My beautiful wife and I recently completed Financial Peace University at our church – Bridgeway Christian in Roseville. It was a wonderful experience that actually brought our entire marriage closer together. Yes, we had argued about money prior to the course, and even more during the 9 week course, but it was revealing things that otherwise would not have been exposed on our own. It forced us to verbalize our views and goals about money. Now we have a unified goal and are moving together in the same direction. I highly recommend the class. It impacted us so positively that we are looking to be co-leaders for the next 9 week class in the Fall. Come join us! I receive Dave’s newsletter and thought I would pass along this article.
Do you ever get frustrated trying to figure out how much to tip?
Next time you’re out to eat and not sure how much to tip your waiter, try this: Double the tax. Depending on where you live, this number will be 12–20% of your total bill. Then you can increase as needed. So easy!
We can all benefit from a few quick money tips, so we asked people who’ve gone through Financial Peace University (FPU)—Dave Ramsey’s most popular nine-week class about money management—to share the most valuable lesson they learned.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. Keep your savings account at a different bank than your checking account.
“That way you don’t see your savings every time you log into your account. You won’t be tempted to transfer it or use it. Out of sight, out of mind!” — Michelle M.
2. Use the budget to help you reach fun goals.
A budget isn’t something you have to do because you’ve been bad. It’s something you do so you can be good. We’re going to Disney and paying cash!” — Alex S.
3. Only buy what you need (and can afford).
“Even though something is a good deal, it doesn’t mean you should buy it.” — Anne M.
4. What matters isn’t how much you’re allowed to borrow but how much you have in the bank.
“Who cares about my FICO score? I don’t.” — Hyunmee P.
5. Don’t let discouragement keep you from making a budget.
“There’s always hope when you have a plan.” — Brandon C.
6. Go old school and balance your checking account.
“This is essential! Balance your checking account so you know where you’re at and then begin with a basic budget. It’s all about taking baby steps.” — Kay N.
7. Give yourself some fun money so you’ll stay on budget.
“I was swiping my card for miscellaneous things. It turns out we were blowing the budget by $150 to $250 a month! I just needed to issue myself an envelope system for pocket money. Now I even have money left over at the end of the month!” — Rick M.
8. Say goodbye to all of your debt.
“I grew up with the misconception that having car loans, a house loan and student loans was something everybody did when they got older. I don’t consider myself debt-free simply because I don’t have any credit card debt. My husband and I are working at paying off all of our debt!” — Amy M.
9. Be patient with purchases—and with yourself.
“We learned to be patient while saving up cash to purchase a new appliance, go on vacation, or buy a car. We also spent over 20 years learning that debt was good, so it took some time to unlearn these things and replace them with new behaviors.” — Katherine E.
10. Get on the same team with your spouse.
“Sitting down together and going over the bills and budget has changed our marriage. There are no more fights about money. We budget together.” — Trina G.
11. Set up a savings fund for irregular expenses.
“My son had just started preschool when I took FPU, so we were in and out of the doctor’s office every week. I now set aside a few dollars in my budget each week for copay and prescription costs. This is a godsend!” — Sandy C.
12. Don’t believe everything society tells you about money.
“Debt can steal your future. It’s so important for kids to understand how to deal with money and debt—and what the consequences of their decisions will look like. You can make better decisions when you know all the facts.” — Susan K.
13. Be prepared for emergencies.
“Having an emergency fund for a rainy day will prevent you from getting a credit card and falling into debt.” — Hyunmee P.
14. Tell your money where to go.
“We learned the importance of a budget and telling our money where to go. It works! We’re now debt-free—that $89,000 owed is gone!” — Angelica A.
15. Put your long-term goals in the right order.
“Retirement should come before saving for my child’s college. I didn’t really think that through before taking the FPU class.” — Shawn H.
16. Use the envelope system.
“Pull money out of your account and put it in envelopes. If it isn’t in your envelope, you can’t use your debit card. We found when we stopped using envelopes for a month we busted our budget. Back to envelopes it is!” — Jennifer B.
17. Talk with your lender to solve any problems while you’re paying off debt.
“Always work with your credit card companies. My bank overcharged me interest, and after we talked, they ended up sending me a check.” — John S.
18. Embrace the power of cash.
“I bought several cars with cash and saved on the purchase price. Also, letting go of cash in hand hurts. I’ve walked away from many purchases in order to keep the cash in my hand.” — Desiree E.
