Passionate Pursuit of Purpose

Personal Finance

5 inexpensive tips to help sell your home

Posted by on Jun 12, 2014 in Personal Finance, Real estate | 0 comments

5 inexpensive tips to help sell your home

Miss Philippines, Binibining Pilipinas joins Santacruzan in ManilaSelling your home is like entering a Beauty Contest, and how you dress your home is a vital component.  Here are some simple steps to make your home the prettiest in the pageant.

1.Declutter:

When taking pictures or showing the property it is best if you home looks more like a photo in a magazine:

  • Hide the toaster (Countertops empty except for a few accents pieces
  • Half full (or half empty) closets and bookshelves.  (Let them think they have plenty of room for their stuff)
  • Get rid of the extra Furniture. (Furniture should leave lots of open space in the rooms)
  • Those precious collectibles… start packing some of them away. 

The goal is to make your home look like what we all dream our home looked like. Do your best to make it look like an airbrushed model on a magazine.

2.Paint:

Paint to your house, is like makeup on a beauty contestant.  It can hide imperfections and make your home look younger. Light neutral colors are best.  Use dark colors only as accent tones.  Lighter color paints open up a space.

3.Give your property a sidewalk Serenade:

  • Landscape and prune your property especially around the house.
  • Those trees with low branches, trim those branches back. Don’t let the branches hide your home or make your yard seem smaller. No need to take the tree out just trim the lower branches.
  • Trim the hedges (The smaller and cleaner they are the bigger your home and property will look)
  • Plant some flowers
  • Fresh mulch
  • Keep the grass cut; it makes your yard seem larger.

4.Smell pretty:

Light scent that gives fresh sense, the plug in ones are great. If you have a basement get a dehumidifier and reduce the musty smell that often comes from a basement. Send the dog and cat to a friends if possible. Yes, I know they are a part of your family, but they are not a part of your buyer’s family and that is what matters.

5.Clean:

Put a shine on everything you can. This is a continuance of the airbrushed model theory. Remove as many pimples as you can. Wax the floor, clean the windows and mirrors. No leaves overflowing the gutters, no oil and grease spots on your driveway floor.

These steps will help your buyer picture themselves living in the house. It will help your home be the queen of the home selling pageant.

Want to see what your home is worth?

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How to increase your minimum wage!

Posted by on Feb 11, 2014 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Perfect questions, Personal Finance | 1 comment

How to increase your minimum wage!

First the impact of raising the minimum wage for everyone:

1.    You will have fewer jobs:now hiring

Most minimum wage jobs are basic entry level jobs. These jobs require little training or specialized skills.

Which means; when the labor costs gets to a certain level; companies can often develop a machine to replace that job.  (PS the machine rarely takes breaks, doesn’t need days off, no health insurance). Some jobs will be replaced by automated systems and machines.  Fewer jobs for those with little training or skills.

How many baggers do you see at your grocery store these days?  How often do you self-scan your items? How often do you hear an automated response when you call a company?  Companies found a way to design away the jobs.

How many Cashiers does Amazon have?

2.    People have less incentive to improve themselves.

If your minimum wage is $11 to $15 per hour some people will be satisfied with that income level and not do technical training that makes them more valuable to society.

Every day we each rely on millions of people to make our lives more convenient and enjoyable.  Many of these people you will never see, and yet their contribution to our lives is vital.  The more skills and education people have the more they can contribute to the rest of us.

So, please go out and be the best “you” you can be, it will bless the rest of us.

3.    Your burger will get more expensive:

That increase in labor cost has to be passed onto the consumers.  It will increase inflation.  Prices of products increase and this will especially hurt those most sensitive to these price changes.  Those most sensitive to price changes are often the same who the minimum wage increase is designed to help.

The cost of living will rise and people will again scream for another increase to the minimum wage. The cycle and situation will remain the same…

So, What is the solution?

Minimum wage jobs are not designed to be a career.  They are a starting point not the finish line.

