Thursday, January 31, 2008

Quote of the Week #24

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."
~ Samuel Beckett
from a Emory U website?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Progress Report - for week ended 1/27/08

Almost forgot to post! Again my main focus here on out is on goal #1:

Goals by the end of January 2008 -

  1. Apply to 20 full-time jobs (using cover letters) - SUCCESS -I've applied to (at least) 60+ jobs so far, tomorrow I will be going to a job fair, than two interviews later this week, then another job fair much later this week. I've already picked up another part-time job which I have training for on Wednesday.
  2. Save $1500 in Me & fiance's joint (wedding expenses) savings account - We are still at $854, last I checked - The fiance plans to deposit another $100 this week
  3. Re-send query to two books agents, send query letter to 10 new agents - still, NO progress. Again, probably won't be either, again until goal #1 is achieved.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ahh, My 1st time-share presentation....Part 2

...After the 'presentation' we had our names called and went into a small office.

We had a very nice and fairly funny Agent who I'll call Beatrice.

I feel so sorry for Beatrice, she was a great salesperson and all - great personality, she should have been running the presentation to be honest but, my mind was already made up. The first thing she asked was:

"What do you like most about the package?" as she placed a sheet in front of us with the figures for the $12,000 broken down into monthly payments and APR.

I tried to give her the 'good cop' option and tried to defer in over to my fiance but, My fiance looked to me for a response.

So I said, with a look of distrust " I'm not sure"

Beatrice picked up on this and then asked "well...what don't you like about it then"

I couldn't contain myself and I said, "Well first off - $12,000! for a travel package?"

Beatrice, rolled her eyes slightly with a defeated look and said " well, yes... what it comes down to is $12,000 for 30 vacations but, we have many different ways of financing"

I looked at the sheet she had placed in front of us and then brought up the figure "84 Months at $198 a month!? What's that 7 or 8 years? to pay off"

Again, Beatrice rolled her eyes and said "Yes it's around 7 years to pay off"

I then looked at another figure on the sheet "At 16% interest? AND - you charge an Additional $300 +99 servicing fee every time you go on a trip? You guys are making money left and right here..."

Beatrice at this point could tell she picked the wrong couple - or at least the wrong spouse - to pull into her little office. Beatrice soon after just changed the subject to chit-chat until her boss - the Sales Manager could come in and ask if they had some 'new members.'

Beatrice didn't exactly say 'yes' or 'no' and then the Sales manager began going into a spiel for a cheaper deal for 10 trips instead of 30, - I still said 'no'.

The Sales Manager left us with Amanda so we could 'think about it' for a moment and Beatrice, being the trooper that she is - was fine to just sat there chit-chatting with the fiance about the upcoming wedding. The timeshare didn't come up again - that is until we left Beatrice's office.

So her Sales Manager told us to go wait in another meeting room while they obtained our trip.

While we were waiting in the meeting room, the Sales Manager came in again and knocked the price down a third time. It was still way out of what I wanted to pay (no job and all) so I said 'no' again.

Finally, after waiting in the conference room - filled with pictures of smiling chump...I mean 'customers' set behind a fake Hawaiian background - the Sales Manager came back in and directed us to a final office where a 3rd gentleman was going to hand us our plane tickets and hotel voucher.

OK - this part was the kicker, after a bunch of uncomfortable, high-pressure, emotion based sales, I was Hoping the guy at the end would say 'OK, here are your tickets good-bye'


Another slightly younger gentleman shook our hands and had us sit down at his desk while he 'looked something up' on his computer. A few seconds later he asks

"So, what did you like BEST about the program"

I began to say "well Beatrice, Beatrice was very..." he cut me off...

"No, No I mean, the actual vacation package itself. What do you like most about that?' he says.

Again, I look to my fiance for the 'good cop' response. She again looked back to me for a response.

I rolled my eyes and said "The locations seem OK"

The guy went into a whole NEW Sales pitch:

"What if I told you, you could have the whole entire package - everything for just $700?"

I said "I would want to see it in writing"

At which point the 'closer' as I could tell he was trained in doing, began scribbling on a notebook a bunch of figures that started off with $700 - but the more he talked (and the faster he talked) the higher the cost went and the lower the amount of trips became.

When he was done it was a pretty good deal (on notebook paper) but, I ended up saying "Well, I still want to see it in print and then give me time to think about it"

The closer says " you have to make the decision NOW"

I said, Well, then my decision is "No" I turned to my fiance who was obviously affected by hearing "Hawaii" half a dozen times - and said she could get it herself if she liked - luckily she passed.

