Wealth Distribution





For the first time in many years, I had fun at the park. There was sunlight and trees with leaves of two colors – velvet and leather green.  A climbing set.  Small sculptures hidden in plain sight.

First thing today we went to the public plaza auction, and stood amid yesterday’s puddles and today’s entrepreneurs to observe and understand as best we could the trustee sale of the house I’ve tried to live in for the last 22 years.

It hasn’t been a home in so long.

I’d long ago passed tired of living with the debt incurred in the name of Freedom.

Yesterday we thought our best hope was to enter bankruptcy.  But the attorney thought my finance situation is too messed up to declare bk. Now that’s messed up.

The next day, now the uncertainty has been identified, marketed, listed, no longer postponed, sold back to the beneficiary – there is a profound freedom.

And unexpectedly I once again know what it is to have fun.  Delicately, cautiously, preciously, as usual sometimes too slowly.

What do I call my friend and more who said quietly on the phone a few days back “would you like me to be there” ?  And then drove from Sunnyvale, leaving a note for his new client saying he’d be back in few days.

There are circles of light in this moment, shining through the steamer at dinner, shining through now.

Thank you everyone : ]

Compromise vs Defined Resulters

The results of the recent congressional debate and legislation on the debt ceiling and US budget highlight a chasm between those who work with others by communication and compromise, and those who have a fixed product, goal, or benchmark that they insist on seeing others comply with.

One way of resolving issues is by communicating more, by sitting down with each other and speaking and listening.

An opposite way of attempting to resolve issues is by cutting communication when there is a perceived lack of compliance, walking away, often accompanied by a perception the other “side” is inadequate or deficient in some way because they don’t “get” it.

Clearly there can be operational conflicts between these two methods.  By “operational conflict”  I mean a conflict or problem in the basic or meta mechanism, in this case a communication style, being used to achieve an end-result product or concept.

There is a place for both methods.

During a situation of an absolutely intolerable problem – for example abuse, where one person is striking the other, it makes sense to make an absolute statement and/or just walk away.

But on the other hand, how about a situation where the key element is preserving the relationship between the participants, and the specific issue or item on the table is not life threatening ?

Work vs Allowance

It’s healthier to work and be a part of creating the world than just receive stuff for free.

So, I hired my teenage son.

Yes, it’s working out.

True, he doesn’t live primarily at my house.  He lives with his dad. So that creates a bit of separation, re: roles and schedules and the layered entanglements that come with living with someone.

I hired him on a tiered pay schedule – working “as an adult” is one pay level, “like a teenager” is another, and “not working” is not time I pay for. His pay is graduated on a sliding scale between these levels depending on his actual production, general work ethic, focus and communication skills.

I decide, as his boss while he’s doing paid work, which level he’s being paid for during any segment of time, and we have open communication where I let him know how I arrived at those figures.  Yes I am merciless, but I first and primarily emphasize telling him what he did well at, and thank him for the work he did.

The first day went really well.  The second not so much. Since then it’s been smoothing out pretty dramatically, getting more predictable and even keel for both of us each day we work together. More getting done, less supervision needed, shorter sweeter end/pay conversations.

A big big benefit:  no guilt, no manipulation.   Now nor in future when we get older. He doesn’t need to ask me for funds for things he needs, I don’t “should” him with pro bono obligations for things I need help taking care of.


What would happen if . . . penalty charges . . .

What would happen if penalty charges on mortgages and credit card payments were:

  1. prorated – with any partial payment received by the due date the penalty would be reduced by a prorated percentage
  2. reasonable – as in never greater than the scheduled payment – ideally capped at less than half the scheduled payment

With a fixed (non-prorated) penalty there is a definite disincentive to make any payment that month given a situation where choices must be made about which bills to pay first among several bills to pay.  Especially with a large penalty, such as on a mortgage payment – why make a partial payment and still be hit with a full penalty during a month that a cash flow shortage is causing multiple other bills to also be hit with a penalty if they’re not paid first that month?

With a non-reasonable penalty, such as $39. on a $20 payment, there’s a strong disincentive to do business with that merchant – the credit card itself becomes a reminder of being hit with outrageous fees reminiscent of parking tickets.  The former causes some people to have negative associations come up with anything associated with that merchant’s brand, the latter causes some people to avoid an entire street or neighborhood when choosing where to shop.

What would happen to debtor/creditor relations if . . .

Thinking about the consumer debt crisis, mortgage defaults, US debt ceiling:

What would happen if  . . .

Any payment made – on a credit card, mortgage, or other debt –  would have a cap on the % going to interest – for example, be split 50% to principal, 50% of the payment going to any accumulated interest or fees.

With 50% of each payment going to principal, the lender’s return on investment would still average at least  50 -100%.

Assuming new purchases on open credit cards, and/or a large mortgage debt, or a corporate or country debt in the millions or more, the unpaid principal would continue to accrue interest, with any remaining unpaid interest and fees paid off at the end of the loan and/or whenever the remaining principal on revolving debt totalled less than half the payment.

A large benefit of this would be to avoid the “trapping syndrome” where a consumer or debtor is led to feel that their only ways out of the debt are to either walk away from the debt, or remain in the unhappy drudgery of an indentured slave trapped with continual payments for life.