19. Be generous.
“The most important lesson I learned in FPU was to set myself up to be a blessing to others—whether it’s by giving sound financial advice, helping people draft a monthly budget, or giving to someone anonymously.” — Alexander H.
20. Make daily decisions with the end goal in mind.
“The daily choices you make concerning your money dictate what options you will have. Sacrifice in the beginning reaps huge rewards in the end.” — Shelle C.
Matthew Stewart has been a full time real estate agent in the Greater Sacramento Area for over 18 years and has SOLD hundreds of homes. If you have real estate questions or desire his expertise either as a seller or buyer, contact Matthew Stewart Real Estate Team
We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand for that item is high, and the supply of that item is limited. Two major reports released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now is a great time to sell your house.
REALTORS® CONFIDENCE INDEX
Every month, NAR surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.” This month, the index showed (again) that homebuying demand continued to outpace the supply of homes available in January.
The map below illustrates buyer demand broken down by state (the darker your state, the stronger demand there is).
In addition to revealing high demand, the index also shows that compared to conditions in the same month last year, seller traffic conditions were ‘weak’ in 22 states, ‘stable’ in 25 states, and ‘strong’ in only 4 states (Alaska, Nevada, North Dakota & Utah).
Takeaway: Demand for housing continues to be strong but supply is struggling to keep up, and this trend is likely to continue throughout 2018.
THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT
The most important data revealed in the report was not sales but was instead the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:
- Total housing inventory rose 4.1% from December to 1.52 million homes available for sale.
- Unsold inventory is 9.5% lower than a year ago, marking the 32nd consecutive month with year-over-year declines.
- This represents a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace.
According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:
“Another month of solid price gains underlines this ongoing trend of strong demand and weak supply. The underproduction of single-family homes over the last decade has played a predominant role in the current inventory crisis that is weighing on affordability.”
In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies; when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and should expect depreciation in home values.
As we mentioned before, there is currently a 3.4-month supply, and houses are going under contract fast. The Existing Home Sales Report shows that 43% of properties were on the market for less than a month when sold.
In January, properties sold nationally were typically on the market for 42 days. As Yun notes, this will continue unless more listings come to the market.
“While the good news is that Realtors in most areas are saying buyer traffic is even stronger than the beginning of last year, sales failed to follow course and far lagged last January’s pace. It’s very clear that too many markets right now are becoming less affordable and desperately need more new listings to calm the speedy price growth.”
Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market and supply will ‘fail to catch up with demand’ if a ‘sizable’ supply does not enter the market.
If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still out searching for your house.
This post taken with permission from Keeping Current Matters
Definitely an aggressive headline. However, as the final data on the 2017 housing market rolls in, we can definitely say one thing: If you are considering selling –
IT IS TIME TO LIST YOUR HOME!
How did we finish 2017?
- New-home sales were at their highest level in a decade.
- Sales of previously owned homes were at their highest level in more than a decade.
- Starts of single-family homes were their strongest in a decade and applications to build such properties advanced to the fastest pace since August 2007.
And Bloomberg Business just reported:
“America’s housing market is gearing up for a robust year ahead. Builders are more optimistic, demand is strong and lean inventory is keeping prices elevated.”
And the National Association of Realtors revealed that buyer traffic is stronger this winter than it was during the spring buying season last year.
The only challenge to the market is a severe lack of inventory. A balanced market would have a full six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, there is less than a four-month supply of inventory. This represents a decrease in supply of 9.7% from the same time last year.
With demand increasing and supply dropping, this may be the perfect time to get the best price for your home. Contact the Matthew Stewart Real Estate Team today to see whether that is the case in your neighborhood. A market analysis and current inventory levels report will be generated through Matthew’s knowledge, tools, and experience.
I took my new bride (is it still a new bride or groom after eight months? Maybe a better question would be…when are we not “new” bride and groom?) to Top Golf for our weekly date night. We had gone out once before and she had done extremely well for someone who had never swung a club before. In fact, it was amazing how she had maintained the grip, posture and swing through out. She consistently hit ball after ball with great contact down the middle. She was hooked and had a desire for more. In fact on Valentines she got me a Top Golf gift card…so I would take her to Top Golf again! LOL
A little background…I played collegiate golf for Sierra College for two years and then nearly seven years later I was recruited by William Jessup University to create a men’s golf program and be its first Men’s golf coach. I was hired in 2007 and coached until 2012 when I stepped down to pursue building an international business…but that’s a story for another e-newsletter.
