Hope for your financial life and beyond

2 Milestones You Need to Reach Before Investing Money

investingWhen it comes to investing money in the stock market, time is your greatest ally and your greatest enemy. The longer you are investing money the greater likelihood you’ll generate great wealth. Shortening that time period by just a few years could significantly reduce the amount of wealth you’ll create.

That’s why it’s important to get started early – in fact, the earlier the better. Time is the most critical element in the investing equation. It doesn’t matter if you are a high school student making minimum wage at a summer job, a college student figuring out how to pay your way through school or married with your first child on the way. The earlier you start investing, even in small amounts, the more one can maximize big returns in the long run.

Don’t believe me? Read on and check out the following example.

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How to Increase Your Number of Rental Properties Without Losing Your Mind

rental propertiesI’ve written here from time to time about the advantages of owning rental properties. Owning property that other people pay you to use is a great investment that can have significant long-term benefits. Not only do you get extra cash flowing into your monthly budget, but the diversity it brings to your investing portfolio can be very comforting. While stock markets can fluctuate wildly, property generally maintains its value over time.

There comes a time though, when you might be ready to expand the number of rental properties in your portfolio. That first one is the hardest to get. But once you get comfortable with knowing how to run a rental business and have more cash on hand, you may want to increase your number of rental properties.

That sounds like a solid plan in theory. However, with more homes comes more responsibility. The added properties can mean an uptick in maintenance costs, more time spent supervising your rental business and more headaches from problem tenants. These issues can add additional stress to your already busy life.

If this seems overwhelming and gives you pause, never fear. You can successfully add properties to your portfolio. Below are some tips for keeping you sane while building up your rental portfolio.

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How to Prioritize What’s Important When You Make a Budget

I remember the first time my wife and I really tried to make a budget. So many expenses were coming to our mind it was difficult to prioritize which ones were most important. We messed up many things in that first month’s budget and felt really frustrated at our effort.

It didn’t deter us however from trying again…and again…and again. Interestingly enough, we found that after several months of trial and error, certain expenses always drifted to the surface first. It was apparent that we were drawn to some spending categories more readily than others because they represented fundamental needs for our family each month.

So what expenses go first when you make a budget? Then how do you determine what comes next? Today I’m going to outline our five-step thought process as we make a budget each month. Hopefully it will give you some direction as you try to figure out how your hard earned dollars will be allocated.

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How to Enjoy a Life of Guilt Free Spending

guilt freeI would love to enjoy a guilt free life, especially when it comes to spending money. Have you ever heard the same voice rattling around in your head that I’ve heard in mine? It usually says something like, “Why did you spend that money? That was stupid! You know you shouldn’t have done that.”

If you’ve had that thought, then you know you spend the rest of the day kicking yourself and feeling like you’ve done something wrong. Additionally, some time during that same day might be spent seeking forgiveness from your spouse, which can always be a tense situation. And to top it all off, you will spend the rest of the month struggling to figure out how to make the budget cover your spending decision.

Guilt is powerful. But have you ever stopped to consider why?

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How to Be a Successful Landlord: 5 Best Practices

I love owning rental real estate! When I purchased my first property eleven years ago, I mistakenly payed a bit too much for it. Initially, didn’t know how to be a successful landlord and I let my excitement cloud my judgment when buying that first property. But I simply wanted to get started – that was all I cared about.

how to be a successful landlordI’ve learned many things since then and survived my share of dark moments as a landlord, including living through my first eviction. Ending up in front of the county judge to settle that dispute was frustrating but valuable all at the same time.

Nobody should become a landlord without doing some serious reading on the subject. That will help eliminate some mistakes you could easily make.

Related Content: 5 Common Rental Real Estate Mistakes You will Make

But head knowledge can only take you so far. Some things are only learned through experience. So based on what I’ve been through, here are my best practices for how to be a successful landlord. If you follow these, your experience will be much more enjoyable and profitable.

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Teaching Kids About Money to Get the Best Results

teaching kids about moneyA major role of parenting (and one that is often neglected) should be teaching kids about money. For many reasons, parents drop the ball in this area and raise children who carry an improper understanding of money into college and adulthood. Unfortunately, these children then face challenges when they go to seek employment, earn an income and determine how to manage their financial lives.

But what is a parent to do? How do you go about helping kids develop a proper understanding of how to relate to and handle money? It seems like such an overwhelming process, especially for those parents who don’t handle money well themselves.

The good news is that it’s not as difficult as you might think. For starters, what children should learn about money varies depending on their age. A five year old needs to hear different messages from the parents than does a teenager. However, there are three fundamental money lessons that every child needs to learn no matter what the age:

1) to save money for future needs,

2) to spend money wisely and

3) to give generously.

