We recently closed on the sale of our home. Selling a home is a tricky process. So many factors go into presenting your home to prospective buyers: Price, listings, open houses, dressing your home, getting the best real estate brokers, where the market is…I can go on! One aspect you can control is how your place is presented to buyers. One thing we noticed is many people don’t have good pictures of their homes online in their listings. I’m talking bad picture angles, terrible lighting, pictures of clutter, old dates showing on the pictures, blurry shots, you name it. And why? Many don’t understand the importance of dressing their home for sale and putting their best image out their to attract buyers.
How many of you enjoy cleaning your house?
I mean really love scrubbing all the dirt and grime that accumulates in places like the bathroom?
I know I don’t but it’s something that needs to be done! But these days it’s hard to find the time to really do a super thorough job cleaning the house.
What’s a person to do? Hire someone!
Do you know there are companies and people out there that make some pretty good money offering their cleaning services to households and companies? They’ll come in and charge you either a set fee per room or an hourly fee to clean up. They can come weekly, monthly, or whenever you think you need an some extra scrubbing. Continue Reading
Our move is over!
That was really a tough couple of days. For sure most moves should NOT be like ours. We were waiting to get a closing date on the sale of our co-op before we committed to a move so we did a lot last minute. It was very stressful and in hindsight there was a lot we could have done earlier to make our move easier (some things couldn’t be helped). For sure we learned a lot in this experience that we’ll remember for the next time we move.
Have you ever kept money secrets from your spouse?
Do you have a bank account they don’t know about; maybe a credit card? What about little white lies such as the actual cost of something you bought?
Why do we keep money secrets from our spouses? What do you have to hide?
Here are some of my thoughts why we would keep a money secret:
Who hasn’t complained about money from time to time?
I’ve had my share of gripes over the years for sure! Some people follow up their gripes by doing something about it. They save and work hard so they can have a better life later on. They become the well to do.
Others are the not so well to do’s. They sacrifice their futures to live like kings and queens today, always with the latest “stuff” but at the same time complaining about money.
I’ve observed, over the years, that the not so well to do’s have some traits in common. The following list are my observations.
These items aren’t bad per se, but when you see a good number of these traits in a person there’s a good chance they too are one of the not so well to do (read: poor)!
25 Traits Of The Not So Well To Do:
1) Big flat screen TV
With all of the talk about Bernie Madoff heading off to jail for a few years (a century or so) the thought on a lot of people’s minds is How did he do it? and What is a Ponzi scheme?
I came across the post Explaining the Ponzi Scheme to a Fifth Grader recently. I think the explanation pretty much nails it! Here it is:
Say you went to your sister and told her, if she gives you a dollar to invest today, you will give it back to her on Tuesday next week and she will get $1.25. Then you go to your other sister and tell her the same thing only you will give her $1.25 Wednesday. Then you go on to your dad and every person you know and tell them the same thing. As you’re going around asking for money from other people you know, you give your first sister her $1.25 and she’s happy to have twenty five cents extra just for letting you invest her $1. So she says, why don’t you keep my dollar and invest it some more? So you say, OK.
But the thing is, you weren’t really investing it were you? You were just using other people’s money to make it look like you are earning money for them. Do you see how you will eventually run out of money especially if they all ask for their money at the same time?
So she answers, Yeah, but can’t I just ask more money from more people? Yeah, you can do that but what if you ran out of people to ask and also ran out of time? That’s what happened to Bernie Maddox and that’s why he’s going to jail.
She then said, but they said he still has millions of dollars and he’s not really in jail. True.
About $68 billion lost summed up pretty nice!
The are a couple of lessons in this:
Know what you are investing in AND There’s no such thing as a free lunch!
You have to know where your money is going. If not then you are asking for trouble. From what I’ve been hearing people were throwing their money at Madoff so he could invest it. They didn’t care how he did it so long as they got back huge returns. I feel horrible for those people who lost their retirements and for all of the charitable organizations that were hurt. But you have to ask the big questions and in this case the questions is Where is the money going to get those returns?!?
It may not be fun learning about personal finance and investing but a little knowledge goes a long way. Sure it’s fun to say you’re getting 15% every year on your investment but you have to questions how!
Am I being too harsh?
I don’t mean to be. These people were swindled and hurt! The whole situation bothers me. It seems there’s no real accountability with Wall Street any more. There were warnings going back a decade about Madoff’s “investments” that went ignored.
Here’s a little lighter side that I also picked up from AMoores (where I saw the simple Ponzi explanation):
How do you feel about it all?
I hear some people complain that they have to buy expensive things for their kids because it’s what they expect. Some don’t know what they are going to do this holiday season as times are getting tight. How are we going to get little Johnny the latest (insert expensive popular toy here)?!?
Here’s what I say – Don’t!!
Where do your kids get their expectations from? Do they get them from friends? From television? Those are influences but not the real source. Children get their expectations from their parents!!
If you make it a habit to buy your kids expensive gifts for every occasion then you are setting yourself up for financial trouble! The younger you start the worse it will be. If you are already buying expensive items when the child is a toddler what are you going to do when they get older? How about when they are in their teens?
It’s tough to tell kids they won’t be getting all the goodies they are used to. But if your spending is putting you in debt or you don’t have an adequate amount for savings and retirement then you better re-think your holiday spending plans! Make your kids understand that they won’t be getting as much this year.
But all their friends are getting it!! Hmm. Are their friends paying your bills? Are they putting money away for retirement. Are they making sure the mortgage is on time? I didn’t think so. Teach your child to take pride in who they are not what they have. This lesson will be valuable for their entire life!
And you better practice what you preach!! Your child’s expectations come from watching you as well. Don’t think you’re getting that new flat-screen TV or expensive cell phone while they don’t get the goods. Parents must set the example for their kids. We are not our stuff!!
Say that to yourself – We are not our stuff! It’s important. Get this into your mind set and teach it to your children, not just by explaining but by setting the example.
I’m not saying don’t buy any gifts. But watch what you buy for your kids. Yes, they love getting stuff. I know I did as a kid. But what is the child really getting out of it? Are they using and loving the gift? Not just for a day but for months, maybe years? Or did they say it was their favorite for a few days then it joined all their other stuff in the corner? Do your kids really appreciate the gift? If your always buying them expensive stuff then your kids will start to see you a the person who will get them stuff. Not for the person you are! Think about that.
Stop the cycle of consumerism that hurts us in the end. You don’t have to buy your kids everything they want. Let them love you as the great parent you are rather than the person who gets them stuff. They won’t hate you if you don’t get them all the hottest toys. If they say they do then think about the values you are teaching them. We all want to make our kids happy but we need them to grow up responsible too.