Skip to main content

Black-eyed Peas for Luck, CitiMortgage for Money

Unlike many black women across the U.S., I am not tasked with making black-eyed peas for luck and greens for money to celebrate the new year. My one and only task to prepare for the coming year is quite simple:

Make a mortgage payment on December 31.

This is no small feat. Banks close early. Call centers are swamped. I can't set up my online bill pay function to do it because the bill pay function starts before my paycheck is deposited. My mission is simple: Pay the mortgage over the phone before CitiMortgage closes for the day on December 31.

You see, BMNB and I have been in income tax hell for the past three or four years. When we moved to California and were waiting out the overpriced housing market, we no longer had a primary residence for purposes of mortgage interest and property tax deductions. As a double-income, no kids professional (albeit civil service professional) couple with few tax deductions, we were getting taxed out of the behind and coming up short every year. We re-jiggered our withholding, increased our deferred comp contributions, even increased our charitable contributions, but to no avail. We still owed. Big time.

Finally, BMNB got to the end of his rope and decided we had to pull the trigger and buy a house, no matter how much it cost. So last year we did, but late in the year. And, desperate for the mortgage interest deduction and having made only one mortgage payment, I sprang into action on December 31, making our January 1 mortgage payment one day earlier for the sole purpose of getting the mortgage interest deduction for our 2008 tax year. It helped. We still owed, but it definitely helped.

This year, with me being furloughed and given the availability of mortgage interest and property tax deductions to us for the entire year, we're looking at a much better outcome for tax year 2009. Having been in income tax hell for so long, BMNB and I don't make any major money moves -- or even some minor ones -- without consulting our accountant and taking into consideration the tax consequences of any move we make. Oh, and we got a new accountant. I prefer to think of him as our personal tax samurai. He's aggressive on our behalf and gives us helpful tips throughout the year to make sure we're not "surprised and ambushed" by the IRS and FTB as we've been in the past.

So, in order to maximize our mortgage interest deduction, my one and only task was to make a mortgage payment today before CitiMortgage's customer service phone lines shut down. I prepared the night before, having my checkbook, our mortgage statement, and, most important, CitiMortgage's customer service number sitting by the phone. It was the first thing I did when I woke up this morning. I got kicked out of the customer service phone que once, but I promptly got back in the game and made our payment with the assistance of a customer service rep with a lilting East Indian accent. We wished each other a Happy New Year.

So, in our household, it's not greens for money -- it's CitiMortgage for money.

Happy New Year, Y'all. May you enjoy a healthy, peaceful, and prosperous 2010.

BWB

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When You Leave The Ghetto, Don't Bring It With You

NBA player Gilbert Arenas brings a gun to an NBA locker room. NBA player Ron Artest lets his pit bulls run wild and free in Loomis, California while playing for the Sacramento Kings. NFL player Michael Vick did time for fighting dogs. And NFL player Plaxico Burress is doing time for shooting his damn self.

What do all these men have in common? BMNB would say an inability to make a profound paradigm shift. I’m less eloquent than BMNB is, so I’ll say it differently: The inability to leave the ghetto behind.

Yes, call me saditty, bourgie, elitist, stuck-up, whatever. I don’t care. Until you’ve had a tweaker ruin your Thanksgiving turkey, you don’t even know (more on that later), and I’m not trying to hear you.

Living in Western Placer County, my husband and I continue to hear stories from folks like us who had to flee “those who can’t leave the ghetto behind.” You know these people, and they come in all races. In our case, we had returned to Sacramento in 2004 and 2005, respective…

Black Woman Blogging's Gun Control Proposal

Thanks to a relative who sent me death threats, I became a gun owner. Reluctantly.  What can I say.  You don't choose your family.

That said, I'm for gun control.

As far as I'm concerned, America lost its moral compass when we didn't do squat after Sandy Hook.  If you can allow a madman to murder children and not be moved to do nothing, you have no moral compass.  Period.

Now that we've broken an unfortunate record for the number of people killed in a mass shooting, perhaps we as a country are ready to get our minds right about gun control.  Perhaps.  So in that spirit, I offer my gun control proposal.

First, we need to agree on some real (not alternative) facts and principles:

1.  There is no such thing as an unlimited right.  Yes, people, there are no unlimited rights protected under the Constitution.  Your right to free speech?  Well, not all speech is protected under the First Amendment and even protected speech can be limited by time, place and manner.  Your…

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…