People can choose to define financial independence in their own way. Reaching financial independence, could be easier than you think. It takes planning, and many individuals with a healthy self-discipline and solid financial guidance, can reach this goal. Here are 5 essential ways to become financially independent. [Read more…]
Only 75 percent of the businesses started in the United States annually will ever reach the two-year mark. One of the main reasons failed business owners give for the demise of their venture is money problems. Instead of waiting until money issues bankrupt your small business, you need to take proactive measures to prevent this disastrous situation.
Debt is a part of modern life. In fact, according to the National Audit Office, around 8.3 million people in the UK struggle to pay off their debts or household bills.
There are lots of reasons people find themselves in debt in the first place─bad spending habits, relying on credit cards or simply living beyond their means. Some reasons are beyond our control like sudden unemployment, divorce and medical fees. [Read more…]
It’s estimated that about 36 percent of the American workforce is doing freelance work, and that number is expected to grow to 50 percent over the next 8 years.
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According to the CDC, around 83.6 million U.S. adults are getting less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night. There are many things that could be causing this loss of shuteye, such as health issues, depression, and work obligations. However, a recent survey discovered a link between sleep deprivation and financial worries. [Read more…]
In today’s article, I’m going to discuss the current dilemma with my house, the choices I made that got me here, and how I see things playing out over the next few years.
Let’s go way back to 2014. That year, I proposed to my then-girlfriend. After we were engaged, I moved in with her.
A smallish, one bedroom, one bathroom apartment, but affordable. After about 6 months of that, we moved to a different apartment. Different city.
This one was 2 bedrooms, 1 ½ bathrooms, but 50% more for rent. The majority of the cost, in my opinion, was due to location.
Our first apartment was in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The second one was in Milwaukee, in a sought after neighborhood. At the time, this seemed like a fun choice. We’d experience life downtown in a bigger city (Milwaukee is small compared to actual BIG cities).
Fast forward 9 months. We were looking to get a puppy, but our landlord wouldn’t accept a pet younger than 1 year of age. Add that onto poor management and several plumbing issues, we’d had enough.
Time to move
Found a sub-lessor for the remaining three months on our lease, and moved in with my folks.
We decided that was the best choice because we wanted to buy, and living with them costing very little rent was the easiest, and fastest, way to save for a down payment.
Three months with them and we saved enough for a small down payment (FHA mortgage requires just 3.5% down).
March of 2016 is when we bought our first house. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. Perfect for the two of us. However, the city we lived in didn’t have good schools, so we knew (as we wanted kids) that living here would be temporary.
The plan was to live in this house (located in West Allis, Wisconsin) for 4-5 years until our child started school. Then we would move to a different city with better schools.
Fast forward to late spring of 2018. One day, I was browsing on Realtor and found a house in the suburbs.
I liked what I saw, liked the city, and the price. I showed my wife and we agreed to take a look at it. Obviously, this was quite a few years before our planned move.
We looked at the house and loved it. We loved it so much that we submitted an offer in the car on our way back from looking at it.
We moved into that house (located in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin) in July of 2018, and that kind of brings us to today.
Real quick. I wanted to briefly explain the decision to move so far ahead of schedule. I knew our budget would be tight with the increased mortgage payment, but I was looking far ahead. The schools were better, the neighborhood was safer, and it would’ve been a great place to raise a family.
Current housing woes
As I’ve noted before, I’m in the middle of a divorce. Part of that divorce is selling our house. As you can imagine, having lived there for only one year, there wasn’t any equity built up.
We placed the house on the market in the middle of October. We started out asking $239,000 and didn’t hear much of anything for about a week.
We dropped the asking price by $10,000 to $229,000. Officially, we received our first offer on 12/2/19 (I’m writing this on 12/3/2019).
Their offer came in at $215,000 cash. Quite a bit lower, so we countered back with our full asking price.
They countered today at $225,000 and we accepted that.
Here’s the problem. We bought the house for $239,000 and we’re selling it (pending inspection and further negotiation) for $225,000. Again, we put 3.5% down. Still, we have $230,000 left on the mortgage.
