MORE than Finances

Get your finances in order, and get on with your life!

By

Patrick Mackaronis Explains Three Benefits of Early 401k Investing

The following is a guest post from someone experienced in both sides of the investment coin: Patrick Mackaronis. Patrick got his start as a high-stakes trader and serial entrepreneur, eventually pivoting into a powerful career as a co-founder and director of business development for social media startup Brabble in bustling New York City.

A 401k can easily make millionaires out of mere mortals. By investing small amounts in regular intervals (like a percentage of each paycheck) beginning in your early to mid 20’s, your savings can expand tax-free for 40 or more years. Sadly, a lot of people veer towards procrastination, as they find themselves focused on bills due or purchases at the forefront of their mind. As adults, we are inherently terrible at comprehending the concepts of events decades in the future. Luckily, in regards to investments, time is on your side in a big way if you start earlier.

HIGHER CONTRIBUTION AMOUNTS THROUGH THE COFFEE CONCEPT

Small impressions leave large impacts. Think of it as the Coffee Concept. The smaller, less consequential things we purchase on a regular basis over time will add up to a surprisingly large sum. Do you spend $3 on a specialty coffee every morning from your local coffee shop? Do that five times a week for 50 weeks a year for twenty years, and you’ve spent $15,000 on coffee. Instead, make 401k contributions your vice, contributing an additional amount equal to this coffee, and making your own cup at home.

You will be pleasantly surprised how these trivial amounts can add up over the years, and even more impressed at the accumulation as years turn into decades. Three dollars, compounded annually for forty years, is $135.78. The power of compound interest over time is incredible.

NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF EMPLOYER MATCH IS LIKE THROWING AWAY FREE MONEY

If I handed you $250, and told you that I would keep handing you $250 every two weeks, with the only stipulation being that you had to hide $250 of your own money every time, would you do it? If you’re making $5,000 per month before taxes and your employer has a 5% 401k match that you aren’t taking advantage of, you are literally saying no to that proposal. An alarming percentage of Americans are failing to take advantage of the concept of the employer match on 401k’s. Latest polls show that over one third of working-class professionals in the United States have nothing saved for retirement at all!

Contribution matching from your employer is as close to free money as it gets, guaranteed investment returns at 100% that skyrocket your own contributions. If you are investing early, this adds up so much over time that it can be mind-blowing. Don’t leave the offer of free cash on the table.

COMPOUND INTEREST: YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND

Want to know the secret to creating personal wealth? Its name is compound interest, and it is an investor’s best friend and secret weapon when it comes to turning money into more money. People tend to not get too excited about compound interest. This rings even more true with interest rates at all-time lows. The truth is, compound interest is the secret formula to bust through those low interest numbers into the stratosphere.

Let’s say you are saving $600 each month. That’s $7,200 in one year. But over time your money is growing as you invest it each month. Once you hit year two, an increase of five percent makes the $7,200 worth $7,560. This, in combination with continuous contributions and appreciation of capital, causes exponential growth as time passes.

INVEST EARLY TO INVEST MORE

The Coffee Concept shows how tiny savings on a regular basis leads to massive growth on a large timeline. Employer matches are literally free money being offered by your employer. And compound interest is the secret to wealth creation that is yet another bonus of investing often and investing early. If you are in your 20’s and you have not yet begun taking advantage of the benefits of 401k investment, now is the second best time to start (the best time being earlier).

Patrick Mackaronis is a veteran of the startup and investing scene in the Big Apple. He can be contacted via Twitter at @patty__mack.

By

5 Surprising Facts You May Not Know About Investing

puzzle-2500328_640If you have already started your investment portfolio you have probably learned a thing or two about investing. One thing you probably know is that you don’t have to be an expert to invest successfully. Another might be that the younger you start the better. But despite these facts there may be other surprising facts you may not know about investing.

Read More

By

Playing by the Real Estate Rules: Pointers for Purchasing Land or Property in Costa Rica

door-327820_640Costa Rica is a beautiful country full of friendly people. It is also a great place to relocate to from the U.S.A. Investing in Costa Rican land or property is a wise move right now. Here are some tips to make it easier and quicker for you and your family to move to this lush Central American country.

Hire a Good Realtor

You may not like the idea of working with a real estate agent in Costa Rica, but there are some very good reasons for doing so. Unless you really know the areas where you’re considering purchasing land and you already have experience purchasing land in Costa Rica, you are going to need professional help. You need a realtor who is bilingual, focuses on a certain area and has at least five years’ experience.

Check Out Different Locations

Depending on whether you’re looking for commercial or residential land, you need to talk to your realtor about zoning. They will be aware of the zoning laws in their area and should have a zoning map on their computer. Zoning plans determine the limitations on construction; regulate density and use of the land for anyone relocating to Costa Rica. Make sure you will be close to any amenities you need, such as schools, hospital, shopping and churches.

Consider Topography and Soil

Costa Rica has a significant rainfall every year, so you don’t want to build your home at the bottom of a hill, otherwise, you will encounter some serious drainage problems. When you are looking at large tracts of land, keep your eyes open for signs of soil erosion. Many areas of the country have poor quality top soil, which you will need to replace before you commence building.

Check Accessibility for Utilities

Make sure you can run water and power line to the front of your property. This will mean you can apply for meters from the appropriate companies and be connected within seven days. Check with cable TV and Internet providers within the area. Few areas in Costa Rica are connected to city sewer lines so you will most likely have to have a septic tank installed.

