Archive for the 'Personal Finance' Category

Have We Reached the Final Stretch of the Real Estate Downturn?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Last week I received two real estate reports I subscribe to. Both pointed to slight decreases in unsold inventory in several markets such as California, Nevada, New Jersey, and the national average. This trend could be the beginning of the real estate recovery we’ve all been praying for. Consumer confidence rose slightly in July too, so that’s another good sign. If the recession is short-lived we could see the market coming back by next spring.

On one of my walks around town this weekend, I passed a block where three homes in a row had been for sale. One sold late this spring, and the other two now have signs saying they’re under contract. I think things are getting better in the real estate market. Houses are selling. Every realtor I speak to confirms this. It’s just going to take a while for the public at large to catch on and change their perception.

If you’re in the market to buy - start looking and buy this year. If things turn around we could see appreciating prices by the next spring market. And, by the way the spring market actually begins in February.

If You’ve Never Failed - You’re Not Trying Hard Enough to Succeed

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Many successful people have failed while attempting to achieve their goals. The reason they made it though is that they didn’t allow criticism or failure to deter them from pressing on. They had a vision of what their lives could be, and used their failure as a lesson and stepping stone to get them to their goal. Thomas Edison put it best when he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

(I found this great video on famous people who’ve failed. To watch just click on the link below.)

Famous People Who\’ve Failed

If you have a dream declare it boldly! Do not be afraid of what anyone thinks. Many new ideas are not accepted at first. Just think of how many people must have laughed at the Wright brothers before they designed a plane that actually could fly. Create an plan to achieve your goal and begin working it. Even if you’re first few attempts backfire - keep going. Remember, the people who dare to laugh are the ones most afraid of failure.

This month one of my articles, published in BC The Magazine July/August issue, is a profile of fascinating business man, A.J. Khubani. Khubani’s company, Telebrands Corp, markets products with the red AS SEEN ON TV label, such as the PedEgg, the StickUp Bulb, and the GoDuster. Khubani started his business right out of college and it was NOT an overnight success, but he stuck with it.

Twenty-five years later his company is worth $100 million. The most interesting part of our interview was when he spoke of failing and almost losing his business, and his home in 2000. He responded that failure and challenging times help us to mature. He also said that if he had a chance he wouldn’t change a thing in his life; that’s now much he valued the experience of failing.

So, if you have a dream and a vision for your life don’t cower in the corner fearing failure - go for it. And, remember if you fail you’re in great company. And, after remembering your in great company, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back in there!

Repay! Repay! How to Find Hidden Money in Your Budget

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

The Sunday edition of The New York Times had an excellent article titled, Given a Shovel, Digging Deeper into Debt, about the dangers of using credit cards and cash-out refinances to live beyond your means. The story focuses on a woman, who like millions of homeowners in recent years, refinanced her home several times to pay off credit card debt, until she ended up $271,000.00 in debt; $129,000.00 more than the original loan amount she’d taken to buy her house. Her financial house of cards came crashing down when she had a serious medical emergency, and then later lost both her jobs. Her home is now in foreclosure.

The article also placed some of the blame on lenders’ policies of easy access to money for both mortgages and credit cards, and their strategic marketing campaigns designed to ease the guilt associated with spending money and increasing debt. The woman in the article says what she regrets most is all her needless shopping. She said if she had it to do all over again she would learn to deal with her emotions instead of using shopping as therapy.

I’ve written several similar posts on this such as; Is Advertising Making up Poor?; Creating Kindergarten Consumers; Will We Ever Learn When it Comes to Mortgage Lending?; and How to Reduce Credit Card Debt all dealing with the issue of living beyond your means, and our addiction to consumerism. The road to financial solvency and real wealth begins with reducing, and then eliminating credit card debt.

To find the extra cash needed to pay off credit cards take a hard look at where your money goes each month:

1. Bottled water. Buy a water filter instead and “make” your own.

2. Don’t use paper towels for everything from cleaning to spills. Buy some good dishtowels and micro-fiber cleaning cloths that can be washed and used over and over.

3. Do not waste another cent on disposable ANYTHING from paper plates, plastic cups and utensils, coffee filters, toilet scrubbers, to mop cloths. Buy permanent and reusable items instead.

4. Go through your pantry once a month and pull everything out. You’ll probably find you already have 2 or 3 of everything you keep buying each time you go grocery shopping.

5. Cut back, or cancel your cable television entirely. You’ll be surprised how much time opens up to do other things in your life.

6. Stop shopping for clothes for every occasion. Go through your closet and find all the clothes with tags on them, or that you rarely wear – and start wearing them. Everyone will think you bought new clothes anyway.

7. Use up all the shampoos and conditioners you have lining the shelves of your medicine chest before you go out to buy more.

8. Don’t pay to have others do the things you can do yourself such as house cleaning, manicures, or hair coloring. Cancel the fancy landscaping and fertilizer service. Scale back to just a mowing service, or better yet cut the grass and trim the bushes yourself.

9. Wait a day and think before making a purchase on credit. Many times the impulse to buy fades within a day or two and we realize we really don’t need the thing as much as we thought we did anyway.

You’ll be surprised how much more money you’ll have to pay down credit card debt when you cut back on just a few of these things. Look around there are probably more things you can cut. Commit to buying with cash from now on and you’ll be on your way to attaining real wealth.

To read the NYT article paste this link into your browser:

Home Sharing can Help Ease Mortgage Burdens

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Opening your home to someone who cannot afford the high cost of renting an apartment is one viable solution for struggling homeowners. There’s a great article in the New York Times today about the rise in homeowners taking in boarders to help make ends meet.

Many agencies offer home share matching for free. Check online or contact local women’s shelters or houses of worship to find home sharing programs in your area. Potential boarders must go through background checks before being matched up with a homeowner. If you’re considering taking in a boarder home-share agencies offer a safe way to bring a potential stranger into your home.

To read this article paste this link into your browser:


The Sky is Not Falling

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

Yesterday, I heard from someone looking to buy a new home closer to his work. He shared some exciting news; his current home had sold in only a few weeks and would be closing by Labor Day.

This is great news. Why don’t we hear this from media? The fact is homes are selling, and some still sell very quickly. There is good news out there - even if we have to dig it up ourselves.

Our economy reflects our collective beliefs. It will change when we change. Look around you and find some good news of your own to celebrate. Do it now, and don’t be surprised if you soon begin to notice more, and more things that are going right, rather than wrong.