Modest Money http://www.modestmoney.com Personal Finance Blog for Everyday People Tue, 18 Aug 2015 21:13:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why Real Estate Investing Isn’t Easy http://www.modestmoney.com/why-real-estate-investing-isnt-easy/ http://www.modestmoney.com/why-real-estate-investing-isnt-easy/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 13:15:42 +0000 http://www.modestmoney.com/?p=16037 By Rachel Hernandez Many people want to become real estate investors. They watch television shows about others who have made it rich. They hear stories about those who have been successful and made money with their real estate investments. Though, people fail to realize this is only part of the story—not the whole piece. Real […]

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By Rachel Hernandez

Many people want to become real estate investors. They watch television shows about others who have made it rich. They hear stories about those who have been successful and made money with their real estate investments. Though, people fail to realize this is only part of the story—not the whole piece. Real estate investing is not easy.

Successful real estate investors have been through cycles. Periods of highs and lows. They have gone through changes, not only in their business lives but their personal ones as well. Those who are pros have decades of experience, not years or months.

What separates successful real estate investors from those who are not is their ability to adapt to change. We’ve all heard it before: change makes us uncomfortable. But it’s periods of change where we are forced to do things outside of our comfort zone. And, that is a good thing. If we never did, we’d be too comfortable. Status quo remains and we would not be able to grow.

The benefits of real estate investing far outweigh the cons but there are some things to think about.

Real Estate Investing Involves Management

Despite what you’ve heard, real estate investing involves management. Whether it be your own properties when buying and holding or if you are fixing up properties for resale, you still need to be involved. Someone needs to be there to make sure things get done. On time. The right way. Even if you hire property managers to help you manage your properties, you still have to manage them. I’ve been there, done that.

Real Estate Investing Involves Time

Success does not happen overnight. It takes time to build up a successful business. Real estate investing is no different. Many people who go into real estate investing want immediate results. Don’t we all? Going in, remember it will take time. You will need to try new things to see what works and does not work. You will need practice building a team of professionals to help your business. It could take months or even years until you do your first deal. If you are clearly in it for the long haul, don’t give up. Success will come eventually.

Real Estate Investing Involves Sacrifice

With the amount of time involved, you may have to give up things you did before. Attending parties, watching television, or taking an afternoon stroll on the weekends are all activities you may miss. Sure, you can do all these things with the little free time you have. But then again, you could also use the time to be out looking at potential investment properties. Personally, I’ve sacrificed a lot. Due to the time needed to focus on my real estate investing business, I’ve missed many activities and events. But looking back, I’m glad I did. As a result, my life improved.

Conclusion

Real estate investing can be rewarding but it isn’t easy. Success will take time. When investing in real estate, there are situations that will take away from your day-to-day life. Though with enough passion and determination, you will find success eventually creating a better life for yourself and your family.

Rachel Hernandez is the author of Real Estate Investing Sucks: How to Deal with Change and Find Success as a Real Estate Investor and Adventures in Mobile Homes: How I Got Started in Mobile Home Investing and How You Can Too!. Find her at: www.adventuresinmobilehomes.com.

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5 Easy Ideas to Make Pennies Work for you http://www.modestmoney.com/5-easy-ideas-to-make-pennies-work-for-you/ http://www.modestmoney.com/5-easy-ideas-to-make-pennies-work-for-you/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 13:15:12 +0000 http://www.modestmoney.com/?p=15955 If you’ve dreamed of financial freedom then you probably have a magic number in mind. Let’s entertain this thought for a second. After you reach that number, what’s next? You finance savvy folks probably have a foolproof plan to “make your money work for you.” Continually generate revenue while sipping piña coladas on the Coast of Paradise […]

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If you’ve dreamed of financial freedom then you probably have a magic number in mind. Let’s entertain this thought for a second.

After you reach that number, what’s next?

You finance savvy folks probably have a foolproof plan to “make your money work for you.”

Continually generate revenue while sipping piña coladas on the Coast of Paradise Island.

That’s the dream right?

Let your money work for you while you live the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Now grab a pin and let’s puncture this bubble for a second.

With monthly expenses, unforeseen expenditures and a set salary, most of us will never live to see our master blueprint blossom into all its glory.

But here’s the good news:

There truly is a way to take a low risk, low-cost investment and transform it into a lifestyle of passive income with infinite potential.

My money has been working for me since I graduated from college. With loads of student debt and only $180 in liquid cash, this sub $200 bankroll was more than enough to return a multiple six-figure income year after year.

The short answer is starting an online business.

…But not in the conventional venture or angel funded route.

