Monday, February 13, 2017

Buying a home near a utility tower

DEAR DAVE: My husband and I have been debt-free, except for our mortgage, for a few years now. Recently, we've been thinking about moving back to our home state to be closer to family. We've found a home we're interested in, but it has a large utility tower on the property not far from the house. Should we still consider this home?

— Denise

DEAR DENISE: The downsides are simple. One, you've got to look at the stupid thing every time you're sitting on your patio. Two, when you get ready to sell it, everyone who looks at the house is going to have the same concerns you have. It's not going to appreciate in value, and you're going to have trouble selling it when the time comes.

If you're willing to put up with those two things, you might get a steal of a deal on this place because no one else may want this house. And when I say a steal, I'm talking around 40 percent off the appraisal. To me personally, it would be enough of an eyesore that I probably wouldn't buy. Again, that's just a personal opinion.

Keep in mind that if you go through with this, when you get ready to sell it, you're going to lose out on any money you gained in the buy. Someone is going to do the same thing to you. I'm not completely killing the deal, but I definitely wouldn't buy it to live in. As a rental? Maybe, if I were going to keep it forever. Because people will always rent. But honestly, I wouldn't want to put up with the hassle in either scenario.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Debit card tip - Can use as a credit card if needed

You can run a debit card like it's a credit card, and they will accept it. The machines don't recognize the difference, whether you type in a credit card number or a debit card number.

Just select “credit” when it asks for payment method. It's just like when you step up to pay for something at the store, and they ask the old credit or debit question. You say credit, so you don't have to enter your PIN (personal identification number), and it all stays in the Visa system.

You're just using it wrong, and that's why you're having trouble. Just remember this in the future.

Monday, February 6, 2017

What to do if you are diagnosed with a disability

Q. I’m 37 years old, married with two great kids and I was just diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I’m trying to plan for the future, and I was wondering if you have any suggestions for work at home or self-employment ideas for people with disabilities.

A. I’m really sorry to hear you’re facing this. You’re a smart, brave young woman to be looking ahead and making plans for the coming years.

I suggest you read a book by Dan Miller called “48 Days to Creative Income.” Dan is a friend of mine, and he also wrote a popular book titled “48 Days to the Work You Love.” The issue you’re talking about is very close to his heart, and I think his books will be a great help to you.

There’s also a book by Richard Bolles. It’s called “Job Hunting for the So-Called Handicapped or People Who Have Disabilities,” and it’s full of ideas to help you work around the issues you’ll be facing.

There are lots of people out there – well-known, highly successful folks – who have disabilities and still make good money and have rewarding lives using the principles found in these books. Another great piece of news is it sounds like you have a wonderful support system around you.

God bless you all. I’m praying for you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Annuities vs 401K

Q. My husband was recently laid off, and he has $229,000 in a 401(k). He has been told that he should roll it into a hybrid annuity. Is this a good idea?

A. Absolutely not! It sounds to me like he’s been talking to an insurance agent instead of an investment adviser. There’s no reason to put a 401(k) into an annuity. Annuities are there to protect money, as it grows, from taxes. Well, guess what? The 401(k) is already protecting it from taxes.

I would roll it into a traditional IRA in a series of growth stock mutual funds. You’ll have half the fees, the adviser won’t make anywhere near the commission he’d make on an annuity and you’ll get much better results in the end.

Yeah, I definitely wouldn’t go the annuity route. I don’t have a single annuity, and I’ve got a lot of investments. One of the reasons so many “advisers” push annuities is because they wind up with bigger commissions. Annuities aren’t evil or anything, but they’re definitely not the proper product for you in this situation.

Get away from the guy who gave you this advice, and find a good financial adviEor – not an insurance guy – with the heart of a teacher. You need to talk to someone who’s interested in helping you two plan for your future, not theirs.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Helping your parents financially - yes or no

Dear Dave,

My dad has been really bad with money his entire life. Anytime he would get into trouble, my grandparents would always bail him out. This time he came to my wife and I, asking for $350 to get out of overdraft at the bank. We’re trying to live on a budget and get control of our finances, and $350 would make things kind of tight at the moment. What do you think we should do? — Jeremy

Dear Jeremy,

I understand feeling an obligation to help your dad. But there’s a lesson here that dad needs to learn, and it’s something that goes much deeper than the money or helping out a family member.

You have to do the right thing, no matter how dad reacts to this. Right now, the right thing is taking care of your family and not putting them in jeopardy. So my answer to dad would be no. Another thing that needs to happen is for the definition of “help” to change. When you say he’s been irresponsible with money his whole life, giving him $350 won’t help — and it will make you an enabler. Just handing him $350 will actually hurt him, and it will give him the idea he can continue being dumb with money and hit you up for cash anytime.

Like I said, I understand the pull of helping out a parent. So if you feel this is something you absolutely must do, I would advise making the $350 contingent on the fact that he begin and complete a financial counseling course. Be gentle when you talk to him, and let him know it hurts to see him struggling. But let him know, too, it’s his responsibility to work through his debts and take care of his own finances!