said, I am not remotely afraid to throw my stuff in the van with a mattress and stay in a mild climate until I find someone willing to help. And who knows… anything can happen and a lot can change in 4 months.
If things go the way I think they will, there may not be much of an update in May. I’ll be saving money, budgeting, and scheduling various things that need to bedone before the end of August. The van will be purchased sometime after June 1st, so I anticipate June and July will be busy months when things will be starting to happen more steadily. Then August will be here. I fully expect August to be a whirlwind. And I can’t wait.