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Re: Home Wars

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Message 1 of 14

Mr Eaton and AARP –

I read your article “Home Wars” in Vol 60, No 1 of the February 2019 AARP issue.

The article addresses only ½ of a bigger story. It reports only people that are in arrears and the issues they are facing.  It doesn’t address the artificial cost increase in dues to those that pay on time.

 

 I live in a very small 125 home community in the Wash DC/N. VA area.  There is nothing inexpensive in this area.  Our dues are planned out 10 to 15 years in advance with yearly adjustment for any number of different topics. We take into consideration plaza overhaul, asphalt refurbishment, sidewalk repairs or renovation, increases in electricity, landscaping, electrical work and phone/alarm line cost increases.  At any given time we have 6 to 10 homeowners in arrears.  Some amounts are minor and some have gone on for years.  Now when HOA dues are discussed planning takes into account those home owners that are not paying their dues.  Thus, my wife and I pay a higher assessment for those in arrears.

 

A rough calculation is that Ms. Lally, mentioned early in the article, hasn’t paid her dues for five months.  Later in the article there are dollar amounts where it appears Ms. Lally hasn’t paid dues for 36 months.  Each month a management company and law firm files additional paperwork on the lien and the cost is added to the bill.  I don’t know FL law but in VA a real estate checklist includes HOA documents.  Those documents discuss what happens when dues are not paid.  By now, Ms. Lally is probably fully conversant with the HOA laws.  In my HOA volunteers guide the management company.  The management company hires the law firm that represents the HOA.  What Ms. Lally and others find out is that dues are a small part of the bill when liens are filed and lawyers get involved.  I’m going out on a limb but from the article it would appear that if Ms. Lally can’t afford $135 per month she clearly overextended herself when she bought into the community – regardless of the reason!

 

Mr. Eaton, you indicate that HOA’s have a dark side.  I submit that reality is not a “dark side”.  Bills to run the HOA must be paid and the money comes from the home owners.  Her HOA documents explain reality and people ignore reality until it affects them.

 

Ms. Lally’s solution, bittersweet as it may be, is to sell her property, pay off her bills and move into something more affordable.  Harsh, you bet!  Forcing others to cover her obligation, selfish.

 

I do not want to carry the burden of people that have bought into a housing area that is really beyond their means.  Further, I don’t want to wait until those people sell their house to pay their bill because each month I pay extra that I will never get back.

Side note, my wife and I are retired and on a fixed income.

 

 - JH

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Home Wars

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Message 2 of 14

I object to the lack of balance and one-sided personal sympathy in Joe Eaton's February article about strong enforcement against defaulting homeowners association members who can't make required payments.  Sympathy for the defaulting member is nice, but let's require that defaulting person to call equally stressed neighbors to tell them that they will have to pick up a share of the defaulting member's monthly charges or the place won't be maintained properly, maybe the exterminator won't come, the roof won't be repaired or the lawn mowed, and remember not to let your grandchildren use the pool or they might get sick.  I suggest that defaulting members who can't afford common charges sell as soon as possible and move before their default becomes large enough to upset the board and result in expensive legal action.  Membership in an HOA comes with a responsibility to meet the required obligations without exception. Boards that are too easy wind up with big problems caused by a large number of deadbeats who somehow can pay their mortgages but don't take HOA charges seriously.  People who can't meet their obligations really should be renters somewhere else. Remember the defaulting member is hurting the neighbors, not some rich landlord.

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Re: How to leave a comment about an article in the magazine

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Message 3 of 14

That advice they keep giving about waiting until 70 to take Social Security is WRONG.

 

Your benefits will go up by 8% a year, but this is not the same as investing a nest egg at 8%, because you have no principal.

 

Instead, you will be PAYING for those increases through benefits not received during the wait. It can take up to twenty years at the higher benefit to make up for all those lost benefits you so strategically rejected for 4-8 years.

 

In other words, if you don't wait, you will have accumulated quite a bundle by the time you are seventy, but if you do wait, you will have nothing to show for it at 70 other than the fact that your monthly benefits will be higher. That monthly increase, set aside, will not add up to what you turned down until you are somewhere near 90.

 

So unless you're sure you'll hit ninety and see a net gain, take benefits as early as you are eligible, all other things being equal (e.g. don't retire early just to take early SS).When you finally hit 90, your are unlikely to think, "**bleep**, I wish I'd waited."

 

Even if you don't need Social Security, take it early and invest your monthly payments. Later you can use THAT nest egg to pay yourself whatever extra you would have made by waiting until 70. If you've invested according to conventional wisdom, you may be well past 100 before you'll say, "**bleep**, I wish I'd waited."

 

I took it early, and it has quite obviously paid off. I keep telling Jane this and I sent her the figures, but she refuses to answer other than an answer saying she won't answer. I don't understand these people.

 

As you decide when to take Social Security, do the math. It is simple math. Add up the total benefits you would receive between now and 70 if you don't wait. Divide that total by the monthly benefit increase you'd get if you do wait. That's how many months it will take you to break even. Divide by twelve, add to 70, and that's how old you will be. Is it worth the wait?

 

 

 

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Re: How to leave a comment about an article in the magazine

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Message 4 of 14

@SandiB862664 wrote:

A toast to better retirement

article in June July 2018

 

why did you not reference the other 7. states that have small business 401 k plans?


Sandi,

Is this an online article, ATM or bulletin. I'd be happy to help you if you could provide the reference. 
Thank you!

Jen

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Re: How to leave a comment about an article in the magazine

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Message 5 of 14

A toast to better retirement

article in June July 2018

 

why did you not reference the other 7. states that have small business 401 k plans?

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Re: How to leave a comment about an article in the magazine

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Message 6 of 14

A toast to better retirement

article in June July 2018

 

why did you not reference the other 7. states that have small business 401 k plans?

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Re: How to leave a comment about an article in the magazine

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Message 7 of 14

Joanne,

Confirmed it is bulletin@aarp.org.

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Re: How to leave a comment about an article in the magazine

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Message 8 of 14

I commented on a similar story on FB and the response Ir eceived was to send an email to the general mailbox - bulletin@aarp.org

 

Seems like AARP might need to update their process to provide an easier way to provide feedback.

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Re: How to leave a comment about an article in the magazine

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Message 9 of 14

This article? http://www.aarp.org/politics-society/government-elections/where-they-stand-election-2016/

 

I'll see if I can find an email for you. 

Jen

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Re: How to leave a comment about an article in the magazine

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Message 10 of 14

The recent cover story in the AARP Bulletin (not the magazine.)  There is no information in the Bulletin itself (hardcopy), no information in the Bulletin online (no Comment box to click).  No information on the AARP website to send a note to the Editor in Chief Robert Love.  No information in the Contact link to send feedback on content - only for additional information for membership, etc.

 

I think I was pretty thorough in searching for somewhere to make a comment but couldn't find anything.

 

Joanne

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