Ouch! Well first of all, as in the past three years, two days ago I was able to pay a further 10% extra off my mortgage. I think I've explained before that the only time I can pay extra off my mortgage is if I pay 10% of the initial sum (obviously they don't want people to do this), so in my case it means I have somehow to cobble together 33,000 Swiss francs. This will be the fourth year in a row that I have been able to make this extra payment on top of my regular mortgage payments and I thank God I have been able to do it because that is what is going to allow me to retire at Christmas!
I always keep a copy of my original mortgage amortization schedule in my diary on the date the mortgage falls due (I pay every three months) and from that I can see that by doing this I have knocked an extra 114,000 Swiss francs (£89,000 or $114,000) off where my mortgage would have stood had I not made these extra payments! Yay me! I realize, of course, that I have been very fortunate to be able to do that but I'm just so, so glad that I knuckled down and threw (almost) everything I had at it! Not everything of course because I have still travelled but as I mentioned in a recent post, I cut everything else back as far to the bone as possible in order to be able to sock that money away!
On the "brrrrrr" side, we have been having glorious weather here still - no rain, and you can still easily go outside in the sunshine without your coats on (well the Brits can - everyone else seems to think it's "cold" enough to wear coats. What a bunch off wimps!!!!) Buuuuuttttt, apparently as from Saturday we are heading for fairly constant rain for a few days so I imagine the snow won't be too far behind. I'm just so glad that when I got my car serviced the other week I had them put my winter tyres on because as soon as the first snow flurries come the garages are swamped with people rushing to do the same, so again "yay me"!
And on the "I wish they'd make up their bloody minds" part, I had spoken to a colleague who lives near me (in France) and was telling her about the horrendous tax I was going to pay on the lump sum. In any case, I have resigned myself to paying it but the thought of it is more than a little painful, I can tell you. Anyway, since she will also be retiring shortly she contacted our local tax office and they basically said the info my tax guy had given me was baloney, and that the tax on the lump sum would work out at about 15% instead of the 22% he was talking about. So I forwarded to my colleague the explanations my guy had given me and she then "played tax ping-pong" with the tax authorities, which eventually led to the lady there basically saying that my guy "doesn't know his a$$ from a hole in the ground" (only she put it more politely) and offering to bring him up to speed!!!!! Sooooo, I have the name of another tax person that I intend to talk to and I will shortly be going on a pre-retirement course to be held in one of the large international organizations here where they bring in tax people from both Switzerland and France to talk about these issues (amongst other things), so I intend to put my case to them (in front of about 500 people I guess). Crikey! In any case, I have/had resigned myself to paying around 22% of my lump sum in tax so if I can get that down to around 15% I will be well pleased, but don't you think everyone should be "singing from the same song sheet on this matter"!!!!
And finally, on Wednesday night I went with Thérèse, the "Présidente" of our sewing club for the last 22 years, to the annual meeting of the local community centre groups. I was surprised to find out that there are about 14 groups in total who use the facilities donated by this particular commune for free (and who also receive a small subsidy from the commune) and we are, therefore, obliged to have a yearly meeting where each club must submit its accounts! That's a bit of a joke to me at least because I am the treasurer of the second-hand bookshop that we run in aid of various charities and for me that just means tracking spending/receipts and keeping any remaining cash in a tin under my bed! Still, this has to be done properly and it was pretty nice to find out more of what kinds of groups it is possible to join (you know, when you're not putting in 12-hour days working/commuting). Anyway, the big joke is that I am now the "Présidente" (so a little respect is in order don't you think) of our sewing club (despite not being able to sew!!!! - I do a bit of patchwork when I go, but can't sew) but then they only need someone to do the administrative work in any case! After the meeting everyone crashed out of the meeting room for drinks and snacks, but as it was nearly 10 p.m. and I hadn't even been home yet I bowed out (this time). So there you, go - another feather to add to my hat (and CV) when I finally get round to asking for French citizenship! I hope they are impressed!
I will show you the respect your deserve! I don't know if I really understand the prepayment system, but good on you for scraping all those funds.ReplyDelete
I think mortgage pre-payment seems to vary depending on who you take your mortgage out with. Some people seem to have the ability to pay twice a month and overpay, I pay every three months and some (many in Switzerland) pay just once a year, so I guess you have to read the fine print. The only thing I was adamant about when I took out my mortgage was that there should be no major penalty for early repayment. If you are smart (lucky) over here you can also play around with the exchange rate. My mortgage is in Swiss francs (which I earn) but my house is in France (so think euros) so if the euro crashes again (looking likely to me) I hope to jump in there and change as many Swissies to euros as possible. But don't go investing too many $$$ on the strength of my predictions - I haven't got it right yet!Delete
Wow, wouldn't that be great if the tax was so much lower! That would make a huge difference in your wiggle room, perhaps more travel money? :) El Presidente...has a nice ring but they say those at the top just take more crap so not sure it's worth the titleReplyDelete
Any decrease in the amount of that tax is more money in my pocket and while I have budgeted to get the heating replaced and bathrooms redone, I also have to be sure I have money for a car if this one should die a death as you can't live where I do without a car. And I don't mind being El Presidente really - we are such a small group and it's hardly Wall Street!Delete
We are able to pay down or prepay our mortgage once a year also. Part of my retirement plan was to pay my mortgage off early. It was a 25 year amortization and I had it paid off in 17 years and of course saved thousands on interest. I'm so happy for you that you are able to take advantage of this tax break and retire by Christmas!! Woo hoooooo!ReplyDelete
Will you email me? I cannot find an email for you. I promise I will not forward sappy emails to you. firstname.lastname@example.orgReplyDelete
I already did, the day you first asked me to. I don't have it in my sent items as I routinely delete them but as soon as I type "p" you come up as a contact.Delete
Wow, you have rocked that mortgage! The possible lump sum payment reduction is also awesome.ReplyDelete
I'm keeping my fingers crossed on the reduction on the lump sum - I think it may well be right - and everything helps doesn't it.Delete