Getting Your Financial House in Order – Part Two

Yesterday, Part One of this book review on Ric Edelman’s book, The Truth about Money, was discussed but if you missed it, click here for yesterday’s Part One.

Personal finance is a meaty topic that could never be comprehensively covered in a pocket book, but this book’s user tools eliminate the daunting nature of the prospects of wading through such a tome, from its very first pages.

Edelman starts at the very beginning, with Part I, an “Introduction to Financial Planning,” which briefs readers on all the reasons they need to take financial planning very seriously, then covers obstacles to building wealth, explains taxes and inflation, sings the praises of compound interest, and explains the powerful reasons to stop procrastinating when it comes to saving and investing — quick like!

Parts II through VI offer even the totally uninitiated a basic, yet complete, education on traded assets, from the capital markets, to fixed-income investments (e.g., bonds and CDs) to equities (think: stocks) and packaged products (like mutual funds) — then helps readers understand and select the right investment strategy for them.

Next, Edelman zooms out a bit to provide a fire hose-force shower of individual financial strategies for a wide variety of financial challenges a reader might face across her lifespan, from job loss to funeral costs.

Part VIII is a deep dive into housing offering Edelman’s take on sound strategies for “Buying, Selling and Owning Homes.” Edelman’s BLT (Big Long-Term) mortgage strategy might be controversial to those who espouse achieving financial security by paying their homes off, but he does articulate a good argument for alternatively investing the cash to achieve higher returns than the interest saved by an early mortgage payoff. He also pushes readers into taking a long-term view of their mortgages and housing obligations, which is never a bad thing.

The other sections — “Tax Strategies,” “Retirement and Estate Planning,” “Insurance” and “Selecting a Financial Advisor” also all get appropriate shrift, so to speak.

To make a long story short (pun completely intended), this book is like a layperson’s version of the Physician’s Desk Reference for money matters. Yes, there’s a lot of Edelman’s professional opinions and strategies inside, but most of it is unobjectionable, and the bit of controversial material in there is in no way sleazy or even sales-y.

The vast majority of the book is simple education and Edelman’s blunt and occasionally entertaining admonitions to make the basic money moves that create financial security wealth, like planning, saving, investing and strategizing. Financial novices and money mavens alike will value this guide.

For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

Getting Your Financial House in Order – Part One

Preparing for a real estate purchase in Naples, or anywhere, requires goal setting and a bit of planning with the end game to get your finances in order.  Although I did not write the article below, I feel very strongly about this so I’m highlighting it and am giving credit to the author, Tara Nicolle Nelson, Inman News, who reviewed this book and it’s a great piece worthy of reading and passing on.  I was a product of the 70’s and the one class that wasn’t available was financial planning.  Like many things that weren’t “talked about” in the 70’s, fiscal responsibility was one of them.  It was a trial and error period and learn as you go.  But, living in the technology age, there isn’t one single reason why you can’t achieve financial success and stability if you just put realistic goals in front of you.  As they say about the elephant, one bite at a time.  Enjoy and I hope you get a few tips from this article and more importantly, the book by Ric Edelman, “The Truth about Money.” An investment that is essential for your personal success.

Money matters rank at the very top of most Americans’ New Year’s resolutions lists. In fact, a recent poll conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that reducing debt was the No. 1 resolution set by respondents — 69 percent said this was their top mission for 2011.

And when it comes to finances, people tend to set big, sweeping goals rather than to set a smaller list of easily attainable aims. Rather than “pay off Visa,” people tend to aim for “paying off their debt”; instead of “setting up auto deposit into savings account,” many resolve to “save and invest more.”

Many behavioral and finance experts point out that big, sweeping goals are less achievable. Nevertheless, at this time of massive money missions, it is perhaps appropriate that Barron’s financial adviser and radio personality Ric Edelman has just released the fourth edition of his big, sweeping title, “The Truth About Money.”

Now when I call this book big, I mean it is massive, in size, scope and substance. “The Truth About Money: 4th Edition” offers nearly 700 pages (no typo) of financial education in a comprehensive primer on topics ranging from financial planning, to investment vehicles, to real estate to estate planning.

Not only is this book massively long, readers will find it to be massively useful. Whether you are that person who either knows nothing about money matters and has decided to get in the know, or you are already money-savvy and looking for a comprehensive reference guide at your fingertips, this is your book.

Even the tables — yes, multiple tables — of contents are tailored to help you find what you need in this behemoth of a book, whether you know what you need or not! There’s one table organized to guide longtime lovers of earlier editions through all the new material in this edition, from a talk about timeshares to Edelman’s coverage of continuing care retirement communities. There’s another one that helps you find your way through the book on the basis of your life stage, financial situations and even demographics like gender and age.

