Thursday, June 14, 2007

he shoots, he scores

So, part of being the Italy of academia is that I am not very good with my financies, either in terms of being especially thrifty or in terms of being organized. I will spare you any specific horror stories as part of my new skittishness about giving once-or-future trolls too many deprecating details about my life, but suffice it to say the horror stories are horrific enough to make a Suze Orman fan sleep with the lights on. Granted, I do have the compensating advantages of a professional income and no kids, no pets, no layabout significant others, and no drug/gambling/designer-shoe addictions. Still.

Anyway, I'm in Evanston now, and one of the things I did today was talk to a banker about what kind of mortgage I could be pre-approved for. This involved her looking up my FICO score. A friend of mine has been fond of saying that one's FICO score is the most important number of one's life, excepting only perhaps one's Real Age.* Me being as I am, these statements have only contributed to my general knowledge to avoid knowing my FICO score or my Real Age for as long as possible.

Turns out, I have a fabulous FICO score. Certain things over the past few years for which I've wondered, "Hmm, does this kind of 'mix-up' end up showing up on one's credit report?" apparently do not, in fact, show up on one's credit report. For decorum's sake, I tried to express looking surprised and bemused about this.

When one actually goes ahead and applies for a mortgage, incidentally, they ask for the last two years of one's tax returns. So, if it does come to that, all the more reason for me to go ahead and finally file my taxes for this year.

My thinking presently is that, renting or buying, I'm hoping to live in Evanston if I can, as one part of my Cambridge life that I really like is being able to easily walk to work (and to whatever else). In hindsight, I regret that I never lived downtown during my time in Madison.

* I know someone who has spent some time considering the innards of Real Age, and it turns out that while in their advertising Real Age gets you to do their test with the idea "You may be younger than you think", most people who do the test are told their Real Age is older than their chronological age, which of course is more helpful for motivating people for Real Age services. From a scientific standpoint, of course, there is no external referent for age and so it would be hard to justify scaling age in any way other than to have a real age of 41 being other than the average real age of all 41 year olds. This actually comes up repeatedly in the history of cognitive ability testing, which has featured recurrent statements like, "75% of ten year olds have a mental age of eight or less."


carly said...

Living downtown in Madison isn't really that great, in my experience. Sure, it's easy to walk, but you have to deal with the hordes of drunken undergrads. I didn't even like that when I was an undergrad.

eszter said...

Evanston has several downtownish areas, although obviously there is the core downtown and that's closest to Sociology.

I'd live in town for a bit before committing to a place though.

And depending on how much you're willing to walk, given that the Soc dept is at the southernmost tip of campus, some of the other downtownish areas could be an option for you, like Dempster. I'd keep those in mind as well. But I do recommend being close to the El, makes things easier. And you definitely want a place with a garage. Trust me on this one.

dorotha said...

since your financial mishaps, whatever they may have been, have not hurt your credit as much as you thought, maybe you should start being even worse at managing your money. maybe you should start giving out presents. like ipods. i bet some people might like an ipod.