Transporting your Belongings

Of course you will want to take you belongings with you when you move to Costa Rica, and in fact, it is less expensive than purchasing them new once you arrive. Shipping costs to Costa Rica from the U.S.A are not as expensive as you may imagine. For example, a loaded 20-foot shipping container of household goods from your house in Texas to your new home in Costa Rica will cost around $9,000 USD to transport. This fee includes everything from wrapping to packing and preparation to export to customs and delivery to your new residence. Here’s some more information about shipping to Costa Rica.

Talk to the right people and make the right plans before you buy land in Costa Rica. Once your home is built and you are ready to relocate, find a reliable company to safely ship your belongings, and enjoy your new home.

By

4 Preventable Mistakes First-Time Property Investors Make

new-home-1664262_640

First-time property investment and home buying can be an overwhelming endeavour to say the least. Making such a major purchase and investiture of your time and money is challenging and there are many mistakes that can easily be made in the process.

You certainly don’t want to fall victim to the market and end up losing money. If you want your first property flip to be a success and hopefully continue to do well in the real estate game, avoid these common mistakes like you would avoid buying a run-down shack in Humpty Doo, Australia.

Emotional buying

While home may be where the heart is, your wallet should be where your brain is. Thinking critically and using logic when making your first property buy is absolutely necessary.

Investment properties should always be bought by doing market research, not because you think your kid would like the swimming pool. A mindset for financial gain will win every time over emotional impulse when trying to flip real estate.
Your first purchase should be geared towards return on investment and nothing else. If you plan on renting the property out, for example, consider factors such as: what kind of occupants do I want and does this location provide them?

Underestimating the costs

There are many costs apart from the sale price of your home that need to be considered before making your first purchase. If you fail to take these extra costs into account, you can be sure that you will spend well over your budget.
Some calculations to factor into your budget:
• Realtor commissions
• Moving costs
• Property taxes
• Maintenance fees
• Insurance payments

Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not you will be using any loans to help cover your expenses. If so, it’s important to be informed of things you should consider when looking for a personal loan.

Not buying for the market

This ties in with the earlier point about thinking logically and doing research beforehand. If you don’t know the market, the chances of you buying the wrong property increase substantially.

What does buying the wrong property mean?

It means purchasing a property that won’t sell according to your area’s demographics. For example, if you’re looking to make a purchase in a suburb that primarily brings in families, you don’t want to invest in a bachelor’s pad.
Buy according to your market and avoid being stuck with a large family home in an area full of hipsters in condos.

Neglecting inspection

Neglecting to perform a property inspection could probably be paired with underestimating costs but really deserves its own heading. One of the silliest things a first-time home buyer can do is fail to have it properly inspected by a professional.

Inspections and appraisals are two entirely different matters and you should be aware of this fact. Having an inspection performed can actually allow you to negotiate a lower price on the home if anything such as sloping floors, poor insulation or faulty plumbing should be discovered.

Final thoughts

Many first-time property investors fail to see success because of simple mistakes that are easily avoided. Don’t give in to emotional buys, make sure you are factoring all costs into your budget, do the necessary market research and opt for a professional inspection to make sure your property brings you significant returns.

By

Consider a Second Home for Your Next Investment

door-327820_640Planning on a second property? Perhaps you currently have spending potential and want to invest in something that will give you both peace of mind and passive income. A second property investment gives you financial benefits as the value of your property increases and the size of your second mortgage stays the same or reduces.

If you’re interested in a second property investment, you’ll be pleased to know that getting a good price on house and land packages in Perth, WA is now easier than ever with new communities and better transportation on the rise.  Moreover, you don’t need a deposit to purchase your second home. This is because you can use your current home equity to buy the new property.

A line of credit lets you borrow against the equity in your current home and you only need to pay interest on the amount you get. This is called leveraging and it’s very easy to do, thanks to home equity.

The power of leveraging

As stated above, leveraging the equity in your current home to buy a new investment property is simple to grasp. The home’s equity is the difference between your current property’s market value to the balance of the mortgage. If you have owned your property for a few years, chances are that you’ve already built up a good amount of equity and this can be used to purchase a new or second home.  Second property investments are great because you have twice as much property on the market relative to owning a single home.  Provided market conditions are good, you’ll be able to collect twice the rent, take twice the tax benefits, enjoy twice the leverage, etc.

Researching before your purchase

Before planning to buy, take your time to research the property market. The slowdown in growth across most residential properties is an indicator of a good time for property investment. If you want to purchase a property for your children who are about to leave home, you can take advantage of the lower property prices as well as the first home owner grant boost of up to $21,000 to make a wise investment.

Proper research into your second property investment is just as important as it was when you purchased your first home. You need a good strategy. Are you looking to buy to take advantage of potential rising prices and then looking to sell? Or you looking to buy for the long haul? Whatever the case is, make sure that you’re buying in a suburb where the property is predicted to hold value and escalate in the future.

Assess your cash flow

A deposit is not necessary if you leverage the value of your current home. However, you still need to be in a position to manage the second mortgage. To minimize risk. Ensure that you’re in the position to earn enough money to cover both your first and second properties’ mortgages, and cover your living costs.

End Note

Buying a second house may be a good investment opportunity for you. However, it shouldn’t become a financial burden. You must plan your financial decision with some foresightedness. If owning a second property interests you, then getting a good price on house and land packages should be your primary concern. You may also consult a real estate broker/agent to help you make the right choice.