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The 10 Worst Money Mistakes You Can Make

by Jeff White

The 10 Worst Money Mistakes You Can Make


 



Successful money managers share a simple strategy: spend less than you make over a long period of time and invest the difference.

But the author of ESI Money, an online blog written by a reclusive “50-something retiree who has amassed a sizable net worth,” suggests a list of the 10 worst things you can do to sabotage your financial independence:

Not having an emergency fund – Emergencies arise in every life, and not being prepared to cover them can throw you into debt. A rule of thumb is to sock away six months of living expenses.

Not having a will – Money Magazine reports 57 percent of Americans don’t have a will, including 69 percent of parents with kids under 18. But without a will, the state  decides what happens with your finances. Make a will and update it regularly as your life situation changes.

Not having enough insurance – Like an emergency fund, insurance can protect or replace your assets in the event of almost any misfortune. In addition to life insurance, you should have health, auto, homeowner or renter’s, long-term disability, and, arguably, long-term care insurance.

Marrying the wrong person – Spouses should have similar financial goals and habits. If one is a spendthrift, you’re in trouble. It’s a good idea to discuss your financial objectives before you tie the knot.

Not saving – Putting money aside is essential if you are going to be able to invest. Experts suggest saving 10 percent of your salary.

Buying too much house – It’s well-known that Warren Buffet lives in the same modest home he purchased many years ago. Don’t buy a home that requires a mortgage that is more than twice your household’s annual realized income.

Waiting to invest – the factors that determine how well your investments turn out are the amount you invest, the return rate, and how long you are invested. The longer you wait to invest, the more you are costing yourself.

Being in debt – paying interest on debt can cost you big-time over the years. Avoid it like the plague.

Not maximizing your career – Develop and execute a plan to make the most of your working life. Your earning potential is dependent on your good health and initiative.

Overspending – It’s tempting to splurge, but develop a budget and stick with it. 

All White Paint it Not the Same

by Jeff White

Please click on the link below to view this video. 


http://rismedia.com/ace-branded/?id=131374&src=rismedia.com&e_id=cWt0WEo1OGRRVG9hS2N2aEZvd3g2UT09&ref=Facebook&ref=LinkedIn

How Sound Is Your Home's Foundation?

by Jeff White

How Sound Is Your Home's Foundation?

If you're building a new home, make sure your foundation is sound. Consider going with concrete, analyzing your soil, and testing your materials. Check out this infographic for more detailed information.How Sound Is Your Home�s Foundation?

5 Easy-to-Manage House Plants

by Jeff White

5 Easy-to-Manage House Plants


 


 

If you’re looking to add a bit more green to your design scheme, you’re not alone. House plants are a popular way to add fresh beauty, and clean up your air while you’re at it. However, keeping a house plant healthy is a responsibility, even if it’s a small one. Consider the following plants that are both beautiful and easy to manage.

Aloe. You really can’t go wrong with succulents, and these cool plants can also help ward off sunburn. Just strip off a leaf, open it up, and rub the ooey-gooey insides on your sun-kissed skin.

Orchids. These sweet blooms are beautiful and low maintenance. Just keep a small misting bottle beside your plant and give it a gentle spray once a week.

Peace lily. These graceful plants don’t need a lot of light, so they’re perfect for perching in your living room.

Snake plant. Don’t let the slithery name fool you. Another succulent, this interesting upright plant can deal in bright or low-light settings, and can survive with minimal amounts of water.

English ivy. If you want a hanging plant, this vine is for you. Place this ivy on a shelf or mantel and let the vines hang down. You can let the plant run wild or prune it back for a more manageable look.

Interested in real estate and housing tips? Feel free to contact me directly.

Finished Renovating? Now It's Time to Tackle the Mess

by Jeff White

Finished Renovating? Now It’s Time to Tackle the Mess


 



Completing a home renovation project is so exciting. The new space or enhancement you’ve been dreaming about for months is now a reality.

But what about that mess? Nothing quite compares to the post-construction havoc a renovation can cause in your home. According to the ServiceMaster blog, your primary focus should be removing the dust created by just about every home improvement project, which has an insidious way of sneaking into the most random nooks and crannies. If dust isn’t dealt with promptly, it will make its way into your air ducts creating a health hazard for you and your family.