In fact, investors are not welcome (yet).

And today, I’m going to share something that will make you wonder why you didn’t start sooner:

5 insanely practical online business ideas that will make your pennies work for you and kick start your journey to some out of the box income diversification and multiplication.

Let’s jump right in.

…Before you get soaked, you need to get your feet wet

Just as an army needs a base, you’ll need to have your own website.

Intimidated?

Don’t be…

Rather than spending thousands of dollars on web development, 2015 technology and some simple instructions to create a website is all you need.

No joke.

1. Sell your knowledge or acquire the knowledge so you can sell it

What kind of advice do your friends and family come to you for?

Over the wonderful years of your life, you’ve built a wealth of knowledge from your positive and negative experiences.

You may be the “deal expert”, the “home renovation guru” or the “relationship advisor”.

Remember the good old days when you first began your research and experimentation? Remember all of the mistakes you made throughout the process?

Here’s the deal:

People will pay you to avoid making the same mistakes you’ve already made.

John Lee Dumas, the founder of Entrepreneur on Fire reported a whopping gross revenue of $388,643.22 last month (June 2015).

Of that sub 400k, $218,876 came from the sale of his online course “Podcaster’s Paradise” and another $105,875.08 in sponsorship income from his podcast.

If you’ve been following Dumas’ adventure, then you know that he has grown tremendously as a podcaster and a teacher.

He didn’t attend Harvard with a major in podcasting.

He read about it, learned about it, got consumed in it and tried every angle to optimize his podcast without the initial technical know-how.

Rather than being just “another adviser”, he created a video and community based course that now generates multiple six-figures for him each month on autopilot (almost).

The objective of selling an online course is to provide value to others who want to learn what you know.

And the reward?

Passive income.

2. Promote items you love, but don’t own

Word of mouth drives sales. Period.

Let’s face it:

If it’s highly recommended by someone you trust, you’ll be more inclined to purchase one brand over another.

Affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry. With that said, there’s enough for you to get a piece of the pie.

In its simplest form, you promote a product with a custom link, someone clicks the link, makes a purchase and you get paid a commission for the referral.

There are three common models in affiliate marketing:

a.) Promote products you’ve used. Review them. Recommend them.

This is a great way to provide valuable insight on products, software and services. The benefits include developing rapport with your fans while building a long-term passive income machine in mind.

b.) Promote the highest paying affiliate products and pretend that they are without flaw.

Unfortunately, people are still trying to pull a fast one on others. Once your referrals discover they were duped, they will likely request a refund and you will not get paid your commission. These websites don’t last and you get the distinct pleasure of feeling like a scumbag.

The commission isn’t so hot then is it?

c.) Have others promote products for you.

Have you heard of Slickdeals.net?

If you haven’t, then stop reading this and you’ll find a hot deal on a product you absolutely do not need.

Slickdeals is America’s largest user contributing deals forum.

Average people like you and I find a “slick deal” and post it for the world to see.

But here’s the catch:

When you find that lava hot deal on Amazon, Microsoft or another affiliate participant’s website, the link is programmatically changed to one of SlickDeal’s custom affiliate URLs.

Pretty neat right?

Last year, they reported nearly 12 million unique views per month. In addition to their ad banners, you can make an educated guess that their affiliate commissions are in the multi-million dollar range.

If you’ve ever posted a deal on SlickDeals, I’m sure they would love to thank you for your contribution to their bankroll.

Here are a few affiliate networks you can easily integrate into your website:

  1. Linkshare
  2. Commission Junction
  3. Amazon affiliates
  4. Clickbank
  5. Shareasale

You’ll find everything from fortune 500 companies to your next-door neighbor’s basement company.

3. Write about your passions and interests

Others are just as passionate and interested in the things you love.

Sure, they may not love your baby as much as you do, but reading about your experiences raising your little one is a topic others will resonate with.

Scary Mommy started as an innocent online journey of Jill Smokler’s stay-at-home time with her children. It landed her two book deals and was eventually acquired by digital giant Vinit Bharara.

Pinch of Yum started with a husband and wife duo. Lindsay writes and photographs her latest recipes and her husband Bjork is the tech guy behind the scenes.

This blog is more than just a clever name that brinks a smile. They’re now reporting well over $20,000/month blogging about what they love:

Food!

Smokler doesn’t have an early childhood education degree and Lindsay isn’t a chef at a Michelin star restaurant.

They wanted to share what they’ve been up to and are now generating passive income 24/7.

4. Sell your services

You might not be a graphic designer, but you must have other talents that others don’t.

Perhaps you have a knack for writing, coaching or even something as simple as data entry.