The closer then, tore off the sheet of paper with figures, and very dramatically crumpled it up, and threw the sheet of notebook into the trash. As if we'd just thrown away our dream or something I guess. He then gave us out tickets & voucher while giving me an angry look and saying good bye. I almost started to shake his hand but, I could tell he was upset - or at least acting like he was upset and would not be shaking hands with a 'no-sale' anytime soon.

When, I was doing the math in my head as we came out to the car though it came out to something like the possibility of 3 trips for approximately $1500 over the course of year or by 1/19/09 if within the continental U.S.. Outside of continental US it would come out to $2200-2300 once all the charges were factored in.

$700...yeah right!

Quote of the Week #23

"Wall Street people learn nothing and forget everything."

-Benjamin Graham
found on

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ahh, My 1st time-share presentation....Part 1

So, over the weekend, me and my fiance went to a 'Travel Agencies' office to pick up her 'prize' ( a 2 day 3 night stay in Florida or Vegas) that she won simply by filling out a prize card at a Wedding show we went to a couple weeks back.

I was immediately skeptical but, the fiance was intent on getting her 'free' (*ahem*) trip. She said all we had to do was sit through an hour-long informational presentation.

OK - now, I know what you're saying - "Reggie, you know better" - yes, I would agree that I do but, my fiance - again, was intent on getting her free trip - and I myself had never had the pleasure of being 'informed' about what this wonderful 'travel agency' could make all our travel and honeymoon dreams come true.

So, begrudgingly I went, at 9:00 am or so on a Saturday (my fiance didn't want to be late for the 10:00 presentation because 'space is limited'!)

So we went, and found a room filled with couples in winter coats filling out forms.

My fiance approached the desk and filled out a form that stated something to the effect of:

"In order to receive free trip you must:
  • Be a couple planning a trip in the next year
  • Earn over 25K a year
  • Be willing to pay a $50 FULLY REFUNDABLE -deposit for your free trip
  • Be willing to give up a large chunk of your take home pay each month for a time share - you'll likely never visit. "

OK, that last part I might of added but, Man, what a waste of 2 hours of my life....

The sales presenter, who I later found out was a manager for the 'Marketing Office' seemed so unenthusiastic. It was bordering on pathetic - He didn't even try to hide the fact that he was trying to sell anything he just said very plainly and without any emotion things like:

"This is a marketing office"
"Those cards you signed up for at the mall are what's called 'permission based marketing"
"We make our money by buying in bulk and selling to you at a discount"
"Unconventional financing"

All free of the accomplished sales guys energy and fake smile.

Anyway, long and short of it when he cut to the chase at the end - it turns out they were selling 30 vacations in time shares the marketing company for the whopping good deal of $15,000! and to be honest they had a couple goods locations but, most were places I wasn't too terribly interested in ever visiting. They didn't stop there though, they knocked off $3000 of the package price for us being so nice and coming in - taking the price down to $12,000.

And the properties that they own appear to be townhouses for the most part but, they didn't go into great detail where exactly they are in relation to vacation attractions and things like that.

After the presentation, the Sales Manager handed each of us couples off to an Agent who explained to us in detail, how the deal worked....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

losing your job (without debt) ain't that bad

The last couple of days I've been thinking about the fact that despite the fact I've been laid off, right now is probably the best time for it to have happened to me.

As of 1/3/08 - "I'm Debt free!" so unlike other times when I've quit a job whilst being deep in debt - because I hated it - yet had no new job set up . This time, I have no job set up BUT I also have no debt.

My lease is up about a month after my final paycheck and I usually pay my rent early ( like this weekend) So I'll have a month to think about where I'll go. A relative has already offered to allow me to stay at their place.

And not to be a 'Negative-Nelly' but, I pretty much hated my job so it was a bit of a relief this past week going in and knowing that the angry person on the other line, or the letter from an attorney asking for $1000's of dollars for something I personally believe is B.S. - will not be my problem in about 2 months.

There is also the fact that I really don't want to spend my 30's 'working my way up the corporate ladder' I'd much rather start my own business - where the only boss to answer to is me - rather than answering to umpteen levels of management I currently have to endure.

So overall, so far, losing my job for the first time (rather than quitting) hasn't been that bad of an experience.

