Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Avoiding Car Payments is Easier Said Than Done

By Reginald Kaigler (DEMCAD)

"Don't be a debt slave!" "Stop Being stupid!"

We've heard similar these lines from a myriad of self-help gurus. Dave Ramsey is one of the most well known financial gurus who offers people common sense advice on avoiding the dangers of debt.  And in a general sense, I agree with most of his message. Dave Ramsey is absolutely right when he states that car loans are wealth destroyers.

He advocates that most people should avoid car payments, because most people get trapped into paying on a loan that never ends.

Dave Ramey advises people to buy a cheap car and save money. You can invest it or use the money that you save to buy a better car.

But what if the cheap car isn't actually as cheap as you think? What happens when the $1,000 car turns out to be a costly nightmare?

I saw a Youtube video by Rachel Cruze in which he advises her views to buy a $1,000 car to avoid car payments. In principle, this strategy seems frugal and wise. In reality, this strategy carries risks that she and Ramey rarely mention.

What if the car dies?

My greatest concern about the cheap car strategy is reliability.

How much money you're going to waste trying to keep that cheap car running? There's a reason why the car is only $1000. Is it because the car is ugly?

Or is it because it's unreliable and a piece of junk.

A simply solution would be to take it to a mechanic and have it inspected.

Unfortunately, a mechanic is not a psychic and can't predict when the fuel pump will die. That $1000 or $2,000 car may require a significant amount of repairs. It's not uncommon for cheap cars to possess a number of mechanical failures within a short time frame. And when that happens, you'll be stuck with the repair bill.

But paying the repair bill will still be cheaper than buying $450 per month for a car that you can't afford. Unfortunately, money is not the only factor. Another major factor is employment,
Good luck holding on to a job when your car keeps dying on you. If you live in an urban area or have a lot of family in your area, you will have secondary methods of getting to work. If you car doesn't start, you can use mass transportation (in the city).

However, if you live in a rural area, the situation will be more complicated. You can't simply jump on the bus when you live in the middle of the sticks. As of 2017, I have been living in rural Kentucky for over 3 years and I can tell you that it is impossible to hold on to a job without a reliable car.

The Dave Ramsey strategy is financially sound, but it feels incomplete. Here are some things that you should keep in mind if you employ this strategy.

Easy Vehicle
Select a low cost used car that is known for being reliable, easy to work on and has a large market for parts. This will keep the cost of repairs at a reasonable level. Hook the car up to a reader and see if the codes have been recently cleared.

Good Owner
Find a private seller and take the vehicle to a mechanic. While you're at it, ask your friends if they know someone who is selling a vehicle. If you can, try to buy that old Buick from an elderly man who retired from GM. Retirees are more likely to take care of the vehicle.

Secondary Transportation
Develop a Backup plan before something goes wrong. How a way to work that doesn't involve the cheap (I mean, low cost) car. Learn the bus schedules or get the Uber app.  I recommend joining AAA. And get the premium member if you live in a rural location, because it offers 200 miles of towing.

If you're really interested in saving money, you may want to consider living close to your job site. You could even consider carpooling with family and/or friends.

In 2015, my piece of junk van died and I was forced to buy another vehicle. I put $1800 down on a 2004 Chevy Suburban Z71. I didn't take it to a mechanic, but I let a knowledgeable friend examine the vehicle.

After I bought the vehicle, I had a car payment of $230. But I didn't care. I pay $600 per paycheck ($1200 per month) and had the $7200 vehicle paid off in less than six months. I was able to do this, because I didn't have to pay rent. I didn't live with my parents, but I was able to avoid paying rent and utilities. I was in a very fortunate situation.

In the last two years, I have replaced a front end part, starter, front axle seal, alternator, four tires, water pump, thermostat, coolant hose, serpentine belt and front impact sensor.

I also replaced all four rotors and brakes. Some of these costs are necessary for any vehicle and others are the result of buying a vehicle with over 230,000 miles.

I prefer to avoid debt, but sometimes our circumstances limit our options.

Simply put, you have to assess your situation, add in the variables and make the best decision that you can make.

Don't buy a new car that you can't afford, but avoid buying a used car that is unreliable. Good luck finding the happy median.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Music Review: Carly Rae Jepsen's "Emotion" & "Emotion Side B"

By Reginald Kaigler (DEMCAD)

Carly Rae Jepsen and Taylor Swift are the best pop acts in the world, but most people only know about the latter. The former produced one of the best pop albums of 2015: Emotion. Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion was a fusion of sophisticated contemporary pop and a 80's influenced pop. It was an 80's album that managed to provide the audience with music that perfectly utilized what we loved about the 80's, while giving us a fresh and unique sound.

