More Than Finances

Get your finances in order!

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5 Common Mistakes Made by Property Investors

Real estate investments seem to be a reliable way of making money in these tough economic times. However, there are number of traps to be wary of in order to protect your investments.

1. Insufficient Research

Often an investor will fail because they purchase the best home on a street that is in an unsuitable location, or in an area that’s run down due to the economic times. It’s important to do your research and choose a wonderful property that’s in a desirable spot. To be able to recognize the flow of your investment, check the listings over the past ten years. This will give you an idea if the market is depressed or if the costs are on the rise. Run a list of the comparables in the area you’re thinking of purchasing also and see how they have fared. For an expert opinion, think about hiring a professional estate agent to help you with the process.

2. Exceeding What You Can Afford

The primary goal of investing is to spend only what you have figured within your budget. Make sure you know your limits and try not to get caught up in the enthusiasm of the projects at hand. Real estate is a long-term investment and you won’t reap the rewards immediately. It takes time for your property values to rise and for them to generate sufficient money. You will also need to factor in any necessary improvements and renovations. When it comes time for making home improvements, be conservative and choose only the projects that will add value to your property first.

3. Not Having an Emergency Plan

An investor can fail in the real estate market if they don’t have an emergency plan ready in case something goes wrong. Today’s economic climate is tough to figure out, so you need to have an emergency plan figured out for a quick evacuation. Be prepared for the unexpected and have a professional expert handy in case you need to get rid of your investment quickly.

4. Don’t Be Impatient 

Unlike other ventures, investment property is a long-term project that you’ll probably make money on once you resell. Plan ahead for renovations and general upkeep and expect these projects to set you back financially at the beginning. It may even be a struggle to meet your mortgage payments on the property at times. Depending on a quick sale will only set you up for financial disaster.

5. Getting Emotionally Attached to the Aesthetics of the Property

This is a major area where investors struggle. They could get emotionally attached to a specific feature or room of the house and fall in love with the investment. It’s definitely a plus to like the home that you are purchasing, but you have to remember that you aren’t going to be living in it. Clear your mind and see the property for its imperfections and the costs that you will have to incur to fix it up. You may love it for its quirkiness and charm, but you need to make sure that you can still rent it out.

Andrew Potter is the resident property blogger for www.myonlineestateagent.com. My Online Estate Agent partners with the leading property websites, providing an unbeatable service for landlords and sellers.

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5 Ways to Pay Your Tax Bill If You Don’t Have Enough Cash

For many, tax season is a relief because they know they will be getting a large tax refund.  However, a few people are hit with an unexpected tax bill.  If you have to pay a tax bill this year and don’t have the cash available to pay the full amount, pay what you can.  Beyond that, you have several options:

  1. Take a loan from the bank.  If you have good credit, you may qualify for a loan from your bank.  However, this process may take a few days, and not everyone will qualify.  If you do qualify, the bank will probably offer you a lower interest rate than the other options listed below.
  2. Pay with your credit card.  True, you will be paying for your tax bill at up to a 19.99% interest rate, depending on your credit worthiness, but it may be worth it to avoid paying late penalties to Uncle Sam.  If you have good credit, you could always try to open a credit card account with a 0% introductory APR and pay it down before the introductory APR expires.
  3. Get a cash advance.  A cash advance can be a good source for short term loans.  However, make sure you understand the terms and be sure to compare interest rates to make sure it is better to pay the interest rather than the penalties you may have to pay the government.
  4. Take out a peer-to-peer lending loan.  You can apply for a loan through Prosper or Lending Club.  You will need to submit some paper work detailing your current credit worthiness, and then members can choose to “invest” in you and fund your loan.
  5. Borrow from friends or relatives.  If you have no other options, borrow from friends or relatives.  Make sure to make timely payments so you don’t affect your personal relationship due to borrowing money.

Tax season typically causes a great deal of stress, especially when you discover you owe money and don’t have the money to pay readily available.  If you owe a large bill, you may want to gather money from a number of sources.  While you can make payments to the government, there are hefty fees to pay, and the consequences for not paying your tax bill can be severe.

Once you have made your tax payment, you will want to pay off the loans as quickly as possible, especially since many of the sources of quick money have high interest rates.  You may even consider taking on a second job until the loans are paid.  While facing an unexpected tax bill can be stressful, there are ways to pay.