That brings in a short sell situation. This means we will have to cut a check to the title company for the difference to clear the title.
You’re probably thinking $5,000 isn’t too bad. Hold on. We still have to factor in closing costs, which include the realtor’s commission. A rough estimate puts the check we’ll have to write around $15,000/$16,000. Ouch.
Nobody has a crystal ball. Did I know I’d have to sell the house a year after buying it? No. Do I wish I would’ve done things differently? Sometimes, but I try to look at every situation as a learning experience.
I take the good and the bad. My son took his first steps in the Oconomowoc house. He had a lot more space to run and play. He had a fenced-in backyard. It was perfect for him and for us. I wouldn’t take that back.
Do I wish we would’ve stayed in the one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment until we were ready to buy? Absolutely.
That would’ve given us so much more time to save. Figuring we would’ve lived there for one full year before buying the West Allis house, and the rent was roughly $400 cheaper than the Milwaukee apartment. That’s an easy $4,000.
Not to mention the commute would’ve been shorter. Insurance would’ve been cheaper. Heck, even our grocery bill would’ve been less.
They’re all learning experiences. Those lessons f*cking sting right now, but I’ll learn from it and hopefully you’ll learn from me.
According to the Federal Reserve, about 40% of Americans wouldn’t know where to turn if they needed $400 for an emergency. A large number of people simply don’t have that kind of money set aside “just in case.”
If you’re one of these people and you need money now, you might not have the slightest idea where to get it. You might even think that you don’t have any options available to you.
Debt collectors and debt collection agencies are a real pain! They’re persistent, and sometimes, they can be downright mean.
However, there are still laws that govern them. If you come in contact with an aggressive collector, here’s what you have to know.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is the law that governs what third-party debt collectors can and can’t do.
Things they can’t do include calling before 8 am and after 9 pm based on your time zone, call you at work, harass, oppress, or abuse you, lie to you, threaten you with jail time, conceal their identity, disregarding a written request from you to cease contact or dispute a debt.
Debt collectors also can’t reveal any personal information about your debt to people, except your spouse or your guardian (if you’re a minor).
Mail correspondence can’t show that the mailer is from a debt collector. Also, if you hire an attorney and the collector has your attorney’s contact information, they must correspond with your legal counsel, not you.
If the debt collector violates any of the parameters set by the FDCPA, you have one year from the date of the violation to file a complaint. You can do that by using the online form, here, or by calling (855) 411-2372.
If it ever gets to the point where you file a complaint or sue the collector, copious notes will help you make your case.
Get as many details as possible. Time, date, name of the collector, the agency they work for, the debt they are calling about, etc.
Hang up or don’t answer
If the call is from a number you don’t recognize, don’t answer. If the call was important, they’ll leave a message.
Typically, debt collectors are dialing for dollars (calling A LOT), so they typically won’t leave messages. If they do, listen to it and do your research to confirm if it’s legit or not.
In a lot of cases, consumers don’t know what they’re rights are. Even though collectors must abide by the laws set forth in the FDCPA, they might not if they think they’re speaking with an uninformed individual.
If they start badgering you, use aggressive language, or violate the law in any other manner, just hang up the phone.
Write a letter
You can write a letter to a debt collector for two reasons.
One, asking them to stop. They HAVE to stop if you put it in writing. Two, dispute the debt. If you believe that the debt they are trying to collect is fraudulent or not yours, write a letter to dispute it.
Cool heads prevail
Debt collectors are ruthless. Their objective is to get as much out of you as possible before they sell the remaining portion of your debt to the next collector in line.
It’s human nature to get worked up or downright pissed off in this situation, but getting angry won’t help you.
Collectors have been conditioned to withstand a verbal thrashing from consumers. Staying calm will keep your blood pressure down and help you think straight.
Are you a retiree looking for a suitable side job?
Maybe you want to supplement your retirement income or you simply want an activity to keep you busy and you wouldn’t mind being paid for your time. Regardless of your specific situation, finding a job after retirement is a welcome idea, especially if you’re in perfect health.