Sure, these may not seem like the most lucrative business ideas, but Google’s data would strongly disagree.

Would-be customers hire people like you and I to save time or to have someone else do a better job than they are capable of.

So how is this money working for you?

The keyword here is: outsource.

A job such as data entry can be purchased abroad for as little as $1.50/hour. Assuming your state’s minimum wage is $8.00 or more, you can easily profit over 500% each hour.

5. Resell services you have no talent in

The average small to midsized business invests a minimum of $300 on their company logo.

Yes, I know. You’re not a graphic designer…

But here’s the deal:

You can find professional logos for $5 on Fiverr.com.

Fiverr is a website where individuals around the world can sell a service for a flat fee of five big ones.

There are obviously cases where you get what you pay for, but there are rare gems on this network that I send recurring business to.

Why?

Because they do a spectacular job and I’m able to resell it for a minimum of $300.

Think about it this way:

If you sell one item a day and profit $295 per sale, you’re looking at $107,675 in profit over the year.

Your turn to live it out…

The dream of becoming a penny stock millionaire is a gamble at best.

The dream of a viable “automated” business that will continue to return dividends is no dream at all.

It’s a reality.

None of the above are “get rich quick schemes”. They all require work and learning to scale a free flowing stream of revenue.

Although these are not fool proof paths, they provide a solid blueprint of exactly how thousands of online entrepreneurs have been making their hundred dollar investments compound into a solid money making machine.

My dream was never to live on an island and I’m sure most of you would agree that it’s not yours either.

What matters is the time that we have on this earth, how we spend it and who we spend it with.

Greater than “financial freedom”, making my money work for me has given me the freedom of time. A truly priceless gift.

So it comes down to this last question:

Are you ready to let your money work for you or will you continue to work for your money?

Author Bio:

Sam Oh is an online entrepreneur who has explored and built numerous businesses leveraging the digital world. He continues to develop new start-ups and documents his online adventures at moneyjournal.com.

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7 Irresistible Tips You Can Use to Invest $10,000 This Summer http://www.modestmoney.com/7-irresistible-tips-you-can-use-to-invest-10000-this-summer/ http://www.modestmoney.com/7-irresistible-tips-you-can-use-to-invest-10000-this-summer/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 13:15:46 +0000 http://www.modestmoney.com/?p=15940 Have you over woken up one day and realized that you were thousands of dollars in debt? This happened to me, and it could happen to you too. Times are hard, and you end up using your credit cards more often than you realize, and before you know it, you’re already reaching your credit limits […]

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Have you over woken up one day and realized that you were thousands of dollars in debt? This happened to me, and it could happen to you too. Times are hard, and you end up using your credit cards more often than you realize, and before you know it, you’re already reaching your credit limits and you can no longer pay off your monthly balances.

Abusing your credit card is one of the major money mistakes in your 30s. But don’t lose hope! It is possible to eliminate your debt by investing your money wisely.

The simple truth is, if you can invest $10,000 wisely, you can get out of debt. Even if you don’t have $10,000 right now, you can tap into hidden income just by looking for ways to ‘eliminate’ unnecessary expenses and actually invest the money and make it grow, instead of just keeping it in low-interest savings accounts.

Here are some of the best ways to invest your money to eliminate debt:

  • Exchange-traded Funds. ETFs are a tradable security that tracks an underlying asset such as bonds, stocks, commodities, an index or even an index fund. They provide me with a great way to balance my investment portfolio since they are a safer investment that offsets riskier assets like stocks and bonds. ETFs are a passive investment instrument that allows you to automate your money since you don’t have to manage the fund.
  • Index funds. These are an investment instrument that tracks the performance of a particular index such as the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones. An index fund effectively allows me to enjoy exposure to the stocks and bonds included in the index while enjoying nominal transaction and other fees.
  • Gold IRA. Investing in gold and silver helps secure my retirement by preventing the value of my money from being depreciated by inflation. And since I’m using my investment savings to buy the precious metals, I can enjoy the tax benefits associated with an IRA.
  • Mutual funds. These are an investment security in which the funds of a group of investors are pooled to buy a portfolio of holdings which can include cash, stocks, bonds and other assets. These are a great low-risk addition to my portfolio since I don’t have to do any work managing them, since the fund manager does all the work. And I choose funds that have an expense ratio of 1% in order to keep the costs of the fund from affecting my returns over time.
  • Money market accounts. These are some of the best short term investments since they provide me with the flexibility to withdraw from my accounts. And I am also not required to maintain a particular balance in my account.
  • CDs. Certificates of deposit provide an effective counterbalance to money market accounts. Unlike money market investments, CDs have a fixed interest rate that is higher than other savings options. CDs are a good option for where to invest your money since you enjoy the security of a fixed interest rate and a maturity date that suits my financial goals.
  • Online savings accounts. The major benefits of using an online account are higher yields and lower transaction fees, which can increase the amount of returns you can enjoy. To get the highest returns, I look for online banks that offer no maintenance fees and a higher APY as well as a low minimum opening deposit requirement. Of course, I also look at the track record of the institution to ensure that my money is safe as well as excellent customer service.

