Father Sez

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The costly PF mistakes and blunders I have made, and why you should not repeat my mistakes – Part 3

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

The four mistakes we have talked about so far are :- 

-         Not paying myself first

-         Not forming or joining a correct peer group

-         Not having a written budget and

-         Not managing my career properly  

There are more.

The next one is “not getting a better or the best deal on my mortgages”. 

My first mortgage was taken sometime in the late eighties. At that time, I was holding a key management position in a PLC.  The bank officers came to my office and took my particulars. A week or so later, they returned, this time with a solicitor. They had the documents all prepared and all I had to do was to sign on the dotted line.  

Which I did. 

The only things I remember about this mortgage :- 

a)    The Bank

b)    The amount borrowed

c)     The term and

d)    The monthly installment  

In the rush of the feeling of importance, I did not know then nor did I find out what the interest rate was, or whether it was a competitive one. And I did not even read the loan agreement and the other documents that came along with it.  

This loan was prepaid in full about 75% or so into its term. 

One would have thought that I should have learnt from this experience. Unfortunately I did not. 

With this house now free of loans, our family shifted to another town. We took another fresh mortgage on this first house and used the funds to pay for the second house in the new town + the renovations.  

As I was no longer holding that so called “important position”, this time, I had to join the queue and apply for the loan.        

Again the only things that I bothered about were same 4 things mentioned earlier. Now, having learnt a lot more about PF from the blogs, I have calculated the “losses” from this second misadventure. 

Had I shopped around for rates, I would have reasonably easily gotten a 10% reduction. If I had taken the lower interest rate loan and paid the same installments, I would have a year less to go. 

What I should have done

a)    I should have done comparison shopping for rates and terms of the loans. This should not have been too difficult an exercise as we do not have too many banks in our country. 

b)    I should have read every document carefully before signing. Though in this case, no surprises have come up so far, I have given the bank powers to raise rates at their discretion etc. (Though my loan is a fixed rate loan).

PS:

I tried to refinance the loan sometime last year, but the bank’s lawyers again came up with clauses allowing them to raise rates at their discretion, despite the ads promising an absolutely fixed rate loan throughout the length of the loan period.

My wife and I have since then decided to sell off the house and pay down our liabilities.

Don’t repeat my mistake, please

The purchase of our home is usually one of our biggest commitments. Hence the mortgage would be one of our biggest and longest liabilities. This liability has to be shopped for carefully, comparing rates and terms.  

If we are a good credit risk, we should make the Bank work for its money. 

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