I've listened to "Emotion" for months and I still love every song on the album. Frankly, any song on the album is better than anything I'm hearing on pop mainstream radio. Now, there are some standouts that I must mention.

"Run Away With Me" is a catchy, rhythmic and incredibly fun confession of love. Much of the album projects a theme of a young woman who isn't afraid of reaching for love. Sometimes it complicated, sometimes its simple, sometimes its messy.

Songs like "Boy Problems" and "I Didn't Just Come Here To Dance" are the kinds of songs I can dance to all night. The albums strike s a great balance of dance pop songs with clever lyrics and chill ballads.

The song "All That" represents everything that I love about ballads. The song is honest and beautiful. The song makes me feel like I'm watching a women strip down and bare her soul.

What's fascinating is how naturally and authentic the music comes across. Many singers pipe out love songs, but it's obvious that the songs were entirely written by someone else.

"Emotion Side B" continues where "Emotion" left off. Actually, it expands the range of "Emotion" without deviating too far from the themes of A side albums. The song "Store" incorporates the beautiful melodic contemporary/80's sound of sounds like "All That", but switches up the sound with a more high energy tempo.

The brilliance of the song is that it tells the story of a woman who clearly cares for her lover, but also includes lyrics such as "I'm just goin' to the store. You might not see me anymore, anymore. I'm just goin' to the store". The is playful, soulful and funny.

I'm not going to discuss every song on the album. But I will tell you that both "Emotion" and Emotion B" are some of the very best pop creations that I've heard in years. I highly recommend both "Emotion" and "Emotion Side B".

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

MUSIC REVIEW: Jason Derulo's "Everything is 4"

Review by Reginald Kaigler

Jason Derulo's 2015 album "Everything is 4" seem crafted for the pop charts. Many of the songs can be play in nightclubs as originals or as a remix of some kind. Many of the songs make my head rock, but there isn't much substance. In a year that has given up albums such as Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly", I expect more from hip hop (and pop).

At times, Jason Derulo's music shines as bright as his "So You Think You Can Dance" persona. When he sings, he projects a charisma that pulls you into the music. The album is more pop than r&b and is perfect for a drive to work. His song with JLo is a wonderful, breezy pop track ("Try Me") that's worth replaying over and over.

Many of the songs are catchy and upbeat, but a few songs seem awkward and immature. For example, his duet with K Michelle in "Love Like That" feels silly and forced. Listening to him sing about sleeping with his best friend's girlfriend feels insincere.

His duet with Julia Michael in "Trade Hearts" is a joy to hear. It's a beautiful duet that belongs on the Top 40 Charts. It also makes me want to break out and dance one of those breath-taking Mia Michaels' contemporary dance number, except I have no dancing abilities and I would probably look like a flopping whale.

By the way, Mia Michaels is a choreographer on the TV show "So You Think You Can Dance".

Anyway, Derulo proves that he can still carry his own weight with "Cheyenne". The song "Painkiller" is awful. The lyrics in the song are tasteless and pedestrian. The tracks "Pull Up" and "Get Ugly" almost demand that you get off your ass and dance. Overall, the album is a strong effort. "Everything is 4" deserves a score of 7 out 10. If you enjoy "Want to want Me", you'll enjoy the album.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Connecticut Gun Law Turning Armed Citizens into Criminals?

By Reginald Kaigler (DEMCAD)

What's happening in Connecticut is not only unconstitutional, but downright irresponsible. Following the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, the CT legislature decided to ignore the second amendment and restrict gun rights by creating a state registry system that would require every so called "assault rifle" and high capacity magazine in the state to be registered by the end of Dec. 31st, 2013. This draconian law was passed by Democrats under the claim that it would make the public safer.

But there was never any evidence that such a law could ever increase public safety. For years, gun control advocates claimed that the pro-second amendment crowd was 'paranoid' to assume that registration would lead to confiscation. Despite the fact that there's a long list of historical precedents that show that governments often use registration as a perquisite to confiscation, the gun control crowd often lied about the ramifications of government forcing people to register their rifles.

Connecticut Gun Owners Ignore Registration Deadline

In Connecticut, gun owners have been forced to into a corner. The government has made it clear that they have two options: register their firearms or risk being charged with a felony. Remember, the new law requires that every magazine that held over 10 rounds must be registered. The deadline has passed and many people registered their guns. But the registration is very low. Thousands of gun owners were late in registering and therefore received letters from the State Police warning them to turn in their guns. Because the registration letters arrived late, the government now knows that they have unregistered rifles and this puts these particular gun owners into a very bad spot.

What should they do?