Progress Report - for week ended 1/20/08

Well, well - since learning I will shortly no longer be 'gainfully-employed' I have been focusing a ridiculous amount on goal #1

Goals by the end of January 2008 -

  1. Apply to 20 full-time jobs (using cover letters) - SUCCESS -I've applied to (at least) 35 jobs so far, tomorrow (no disrespect to MLK) I will be beating the streets for a part time job while I still have a full time job.
  2. Save $1500 in Me & fiance's joint (wedding expenses) savings account - We are still at $854, last I checked - Not sure I will care too much about this goal now as I finding a job is all consuming.
  3. Re-send query to two books agents, send query letter to 10 new agents - still, NO progress. Probably won't be either, again until goal #1 is achieved.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Quote of the Week #22

"Do what you love. When you love your work, you become the best worker in the world."
-Uri Geller
found on

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

So I got fired today...

Well technically 'I was made aware that my position has been terminated under the new company restructuring'

It was kind of surreal, I knew the minute my bosses boss tapped me on the shoulder - there was something up. And then when he took me into the little conference room with my bosses, bosses boss in it and an HR lady I've never seen in my life, I knew exactly what the 'talk' was going to be about.

I wasn't the only one who got the walking papers today, my old boss (who got promoted a year ago) got called into the small conference room too. They said about 45 people altogether were getting the pink slip.

In a sense I was fairly relieved because they told me I could take the rest of the day off and I don't have a final, final day at work until about 2 months from now.

I've told the fiance the wedding is off until I find a new job but, she doesn't want to tell anyone until the two months is up.

So many things going through my mind right now but, one main thought is
- on a certain level, I do not want to be dependent on someone else or some corporation for my paycheck from this point forward. I need my independence.

The other thought that comes to mind is - a brother needs to eat...and pay the rent...and pay the other bills...

I know I'll get through this - I just pray I get through it sooner rather than later.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Wedding Budget

So me and the fiance, talked out a budget (again) for the impending nuptials here's what we came up with:


Church & Reception Hall $500
Cake $400
Dresses* $1,150 (5 @ $200 each, 1 @$150)
Tuxedos* $950 (5 @ $150 each, 1 @ $200)
Photographer $1000
Flowers $300
Car rental $180
Preacher(s) $300 (2 @ $150 each)
Piano & Guitar Player $100
Singer $100
Cocktail reception $1,300 (130 people @ $10 each)
Invitations $125
Bells $100
Extra Rings $400 (2 @ $200 each)

Total: $6905


Hotel, Flight and transport - $2,000
Spending Cash - $1,000

Total: $3,000

Grand Total: $9905

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Progress Report - for week ended 1/13/08

Again, not a whole lot of progress here. Some personal drama had me distracted for the majority of the week.

Goals by the end of January 2008 -

  1. Apply to 20 full-time jobs (using cover letters) - I've applied to 5 jobs as of today but, no cover letters...
  2. Save $1500 in Me & fiance's joint (wedding expenses) savings account - We are currently at $854, last I checked but my fiance and I will most likely be making additional deposits once we get paid this coming week.
  3. Re-send query to two books agents, send query letter to 10 new agents - still, NO progress

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quote of the Week #21

"Well, when you're trying to create things that are new, you have to be prepared to be on the edge of risk."
-Michael Eisner

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

interesting Article: Housing Slump Worst Since the Depression

Wow, they pulled this article off of real quick - luckily there is a wonderful site called - you may have heard of it -that allows you to find things the media would rather 'bury'.

The article: Housing Slump Worst Since the Depression

Yeah, that's right they pulled out the "D" word. And it wasn't just any speculator pulling it out :

"Wells Fargo, which has sidestepped many of the credit and liquidity problems plaguing U.S. mortgage lenders, believes the nation's housing slump is the worst since the Great Depression and is far from over, Chief Executive John Stumpf said Thursday."

That's right a CEO of a major, well-respected bank said it. Oh and the DOW losing over 200 points today - that helped out a bunch too.

'Stow away your luggage in the overhead compartments, and fasten your seat belts ladies and gentleman, it may just be a bumpy ride.'

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Progress Report for week ended 1/6/08

Man I have made no progress whatsoever but, I'll post anyway:

Goals by the end of January 2008 -

  1. Apply to 20 full-time jobs (using cover letters) - no progress, have not applied to anything
  2. Save $1500 in Me & fiance's joint (wedding expenses) savings account - We are currently at $740 and change, it will be $840 and change once I deposit $20 I received
  3. Re-send query to two books agents, send query letter to 10 new agents - NO progress
Honestly, I have been doing things on my vacation just not a whole lot of productive things. That will change tomorrow when I return to work.

