It’s getting to be that time where more people are looking to buy a house and more people are looking to sell their house. My wife and I were looking at houses this weekend, and the question of “how much house can we afford” came up in a conversation.
I was driving home from work today, and I heard that the Dow Jones Average dropped 416 points today and the Nasdaq fell 95 points. Luckily, the highway has medians or else I would have ran right off the road. I knew that economic “experts” were predicting a slow in the economy and I guess the Chinese market took a big hit too. But come on, 416 points in one day? That’s the biggest single day drop since the 9/11 attacks. I think it also has something to do with the real estate market that seems to be at a stand still right now. But what does this mean for the average hard-working American like you and me? Do you glaze over the fact that the stock market fell so much, or does it make you uneasy about the state of our country and economy?
My wife has a little sister in 5th grade, and like to make fun of her, because she loves asking us to buy her stuff, but when it comes to using her own money, she’s about as staunchy as it gets. I always say that she gets it from her big sister, and that is usually around the same time that I get punched in the arm by my wife. This brings up a great question about when young people first start learning about personal finance and how to handle money. How old were you when you started learning about the value of a dollar? Did your parents teach you, or did you have to learn about it the hard way?
When I saw this deal, I HAD to share with all of you! I’ve been looking around for a nice size LCD TV lately, and I’ve been reading that Syntax Olevia is the best “off-brand” LCD for your money.
Well, I found a tuner-less 37″ LCD at Mac Mall for $599! GO HERE to check it out. BE ADVISED THAT I GAIN NOTHING FOR YOU BUYING THIS TV FROM THIS CLICK-THROUGH. I just wanted to share it with everyone, because I love when other people share great deals with me.
The answer to that is probably, YES! Generally, if you are worth over $10,000 in assets and cash then you need a will. A will takes all of the guesswork out of what you really want your assets to do when you part this life. And let’s be honest, do you really want some over-worked judge figuring out how to divide up your stuff? I will try to answer some common questions based on my limited knowledge about wills. My suggestion is that you use an attorney that specializes in estate planning to help you draft your will. You don’t need an attorney to write a will and notarize it, but this is something that you want to do right, and they can help you consider the tax ramifications.
Thousands of blogs and other websites are dedicated to investing, and I see so much emphasis on individual stocks and company news. My question is, when do these bloggers find the time to follow the stock market so closely? Well, some of them blog full-time and others just read a lot. I know a few people that invest in single stocks. They’ll keep a chunk of cash in Google, maybe some in Apple, and now I’m sure they’ll jump on the XM and Sirius merger. But what they don’t realize is that they are playing Russian roulette with their money. You might as well put your money on a single black jack hand in Vegas if you are going to invest thousands into a handful of stocks. If ONE thing goes wrong with the company, the economy, the political climate, or the safety of the country, then you can kiss your hard earned money good-bye.
I was talking to my wife the other night about decisions that I wish I would have never made in the past. One of them was jumping on a job right out of college just because it paid a decent paycheck. I told her that if I was smart, I would have worked a menial job and wait for the right opportunity in a field of work that I enjoy. Instead, I took a job that I am not passionate about and the pay isn’t that great.
Real estate agents will tell you that the spring is the best time to list your home for sale. This is because it starts to warm up a little bit, and for some reason, real estate is one people’s minds. So, what are you waitng for? Are you scared to sell your home, because you don’t think you’ll get enough for it? Well, here are a few suggestions to help sell your home quick and maximize your sale price.
her money this Valentine’s Day, but the truth is that it is easier to spend more money than less money. I also know that spending less money forces you to be more creative, and creativity is usually more romantic than anything money can buy. Here are ten ways to make your Valentine’s memorable without spending a ton of money.
- Write about 10 – 20 notes and post them all around the house in places that he or she will find them
- Take him or her on a picnic in a romantic area or an area that is special to you both
What is the Roth 401(k)?
The Roth 401k is a combination of the Roth IRA and the traditional 401k. It is a company-sponsored retirement plan, but it invests after-tax dollars to a retirement account. Then, the money withdrawn at retirement is untaxed. Whereas, the traditional 401k takes pre-tax dollars and invests it and withdrawals are taxed at retirement.
Who does it benefit?
I listen to a good deal of talk radio. I usually catch some of Dave Ramsey’s radio shows and a couple of local money shows as well. One of my favorite parts about listening to talk radio is getting to tap into the lives of other people and their struggles and accomplishments with money. One of the more interesting topics is when a couple is struggling to handle their finances like a married couple. What I usually hear is one of the spouses handles all of the finances and the other just takes orders from the one who handles the money.
Read this interview that I had with Ben Casnocha, a teenage entrepreneur with tremendous talent and potential. I thought that I would revisit this post, because I wrote it very early on in this blog’s life. You can get to know more about Ben by visiting his personal blog. I got to know him through email, and he seems like a great guy. He started a software company that helps local governments perform certain tasks more efficiently. We talk about entrepreneurship and how he started a company at such a young age. So go check it out and let me know what you think.
One of the worst experiences you’ll ever have is dealing with collection agencies and creditors. There are some reputable ones like mortgage and some car loan creditors, but when it comes to credit card collection agents, forget it. They will do anything and everything to pressure you into paying off your debt now. Let me preface this post by saying that I believe you should always pay back your debts in a timely fashion, but I understand why some people get behind. If you don’t have the money, there’s no way to pay it back! Before you even start talking and negotiating with creditors, you need to set your financial priorities. Your priorities should look something like this:
Whether this was something initiated by Democrats or Republicans, Congress and the Bush administration are finally getting it when it comes to the level of student debt floating around the country. Today, USA Today reports in this article that Bush plans on raising the pell grants for low-income students by about 25%, and he’s going to lower the amount of subsidies to private lenders such as Sallie Mae who dominate the student loan sector. The banks are saying that this will put a monopoly on government run student aid and students will receive IRS-quality customer service. I say, go cry about it some more you corporate bank crooks! Their profit margin will still be plenty fat even by reducing the government subsidies.What this will do is put more money into the pockets of students who come from lower-income families. It will also reduce the amount of money students have to borrow to cover school costs. Current pell grant levels are enough to cover tuition, but if you went through four years of college, you know that the tuition is not the expensive part. Books, food, rent, and other necessities add up quickly and the $7 an hour part-time job just doesn’t cut it sometimes. I am a strong advocate of college students working while in school, but it is not fair to kid who have no support from their parents to be working 60 hours a week and missing out on some of the college experience. This is a good thing and Congress and the Bush administration should be applauded for it.
So, I buckled down last night and busted out my taxes. Mine aren’t that complicated, but they seem to get progressively more complicated each year. If I ever start a business full-time, I’ll definitely be hiring an accountant to file them. I used Tax Act Online, and I highly recommend this service. First of all, if you’re taxes are fairly simple, you can use their free service and file electronically for free. If you want direct deposit, they’ll charge you $14.95, but not bad for the convenience. If you want the deluxe package, it’s $9.95. I opted to get the deluxe package, because it helps explain a lot of the deductions and credits to layman such as me when it comes to taxes. While I was pulling my hair out trying to find all of the information that I needed, I learned something about the education credits and mortgage interest/real estate tax deductions while filing my taxes this year.