Here are 3 idea for increasing your minimum wage:

    • Education:  This doesn’t have to be a traditional college so here are some other options
      • Technical school, there are great programs for becoming a better you in several fields.
      • Apprenticeship, some of these are formal, or you can also find that talented local person who will train you in an informal process through experience.\
      • Military: most jobs in the military don’t involve carrying a rifle every day. They train you with real world skills that will transfer to your life after the military
    • Entrepreneurship: this is finding a need and filling it by providing a product or service.  Instead of looking for a job look for a way to serve others. If you looking for a way to get started try Dan Miller’s 48 low cost business ideas.(Affiliate LInk)
  • Persistence: If there is a position you want, keep pursuing it.  Then once you get it, keep pursuing and working hard.

“When you do more than you get paid for eventually you’ll be paid for more than you do.”- Zig Ziglar

Comment below: tell us what other ways people can increase their minimum wage?

 

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Doing your taxes is as easy as managing your fantasy football team?

Posted by on Jan 23, 2014 in Perfect questions, Personal Finance | 4 comments

Doing your taxes is as easy as managing your fantasy football team?

1040One of the DIY tax programs describes doing your own taxes “as easy as managing your Fantasy football team.”  This may or may not be true depending on 3 factors:

1.    How good of a Fantasy Manager are you?

2.    How complicated your Tax situation is?

3.    How much time you plan on investing in your tax education?

How good are you?

I play in 3 fantasy leagues and I am a mediocre manager.  I spend probably 1 to 2 hours per week during the season reading news.  Then I listen to sports radio and watch 3 to 5 games each week.

During the 15 week season, I spend about 12 hours each week on football related education.  Not including listening to sports radio while driving.  I suspect the better managers spend even more time.  And the worst, ignore their teams, have guys on byes in the starting roster and finish last, and probably spend almost no time.

It is probably not a linear relationship and there is a lot of luck.  However, the more time you spend the greater your chances of winning your league.

How Complex are your taxes?

If you have no kids, don’t own your home, and your only income is from a w-2 job… File your own.  Your difficulty level does compare to “installing a light bulb, or being a bad fantasy manager.”  Easy peazy!

It is amazing how often smart people miss things deductions on their tax return.  Or deduct things that could get them in hot water with the IRS.   Just because you are smart at your specialty, doesn’t mean you will prepare your taxes correctly.  It seems our government enjoys changing the tax rules and adding lots of new ones.

How much time are you going to spend learning about taxes?

I spend about 180 hours per year on my football education.  Thanks to that I am a mediocre fantasy manager.  I spend around 1500 hours each year learning and preparing taxes.  I am a very good preparer, and constantly getting better.  Let a professional’s experience work for you.

Yes I know this article may seem self-serving, and it is because I want to serve you.  I want your taxes done correctly.  I want to see you become wealthier each year.

Last year over 55% of my clients paid less than $95 to have a professional prepare their taxes.  Let me help you file your return with confidence.   Learn more about my tax preparation services here!

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The Looming Bitcoin collapse

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Perfect questions, Personal Finance | 0 comments

The Looming Bitcoin collapse

“Bitcoin is the currency of the future.”  “The first first ever fully decentralised payment network on the planet (and still the strongest), moving billions of dollars of value every day with no fees.”  “There has never been anything like this before.”  This is the rhetoric of Bitcoin evangelists. Is it true?

Are these worth a years salary?

Are these worth a years salary?

I remember hearing about “the new economy” and how internet companies would change the world and make investor rich (Dot com bubble).  In the 1630’s, one tulip bulb in Holland became worth an entire years earning for a wealthy merchant.  Human history is littered with obscene and unrealistic valuations for various currencies, commodities, or securities.

Money is a tool used to simplify a transaction between 2 or more parties.  It is a recognized store of value.   It can have intrinsic value such as Gold or silver, or it can be a fiat currency.  Almost all currencies today are Fiat currency and are backed by a government that has a vested interest in the long term value of that currency.  Bitcoin has none of this (read what Alan Greenspan thinks here).

Fiat currencies usually deflate in value over time, (causing inflation in the prices to purchase goods and services with those currencies).  Slow, controlled, and consistent inflation over time has some economic advantages.  However, sometimes currencies depreciate rapidly causing hyperinflation.

Zimbabwe $100,000,000,000,000 Now worth nothing.

