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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Why You Should Pay Off Your Mortgage Before Retiring

I believe my readers are not yet near the age of retirement, but I thought if you are a Home Owner, the information I provide below should be of interest.

Have you ever thought about your age when your Mortgage is paid in full or the total amount you will pay out over a typical 30 year mortgage?

As a Home Owner myself, those thoughts have crossed my mind. I hope to be retired by the time my mortgage is paid, but there are many questions I need to ask myself if my house is not paid off when I want to retire. Will I have enough income each month to cover the mortgage plus other living expenses? What options will I have?

The amount I will pay out over 30 years is amazing, it is more than double what I originally paid for my house.

So Why should you pay off your mortgage before you retire?

More Americans are quitting the workforce without retiring their
mortgages. The most recent Federal Reserve survey shows that 32
percent of households headed by someone age 65 to 74 were
carrying home-mortgage debt.

That could be a mistake. Consider this scenario. Two retired couples
have income of $16,000 from Social Security and $24,000 from
individual retirement accounts.

The couple without a mortgage would be taxed on their IRA withdrawals,
but with the standard deductions, they would owe only about $600 a year
in taxes, leaving them with $39,400 in after-tax income.
The second couple took out a $200,000 30-year mortgage at age 50 that
costs $1,200 per month until age 80. The interest deduction doesn't help
because by the 16th year of their mortgage, just $8,400 goes to interest.
Added to other deductions, they will have little more than the $11,600
standard deduction taken by the first couple.

To match the first couple's standard of living, they have to make large
taxable withdrawals from their IRA. The withdrawals would drive up their
total income, triggering taxes on Social Security. They would need total
pretax income of more than $58,000 to have the same standard of living
as the first couple, and they would pay more than $4,300 in federal taxes.

Financial columnist Johnathan Clements says there's another problem
with carrying a mortgage into retirement. It limits the ability to tap into the
home's value through a reverse mortgage. He says the reverse
mortgage is a big financial backstop for cash-strapped retirees.

To pay off a $200,000 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 6 percent with a
$1,200 payment: Add $50 a month to pay off the loan in 27 years. Add
$200 a month to pay off the mortgage in 21 years. Add $500 a month to
pay it off in 15 years.

Some people might argue that paying off your mortgage is a bad financial move. They claim in the long run you will get a higher return if you invest your money instead of making extra mortgage payments. There is a chance you will achieve that, but there's also a chance that you won't. Given the choice between a guaranteed savings of the 6% interest on their mortgage (compounded for 30 years), or the possibility of achieving some other rate of return (which may be higher or lower), conservative investors will take the safe bet.

Calculate your own time frame and payments to see what you could do.

Mortgage Payoff Calculator

If you want to use other Financial Calculators, go to Dinkytown (Best viewed in Internet Explorer)

Definitions: Source Dinkytown

Annual interest rate (APR):
The yearly cost of a mortgage, including interest, mortgage insurance, and the origination fee (point(s)), expressed as a percentage. Maximum APR is 20%.

Mortgage length (years):
Total length, or term, of your original mortgage in years. Most common lengths are 30 years and 15 years.

Original mortgage amount:
The original amount financed with your mortgage. Not to be confused with the remaining balance or principal balance.

Additional monthly payment:
Your proposed extra payment per month. This payment will be used to reduce your principal balance.

Scheduled payment:
Monthly principal and interest payment (PI) based on your original mortgage amount, term and interest rate.

Accelerated payment:
Scheduled payment plus additional monthly payment.

Total savings:
Total amount you would save in interest if you made the accelerated payment until your mortgage was paid in full

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Getting Your House Ready To Sell

Today while speaking to a client, I was asked: "I'm a
What can I do to my house when preparing to put it up for sale?"

Below are some tips you can use to get your home ready.

Do you remember the first time you saw your home? What were the features that made you want to buy it? Chances are those same features will be appealing to your buyer. Perhaps there was something special about the patio. Or maybe it was the flower garden in the back yard. How about those special features in the kitchen that impressed you. You liked that large party room. That little pantry off the kitchen that's been so handy. Do you recall how these features looked when you first saw them? Restore them. Bring them back. They are going to help sell your home.

Before you start to promote your home give it a thorough cleaning. Wash the windows. Shine the floors. Polish the furniture. Scour and scrub the kitchen and bathrooms. Give the landscape a good manicure. Curb Appeal is going to make the buyer want to go inside.