Friday, January 4, 2008

$20 haircut makes Reggie feel like a million bucks

I spent $20 on a haircut today, that's the most I've spent on a haircut in about 3 years seeing as I have my own clippers and usually just shave it all off and wait for it to grow back. When I've really needed my hair in order without shaving it all off - I've gone to the local barber college and paid about $6 but at the risk of my 'line' getting jacked up or in a couple cases, having the barber student carving the 'line' into my forehead until I'm cut and slightly bleeding.

But today I went to new barbershop near my house and decided to see what they had to offer. When they saw me walk through the door they recognized I was a potential new customer and immediately told me they'd be with me in just a few minutes. I looked at the price $15 and decided I'd switch off the 'cheapskate' instinct for just a minute. After about 10-15 minutes One of the barbers told me to come on over. I sat down and within 20 minutes my hair was trimmed up and tapered and my hair looked good. My 'line' looked nice and I got out of the chair without my forehead bleeding or scarred at all. I tipped my new barber $5 and went on my way.

The whole rest of the day, I had a smile on my face. I held my head high and I exuded confidence because my hair looked good. Who knew paying extra for grooming could be so good for the ego?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

December results/ January goals & 2008 Financial Resolution

Alright, I've been slacking as I have been off the majority of this week for a much needed New year's vacation but, here is an update on my goals.

Goals for the end of December:

  1. Send novel manuscript to 10 book agents and/or publishers - SUCCESS - I able to submit query letters to 10 books agents. Two of which asked for additional info and/or to re-send the query based on their guidelines. Now if only I can focus and get that done.
  2. Apply to 20 jobs (part-time or full-time) - SUCCESS - on New year's eve I ended up applying to the last 2 jobs to make the 20 complete. I actually heard back from one promising opportunity within my company this week but, I guess I need to remain vigilant until the interviews start to occur on a regular basis.
  3. Raise net worth to $8,500 or better - SUCCESS - I did accomplish this goal despite all of the holiday expenses. However, when calculating my car value for this past month it went UP rather than going DOWN like depreciating assets are supposed to. So that's kind of suspect. Even if it did go down the $50 or so it's been averaging in monthly depreciation I would have still hit the goal but it just seems strange is all I'm saying.
Overall I think the less is more approach for monthly financial goals is working and I believe I will stick with it. Now for January's goals:

Goals by the end of January 2008 -

  1. Apply to 20 full-time jobs (using cover letters)
  2. Save $1500 in Me & fiance's joint (wedding expenses) savings account
  3. Re-send query to two books agents, send query letter to 10 new agents
As far as New year's Resolutions - I personally love to make them and have a horrible time remembering them.

I think last year's was to 'get out of debt' and as of today - I have achieved that goal. As of New year's it was a goal that I achieved earlier in the year and then realized it wasn't quite achieved - Now I really just need to focus on things other than debt because I think by focusing on 'being debt-free' It has inadvertently brought me back to an indebted status. OK I'm going way off on a tangent now. That being said - My 2008 New year's Resolution is to:

  • Double my income
That's right - double my income period - it's that simple. How will I accomplish this - of course that's the tricky part. My current income stands at the mid 30's - in order to double it I will need to bring my income up to the high 60's or low 70's by the end of 2008.

Some possible strategies for achieving this daunting goal are:

  1. Get a new, less stressful, better paying job
  2. Publish and sell copies of my novel
  3. Do some freelance writing
  4. Invest $ into high-return accounts
  5. start a part-time business
  6. Buy more assets
  7. Sell artwork
  8. Create artwork for friend's children's book and get this book published
These are just some of the ideas that pop into my head but, I might have to use all of these ideas and then some in order to achieve my Resolution. Luckily this Internet thing is pretty easy to access and look back at.

Quote of the Week #20

The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term is the indispensable pre-requisite for success

-Brian Tracy

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

December 2007 - Net Worth

It appears that I am recovering from some of the unexpected surprises I've run across during the majority of the fall.

Despite a family member's birthday party, and some last minute Christmas-shopping, I made it through the month with a bit to spare and surpassed my goal for passing the $8,500 mark. I would write more but it's New year's day and I reserve my right to be lazy.

Happy 2008!