Life Update – October 2011

OK, it’s time to blow the dust off this blog. Wow, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I wrote a legitimate post. Up until a few months ago, I was working as a college professor at one of the University of Texas campuses. I guess it’s safe to say that life has a way of creating diversions from tasks that I truly enjoy, like writing for this site.

The last you heard from me, I was renting an apartment, having come a long way from my humble origins as a graduate teaching assistant in the Midwest. It is my duty to inform you that much has changed once again. A few months ago, my wife and I packed our belongings, including our rabbit, and moved five hours away to drought-stricken south Texas. Why did we move? I ended up changing jobs – I’m still a professor, but I landed a job at a different university, and I feel damn lucky to have done so. My previous job was tolerable, but not great, but I’m much happier with where I have landed. Most of all, I simply feel lucky to have a job at all, and I feel great sympathy for those who are looking for work. My wife has found nothing but occasional part-time for for over two years now, so we know how hard the search process can be. My best wishes to all those seeking employment….

Back to the topic at hand: we left our old apartment at the end of July 2011 and moved into our new house in south Texas. Yes, we bought a house. Interest rates and housing prices have trended downward so much this year that we decided it prudent to go ahead and buy a house. This is on top of the house that we still own in the Midwest (which I may refinance soon – stay tuned for details). In any case, I locked in a 15-year fixed mortgage at 3.625% back in early August with Pentagon Federal Credit Union. Between locking the rate and actually closing on the house, rates continued to trend downward, but what can you do? I’m still pretty happy with the rate we got, and I have no plans to refinance our current mortgage unless I can find a no-closing-cost loan. To be continued…..

Lifestyle Inflation?

So, here I am in a major city, in a new job, and marveling at how much time has passed since I finished graduate school. I remember the promise that I made to myself that I would try my best to continue living like a poor graduate student. So, how’s that promise holding up? Not too bad, actually. My wife and I did have to buy a second car – that’s the reality of living in a major city; I can’t walk or bike to work anymore. To our credit, it is a used car with low mileage. And…. we did have to buy a bunch of stuff related to moving into our house, but in our day-to-day lives, I’d say we’re doing pretty well. We rarely go out to eat and we tend to buy things in bulk at Costco, but we still enjoy some of the finer things in life, such as good cheese, whole-bean coffee, and an occasional glass of good wine.

Yes, I’d say we spend more than we did as graduate students, but only to the point that’s reflective of climbing out of poverty. I’m a tightwad in general, but I don’t mind spending money on travel and good food, as we find these items and experiences worthwhile. On the other hand, we still have most of the same furniture that we did in graduate school, and we still don’t own a television, and we still have our old Sprint SERO cell phone plans (though our contract is coming up for renewal soon and I have to decide how to proceed from here). Overall, I’d say we’re earning a B+ with regard to my original promise: there’s room for improvement, but we’re doing alright.

Future Plans

Where to go from here? I plan to stay in my current job for as long as I can. My wife is still seeking employment, and there’s talk of having a child in the near future. We’ll see how that goes.  I DO plan to take a more active role in updating this site, dear reader, and I apologize for my neglect.

Much has changed in the political and investment landscapes in the last few years, and I have much to say in that regard, but will save it for future posts. For the time being, I’ll just say that Mr. IM is back, and I’ll have a few things to say about these matters soon enough.

As always, thanks for reading.

~ Mr. IM

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