Clean out the garage, attic, basement and all closets. Hold a yard sale to get rid of unwanted items. You can donate anything that doesn't sell to charity (Salvation Army or Good Will etc.)

Make sure the house has a clean fresh smell in every room. Even the closets. Open the windows and air things out. Carpets and curtains can collect bad smells like tobacco and cooking odors. Check bathrooms and basement for mildew odors.

Make minor repairs. Fix squeaky door hinges, old peeling paint, cracked or stuck windows, loose door knobs, crumbling grout between bathroom and kitchen tile, rusty gutters, and sinks that leak and don't drain properly.

The front of your home is where the first impression is made. Make sure the drive-way is clean and free from oil spots. Eliminate moss or mildew build-up on the front steps. The hardware on your front door should sparkle. Take care of paint that's peeling. Add a little color to the porch with a basket of flowers. A nice door mat also makes the front door look appealing.

The entry area will also create first impressions. Repair scratches in wood floors or worn spots in carpets. A well placed mirror can make an entry area look larger, especially with flowers in front of it. Be sure to have the entry closet clean and free of clutter.

Put high wattage light bulbs in all fixtures and turn them on when you show the home. Keep the drapes open so that everything is well lit. Dark areas can send out a bad message. People may think you're trying to hide something. If you have rooms painted in dark colors change them to light colors, such as an off white. Lighter colors create an open look.

Have as much open space as you can. Personal family heirlooms can make the home look like a museum. Put away all the personal possessions and let the buyer see how much room there really is. The buyer needs to have a clear picture how their belongings are going to fit in the house. Remove unnecessary furniture. The more furniture in the room the smaller it looks. Sometimes family pictures can make walls look cluttered. A mirror that is placed in the right spot can make a room feel larger.

These tips may take some time, but in the end, you will see the reward.

Watch This Video for Additional Tips:

Monday, March 19, 2007

WARNING for DOG & CAT Owners

I am a huge animal lover and my baby is a Black Lab/Shepherd.
The latest news had me concerned, but luckily, we weren't affected.

In case some of you haven't yet heard on the News or read about it online, I wanted to bring to your attention a manufacturer recalled 51 brands of dog food and 40 brands of cat food over the weekend after its products were linked to kidney failure and death in 10 animals.

The products were wet-style foods packaged in cans and pouches. They were sold at national retailers including Wal-Mart, PetSmart and Safeway.

Experts advise owners to call their veterinarian if a pet has eaten recalled food and shows symptoms of possible kidney failure. An animal could be in trouble if it:
• Stops eating
• Appears tired and lifeless
• Seems excessively thirsty
• Urinates much more than usual
• Vomits
• Has diarrhea
• Seems to have abdominal pain
Source: The FDA; veterinarian Laurie Miller of the Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Va.

Recalled Cat Product Information
Recall Information 1-866-895-2708 PRODUCT LIST

Recalled Dog Product Information
Recall Information 1-866-895-2708 PRODUCT LIST

Here's another bit of information that you should know:
A sugar substitute, Xylitol, is found in a variety of sugar-free and dietetic cookies, mints and chewing gum is proving highly toxic, even fatal, to snack-snatching dog

Sunday, March 18, 2007

For Sale By Owner

(abbreviated as FSBO; IPA pronunciation: ['fɪz,bou]) is a term that describes a piece of real property that has been offered for sale directly by its owner.
The owner has not solicited the help of a real estate broker, implying that no real estate commission is associated with the sale of the property. In recent years, the term has been used more broadly to describe the process of marketing, buying, and selling of real property without the representation of a real estate broker.
Many sellers who choose to sell via FSBO,
do so to avoid paying a commission to a broker, typically 6% of the selling price of the property in many parts of the US (Birger 2005). Commissions can range between 5% and 7% in different markets across the U.S. as well as in Canada.
According to a press release by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) regarding their most current annual survey of real estate consumers: 2005 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers (NAR 2006):
12% of 2006 US real estate transactions were FSBO (source: 2006 NAR).
13% of 2005 US real estate transactions took place via FSBO (down from 14% in 2004).
The record percentage of US real estate transactions (since tracking started in 1981) of 20% took place in 1987.
Some FSBOs, who are willing to pay a reduced fee, may contract with a broker to list their property on the Realtors' local Multiple Listing Service for a flat fee. This may be one of the fastest growing segments of the real estate industry.
For Sale by Owner within Australia accounts for less than 2% of all properties sold. (source: Zeroagents 2006) Commission rates within Australia are typically 2.5% of the selling price. The FSBO market within Australia has been restricted with major property portals only allowing property advertisements through real estate agents.