ServiceMaster Clean® offers the following checklist to get through the construction clean-up process quickly and effectively.

Vacuum Carpets and Upholstery
Vacuum all soft surfaces, removing and vacuuming each cushion and getting into the crevices of the furniture frame. It’s probably a good idea to give it a second round, too.

Wipe Down Hard Surfaces
Clean surfaces from the top down, starting with the dust that has accumulated on your walls. Dry dusting will ensure paint and wallpaper won’t be damaged, but a damp cloth will remove dust faster. Check with your paint or wallpaper manufacturer to see if it will tolerate a little moisture and test a small area to be safe.

Next, move onto moldings and cabinets using a duster. Make sure to target the interior shelves and hard-to-reach corners. Wipe off countertops and any other flat surfaces before tackling the floor. Then sweep and mop the entire surface area.

Clean Air Vents and Replace Filters
If your project is of a larger scale, it’s likely that dust has made its way into your vents. Treating the air vents in the renovated area is critical for preventing the dust from spreading to other areas of your home. Here’s how:

- Remove the vent covers from the surrounding walls and ceilings
- Clean each one with soap and warm water, and let them dry thoroughly
- Replace any exposed air filters with fresh ones before replacing the vent covers

Don’t Forget About the Little Things
Remember, dust gets everywhere, so remember to clean these areas as well:

- Ceiling fan blades
- Light fixtures
- Lamp shades
- Electronics
- Small appliances
- Decorative items 

5 Reasons Why You Should Open a Health Savings Account

by Jeff White

5 Reasons Why You Should Open a Health Savings Account


 



Many reports in recent years place medical expenses as the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy in America – even for those who have health insurance. No matter what your insurance status may be, there’s no denying that medical costs are expensive.

One way to ease the burden is by opening a pre-tax Health Savings Account (HSA). While you should check with your employer or financial advisor, here are some reasons why an HSA may be a good idea, according to Optum Bank.

1. HSA contributions are tax deductible. This means you are actually receiving discounts on health care expenses. For example, if you receive a dentist bill for $400, when you pay with your HSA, you are saving between $100 and $140 dollars based on your tax rate.

2. Your HSA money is yours to keep. Any money deposited into your HSA, either by you or your employer, is yours to keep, with no deadline for spending the money. According to Optum, this makes an HSA a great way to save for retirement – any money you keep in your account will earn interest.

3. An HSA gives you a cushion for the unexpected. You never know when a big medical expense will hit, so having a cushion in your HSA account is extremely helpful. You can also reimburse yourself from your HSA account when you pay for medical expenses out of pocket.

4. You can use your HSA for anyone in your family. You can use your HSA to pay for the qualified medical expenses of anyone you claim on your taxes, even if you're only enrolled with single coverage.

5. Your HSA can be used for many drugstore items. You can use your HSA card to pay for many common items that tend to really add up, such as over-the-counter cold medicines, pain relievers, allergy medicines, first-aid items, etc.

A small, pre-tax contribution to your HSA every month can help you meet deductibles and provide some often needed peace of mind in today’s economic climate. 
 

5 Peaceful Paint Colors

by Jeff White

5 Peaceful Paint Colors


 


 

If you plan to repaint your interiors this year, don’t forget to pick a hue that will positively impact your mood. While bright red or neon green may be fun, they can subconsciously create stress in the body. Below are five peaceful paint colors to up the “ahhh” factor of your favorite spaces.

Violet
A dusty purple can promote balance and inner peace. Make sure to pick a shade with more blue tones and less black for a relaxing vibe.

Green
While a neon green can be alarming, a less bright shade (think forest or grass) can be calming and refreshing.

Gray
While some may think gray is dull, it actually has been shown to be a soothing, stress-free color. Plus, it goes with nearly any accent hue, so you can get creative with accompanying colors.

Blue
Choose a gentle ocean blue in the bedroom for a restful night’s sleep. Known to reduce tension, opt for a lighter shade when choosing your blue.

Yellow
A rich, buttery yellow can brighten your spirits. Perfect for bathrooms and kitchens, paint your whole space or a singular accent wall and soak up that sunny disposition.