As we were out this 2nd time it became a little more apparent to Lexi that golf is a game that is learned over time and no one person on the planet has simply picked up a “stick” and excelled at the game without much practice and dedication. She did not hit ball after ball down the middle this time (which is very normal – let’s face it, golf is the hardest game invented to master). She got frustrated. It seemed a lot more difficult and confounding this go-round. I had made some suggestions to her as she was hitting. She “tried” them, but once the “try” ended with a poor result it was quickly dropped with an, “it doesn’t feel right or I can’t do that, etc.” In that moment as I expressed my frustration (not very kind and understanding on my part), I understood more clearly when people would say that husbands shouldn’t give lessons to their wives. I get too focused on the lesson rather than just having fun; clueless to the fact that if she’s having fun, she’ll want to do it again with me. It would be better for both if a 3rd party professional was hired. One nugget of wisdom that came out of this experience (sadly, after the “discussion” of she wasn’t coachable wanting to do it her way, and I wasn’t very kind, nor very fun, etc. had calmed down) was the fact that we can be too much results driven rather than process driven. Lexi was judging her shot as good or bad based on the result of the golf ball rather than the process of learning a golf swing. I shared with her that the professionals who make millions of dollars do not hit every shot perfect or pure. Sadly, because of television which cuts from one player to the next, only showing the amazing shots, we are left thinking that the pro’s don’t miss, yet those of us that have played the game at a high level can certainly attest, “the game is a game of misses.”
Something hit me as I was trying to communicate to Lexi about the frustration she was experiencing. I realized that she was basing her success or failure of performance by what the little white golf ball did and not on what the process of her swing development was. I was looking at her swing, the mechanics – her grip, her stance, weight shift, etc. I told her that what the golf ball did at this stage did not matter, that she would have many more bad shots than good, and that was perfectly normal. What she needed to focus on were three things:
1) Believe what your coach is telling you. (true compliments/encouragement, “great swing, really good grip, great tempo on that one, etc.)
2) Do what the coach tells you to do even when it doesn’t feel good or right (how could a brand new golfer know what was right or wrong?).
3) Give yourself a break. Golf is hard and it takes time to be good. Be patient and enjoy the process.
Later that week Lexi and I were having a “discussion” and she let me know to stop looking at the result in the moment but rather to focus on “the process.” Before the sentence had finished I realized she was right and I was stopped in my tracks! No, not because she was right (she is right A LOT), but rather she had actually listened to her coach! 🙂
**Lexi and I met while attending Bridgeway Church in Roseville. Her beautiful red hair flowing down in a soft wavy cascade called to me from the row in front. We dated for a little over three years (yes I was scared, I had been married before and didn’t want to make a bad or wrong decision this time) and became engaged when I surprised her with a road trip to Lovers Point near Monterey on February 28th 2016. We were married June 22nd 2016. Having no kids prior, I now have three teenagers that I learn from daily!
The Matthew Stewart Real Estate Team stumbled onto Diamond Creek, much like many of its current residents. Many were living in the San Francisco Bay Area and would come up to Roseville and Granite Bay for drives on gorgeous spring, summer, or fall days. They would venture out to West Roseville, lured by all of the aggressive new home builder advertising, but along the way they would take a turn here or there and somehow end up in Diamond Creek along Blue Oaks Blvd and Woodcreek Oaks Blvd. Once you find Diamond Creek – you love it! With its many nature / greenbelt areas with walking and riding trails winding through out, and its award winning schools and parks, Diamond Creek is a phenomenal place to live. Check out the informative video the Matthew Stewart Real Estate Team has created to learn more. If you desire more information or private showings of homes located in Diamond Creek, Diamond Woods, or surrounding areas, including Granite Bay – contact Matthew Stewart directly at (916) 718-2979
Diamond Woods in West Roseville, CA 95747 is a hidden gem close to everything but far enough away from the hustle and bustle you sometimes forget you’re in the city. With its spacious greenbelts and nature preserves, to its walking and bike riding trails, to its many community parks, Diamond Woods and Diamond Creek are very special. Learn more in the video provided by Matthew Stewart Real Estate Team at Realty World American River Properties.