How to Make Sure You Don’t Hire the WRONG Architect to Build Your Dream Home

A couple years ago my wife and I set off on the journey of building our first home together. It was going to be our dream home.

To say that the process was a bit stressful is a slight understatement.

We both had an idea of what kind of house we wanted, but the location and the layout of our lot made it a bit more challenging.

We scoured through dozens of home books and on-line guides trying to find the perfect house plan.

hiring an architect

We came very close, but never could find “the one”. That’s when we realized that we needed to hire an architect.
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Getting Out of Jury Service

One of the most important civic duties we have as Americans is serving on a jury.

A huge piece of our judicial system includes being able to have a trial of your peers rather than letting the government being judge, jury, and executioner. Yet many people try to get out of jury service simply for convenience and that is a true shame.

Some people want to know how to get out of jury duty because they fear being fired from their job for missing work, but that is illegal. Your employer cannot fire you for missing work due to jury duty.

However, there are those who have legitimate reasons to get out of jury service.

how to get out of jury duty
If you are wondering how to avoid serving on a jury, here are some of the ways to get out of jury duty: [Read more...]

The Challenges of Getting a Car After Divorce

Divorce is a complicated process both emotionally and legally.

Thoughtful planning, however, can make your decision to divorce— and the process itself— easy.

Planning should begin immediately when you have a single notion about getting a divorce.

One tricky issue is what to do with the vehicles that were property of the marriage.

It’s time to get a financial plan!

If there was only one car in the marriage, then only one of the marriage partners will get possession of it. Sometimes a judge may rule in some divorce cases that both vehicles in a marriage should go to only one party. It depends on the circumstances, but more importantly, it’s likely the other party will need to get a new or used vehicle.
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How You Can Party Like a Rockstar and Still Save For The Future

This is a guest post from Martin of Studenomics, and more recently, Start Freelancing Now.

I’m on a money makin mission….
But i party like a Rockstar,
I’m flyin down 20 lookin good in my hot car
Party like a Rockstar….
-Shop Boyz

party in your 20s or saveAre you ready to take control of your life?

You only live once (YOLO baby!).

Why would anyone in their 20s want to save money?

Life’s too short to save money.

There’s so much fun stuff that you can be doing in your 20s. You don’t want to be that guy that just saves and saves constantly.

You want to enjoy life.

Jeff recently wrote about investing in your 20s. This post got my attention because I enjoy Jeff’s writing and I like to save money in my 20s.
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Reader’s Story: Changing Your Financial Mindset for Success

Financial Mindset for SuccessOne of the favorite parts of my newsletter is where I share a personal story that made a huge difference in my life.

You have signed up for my newsletter, right? :)

I then ask my readers to share a similar story that has affected them.

Let me tell you….I love these stories!!! They are so uplifting and I can’t wait until the next one arrives.

This response by Elise was so personal and AWESOME that I had to ask her if she wouldn’t mind sharing it with all of you.

Thankfully, she obliged. You rock, Elise! :)

Here’s here story of how she changed her financial mindset for the better. Enter Elise….
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Caring for Aging Parents: Budgeting for Family Caregivers

caring for aging parentsEvery month, Bonnie gives thanks for the arrival of her mother’s long-term care insurance check.

Long-term care insurance pays for her mother’s home care–which means that, while her mom receives the care she needs, Bonnie can run errands, attend programs at the kids’ school and take a few moments to breathe.

The long-term care benefit also taught Bonnie the importance of a budget for care. With a budget, Bonnie can plan appropriately for her mom’s care needs, giving Bonnie a sense of control in a situation that can feel so out-of-control.

The budget also means that Bonnie schedules regular time off for herself. Looking forward to having a break has become a critical coping strategy for Bonnie. She finds the she can manage her stress much better when she knows she soon will have a few hours to herself.
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Mortgaging the House, Not the Marriage

should you pay pmi just marriedMoney is a difficult issue for many couples to discuss.

As I talked about in a previous video post, money issues are the #1 cause for strains on a marriage.

It brings out insecurities, fears, anxieties, feelings of competitiveness and many other not-so-great emotions.

But money is a fact of life, and taking control of finances is vital, especially in an uncertain economic climate.

For newlyweds, the issue of financial planning can cause enormous rifts. According to a recent Forbes article, 10 Ways Budgeting Saved My Marriage,

In the article it states,

“Over 50% of marriages end in divorce.  Over 50% of those splits cite financial disputes as the primary reason for the break-up.”

One of the greatest things a young couple can do together is to buy a home. It screams optimism for a shared future. But house payments and mortgages can also be a huge source of stress and cause divisiveness that can be irreparably damaging down the road.
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My “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” Experience

Rich Dad, Poor DadWe all have them; those moments in our lives where we are presented with a crossroad.

Where each path has the potential to lead us into a totally different result.

We all wish that we could fast forward to see which path is the best option, but unfortunately, the only way to find out is to choose one.

I had to make one of those decisions early on in my career.

One of my earlier meetings in my career was with a gentleman who had an entrepreneurial spirit.

He could see that in me as well, and had suggested that I check out the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki.

I can’t remember if I’d heard of the book at the time but I was definitely intrigued.  It was a time in my life when I would read any type of inspirational story and soak it up like a sponge!

If you’ve never heard of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, the concept is this:
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The Social Media Afterlife: What Happens to Our Social Media Accounts if We Die?

social media after you dieIf you haven’t gathered this yet, but I’m kind of a Social Media junkie.

I’ve got accounts at the usual suspects: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

In case that wasn’t enough, I’ve also jumped on the Instagram, Google + and Pinterest bandwagon, too.

As a small business owner, I’m always looking for unique ways to market myself and social media is an easy (and free!) way to do it.

But have you ever thought about what happens to all your social media accounts if you die?

Okay, maybe it’s a morbid thought, but curiosity got the best of me and I was interested to find out if our online profiles are immortal.

Here’s a look at what happens to our social media accounts after we die. R.I.P.
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4 Simple Steps for Managing Finances After College

Managing Finances After College You’ve done it: On previous advice, you’ve gotten your college degree and been set loose into the working professional world.

Now what?

There’s a good chance you have lingering student loans.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, you don’t have loans, but you’re still strapped for cash since it all went toward your education.

And, of course, being a new degree-holder, your job is likely entry-level and not paying as much as you would like, or as much as you were earning in a previous career.
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YOUR Attitude IS Everything – Don’t Quit On Yourself

If you say you can’t, then you absolutely won’t”.
-My dad

I quit My dad would always tell me that whenever I gave up on anything.

Dad, I just can’t do it!”, I would often say.

It never failed that he would respond with some variation of the quote above. The first several times I heard it I was extremely annoyed, but didn’t have a good retort.

After a while those words started to sink in and I started to believe it.

Mindset is everything. Once you give up hope, you’ll never succeed. Period.
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5 Ways to Get a Mortgage Without Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Avoid PMI

When we were in the process of building our dream home, we pretty well expected to go over budget.

Knowing this we tried to cut expenses as much as we could.  The one expense that we knew that we absolutely had to avoid was PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance).

Recently, I had a reader question also pertaining to PMI:

Joe A. wants to know:

I’ve had my mortgage for 2 years and want to get rid of my PMI. The lender told me that I must get a home appraisal to prove that I have at least 80% equity.

Well, I got the appraisal and then paid the loan down to 80% of my home’s value. But then the lender sent me a letter saying I need a loan-to-value that’s 75%!

Now I’m worried that I’ll pay the loan down to 75%, but they’ll just have another excuse not to remove my PMI. What should I do?

Before I tell you the best ways to get rid of PMI, let’s take a step back and make sure you know what it is.
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