Post by Melissa 

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Essential Nutrients to Help Older Moms Save Money & Stay Healthy

Six healthy habits that will keep families sound in body and pocket book

In recent years, the birth rates have more than doubled for older women in their late thirties and early forties. However, advances in medical care have led more and more women to the decision to have a baby later for many reasons—including because they may be healthier and more financially sound at this point in their lives. However, as women’s bodies’ age, greater issues may arise anytime during the pregnancy, delivery and post-birth stage that can put thier health and finances at risk. And even though the majority of women over 35 experience healthy pregnancies and deliver healthy, happy babies—age can leave older women at heightened risk of certain medical complications during and after pregnancy that will cost them throughout their lives, and that their younger counterparts don’t experience quite as frequently. For instance, older mom’s need to be concerned with things like:

  • Low fertility rates: which can cost upwards of $24,000 out-of-pocket for in vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Miscarriage: which can incur costs for counselling and depression
  • Fetus placement during pregnancy
  • Problems associated with cesarean births: which can delay the return to work and every day activities
  • Neural tube defects e.g., Spina Bifida
  • Still born babies
  • Down Syndrome

These financial risks highlight why monitoring by a qualified physician should be maintained consistently throughout conception, pregnancy and even post-delivery. Regardless of age, every single woman should consult with their doctors if they are planning to get pregnant. This is especially true for women 35 or older with preexisting health issues, such as diabetes, anemia and high blood pressure that can affect pregnancy, delivery and even healing in post-pregnancy bodies. Your doctor will also prescribe the 6 following essential nutrients and healthy habits for older pregnant moms to keep you healthy as well as financially secure:

1. Prenatal vitamins

Upon learning that you are pregnant, your doctor will immediately prescribed a prenatal multivitamin as part of your pregnancy supplement regime to support calcium, iron, folic acid and magnesium intake, which are all vital for keeping your bones strong, skin elasticized, and baby happy and nourished. These are also worth the cost if you consider paying later in life to cover medical costs for osteoperosis or iron deficiency. Once you have been prescribed a certain brand and dosage of prenatal vitamin from your physician, you can chose to fill the prescription via an online through a Canadian pharmacy, where Canadian drugs are about half the price of those you’d buy from your local pharmacy in the U.S. Plus, your order will be conveniently shipped to your address.

2. Folic acid

Your doctor will likely also recommend a separate folic acid supplement, 3 months prior to conception (if you’re trying to have a baby), which you’ll take up to the 12th week of your pregnancy. Folic acid has been linked to lowering the risk of neural tube defects, like Spina Bifida, which can cost approximately $52,000 in medical costs and treatments for the first year of a child’s life. You can also get a healthy daily dose of folic acid by incorporating leafy green vegetables and green organic produce into your diet.

3. Zinc

Medical research shows that inadequate levels of zinc can lead to lowered fertility, especially in women over the age of 35. This means that while you try to get pregnant, your doctor may tell you to eat foods rich in iron as well as take an iron supplement to lower the risk of Anemia and costly medical treatments associated with concieving.

4. Adequate hydration

Water is important to keep your body functioning for two at the optimal level. The recommended daily intake of water should be 8 glasses of water or more each day for pregnant women, which will keep your skin healthy, and flush away sodium retention that results in that dreaded swelling in the feet, hands and legs, and lead to more serious and costly sprains and muscle tears later on.

5. Consume a health, balanced diet

A healthy diet is the perfect balance of fresh fruits, leafy green vegetables, lean proteins, calcium-rich dairy products, heart healthy fats and complex carbohydrates that feature whole grains. Pregnant moms really “are what they eat”—that goes for you and affects your baby too. And of course, this includes cutting your fatty food and caffeine intake, and quitting drinking and smoking, which can cause significantly lower fertility rates and exposes a developing fetus to toxic carbon monoxide and nicotine as well as cut off vital oxygen.

6. Yoga and other exercises

Ensuring your body is in healthy shape, without putting undue stress on you and baby, can help prime your body for pregnancy, birth and recovery post-pregnancy, as well as the costs associated with troublesome births and post-pregancy recovery. Gentle, low impact exercise—including brisk walking, swimming and stretching exercises will put less strain on your joints. Yoga is one form of exercise that serves as beneficial form of activity during pregnancy by gently stretching the pelvic floor and core to help ease back and joint pain throughout pregnancy and aid delivery with minimal discomfort. Yoga is also helpful during the post-natal phase, which new moms can start approximately six weeks after the birth to help strengthen the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, and help the body restore its pre-pregnancy shape.