Check tomorrow for Part II of Getting Your Financial House in Order.  For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

November Real Estate Market Update Report for Naples, Florida

Naples Pier, Naples, Florida ©Rick Bethem
Naples Pier, Naples, Florida ©Rick Bethem

It’s really hard to believe we only have one more month left in 2010, but endings are rarely a bad thing because it gives us an opportunity to be forward thinkers and imagine all the good things that can occur with the new year.  Preparing and planning for an active real estate market, with our overall reduced inventory working towards the goal of a stable market, is first and foremost on most people’s minds when it comes to their real estate investment.  Whether it be our primary residence, with it being our biggest investment of our lives, or a secondary or non-primary home, we have toughened out the worst part of the soft market and are looking forward to a progressive climb that will allow for property appreciation.  Granted, nobody is expecting or even wishing for a jump into the double digits at this point in the recovery stage, we’re simply looking for and expecting a slow creep upwards.  Keeping pace wins the race.  From all the current and future investors I’ve been dealing with this year, first and foremost on their minds is the hopes that their investment will stay slightly above the historical national average of 7-8% per year and that we make it an increase that will entice future buyers but won’t put the pressure on our market as we experienced from 2003-2005.  Our real estate market in Naples did take a hit and we saw historical property value reductions.  That’s no secret.  As a large portion of my business is the sale of property to international buyers, they have a totally different conception of Naples due to information they receive in their country that envelopes all of America and doesn’t localize it to a geographically-specific area.  Educating buyers as to where exactly we are at with our market in Naples has been a totally fulfilling experience as many are simply unaware of our recovery which has led them to hold off on their investment.  Many also know this is one of the safest countries in which to put their housing monies.  I feel very fortunate to have worked with so many clients that take the information I give them, conduct their own due diligence and decide that based on that information and their own keen sense of savy that Naples real estate is still a safe and secure investment.  Nobody can foresee what will happen tomorrow, we can only deal with the facts as we have them, analyze the numbers, acutely be informed on the national level and make our decisions from there.  In November, in all areas of Naples, we had a closed sales volume of 347 units broken down as follows:   160 single family homes selling from a price range of $4,050,000 to $35,000 with 112, or 70%, of those being under $300,000.   The remaining 187 condos and villas sold from $5,250,000 – $26,000 with 135, or 72%, of those being under $300,000. Our company, Downing-Frye Realty, Inc. has already hit the $1 billion in closed sales for the year.  So, for all the negative news that has hit the airwaves, message boards, new stations, tweets, Facebook and the like, I can stand on firm ground and tell you that I have been lucky enough to make it through the most difficult market I’ve personally experienced and have seen our Naples-by-the-Sea rebound when other areas are still soft.   For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

Latest Real Estate Market Statistics for Naples ending August 2010

With the release of the most current statistics through August 2010 hot off the press from the Naples Area Board of Realtors® (NABOR) it continues to show that those pending sales in the $300,000 price point and less, are up 11% and still lead the pack with our market trends:  buyers are seeking the best value possible in the marketplace, despite the fact that the first time homebuyer’s tax credit is expired.

In a nutshell, these stats have been defined in chart form for your ease of readability

Recapping on a few standouts in these stats as reported by NABOR are:

Overall pending sales for the 12 months ending August 2010 increased 22 percent with 9,607 contracts compared to 7,881 contracts for the 12 months ending August 2009.

Overall closed sales for the 12 months ending August 2010 increased 30 percent with 8,094 sales compared to 6,232 sales for the 12 months ending August 2009.

Single-family pending sales increased 14 percent with 436 contracts in August 2010 compared to 383 contracts in August 2009.

The available inventory declined 4 percent to 8,745 in August 2010 compared to 9,140 in August 2009.

Closed sales between $500,000 and $1 million have experienced an increased of 37% in the last 12 months from August 2009 to August 2010.  That has usually been a difficult price point to see this kind of significant increase so that is extremely good news.

Closed sales between $1 -2 million range have experienced an increase of 41% in the last 12 months from August 2009 to August 2010.

Closed sales $2 million and over, the market’s experienced an increase of 25% in the last 12 months from August 2009 to August 2010.

The median price on closed sales had a slight dip, down 6% to $160,000 compared to our median closed sales price of $170,000 from last August.  But, keep in mind that August was a strong month for foreclosure sales which contributed to the lower median price in condo sales which was down 17% in August 2010 over last year at this time.