The Meltdown

This is one of those vulnerable articles. It’s hoped that as I share about my/our weaknesses you too will be encouraged to own and accept your weaknesses, defeating any perfectionistic stride that tends to disrupt and even destroy relationships.Meltdown: think nuclear plant meltdown where the nuclear core is severely overheated and catastrophic damage results.We have a five-year-old, and very recently something happened that often happens at his age-and-stage. He had a meltdown. The process normally goes like this. Creative idea, build something, doesn’t work, frustration sets in, destroy the creation in anger. Not all the time, just occasionally. Dealing with pre-school children all the time, and having had another three children who are now adults, there’s nothing alarming in it. Besides, our five-year-old has witnessed us having meltdowns – and I can speak only for myself here.


There are all sorts of meltdowns, not just the angry ones, but also the teary ones, the anxious ones, the prideful ones, and the panicky ones.I want to share with you the kind of meltdown I’m capable of; this would happen occasionally in 2016 when I was thrust into an occupational world that I did not want any part of, but had to engage in just to support my family.I was very blessed to be offered work – two separate part-time positions – through friends, one of whom was my ex-wife, when pastoral ministry work went belly-up.Meltdowns occurred because of both jobs, but the case in point here centred around my job working with my ex-wife. These meltdowns never had anything to do with her – we, her and her husband and I, had a very good working relationship, always trying to outdo one another in what we gave.But it was the nature of the work that had me positioned like a fish out of water. I was packing chilled meals for home delivery, and so regularly my mind was doing backflips, that at times, my head was saying, ‘I cannot do this… it’s too hard… my brain is wired to work with people, one person at a time, not five or more tasks held in the mind at any one time, with noise, with pressure, with interruptions. (I need to say that since I burned out in 2005 my brain has some kind of permanent disability in managing many tasks simultaneously.) I was always fine when I got out on the road to do the deliveries, other than the times I had meltdowns. And this happened on a half dozen occasions.Here is the nature of that kind of meltdown. I would call my wife and say, panicked and in tears, ‘Darling, I cannot do this anymore… it’s too hard… my mind can’t keep up… I’m useless.’ After 10-minutes of hearing me out she would usually help me accept that I could get through the delivery run. I was usually fine after this. The inner meltdown in the presence of others manifested in an outward meltdown when it was safe with my wife.


There was nothing wrong with the delivery driving job, and in fact it taught me important skills, helped me master a new degree of patience, gave me empathy for those in that kind of work, and it showed me what I’m not good at. And it showed me how, all through my life, I’ve had the capacity for this kind of depressed meltdown that comes straight out of my wounded child state.We all have meltdowns, even those who seem to have perfect lives, and especially those who look like they’ve got their lives under control.I don’t know a single person who hasn’t had a meltdown. So, what do we do with this?We stop feeling ashamed of them whilst we do all we can to limit the kind of damage meltdown can bring.

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying a Mobile Home

Mobile homes have an unfair reputation for being low quality or trashy. That just isn’t true. A mobile home is a great way to get your own property, place it anywhere you choose and for less than many more stationary houses tend to cost. It is becoming an increasingly popular option, with variations such as tiny homes and mini cottages becoming a darling of the real estate world.

If you are reading this you are probably considering making a purchase yourself. Before you go shopping for the perfect little place of your own, here are some things you should know.

There Are Many Kinds of Mobile Homes

Mobile homes are not all the same single level family affair that you may be used to. There are multiple styles and types, as the couple mentioned above prove. Tiny houses are miniature homes that attempt to utilize every inch of space, all in a very small package. Mini cottages are similar, though usually one room wood houses with lofts.

There are also multi-level mobile homes. These are less portable, which makes them a mixed bag. But if you are looking to get a manufactured home and you aren’t concerned with being able to move it quite as easily it is definitely a good option.

If portability is your goal there are models that come on wheels, which can be either kept on at all times or slipped under with some tools.

The Cost of Mobile Homes Can Vary Wildly

With so many mobile home styles it probably won’t surprise you that these dwellings don’t come in a standard price range. According to Forbes, the average cost of a tiny house is around $23,000. But the average cost of a single story mobile home is around $64,000. Multi-level manufactured homes can vary, but you can assume between $50 and $100 per square foot.

The varying prices is one reason that it is important to know what it is you are looking for in a home. You should also consider other costs that are associated with your house. The land that you are building it on, for example, or the hook up costs for electricity, plumbing, gas, etc. These may not be built into the price and so require additional installation and fees.

Quality Is a Factor

Not all mobile homes are created equal. In fact, going to the wrong provider can end in some serious headaches. A major storm can topple it over or damage can be done to the exterior, pieces can fall off, etc. It is critical that you find a reputable dealer or construction crew to help you find the right mobile home.

You are looking for quality materials, designs and reputable reviews for who you work with. If you find all three you will wind up with a beautiful, sturdy home.

Manufactured or Prefabricated Homes Are Awesome

These style of houses are fantastic. Not only are they lower cost than from scratch models, but they are easier and faster to put up. A crew as small as two people can construct a manufactured or prefabricated mobile home, using pretty basic tools. Sometimes it can be done in as little as an afternoon.

That is because the pieces are already put together and ready to combine. They have been shipped from the factory with everything needed, to the location you specify. So the people putting it up just have to go through and hook all the parts, from the walls and foundation to the different compartmentalized rooms and features.

Getting a Loan Can Be Tricky

When you are getting a mortgage you go to a bank, right? Most mobile homes won’t qualify under mortgage programs. Instead you have to either go through an official mobile home company that specializes in financing, or you have to go through a credit union that has a loan specifically for this style of house.

