Sunday, July 26, 2015 Reviews

Have you used yet?  If so, what did you buy?  How was the process?  Our readers are loving the service so far.   

Amazon's newest rival certainly took off this week.   And according to Forbes Magazine's Pricing Comparison Research, their claims to have lower prices than Amazon or Wal-Mart are holding up. 

In a price comparison of 16,000 items, they were overall 9% lower than Amazon and the best deal by far for pet supplies (12% under).    (See how our reader Linda benefited from this below).

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pay Off the Mortgage or Not?

Just my opinion, but.... this hotly contested question is really the wrong question to ask.  Which is why there is so much debate about it, perhaps. 
The important question to ask is "how much does housing cost me every year?"  And the answer tells you whether or not you can and should pay off the mortgage, or if you should have a big juicy mortgage the rest of your life.   

What?  NOT pay off the mortgage -- ever??? 

The idea of not paying off my mortgage came from Ric Edelman in his book The Truth About Money," 4th edition.
He outlines great reasons to carry a big, long mortgage.  
  • A mortgage is cheap money. 
  • Greater liquidity.  
  • You can sell without selling (get your equity back by refinancing your mortgage). 
  • The list goes on.  Most telling is the story about the widow who had a lovely $500,000 home - paid off.  But had no cash to maintain it, travel, etc.  It's an important read.
Whether you pay off your mortgage or not, you still have monthly maintenance, taxes and insurance.  You'll never be without housing expenses.  And these expenses are subject to inflationary pressures.   Just a few years ago in my state a law was passed that allow insurance companies to charge you up to a 2-3% of the home value as a deductible for damage from a "named storm," i.e., Hurricane.    Hmm..

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

5 More Reasons to Escape the Corporate Cube & How - Money In Real Life Stories


6.  You want to be (a little) like Sofia Varga.   

You know, "Gloria" from TV's Modern Family.  In real life she's savvy, hip, wise, and quietly building her own media empire.   Latinas are dropping out of Corporate America and cutting their own paths to financial AND emotional well-being. 

7. You Can Exit the Party Slowly, and Take a Few Cookies With You.   

There is still something to be gained out of your current Corporate Cube Job.  Contacts in the next cube are your potential clients, future collaborators or even your investors. 
  • You are still learning. Money In Real Life (MIRL) Story:  For example, my partner became an seven figure entrepreneur after spending a few years as a CPA.  He learned from every client – what to do, what is realistic, what things cost, how taxes worked.  This knowledge was invaluable for his future as a business owner and real-estate developer.
  • That Guy In IT probably has a side-hustle too and can help you when you need IT expertise and don't have a whole department to call on.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Financial Freedom: 5 Reasons to Run from the Corporate Cube

I've been out of the corporate cube for two months.  I've seen it from both sides.  Being on the outside looks and feels a lot better.  Here's 5 Reasons Why:

1.  It's tough to earn financial freedom in one lifetime by working for someone else.


If you still need to earn money, (i.e., your parents haven't willed you a couple of million in a trust fund), just know that owning our own business is one of the few ways in this country to create wealth in one life time.    I picked up these tips from the Millionaire Next Door classic book.   But I suggest you get your own copy and pour through it. 

Let's start with taxes.   I learned a lot in the Jackson Hewitt Tax School and I learned that Earned Income you get in the Cube is taxed more highly than any other kind of income.    Taxes are one of your biggest ongoing expenses.   Those who are self-employed, or who earn money from dividend income, or rental income -- well, they don't have as high a tax burden.   Do whatever you can (legally) to reduce these.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Financial Freedom: Decluttering Your Way to Freedom. Watch Out for Those Emotional Barriers

From 2600 square feet (2010) to 1500 in 2010.    

From 1500 square feet to  697 square feet in 2014.  

 I’ve cut my living space and stuff by 66% in the last five years and never felt freer or happier.  But each time I scaled down, I had to step over and toss out more than unused clutter – I had to face the accompanying fears and bogeymen haunting my psyche. 

The Top 3 Fears:
  • What if all my stuff fit in the new space?  Would I end up embarrassed, with furniture or boxes of (fill in the blank) at the doorway, left by the movers who couldn't fit it into the new place?  
  • If I have to get rid of it -- how will I manage without it?  (i.e.,)   Could I really live without a (fill in the blank?) 
  • Wouldn't I be spending more money to replace the stuff I tossed?  Because obviously I would not be able to live with out.
Reality Check:  

The only things I ever gave away to movers because they wouldn't fit in my new space:
  • A chest of drawers handed down to me from my family that I really didn't like.   Good riddance.  The mover seemed thirlled!  0% regret.
  •  A 9 foot high bookcase.  10%  regret.  I really liked that bookcase, but it was a choice between the bookcase and the antique sideboard my daughter loves and wants some day.  The mover who loves books ended up with the bookcase.  I can buy another one someday.  So far, I've done great without it.

But as I consider downsizing to 280 square feet, I’m even more perplexed and wondering "good grief, how am I going to live without a living room??"  The rewards of downsizing draw me forward anyway:  pure joy, a new view of the world, a fuller life.