This maybe a good time for them to visit an attorney. Some people may choose to hide their weapons. And if the police come looking for these gun owners, we could see the beginning of a very nasty trend. No one wants to see a confrontation at someone's doorstep. The police may decide to go after these people or just ignore the list. Whatever these gun owners do, they shouldn't break any additional laws. For example, although it is legal for the police to lie to you, it is illegal for you to lie to the police. So don't provide false statements to the police.

CT: Those who missed gun registration deadline getting letters from state police

The U.S. Constitution vs. Legislative law

I came across an interesting video on Youtube that featured a citizen of CT calling an officer and asking if he was going to enter gun owners homes and confiscate their weapons if a GUN OWNER REFUSED TO TURN IN AN UNREGISTERED GUN.

The most fascinating aspect of the phone conversation was the officer's declaration that he didn't want to talk about the constitution. the offficer insisted that he would follow the law and would only consider it unconstitutional if the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. This is interesting because officers are sworn to unhold the U.S. Constititution. Here's my question to that officer and any officer: If Congress passed a law ordering the indefinite detaining of all Black Americans and the U.S. Supreme Court declared it constitutional, would you still support such a measure?

It seems to me at some point, the police must decide that protecting the people is a higher priority than serving politicians. I understand that most officers are not psychotic assholes on a power trip. Most are normal people who just want to do their jobs. But I think the law enforcement community needs to have this very important discussion.


I doubt the Sate Police will start to target gun owners, but if there's a domestic violence call, the police may have a reason to search a home and therefore use the gun law against a gun owner.

How do you think this law will be enforced?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Shocking ATF Gun Running Allegations!

Remember the ATF gun running scandal?

The scandal centered around the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco and Firearms) program Operational Fast and Furious which began in 2009. Based in the Phoenix, AZ field office, the ATF encouraged American gun dealers to sell guns to Mexican criminals so the bureau could track them and take out a cartel. Yet, there was no method of tracing the weapons and they ended up being used in a myriad of murders in Mexico. Thanks to ATF, 2,000 weapons hit the streets of Mexico and two of them were used at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
ATF agent and whistleblower, John Dodson blew the lid off of the entire situation in 2011. The ATF even stopped him from releasing a book on the topic. Now, Dodson is saying that the Mexicans thugs that killed Brian Terry, were sent to the border to do a drug rip off with information provided by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency). But it all went bad. According to Dodson, these guys were known criminals who were armed by the ATF and directed by the FBI.

 And this is the government that wants more gun control?


1. Why hasn't Attorney General Eric Holder been fired?
2. Why was the DEA, FBI and ATF supporting these murderous criminals?
3. Why didn't we find this out sooner?

Read the article...


Thursday, December 19, 2013

‘Duck Dynasty’: Phil Robertson FIRED for Anti-Gay Remarks

By Reginald Kaigler (DEMCAD)

I maybe the only man in America that hasn't seen the hit A&E reality television show "Duck Dynasty." But I really don't watch as much TV as I used to. Recently, one of its stars, Phil Robertson, was removed from the show after blasting an anti-gay rant in GQ magazine.

 “...start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men... It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical...”
From GQ Magazine.

Needless to say, A&E released a statement rejecting Robertson's ignore rant. The man wantonly used his religion to justify his anti-gay rhetoric and I completely disagree with his message. I'm heterosexual, but I don't think any of us should be judging anyone based on their sexual orientation. If someone wants a dick up their ass, so be it. it's none of my business.

Now the question is should Robertson be fired for expressing an opinion that his employer fully rejects? A lot of people are calling this a violation of the second amendment. But it's clearly not. Robertson has the freedom to say whatever he wants, but the network reserves the right to fire him for whatever legal reason they want. And in this case, the network executives felt that he embarrassed them and hurt their brand.

If I were the head executive, would I have fired Robertson? If I were a corporate office manager, I would fire an employee for making a public statement like this.
However, in this case, they made a deal with him for a reality show. They knew what they were getting. They hired him so they could make money off of Roberston being himself. And now they're firing him for being himself. 

So in this context, no, I wouldn't fire him. The comment was more ignorant than hateful. He's a reflection of what is preached about throughout the bible.

“...don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right...”

 I'm not a Christian, but most Americans claim to be. So why is political correctness is such contrast with what's written in the bible?

The producers had to know that putting devoted Christians on the network would mean that at least some of them would share this viewpoint. And if so, why fire one for speaking out. Did the network hope that they would be politically correct, because of the large sum of cash they were making?

Probably so.

But it didn't happen. So why did they really fire him? Did they fire him because of what he said or because he actually said it publicly.

Although, I don't agree with his foolish comments, I definitely respect the fact that he wasn't willing to sell out. He spoke his mind and didn't seem to care if it was politically correct. And with this much money on the line, he may have been the only guy in America who was willing to do that.