HomeblogI apparently have really crappy timing.

I apparently have really crappy timing.

I called our agent the other morning to express interest in a house that  was newly listed. After a few back and forth emails, we decided we would look at it that evening (the same day it came on the market). A couple of hours later, my agent called to inform me we wouldn’t be looking at the house. Our appointment was for 5pm, but the listing agent had already received four cash offers, well above asking price, and had five more offers expected. What’s more, they were accepting one of these offers by 4pm, an hour before our appointment to see it.

I was frustrated. 

Not because I didn’t have a chance to even compete for the house – we probably wouldn’t have put in an offer – but because of the timing of our house hunting journey. Seriously annoying.

As I started thinking about it I just got more and more depressed. So depressed I compiled a list of other frustrating things that have happened during my, relatively short, 5-year PF journey:

I graduated college in 2007 with $28,000 of student loan debt. My sister, who graduated just a few years before me had a similar amount. But between her college graduation and mine, student loan interest rates nearly quadrupled.  Her $20,000+ student loan had a 2% interest rate, mine a 7% rate. There was nothing I could do about it. You can’t refinance student loans like you can a mortgage when rates drop. For no other reason than graduating in 2007, I had to pay four times as much interest as those who finished up just a couple of years before me. Did you know I actually considered NOT paying these loans off early, because part of my thinks when the student loan bubble bursts (which it surely will), student loans will get special treatments…possibly forgiven altogether. 

I graduated college in 2007. Wait. Didn’t I just say that? Yeah I did. I was fortunate to get a job right out of school, but many of my peers weren’t. I got my degree just in time to watch America take a dump on itself. I finally had an income and an ability to contribute to my retirement accounts. Too bad that virtually every dollar I invested during my first few years working, dropped in value. I get that investments will go up and down over time, but having my first exposure to Wall Street be during the Great Recession wasn’t exactly ideal.

I also decided to be a good Ninja and save up 20% for a down payment. Girl Ninja and I reached that threshold in January, right in time to kiss the buyers market goodbye. Inventory is at an all time low. House prices are up a stupid 18% year-over-year. And interest rates are ticking up. Had we just been irresponsible and bought a place last year (with only 10% down), we would have gotten waaaaaaayyyyy more bang for our buck.

We have a ton of money in a savings account. Why is this a bad thing you ask? Well, when I had just a few thousand in my high-yield savings account, I was earning 3% or more on my money. Now that we finally have a substantial amount of liquidity, my high-yield (can you even call it that anymore?) savings account pays a paltry 0.75% APY…FOUR TIMES LESS!!!! There’s nothing quite like having money in the bank, when the bank is arguably the worst place for it to be right now.

Ugh, I could keep going, but I can only wallow in my own self pity for so long. As frustrating as some of these circumstances can be, I gotta keep my head up and fight the good fight. Hindsight is always 20/20 and some of these things I really had no control over.  You can’t let an unfortunate thing, like a recession, totally rock your world and keep you from doing what you know is right.

I’d love to hear some of the frustrating things you’ve experienced during your financial journey. Share them below!



  1. HA! I share your pain! Las Vegas is having the same housing market as Seattle. A good friend of mine is desperately trying to buy a house but is getting crushed by cash offers. I think I found the perfect (new construction) house but it is still in the preliminary stages so I fear the prices will be out of my league by the time they do start accepting offers. On top of that the realtor of the development told me there are 250 people interested in the 53 homes they are building, as of last week…

    In regards to the past, I’ve invested in a horrible mutual fund in 1998, a dot com company that went bankrupt in 2001, and missed out on this crazy high stock market as of now. In 2007, you got lucky and got a great job and I got lucky by not jumping into the housing craze (almost bought a home for 450k that would be worth 225k today).

    Even though we both seem to have some crappy timing at least we have our wives, wealth, and health at the moment. Try not to take it for granted 🙂 Although, it’s tough to be patient…

  2. I also saw that the interest rates at ING-now-Capital-One dropped again when my interest payment was lower than it was the previous month, even though my balance only goes higher. 0.75% just seems insulting to me to be “high”, especially when Trent over at the Simple Dollar still says you can find 1-2% rates at local credit unions sometimes. Uh huh. Show me. I don’t believe you. My local credit union gives me 0.05%, and my big bank, if I had a savings account, would give me 0.01%. It’s actually losing me money to keep it liquid. Hmmph.