I hope you found this helpful. Contact me for more home and real estate insights and info.

Home Got the Blahs? Add a Spot of Color

by Jeff White

Home Got the Blahs? Add a Spot of Color


 



If there’s one design element we don’t change very often, it’s our home’s exterior paint color. After all, a quality paint job should last 10 years in the right climate. But the problem is, all that sameness can get boring. The solution? A small dose of color in the right places.  

According to design expert Debbie ZImmer with the Paint Quality Institute, a “pinch of a new paint color here and there” is all you need to make your home’s exterior more interesting.

Zimmer recommends starting at the front door. "It's usually visible from the street so everyone sees it, and it's also where visitors first come face to face with your home." The best way to add visual interest is by painting your front door a color that contrasts sharply with the rest of the exterior. Think bright red or deep green, or even black. Bonus points: dark colors are better at hiding dirt and fingerprints.

Another great way to shake things up with color is by painting the shutters. While shutters are often painted the same color as the front door, it’s more important that they work well with the color of your siding. Choose a color that complements or contrasts. For inspiration, take a spin around your neighborhood or towns where you really love the design of the homes. Take notes on shutter colors you like and how they play against the home’s exterior.

If you have a home that has interesting architectural elements, such as gingerbread on Victorian homes or unique trim around doors and windows, this is a great chance to add interest with color. Paint these decorative touches a bright or unusual color to liven up the entire look of your home.

Zimmer recommends a few other great places to add pops of color to your home, like the porch, deck furniture, wooden fence or even a birdhouse or doghouse.  A bright or unusual hue in an unexpected spot can change the entire look and feel of your home.

If you get overwhelmed by the amount of colors to choose from, Zimmer advises borrowing ideas from the brochures at your local paint store. "These often show color schemes with four or five hues that work beautifully together," she says.  "Find a palette that contains a color similar to your siding, then choose accent colors from the same palette for your doors, shutters, and trim."    

For more advice on exterior color and tips on painting, visit the Paint Quality Institute online at blog.paintquality.com. 

Staying Put? How to Prepare to Age-in-Place

by Jeff White

Staying Put? How to Prepare to Age-in-Place


 



​Many older homeowners are set on staying in their homes as they age—“aging-in-place.”

To stay put successfully, preparation is key, according to Corey Carlisle, executive director of the American Bankers Association (ABA) Foundation.

“Older Americans make up the largest share of homeowners in the country,” said Carlisle in a statement. “In order for them to stay in their homes as they age, families and caregivers must plan ahead to ensure the elderly have all the resources they need to be safe, independent and financially secure.”

To start, Carlisle and the ABA Foundation recommend recruiting loved ones, or even a banker, to assess your finances. How long can you comfortably afford your current home? Will you need to budget for aging-in-place improvements? Will you require in-home care? Consider these questions as you evaluate your financial longevity.

A reverse mortgage is an important consideration—one that must be researched thoroughly. The ABA Foundation suggests visiting ReverseMortgage.org to comparison-shop for lenders and rates, and visiting HUD.gov to locate a reverse mortgage counselor in your area, before committing to a loan.

Size up your current home to see what modifications will likely be needed, and financially prepare to make them. Aging-in-place upgrades can include anything from handrails and no-slip flooring to a stair lift or ramp entrance—and, they can be as simple as placing an emergency contact list in plain view at home, according to the ABA Foundation.

After you’ve established a viable aging-in-place plan, conduct six-month check-ins going forward, the ABA Foundation advises. Revisiting your plan periodically will help you better adapt to the inevitable changes of aging.

Source: ABA 

Expert Insights: How Does a Lease Option Work?

by Jeff White

Expert Insights: How Does a Lease Option Work?


 


 

A landlord agrees to give a renter an exclusive option to purchase the property. The option price is usually determined at the outset, but not always, and the agreement states when the purchase should take place—whether, say, six months, or a year or two down the road.

A portion of the rent is used to make the future down payment. Most lenders will accept the down payment if the rental payments exceed the market rent and a valid lease-purchase agreement is in effect.

Before you opt to do a lease option, find out as much as possible about how they work. Talk to real estate agents, read published materials, and, in the end, have an attorney review any paperwork before you sign on the dotted line.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 70

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