If you want more information regarding FSBO, visit AC Associates. If anyone has additional questions regarding selling their property, please feel free to get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to offer support and guide you through the process.

Recommended Reads:
How To Sell Your Home Fast In Good or Bad Markets:
Introduces you to the “secret sales weapon” and the exclusive
hassle free system for getting your home sold in record time. Your
program includes a detailed, 54 page guide manual. It’s jam packed with inside
information for getting you quick sales action. You’ll discover trouble
free solutions. Plus, you’ll be taught a simple, proven step-by-step rapid
sale process. Few home sellers realize the remarkable sales firepower
these easy solutions can generate.

Customer Comment:
"Your methods found me a buyer that paid me $2000 over the appraised value price.”

John Alexander
San Antonio, TX

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Have You Discovered The Secret?

My friend has been after me for weeks to watch the movie "The Secret". He has raved about it...gone on and on... and said he's applied the techniques to his own life. He assures me that he has seen and felt a difference. I will eventually watch the movie or read the book, but I just haven't had the time right now. Does anyone have comments about this movie to share?
Watch the first 20 minutes of the movie below.

However, I did read "Your Heart's Desire" and I believe it's the same concept. I will say that I was skeptical at first, but with an open mind, I read page after page and just couldn't put the book down. This book has left an impact on me and trust me, it does work. It left me feeling much more positive (didn't think that was possible), confident, and believe anything can happen.

Written by Sonia Choquette, Ph.D. she provides instructions for creating the life you really want. She guides you through the nine universal principals for creating our own reality.

"The universal laws of creative manifestation are impartial and success is available to anyone who learns how the process works. By coordinating our conscious desires with our subconscious beliefs and accessing our intuition, we tap into the natural power we all possess to create the life we wish for"

For people who genuinely want their own lives to alter and expand...

A Gift to Us: Watch the first 20 minutes of The Secret:

Simultaneous Closings

Simultaneous Closing is a real estate seller financing technique, whereby the private mortgage note created by the seller is simultaneously sold to a note buyer on closing.

Typically, the terms of the note are agreed upon between the seller and the buyer with some suggestions from the note buyer. On closing day, two transactions take place: a real estate transaction and a note purchase transaction, almost simultaneously.
Sometimes the note purchase transaction happens a few days or weeks after the real estate transaction. This depends on how early in the process the note buyer gets involved and whether or not there are closing issues with this transaction.

The seller's main motivation for using this technique is to obtain cash on closing or shortly after, instead of receiving the proceeds from the sale over a period of years.
The buyer's motivation is to obtain more lenient financing from the seller, especially when credit issues are or have been a problem.
The note buyer is looking for the cash flow from the mortgage note. He has to make sure that he doesn't get too involved in this transaction and thereby appear to be acting as a lender, which he usually is not.
Some title companies are not familiar with this type of transaction and may not be inclined to accept it. They may simply need to review the process with an attorney.

For More Info, Please see Owner Financing

Monday, March 12, 2007

How I Learned About Adsense

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for generating a flood of targeted traffic to your web site(s). He doesn't offer it for free, but at the amazingly low cost of $7.00, you can learn the secrets to generating
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Having had my business for a while and working strickly from my home office, I knew I had to reach out and help more people by way of the internet. After all, everyone seems to have a website these days and anyone looking for a business or something of interest, first goes "online".

Not having the knowledge of how to create a website or anything associated with it, I too, looked "online" for all the ways needed to get my website published. It was alittle engines, page rankings, HTML, google this and google that, Yahoo, traffic; never mind actually creating my website.

I found Google rules, with Yahoo right behind. Someone that has been helping me by way of emails is Joel Comm. His knowledge is incredible and he offers to share his secrets of success. I have to say, he has helped so much. He even offers ways to add some passive income to cover the costs of hosting your site and the ads to advertise. He has one book that went #1 on Amazon.
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