Zimbabwe $100,000,000,000,000 Now worth nothing.

Hyperinflation is a very real risk of Fiat currencies. In Zimbabwe everyone was trillionaires.  Although now those trillion dollar notes are worth nothing (except as a collector item).  Zimbabwe no longer has its own currency, it uses U.S. Dollars.  (Currencies that went to zero)

Bitcoin is a virtual fiat currency.  There is a growing group of people who use it as money.  Some vendors are even beginning to accept it as payment for goods and services.   The value of a bitcoin has exploded over the last few months and seems to be growing at an accelerating rate.

  • Why is this happening?

  • Why do people feel the need to use this currency?

Markets are driven by 5 things: 3 are actual and 2 are perceived:

  1. Supply: how much of the product is available.
  2. Demand: How much people want of a product
  3. Price: impacts demand and how much is supplied
  4. Fear:  people hate to lose what they have.
  5. Greed:  People want to make money without having to invest something in return.

What is driving Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is being driven by fear and greed.  The interesting thing is fear and greed are both driving the price up.
Some people buy Bitcoin because they fear their national currency (or several national currencies) will become worthless.  Which is a valid fear based on the national debt loads of several western nations.

Is Bitcoin the right investment if you fear your national currency becoming worthless?

Some are buying it to make money because it is the wave of the future.  Some believe the price will go up for a long time as everyone converts to it.  They want to buy early and become a Bitcoin millionaire.

Why the bubble will burst?

It has no intrinsic value.  You can’t eat it or use it to produce something.  It is not regulated and backed by a government that regulates the creation of the currency.

When the factory workers and the school teachers start buying them; I could see the value of a Bitcoin reaching $50,000.   Everyone will tell me how wrong I am.

Then…  History will repeat itself.  The Bitcoin will disappear except for case studies and history books.  It will be of no value.  But do not fear, in the day and age of the worldwide marketplace… another bubble shall take its place.  That bubble will be driven by fear and greed too.

Are you buying Bitcoins?

 

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Create your Personal Vision and Mission Statement

Posted by on Nov 26, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Leadership, Personal Finance | 0 comments

Create your Personal Vision and Mission Statement

What is a vision statement?

Your vision statement is the flowery, abstract, concepts and goals you want to see happen in your life or business.  It is the dream. I will use poeticrevival.com’s vision statement as an example.  Poetic Revival is a faith based poetry site and their vision statement is:

“To see the Glory of God spread like a wildfire over drought stricken land; where the heat from fiery flames awaken dormant seeds, to grow with new life from the ashes.”

This vision statement paints a picture; you can see a raging wildfire exploding across the forest.  The fire turns the thick forest into a black smoldering wasteland scene.  Then we see the green shoots of new life begin to grow from the ashes of the seeming wasteland.Dream big enough

It is a great picture, that gives us a vision of what Poetic Revival wants to happen in the world… but it doesn’t tell us how we are going to accomplish our vision.

What is a mission statement?

A Mission statement tells the actions you will take and the tools you will use to accomplish your vision. It expresses the “what” and the “how” you will utilize to see the dream happen.  Once again let us look at Poetic Revival and their mission statement.

“Bring Revival through spoken word, poetry, verse.  Using web, print, audio, and visual avenues to expand minds, encourage hearts and inspire change.”

  • What they are bringing:   “Revival through spoken word, poetry, verse.”
  • How they will deliver it:   “Using web, print, audio, and visual avenues”

How to create your vision statements:

Picture your funeral… see each group of people that is in your life.   Your spouse, your family, your co-workers, your church, your communities, your customers….  What did you do with your limited time on Earth?

  1. What do you want each of those groups to say about you?
  2. What mark do you want to leave on this world when you are gone?
  3. How are you going to make the world a better place?

In your answers to these questions you will begin to find your vision.

Creating your mission statement:

Evaluate the following three areas:

  1. Skills and talents (what are you good at?)
  2. Opportunities (who do you know, where do you have credibility, what can you do?)
  3. Passions (what gets your motor running, what you love doing?)

The collision of these 3 areas is where your current mission should be focused.   If you are there it is time to create a plan to move to those areas.   That is where you will most likely find your most success. 