    I graduated in 2009, right after the big market crash, but was lucky to get a job. I kept thinking the market would go lower, and then that the euro would fail, and then that we’d go over the debt cliff, so I kept most of my retirement contributions out of stocks as I began working. But now the Dow is flirting with an all-time high and I missed out on all those gains because I was scared. (Even though the way the Dow is calculated can be misleading with that.) I’m just behind you demographically, so I really understand where you’re coming from – you’re not alone! But from my perspective, you’ve made smart decisions that don’t stop being smart just because the overall environment changes.

    There’s a reason you want 20% equity in a home + closing costs + an emergency fund before purchasing a house. Not to get political, and I know you’ve said before that your job is relatively secure and GN’s is too. But hypothetically speaking, with the sequester and the budget wars happening right now, what if you get hit with furloughs or layoffs over the next few months, but had bought a house a year ago? Had you completely liquidated yourself and had a larger housing cost with the PMI, you might be in a tight spot now and have a completely different perspective. I’m in the defense industry, and people are very concerned right now about what will happen with domestic programs due to the sequester.

    Fun tidbit – a 30-year fixed mortgage in October 1981 with Freddie was 18.45%. Yeah, savings account rates were higher, too, but aren’t you glad you aren’t dealing with that kind of whopper of a rate? During a recession?

    • With an interest rate like that the house prices were probably 30k. Don’t be fooled by low interest rates because the price of homes are inflated to compensate cheap money. There is a reason people like to buy cars with cash in hand. I’m feeling the same about buying a house like that too. Zero interest paid and no closing costs!

  3. I actually have a perfect timing story. It’s not really a story at all. We were able to refinance our mortgage to the lowest rate that the loan officer had ever seen. She said to me “Holy shit, how did you do this?” That was the best thing someone in the financial industry has ever said to me.

  4. Come on, man – graduating in 2007 was GREAT timing! I graduated the same year and all my friends had jobs within a few months (most, like myself, before graduating). 2009 would have been bad timing. And I’m psyched that I started saving/investing right at the start of the recession – I hardly lost any money because I was just starting out, and it’s been crazy gains since then.

  5. Bad timing sucks, but I think you dodged a bullet on this house. Look at the slope of that yard. You would have killed yourself trying to mow that lawn. You’re better off with something less dangerous.

    Okay seriously the view is awesome and it looks nice.

    As far as timing, it’s frustrating but what can you do about it. I graduated in 2008 (even worse timing) and there is a part of me that wishes I was born 5 years earlier so get in on the incredible economy, but I still got a good job and I’m happy. It’s like the first commenter said: I have my health, my fiancee, and a few dollars in my pocket. Life is good.

  6. I suffered the same frustration in 2004 when I was trying to buy a house in Phoenix. I looked for a solid month and was competing with 10+ other offers, some cash, all for way over the asking price. It was out of control. I finally did find a house that was unique in that it was a little house in a neighborhood of homes that looked like they belonged in Cape Code, not Phoenix, and it needed a lot of cosmetic work. I think I got it not because it needed a lot of work, but because it was an “odd” little neighborhood in the middle of a city of brown/beige homes that might only have appealed to some people. Funny thing was, when I did a for sale by owner 2 years later (right before the housing market started to drop) the woman who bought it for me specifically wanted that neighborhood.

    Hang in there! I know you know this, but don’t make decisions based on everything going on around you (“we need to get in NOW”), do what’s right for you and GN.

  7. I would be frustrated too. But you are living in a nice place right now. That situation could be way worse.

    Trust the Lord’s timing in this. Eventually it will all make sense.

  8. You are crazy! Bad timing??? I am pretty sure the stock market has done nothing but gone up since 2007 (which is probably when you started investing)

  9. Waitaminnit. Two days ago you were talking about a highly satisfactory rental situation; now you’re complaining you didn’t get to bid on a house. And as for wallowing in self-pity (your own words), don’t forget you are both employed, have a high net worth for your age, have no medical or legal issues, and have no debt. Try reversing any or all of those things, and then you might be entitled to talk about frustration.

    Interest rates are going to fluctuate. Cash can be invested. The housing stock will go up and down. So will the market. The student loan crisis may eventually be addressed by Congress. Or maybe it won’t. You win some, you lose some. If you were 65 years old and had major employment, legal, financial, or health issues, then I could understand the self-pity. What happens, happens. I’ll be 65 in six months and I’m not feeling nearly as frustrated as you appear to be.