The idea is that mobile homes are portable and many people mistake that to mean temporary. They are also lower cost, so there is less profit gained through interest rates. Many banks don’t see the point of funding them.

Thankfully, it isn’t hard to get a loan from one of these specified places. If you have an account with a credit union it is all the better, as that improves your odds of approval and they often have competitive rates.

Location Is Everything

You could have a gorgeous, well crafted, amazing mobile home. But if it is sitting on an ugly lot in the middle of a crowded area, what good it is? You want a location that is central to what you need, but still pretty, functional and offers you whatever you are looking for. Some people choose mobile parks in order to have a neighborhood feel. Others choose more isolated locations where they can enjoy a plot of land.

Whatever works for you, location is a pretty important part of buying your mobile home. It is also a good chunk of what you will be paying for. Renting land is possible, such as in mobile parks. But buying your own ensures you have greater equity in your property. It is a sound investment, even if you plan on uprooting and moving somewhere else. Land is also cheaper than you might expect, depending on the area.

Retail Cost Versus Invoice Cost

Once you know what you are looking for and where you are going, it is time to go to a reputable dealer. When dealing with closing costs make sure you ask to see the invoice cost of the property. If they resist, insist on it or possible go to someone else. This is a better representation of cost without inflation that can come from retail markups.

Don’t let them corner you into telling your budget or what you can pay monthly. Just have them give you flat invoice prices for a described model and then negotiate based off of that price.

5 Ways Refinancing Your Home Loan Can Help You

We take a look at 5 ways refinancing your home loan could help you:

1. Your lender’s rate is no longer competitive

We’ll start with the popular one first. One of the main reasons people choose to refinance their loan is to get a lower interest rate, and put more money back into their pockets instead of paying the banks.

When done correctly, refinancing your home loan could save you thousands over the life of your loan, and free up cash now.

2. You could switch between variable & fixed rates

Another popular reason to refinance your home loan is to switch between a variable rate and a fixed rate. With a fixed rate, some want peace of mind. That is, knowing exactly how much their monthly repayments will be without the possibility of it changing for a set period is worth a slight increase in rate.

Conversely, you may decide you’d like to take advantage of a lower variable rate as you can accept the risk that rates may rise in future.

3. You could be eligible for a home loan with better features

There are some great home loan features around at the moment, and refinancing could offer you the opportunity to take advantage or more flexible features. Some money saving features to look for are:

Flexible repayments: You might want to switch to a home loan that allows you to make lump repayments without fees or open up an offset account to reduce your interest.

Redraw: Allows you to withdraw extra payments if you need cash. Look for a loan offering free redraws.

There are also some pretty cool boutique features, like getting a repayment holiday (a break from repayments), or the loan portability which allows you to take your home loan with you when you move without much hassle.

4. You could consolidate your debt

Many of us have multiple debts like car or credit card along with our home loan. Often our car and credit card loans have pretty high interest rates, meaning more out of your pocket.

Refinancing could give you the opportunity to merge your debts and potentially reduce the overall interest you’re paying, streamlining all of higher interest debts into one lower interest debt and reducing your monthly repayments.

The interest rate on a home loan is usually significantly lower than the other types of credit. Helping you to save on interest charges and pay debt off sooner.

5. You could release some equity in your current property

You may be thinking about joining the thousands of Australians that have invested in property, renovating your home or traipsing around Europe on that trip of a lifetime. With your current home usually being your most valuable asset, it only makes sense to release as much of the value in your home as possible.

Home equity is the difference between your home’s current value and the balance of your mortgage. For example, if your home is worth $600,000 and you have a mortgage of $200,000 remaining, your home equity is $400,000. That’s money that can be used to build wealth.

Not so long ago, the only way home owners could access their home equity was to sell up and upgrade to another property. These days, home loans are flexible and it’s possible to get access to the equity in your home without having to sell up. Reviewing your home loan can help you see exactly how much equity is available to you, and refinancing can help you access the equity to use for other things.

What should I consider before refinancing?

Cost of refinancing

While refinancing has some amazing benefits, there are costs associated with refinancing your home loan – costs that may outweigh the potential benefits. Following are two of the main costs associated with refinancing:

Exit Fees

Exit fees may apply when you pay out a loan early, usually in the first three to five years of your term. It could be a percentage of the remaining loan balance or it may be a set charge. Check your loan contract for more details. Although exit fees have been banned on new loans taken out after 1 July 2011, they could still apply to loans taken out before this date.

Borrowing costs

When you refinance, your new lender may charge a range of upfront fees. However not all lenders charge these fees and some may be negotiable.

Case Study

Let’s have a look at a refinancing example using some numbers to better understand the benefits and costs.

The situation:

Sue has a $300,000 loan repayable over 25 years. Her current rate is 6.4% and her monthly repayments are $2,006.

If Sue can refinance to a loan with a rate of 5.9% a rate reduction of 0.50%, she can lower her repayments to $1,914, a saving of $92 each month.

The solution:

Looking at the cost side of things, we’ll assume Sue will pay $1,000 to refinance her loan. In this case it would take about 11 months ($1,000 divided by $92) for Sue to claw back the costs through the savings she makes.

The outcome:

That’s not a bad time frame. If it was to take several years to recover her costs, refinancing may not be worthwhile.

Should you refinance?

We’ve gone through the potential benefits of refinancing, the costs associated and a short example. That’s a lot to take in. When it comes time to make a decision about refinancing your home loan, the best suggestion is to sit down with a mortgage broker you trust to help you go through your options.