These three principles serve as the foundation upon which other money lessons build. Stick with these and you will see the best results when they are consistently applied over time. Let’s see what that practically looks like.

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Should I Borrow Money to Get What I Want?

There is no denying it. Credit is available everywhere. Our cultures screams “Have It Now!” to us at every turn. “Borrow money now to get what you want!” people say.

We expect fast food within 5 miborrow moneynutes or less in the drive-thru.  We want to make quick money for as little work as possible. And we are first in line for the newest technology gadget the day it is released. Simply put, most of the time we can’t wait. We gotta have it.

This “Have It Now” culture has skewed our reasoning ability, in that it has masterfully helped us change our “wants” into “needs.” Our brains have reclassified the things that we desire to have into things that are priorities. And in some cases, our wants are taking precedence over issues that are needs.

So why don’t we just go ahead and borrow the money to get the things we want? Seems like a logical step. However, blindly borrowing money to satisfy all your needs can cause great damage to finances, as well as your mental and emotional life.

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More Money More Problems: The 10 Challenges of the Wealthy

Everyone has money problems, yes, even the wealthy. Nobody likes to hear this though. For one, we get tired of the rich flaunting their wealth. Additionally, we think we’d be OK with some more problems if we could have more money. In general, there isn’t much sympathy for the problems of people with a lot of money.

The problems of the wealthy may not be the same type of problems that someone living paycheck to paycheck has. They don’t have to deal with a mountain of school loan debt. They can pretty much pay for healthcare costs out of pocket. But their problems exist nonetheless. Having more money doesn’t isolate a person from having more problems.

more money more problemsI don’t consider myself rich by any means. I’m not even sure how to accurately define whether someone is rich. What net worth number does a person have to reach before they are considered wealthy? $1 million? $5 million? $10 million plus?

I would consider someone with $10 million in net worth to be rich. If they had all that money in cash, they could retire and live off $200,000 a year for 50 years. That sounds rich to me.

I’ll never reach the $10 million dollar plateau. But my wife and I have come to the point in our financial lives where we are worrying less about money. While we don’t struggle with putting food on the table, I have noticed other problems creeping into our lives as our net worth has increased. It got me thinking about the money issues of the wealthy and what they might be dealing with on a personal level.

We haven’t experienced most of these. But I’ll admit a few of them shake me on a small scale.

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5 Practical Ways to Save Money When Renting an Apartment

Renting an apartment can be quite a challenge. Whether you are moving out of the house for the first time, trying to cut housing expenses, or simply looking for a short-term housing option, there are many things to consider. Perhaps front and center of all the considerations is price point. How will you fit the apartment expense into your monthly budget?

renting an apartmentLiving on a budget while renting an apartment requires planning and dedication. From drafting the monthly spending plan to minimizing your expenses, there are many details to finalize if you want to save money. 

However, with careful planning and a touch of financial savviness, you can save money without sacrificing your lifestyle. To help you with that, here are 5 practical tips that will help you save money when renting an apartment. 

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Give Money and It Shall Be Given Unto You? (Luke 6:38)

“Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” – Luke 6:38

give and it shall be given unto youI’ve spent a lot of time cataloging all the Bible verses about money. I started this site years ago so that I could share what I learned about money from reading the Bible. There are literally hundreds of verses that give us positive instruction and warnings about the proper use and abuse of our money.

Unfortunately, individuals and churches have misinterpreted many verses in the Bible about money. It’s easy to do. Sometimes the verses are actually hard to interpret. Other times however, people do it to promote an agenda. In other words, people use these verses to teach and promote a message that isn’t there.

Of all the verses in the Bible about money, people abuse Luke 6:38 probably more than any other verse. It reads:

“Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (KJV)

Why misinterpret this verse so much? Because many have chosen to believe or teach that this verse means you can profit financially from giving. Let’s look at why this is incorrect.

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How to Make a Zero Based Budget in 3 Easy Steps

One task that may not be apparent to first time budgeters is to create a zero based budget. My wife and I had tried to make a monthly budget before but for one reason or another, our budgets never seemed to work. Putting this step in place helped us lesson those failures and moved us towards a place of continual success with our budgets.

zero based budgetThe process of putting a zero based budget together is not hard to understand. Like any other budget it does require some planning and attention throughout the month. You might have to tweak some numbers here and there as the month unfolds and life happens. In my opinion it’s the best type of budget to put together as it leaves no room for money to go unaccounted for.

It’s important to have records of where money goes. With records, you have built-in accountability that shows where you spent your money. You begin to see patterns of how you spent your money over time. Then, you can then make changes if those patterns reveal things you don’t like about your spending.

So, let’s walk through the process of how to put together a zero based budget.

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