Before you start to invest your money, I invite you to read 5 Successful Strategies I Used to Tackle $40,000 of Debt so that you can learn more strategies to help you get out of debt.

Keep in mind that the simple money mistake that cost you millions is not starting to save as early as possible to ensure your financial future. Because of compound interest, even putting aside small amounts in a savings account can grow into a big balance over time.

I hope my story helped you get started in finding the best place for money to be invested.

How about you? What’s your get-out-of-debt story? Did you try the strategies mentioned? If they were helpful to you, please share your experiences in the comments below for the benefit of the other readers.

If you have friends you believe need help in getting out of debt, or in building their financial future, feel free to share this story.

About the Author

Bill Achola is a financial publisher who owns a fast-growing, dynamic and innovative investment blog that empowers investors to make the right decision. To see action on how you can invest in your future, check out his popular post about 15 Jaw Dropping Tips for Investing in Gold & Silver. (and maybe learn to earn some profit from your investment while you’re at it).

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How Ending My Coffee Addiction Saved My Life & My Money http://www.modestmoney.com/how-ending-my-coffee-addiction-saved-my-life-my-money/ http://www.modestmoney.com/how-ending-my-coffee-addiction-saved-my-life-my-money/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 15:50:04 +0000 http://www.modestmoney.com/?p=15915 Certain people shouldn’t drink coffee, I’m one of them.  But when you have a two and a half decade habit reinforced by cultural tradition, it’s hard to let go of anything for good.  Some of my oldest adolescent memories are of having cafe con leche y pan dulce (coffee with milk and Mexican sweet bread) at my […]

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Certain people shouldn’t drink coffee, I’m one of them.  But when you have a two and a half decade habit reinforced by cultural tradition, it’s hard to let go of anything for good.  Some of my oldest adolescent memories are of having cafe con leche y pan dulce (coffee with milk and Mexican sweet bread) at my grandma’s house.  Latinos enjoy turning their cafecitoevery morning into a social experience, sitting with other people across a table at home or at the coffee shop and having a conversation.

I started drinking coffee as an adolescent and just quit on June 23rd, about three months from my 39th birthday.  How it came to an end has nothing to do with my psychiatrist’s incessant recommendations for me, an anxiety sufferer, to stop the things that made me jittery.  “Meds can only go so far,” she’d say to me.  But as the saying goes, in one ear and out the other.  My ex-wife, my current wife, neither one of them could get me to listen to reason.  So what finally did it?

It wasn’t one of those mind hacks where someone bets you won’t be able to stop.  In actuality, it was the sinus infection from hell.  Two days before finishing my career as a high school assistant principal in mid June, I started feeling sick.  I went home early.  I shouldn’t have gone to work the next day…I was feverish and woke up with a headache…but it would’ve been a bit too convenient to tell my boss I felt too sick to go in on the last day.  So I powered through a half day and went home early anyway.  A ten year career ending with people too fearful of catching something to get near me.  I drank coffee in the morning, despite feeling like excrement.  Things got worse.

I spent six straight days with fevers, headaches, some serious coughing fits, nausea, phlegm, and mucus.  I had never been so sick for so long.  I’m an exercising machine, and have always had good physical health.  What’s worse is that this infection was the second one like it this year, but twice as virulent.  When you’re sick as a dog, drinking coffee doesn’t help.  In fact, it may make things worse.  I couldn’t drink coffee every morning while feeling sick, and if it weren’t for all of the Dayquil, Ibuprofen, and NyQuil I was taking, the cravings (withdrawal symptoms) would’ve made matters intolerable.  It took me nine days to feel human again.

The realization of having to go through coffee abstinence forcibly again, while battling a disease, was what made me give up the addiction.  I had a clean slate.  I did not have to return to being the same old morning me, filling my insulated metal cup with two cups of brewed liquid pleasure.  So I didn’t.  I did not expect what would happen.

