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 Ruth@RuthBethem.com 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 Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

Speedy Home Buying: I wanna buy a house. Now What? Part 2

Continued from yesterday’s Part I: Another great proven method is to help remove the burden of Inspection Items from the seller.  This puts you in control and gets you to the closing table on time.  Some of our buyers have seen the big inconvenience (and time consumption) correcting repairs can bring to a transaction and at that point, we move forward with an “as-is” purchase.  This benefits both the buyer and seller:  the seller can give a credit at the closing table leaving him/her with the ability to concentrate on just getting moved and the buyer has greater control over the repairs to ensure it is up to their standards.  It’s a win-win for both sides.  However, keep in mind you want to get those inspections conducted just as soon as the ink dries but prior to removing any contingencies.  Receiving repair cost estimates early will give you control in case the repairs present a financial burden to you, in either backing out of the contract or renegotiating it with the seller.  Even though you want a quick sale, please, please don’t skip the inspection.  What could propel you forward to a quick closing could be just the thing that holds you back at a later time and then become a financial burden if those inspection items are biggies such as structural problems, roof issues, water intrusion, mold, etc.  Okay, now the closing date is approaching and the excitement has hit a fever pitch.  You’re excited and have a hard time focusing on just about any other task at hand.  STOP RIGHT THERE!  You’re not in the home yet and there’s still a few things left to do like, get some money honey!  Typically, a few days prior to closing, your closing agent will provide you with a closing statement for review.  After you’ve approved it, you’ll need to go to your bank and get a cashier’s check for the final amount and that includes your last deposit, if required per your contract.  You can’t write a personal check at the closing table so ensure that you have it “in hand” hopefully a day or two prior to closing.  If your monies are coming from an account that is not immediately liquid, be diligent about moving it from one account to the other a week prior to the closing so that your funds are available to you when you need it.  Few things are more frustrating that having the money to close but not being able to access it.  Last, but certainly not least, keep in mind that no matter how diligent and prepared you are, at the last minute issues arise.   There are some things that are out of your control, and your agents.  You may not be able to get clear title to transfer the property or other issues may arise that would prevent you from closing on your home.  A backup plan is a must in life and certainly when purchasing real estate.  This is why I always press my buyers to have a list of their top three homes before we go into placing an offer.  A well prepared buyer will always be a happy buyer.  Have fun and please, when you need assistance in purchasing or selling real estate in Naples FL, contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545

Speedy Home Buying: I wanna buy a house. Now What? Part 1

Like anything in life, toiling over whether to purchase real estate in Naples, FL is no different and the decision making process is the hardest part.  Nail-biting, nervous stomach, sleepless nights, drinking too much wine (is that a problem?) eating too much ice cream (again, a problem?) but the reward is when you’ve made the decision.  Now, you’ve gotten beyond all that stuff and it’s time to move forward.  You’ve decided to be Mr/Mrs  “Happy” Homeowner.  Now what?  Here’s a few easy steps to follow to help make the process easy and hopefully seamless, with the help of the Ruth Bethem Real Estate Group.  First, get on the internet, go to www.RuthBethem.com where we have all the communities at your fingertips and start perusing.  It’s Get Acquainted Time with Naples.  Next, and this is a must, get Pre-Approved through a qualified lender.  So many buyers put the cart before the horse, previewing homes before they know how much they can afford, then become disappointed when they find their dream home only to realize they can’t afford it.  Nothing sadder than that.  Next, make a list of wants vs. needs.  Be flexible.  If your list becomes long, streamline it on a priority level.  The least amount of “must” items will give you a larger spectrum of properties to chose from.  This next step is crucial on the success of your purchase:  find a qualified  Realtor® that has the experience and is well-connected with service personnel that can help facilitate a smooth transaction.  I’m also an Accredited Buyer’s Agent (ABR) which is an added benefit to you, the buyer, because I have a track record of proven results from the initial consultation, through negotiations to beyond the closing table.  It leaves our buyer’s with a memorable and positive experience. Check out our client testimonials at http://www.ruthbethem.com/testimonial.htm Onto the next step:  Have your agent find motivated sellers, those whose homes are aggressively priced and have been on the market a while.  Don’t avoid vacant homes as those properties are screaming “buy me and move in quick!”  One important step to consider, and actually, it’s not really a step but is nonetheless just as important to those buyers seeking a quick sale:  Run, don’t walk, away from Short Sales.  This will not be in your best interest as it is a time consuming process and one that has no conception of what deadlines are.  Short Sales may be the flavor of the day, but for a quick sale, chose another flavor.  Next Step:  Auctions.  This is not a typical forum for purchasing real estate in Naples but could be one to consider.  It’s a pretty simple process but keep in mind “financing-in-place” is the motto you must repeat to yourself over and over because you can not get out of the purchase if your lender doesn’t come through for you and you can’t void the contract if you don’t like what the home inspection revealed.  Those are the pitfalls.  However, as I said it’s a relatively simplified process.  You find the property, take a tour prior to auction date, then show up and bid.  Some auction houses allow you to do your bidding online.  If you win the bid, you can close in 30 days.  This process in Naples historically seemed to be an unknown in years past, but, in the last five years it’s picked up steam and many properties now have been sold via auctions.  Again, consult with your buyer’s agent and let us do the work of finding them for you.  Check in tomorrow for Part II of this series.

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