    • THIS. Times a million. I married my wife in our early twenties and she has since been disabled with major health issues for years (and possibly life, but I try to keep hope!), but this also leaks majorly impacts our finances. Believe me, even though good health insurance is a great safety net, but boy,does that net have so HUGE holes in them. Well, I think Time magazine covered that recently.

      I get you’re saying that things could be better (but couldn’t they always) and that your post is supposed to be a half whine/half joke…so I decided to put in my little whine too! 🙂

  10. People say that we are heading to another recession. If you look at the interest rates and mortgage rates, they are still very low and quite stable. If a bank can still give you long term mortgage at low rates, it means they are not forseeing anything good in the future, no? I think you should either wait another 18 to 24 months and then go for it or buy a smaller/cheaper house (starter). No comment about the getting pregnant situation:-)

  11. Preach! I graduated in 2008 and got a job 2 months before everything crashed. At least things have to get better from here…right?

  12. I’m kinda depressed now. So I’m going to share positive PF news instead.

    Being married to an economic analyst is the BEST THING EVER. He’s my personal financial adviser. I am woefully aware of my spending habits, but I also get amazing advice on retirements and investments. We live in the most modest house ever (860 sq ft, built in 1953) but it is in amazing condition because we can afford to make all of the updates. He makes a boatload of money so we could easily afford a bigger house somewhere else but chose this location and size because of the lower property taxes. Because the house is so small, I am not tempted to buy unnecessary amounts of ‘seasonal’ household decor/items because frankly there is no place to put them. Ditto on my closet. I have a major clothing habit. I literally can’t fit anything else in the closet, ergo I can’t buy it. And if I did buy it, I wouldn’t be able to hide it from him because there’s no place to hide it. So where does that extra money go? Retirement accounts and investments.

    The point —> Everyone should have a financial adviser. Got money laying around? Invest it. Don’t know how to invest it? Get a financial adviser!! (Ahem, Ninja) There are ones that charge flat fees and ones that charge based on commission. Personally, I’d probably go for commission based because they don’t make money unless you do.

    My two cents.

  13. Yes, the buyer’s market has become a seller’s market. See, you missed out on some of the opportunities that were out there. Welcome to the real world. It always happens! I missed out on some great properties over the years for various reasons, It feels very frustrating at the time, but something better always comes along. You will probably be at a point soon where you have to make a decision with your savings. You may want to invest in longer term instruments and put off buying a home.

  14. Timing can be either a blessing or a curse…. But in the future, I bet the curse will eventually become a blessing. We had the same situation happen to us when we were looking for our house 8 years ago. We eventually bought a house about 8 blocks away. I used to powerwalk past it moaning about how much better that house would have been. Four years later a natural disaster happened and the house was damaged. The people living there were gone that night but we were actually home. I shudder to think if we had got that house.

  15. Yay for us being irresponsible and borrowing money from my husbands parents for a house in april of last year! I’m sorry that your blog has brought me so much joy in when we bought a house and you’re going through so much frustration!

  16. The problem is that you never know what the future will hold. My wife and I are saving money for a down payment and want to sell our home next year. I don’t know what will happen next year with real estate, but that is the only thing I can shoot for.

  17. We want to buy a house pretty soon, and will have 20% down plus closing plus extra house money plus emergency fund.

    We also want to help my parents buy a better house. Hopefully, we can do both. Crossing my fingers.

  18. Bought a house in 2007, sold it this month. Total loss compared with staying at our perfectly suitable house we had back in 2007 is roughly $300,000.

  19. […] Punch Debt bemoans the bad timing that’s chased him since graduation […]

  20. My worst timing was graduating with a teaching masters the year that basically the entire country went into a hiring freeze. Still haven’t recovered from that one…

  21. Oh man I hear ya when it comes to getting frustrated. It’s easy to let your mind spiral into reflecting on every thing that’s gone wrong over the years!

    Thinking back on college, one of the most frustrating things that I often come back to is that I was completely unprepared to enter the workforce – I didn’t know what I wanted to do/be, I didn’t know what employment options were like in my field of study, I was half-considering grad school… So all of a sudden, graduation came and I had to make some moves! I wound up getting a low paying job that had nothing to do with my major, and stayed there for a few years until I burned out. And I still feel like I’m trying to catch up from that!

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