I feel like a new freakin’ person!  The past two weeks have given me a new lease on life.  I’m no longer as worried about money or work, my heart doesn’t feel like it’s going to go into cardiac arrest constantly, my breathing is regular, and I don’t feel tired after 5 p.m.  I’m drinking more water in the morning as a result and I’m also peeing less.  What’s sad is that I thought I felt the way I did, before quitting coffee, because I was getting old!

Starbucks raised their prices again on July 7th from 5 to 20 cents for most affected drinks, a price hike of about 1%.  Even without the hike, having a daily Starbucks Grande Latte would put you out $3.65 per day, $26 per week, and $1,332 per year.  Brewing your own coffee at home is a lot less expensive, about 71 cents a day, $5 per week, and $259 per year, in contrast.  These are the average costs of having just one beverage a day.  If you order or brew and consume twice the volume, the dollar amounts double.  $2,665 a year spent drinking two Starbucks Lattes a day!

I was buying a half-gallon of French vanilla Coffee-mate from the grocery store for $5.99 once every two weeks.  There’s 52 weeks per year, meaning I spent this dollar amount 26 times annually to sweeten and cream my coffee.  That’s $155 annually.  I’m sure I spent more brewing at home than the average because I bought premium coffee brands, and I’d occasionally make Starbucks rounds while at work.  How much would you say you’re spending annually on your coffee addiction?

Certain people shouldn’t drink coffee, and I’m one of them.  But I did for many years nonetheless, ignorantly ignoring everyone in my life telling me to quit.  Sometimes the oddest things get someone to end a bad habit.  For me, it was an illness I’d never experienced before, and others like them that made drinking coffee and recuperating quickly incompatible.  I owe a life of fewer panic attacks, arguments, and expenses to viruses.  Miracles happen.

C. Osvaldo Gomez is an educator, investor, entrepreneur, and blogger at Common Core Money: Financial Literacy for Educators & Other Professionals     

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So What Do I Do With My Money? Travel Edition http://www.modestmoney.com/so-what-do-i-do-with-my-money-travel-edition/ http://www.modestmoney.com/so-what-do-i-do-with-my-money-travel-edition/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 15:15:01 +0000 http://www.modestmoney.com/?p=16172 Sometimes it’s important to step back from personal finance learning, to think about the End Game. Money is not an end in itself. Instead it’s a means to an end: a way to do things, learn information, experience a way of life before unimagined. There’s a limit to what you can earn in a lifetime, […]

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Sometimes it’s important to step back from personal finance learning, to think about the End Game. Money is not an end in itself. Instead it’s a means to an end: a way to do things, learn information, experience a way of life before unimagined. There’s a limit to what you can earn in a lifetime, but there’s no limit to what you can do. So what’s all this money for?

When surveyed, people concerned with earning money report that Travel is one of the most important priorities for them. Travel broadens the mind. It allows one to see the way other people live, foreign political climates, and a gallimaufry of motivations for all kinds of decisions and behaviors. It is one of the best ways to cultivate a broad perspective of the way the world works.

But travel is expensive. This is the primary excuse that people give when they report reasons that they don’t travel. The thing is, expenses are relegated to a small handful of arenas. If you are able to avoid costs in these areas, you’ll avoid expenses over all. After all, we are living in the same world where a man recently visited every country on the globe, all with a shoestring budget. Clearly, travel can be done. You’ve just got to do it right.

Not all of us want to visit the world by raft, as in the example mentioned in the previous paragraph. For this class of people, airfare can be expected to be the most exorbitant price of all involved in world travel. But some airlines are learning that it’s more profitable to provide an affordable flight experience to many, than it is to provide an expensive travel experience to a very few. This is the fulcrum upon which the universal travel experience is being revolutionized.

If you are able to buy a cheap flight, chances are you can travel anywhere you want. Most of my readers are from the United States and Canada. These two nations enjoy an elite spot among world currencies. Basically, your money represents more wealth than that of foreign nations. If you are able to get to another country, you’ll find that, once there, you are able to make a life for yourself for a lot cheaper than you are back in your home nation.

That’s why airline industries charge what they do. In addition to fuel costs, insurance requirements, and mechanical concerns, airlines are the gatekeeper to the universal travel experience. They know this. As such, they charge a premium to get just about…anywhere. But a few rogue airlines are starting to prioritize quantity over (supposed) quality. We’re talking about airlines like Wow, and the ill-fated Airbus.

At this point in history, traveling internationally is unprecedented in its affordability. It’s remarkably easy for people of all stripes and incomes to see the world. So don’t wait. Do some research on an airline that provides reasonable flights to your destination of choice. Travel changes the way you see the world. Make it a priority and you’ll find that it’s affordable. Your world will never be the same.

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