Your current mission is not a forever thing.  As you move up your mountain of success you may see other opportunities open, develop new skills, or find new passions to purse.  Then you should revisit your vision and mission. 

Do you want help developing vision and mission statements then create a plan to pursue?  I am here to walk you through the process of find your mountain of success.  Fill out the form below to find out more and jump-start your life with life coaching!

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Start poorly and learn fast

Posted by on Nov 21, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Personal Finance | 2 comments

Start poorly and learn fast

This is a response to Robyn Smith’s article where she mentioned “anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.”  Often we don’t really learn how to do something well until we start doing it.Opportunity

Before I started investing in stocks I spent 1 year researching and doing mock portfolios.   I read books, watched CNBC.  I read financials and research reports.  None of that really prepared me for actually investing my hard earned money into the Stock market.

I learned more in the first 6 month of investing with my money, than I did in my entire year of research.  There was nothing to prepare me for the emotional aspects of investing in the market.  I reacted so different when it was my money on the line.

I have been in and out of the market for about 12 years since my initial foray.  I am a much better investor.  I have a greater understanding of how markets work.  Over my first year of investing I spent (lost) about $1,500.  If I had never started, I would have never had this understanding.

Just Start Already

I started poorly, but learned vital principles that have saved and made me (and my parents) some substantial sums of money since.  (Full disclosure: one of the key things I learned is; invest first in assets where you have more control over the risks)

If you really have a passion for something… Start doing it. I recommend the book “Start” by Jon Acuff if you are looking for additional reasons to Start.  It is great for helping you start no matter where you are currently in your life.

Once you start, constantly learn and grow. Don’t stop just because it gets hard, or you lose a little money.  Those initial losses are sometimes the cost of your education.  The profits come after you have learned those lessons.  Take what you have learned to move toward greatness.

Question:

What has held you back from Starting?

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What is an hour of you time worth?

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in Character Development, Leadership, Personal Finance | 4 comments

What is an hour of you time worth?

 

Do you know what happened to your 168 hours last week

Do you know what happened to your 168 hours last week

If you had one hour to live; how much would you pay for another hour? 

This is a continuation of a previous  article “Are Money and Time equal.”  I am painfully aware that I am not using my time as wisely as I could.  I hope this exploration will encourage you and me to value our time properly.

Generally humans are terrible assessors of risk. (Ways we get the odds wrong).  In the same way most of us are terrible at valuing our time.   We think we save money by “doing it ourselves.”  Often we end up paying ourselves a slave wage to save that money.

I used to change my own oil.  I used a Motorcraft filter and Motorcraft synthetic blend motor oil.  I would go to the store pick up the oil, travel to my father’s, get his tools out, and change the oil.  It cost me $28-$34 in materials, plus my time, and my mileage.  The whole process took about 2 hours.

My office is next door to a Ford Dealership.  During tax season, I had them change the oil for me.  They walked to my office picked up the vehicle.  They used the same materials I did.  They charge me $33 to $37 to change the oil.

So how much was I paying myself to change my oil?  I was paid somewhere between $0.00 and $9 for 2 hours of my time.

At best that is $4.50 per hour.

It is easy to value time in that example, but how valuable is an hour with your wife?  Children? Or others you care about?

There is a story about a little boy whose father worked very hard.  The father was always focused on making money.  The boy asked his father “How much do you make an hour?”  The father replies $50/hr.  The son goes into his room breaks into his piggy bank, seeing he only has $25 he asks his mom for $25.  At first she says no, but the boy keeps persisting until she relents.

With $50 in hand the boy goes to his father.  He then asks his father “Can I buy an hour of your time?  I have $50.”   The father is crushed.

The father realizes in that moment money and time are not equal.

You can never buy more time with the ones you love.  Those hours can’t be priced.  Yet, if all you did was spend time with them would you value that time at all?  We need balance!

We all have various areas of our life that require our time.  Are we budgeting our 168 hours each week in a way that reflects the importance of those areas in our life?

We often budget our money (which we can always get more money).  But do we budget our time?  Our time is a finite commodity.

What does your typical allocation of weekly hours look like?

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