Wednesday, September 1, 2010

An Interesting Conundrum

One of the biggest issues around my husband being unemployed is not the unemployed bit. It's the impact to the budget. Quite frankly, whether he gets paid or not is a bit irrelevant to me - I didn't marry him for his present or future financial means, I married him because he's a great partner and a fantastic father, and I couldn't imagine life without him.

If it wasn't for the budget impact, I could care if he ever earns another dime - it's just not important to me (although it is to him, I don't think he's quite as enamoured with him being home as I am). Which is how I know he was the right one for me - when I'm not weighing the financial implications of a decision, and money is the least important factor, it's the right life choice.

This past week, a financial game-changer came to light. When we bought our house, we put a significant amount down, but it wasn't 20%. At the time, a 2nd mortgage, worth about 9% of the value of our house at the time was a better deal than PMI.

That 2nd mortgage, while small, is a barrier to our ability to refinance - and with current rates where they are, a refinance might save us about $800 a month, conservatively. So needless to say, we've wanted to do it.

Well, the ability to pay off the 2nd mortgage came up as an opportunity this week. With that paid off, and the road to refinancing cleared, all of a sudden our budget shortfall shrinks to.....$0. Maybe less than $0. Probably significantly less than $0.

Simple decision, right? Maybe. It involves a gift, and so we're weighing the decision. Will we probably go for it? Yes. Is it the right thing on all fronts? Probably. But I'm reasonably proud, and get a little twitchy about money I didn't earn. It's a hang up of mine, along the lines of "I did it myself". Sounds a little toddler-like, doesn't it?

Yeah, it is. I never claimed to be mature all the time.

So all of a sudden, what my husband's next move is becomes an entirely open field. Career change, part-time,'s all a choice. And that is a type of financial freedom we didn't expect. We'd be back to a place where paying off the mortgage before our daughter goes to college is a real possibility.

So what's next? I don't know. First, the logistics. Pay off the loan. Gracefully thank the givers of the gift. Hope that my husband's lack of income doesn't prevent us from a refi (it shouldn't).

And then? We'll see.

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