Clay from Maryland writes:
I think did everything right. (and I'm pretty lucky) I live within my means and put 20% down when I bought my home in 1999. I have a 14-year old truck, a steady job and a 1 mile commute. After this latest meltdown and the interest rates dropped, I took advantage of the situation and enacted my very own stimulus program.
Even with the recent drop in home prices, my home is still worth double what I paid for it. So I got a re-fi (30 yr fixed) and pulled out some cash. I am now taking advantage of every tax credit and incentive I can get my hands on -- new Energy Star appliances, new energy efficient heating and a/c units. And to top it off, I'm even putting on solar panels.
I've calculated that the spending I'm doing now will have a pay-off of about 10 years. After that the utilities savings are free money. And since all my stuff was about 20 years old it was time to replace anyway.
I feel that the government is finally putting enough incentives out there that folks like me with money in the (FDIC insured) bank and a bit of fiscal savvy are going to get the economy going again.
I'm even thinking about using my 14-year old truck in the cash-for-clunkers program to get a Hybrid. Taking yet another few thousand bucks from Uncle Obama.
Bottom line. There are opportunities out there that I don't think will be coming our way again anytime soon.