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I'm a geek working as a distance learning specialist for a large corporation.

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In the last month or so, it seems like Murphy is camped on my front step. Computer - dead. Motherboard, presumably, is fried, based on research. Car inspection - over $500 moreUnexpected costs, things that have broken lately, and lessons learned

There is nothing more perfect than the punch line of this Dilbert strip. Who among us cannot relate? I actually considered making that my new theme on this site. There areWhat futility doesn't feel like

The Webinar Blog: Cheap And Easy - Yugma Web Conferencing More about Yugma (related post) from a blog focused on Webinars/WebConferencing. The author spent time reviewing Yugma and talking with Yugma'sYugma Conferencing - tough to beat free

Gizmo's - Drag, Click & Snap Windows and Taskbar Buttons into Position | Gizmo's Tech Support Alert I have been looking for a utility that will let me rearrange those stupidRearrange your Taskbar buttons, and more!

CLO: Survey: One-Third of Candidates Commit a Top Interview Don’t This article is aimed at executive search interviews, but most of it really applies to any interview. Make sure you don'tInterviewing mistakes

Why Collaborative Storyboard Technology Is Mission Critical This is an excellent article extolling the virtues of collaboration for storyboarding your courses (and a little push for storyboarding itself). It doesn't specificallyCollaborative Storyboarding

Will at Work Learning: Take the Original Learning Research Quiz I took this quiz a couple of years ago after seeing Dr. Thalheimer at an e-Learning Guild event. I thought IInstructional Designers: do you know what you think you know?

SCI FI Wire | The News Service of the SCI FI Channel The Dark Is Rising is my favorite young adult fantasy series. Susan Cooper wrote the series and it reallyThe Dark Is Rising comes to film

We've got a firm street date for the new Babylon 5 movie! In fact, you can start ordering now!! As a reminder, here's the early description from JMS, as I reportedBabylon 5: The Lost Tales pre-ordering

I couldn't think of a good category here. Sue me. Do you know? Great little tidbits of thought-provoking information about the state of the world and the rate of change, set toLinkList: Generic edition

I think it's official: I'm addicted to Kathy Sierra's blog. Yesterday she made a great (if a tad long) summary of some pretty basic points she made earlier in the yearInstructional Design reminders

Wizard Entertainment The "New York Jedi" are making a stop at the "Wizard World" convention in Philadelphia this coming weekend. They'll even train people on sword choreography! Sounds like a funJedi training in Philly

Poorly!  *rim shot* So I mentioned before that I'd been writing some music for the last several years and some of it may show up here from time to time. ThisHow I write music

Bryce Zabel's FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH: Santa's 2007 Movie Smackdown! Bryce has put together a fun poll on which Christmas/holiday movies make the cut for annual viewing. Which ones can youThe Santa Smackdown!

This is pretty funny if you've ever been addicted to Tetris. Mike, you should enjoy this. It doesn't really get funny until about the 1:00 mark, though. [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/SYRLTF71Sow" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /] [tags]YouTube,Tetris humor

Saving money thru the power of cluelessness

Earlier this year I had the windows in my house replaced. This cost more money than I had on hand, so I took the loan offered through the company who sold me the windows. Aside from an 11% interest rate, there were terms that would give me time to get a better loan at a lower rate, at which point I was going to pay off the original loan.

So, life happened and time went on. I was delayed in getting the new loan slightly, but managed to get it within a short time of the original loan beginning to accrue interest.

I called this morning to get the payoff amount for the original loan. They quoted an amount including $370 of interest. I said thank you, and hung up, ready to write a check.

Then I thought about it for a minute and realized that was way more interest than I expected, so I did some math. I computed it assuming either daily or monthly compounding, but no matter how I did it, I only came up with $160 of interest due.

$210 is a bit large of a discrepancy for me to swallow. I accept that I’m not a financial wizard, but that’s a rather big difference.

So I called back. I told them how I computed the interest and the difference I found, and asked them to explain what I was doing wrong. I knew it had to be something I was doing wrong, but I wanted to know what it was. She told me that the contract I signed was for an actuarial loan vs. a simple loan. I said, “ok. What does that mean?”

After being put on hold, the woman came back and said she’d have a loan officer call me to discuss. I said, “Great. I just want to know how the quoted payoff was calculated. Thanks.”

A few minutes later, the phone rang. It wasn’t the loan officer, it was the same lady again. This time she sounded tired… a little defeated. She reiterated that the contract I signed was for an Actuarial loan, but the loan officer decided to treat it as a simple loan, so my payoff would include just $160 of interest!

I was actually speechless for a second. A bank just ate $200 in revenue simply because I didn’t understand how an Actuarial loan worked, and they didn’t want to explain it to me. I’m positive that in reality they made no mistake in their calculations. They were legitimately owed the full $370. But simply because I asked how they got that number, I saved $210. That’s just awesome!

The lesson for today: if you don’t understand something, ask a question. Worst case scenario is that you’ll learn something. Or maybe you’ll save some dough!

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