As I made my monthly mortgage payment yesterday, I pondered the mystery of my mortgage debt’s increase, despite 40 years of on-time payments. How could this be? Has there been a mistake? Could hackers have gained access to my account? Has my neighbor been plundering me again? Has my mortgage (original Middle English meaning “death pledge”) exerted a supernatural power over my bank?

Alas, none of the above account for the mysterious growth of my mortgage death pledge. It was caused by a series of smaller and much more sinister culprits. Buried deep in that mortgage is a pepperoni pizza I bought with my credit card in 1975 at Uncle’s Pizza, a brand new Datsun B-210 car and a toaster my Visa card purchased from what was once Woolworths.

Like so many Americans, I refinanced my home (several times) to pay off these consumer loans and credit cards, effectively wrapping consumer debt into the long-term mortgage. The net effect of not using debt wisely became 40 years of monthly payments for a pizza, a car and a toaster that long ago turned to dust.

I wish that when I was younger I had learned what would be taught for free at the UAF Adult Money Camp.

No more drifting along, leaving your financial future to chance. Money Camp will show how to create a plan, which if put into practice, will help you achieve your financial goals. Learn how to manage your money effectively and the advantages and disadvantages of various financial paths. Personal finance topics will include budgeting, credit and debt management, retirement planning and credit scores. Discussions will include the cost of children, cash flow planning, savings and the increase of identity theft.

Achieve your financial goals, learn budging and planning, plan for retirement and control debt (and don’t buy a rusty toaster on the 40-year plan!).

When: noon-5 p.m., July 13-14 

Where: UAF Main Campus

Brooks Building, Room 103

Cost: First 10 to register — free – thereafter, $130

Lectured by: Kelly Ward, CPA, CGMA, MBA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor®, Partner Robinson & Ward, PC

• To register or for more information, visit or call 474-7021

Brought to you by UAF Summer Sessions, UAF School of Management — SWEET – Students Who Enjoy Economic Thinking.

Charlie Dexter is a professor of applied business emeritus. He may be reached by email at This column is provided as a public service by the UAF Community and Technical Colleges.