Post by Brenda

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Personal Finance Is Not a Difficult Concept

Life is strange when you think about it, in many ways, it’s much like a game of snakes of ladders, one day you go up a ladder and a few days or years later you might shoot down one. Things though, move in pretty steady motion and next thing you know you’re a year or 20 older!! One day you could be relishing in your all glory and financial success and the next you could be asking for an online business loan, which is not bad if you want to start your own business. Hopefully as the years pass you by, you become more established in your work and finances and used investments for your future wisely so that you can enjoy life at your leisure.

When we are younger, we do not realize the importance of money and how it can ease life in our older years. Life seems long and endless when in our youth, and sometimes we fail to see or plan for when we won’t be able to work as hard. Not all young people get the proper education on economics and what to do with their money. Sadly many of us don’t realize some of the basic economic values that could save us from financial doom. Money, or what to do with money is not something that is taught to our young people in schools and there for they never learn the value of it. Today the world has changed drastically so, my grandchildren little understand the concept of having your own company.

In this age of technology, things happen much quicker and possessions are acquired with credit cards rather than cash. I like to think that I instilled proper values and financial education to my kids, but they are as stubborn as many other people out there, and want everything they want, NOW! I’ve witnessed it too many times, they are unable to deny their kids, what all their friends have, it’s like it has become somewhat of a competition. It’s almost as if. “Well, if his friend Jimmy has it, then he has to have it”. I personally don’t understand it, and I’m sure many of you more modern people are thinking that I need to accept this new way, but it’s hard to watch people go in debt, and they think nothing wrong with it. Sometimes I think the government wants it that way, there is no other explanation for why economics is not a mandatory class in schools, when 80% of the people in this country are in credit card debt!!??

To be financially secure, it takes time and effort. It requires a plan of action for your own business. It goes in this order. Plan, budget, renovations, save, invest in new equipment for your work, and reap the rewards. It’s as simple as that. It’s all about spending less money than you make. The sad thing is that many people cannot live by this very simple rule. If you chose to live your life without rules when it comes to money, you will unfortunately live with the financial implications. It comes down to one thing!! Your choice!!!!!!

 

 

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Cheap Apartment Pitfalls to Watch For

If you see a sign for an apartment that you really like, and the price is affordable, it might not be the deal you imagine it to be. Many apartments out there tout great prices and claim that they have the best deal out there. While the value might not be terrible, the apartment might have a lot to be desired once you actually move in. There could be a disquieting reason the rent is so low.

Bugs

The rent price might be really cheap and the apartment layout is amazing. You sign the lease immediately and can’t wait to move in. However, you quickly realize that there are a million bugs and there is no one to deal with it, or staff doesn’t really care. So, while your rent is really low, you are not sleeping at night because ants are crawling everywhere and the spiders are meeting in the corner of the room for drinks.

Noisy Neighbors

There might be a reason why the rent was so low. The apartment wasn’t rented because it is just so loud. Maybe the neighbor plays music all night long and you can’t sleep. If you live in a city, you could be living in a bad part of town where you hear nothing but gunshots and loud arguments all night long. Certainly, cheap apartments can never compensate for this pitfall.

Poor Landlord

After a few months, you realize you aren’t staying any longer than the lease states you have to. However, your landlord is so cheap you don’t get your security deposit back despite having an immaculate apartment when you leave. While you can take your landlord to court, are you willing to invest that time and money into doing so?

Most landlords are going to come off as nice and appear to be your best friend until you sign your lease. Make sure you take pictures and fill out a condition report so that your landlord doesn’t come up with an excuse to keep your money, or try to evict you for some nonsense reason.

Keep in mind that you should never ever rent an apartment without seeing it first. If the landlord won’t let you see it, do not send any money or agree to take the apartment!

Your landlord might also pull a nice little trick where they don’t pay the mortgage on the house you live in, so you are foreclosed on without any recourse. It would be hard to get your rent back, or at least any of the rent you paid, so you are stuck looking for a new apartment on short notice.

Lease Terms

Most leases are one-year deals, but watch out for special deals that lock in your rent for longer than one year, or will have increases after the first year. This isn’t really bait and switch, but some creative language that makes the deal sound better than it really is. Make sure you are reading your lease and understand what you are signing before you move in.