Do you ever think to yourself “I’ll be happy once I get a new car, move into a bigger house, or buy a bigger television”? Don’t listen to that little voice in your head that’s telling you this! The theory of Hedonic Adaptation, or otherwise known as “The Hedonic Treadmill”, states that regardless of what happens to you, good or bad, your level of happiness will return to your baseline after the event occurs.
You are on the hedonic treadmill if you find yourself having the “if only” syndrome. “If only I had a newer car.” “If only I had a bigger house.” “If only I had more fashionable clothes.” “If only I had ___ then I would be happy.” It’s also likely that after you acquire these possessions your happiness level decreases because you’re having to work harder to pay for everything!
With health insurance costs continuing to rise, Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) have been gaining popularity. The monthly premiums on HSA’s are typically lower than those of traditional plans since an HSA is tied to a high deductible plan. The reason for the lower cost is that since a large upfront cost (the deductible) must be met before the plan will pay, you are more likely to think twice about whether or not you need to see a doctor for the slightest ailment.
So, what exactly is a Health Savings Account? As mentioned previously, the account is only available to individuals/families with a high deductible health plan (HDHP). To qualify in 2019, the minimum annual deductible for individuals is $1,350 and $2,700 for a family plan.
The HSA allows you to save money for medical expenses and offers 3 tax advantages.
I’m finally getting around to writing about our trip to Italy. We went near the end of March – it ended up being colder than I had anticipated.
Before you get too far into this post, be sure to listen these amazing street performers in Florence. I’m kicking myself for not buying their CD while we were there.
One of the most important elements of real estate investing is knowing how to properly analyze a deal. This one task is what holds a lot of people back and what causes many to succumb to “analysis paralysis”.
To get comfortable with analyzing properties, set a goal to analyze a certain number per week. A good way to do this is to simply go to a website like Realtor.com or Zillow.com, type in the area where you would like to look for rental properties, and pick a few to start with. Once you go through this process for a few weeks, you’ll be able to scan through a listing and almost instantly know if it’s a good deal or not. Of course, whether it’s a good deal pertains to the location in which you are looking and certain market factors based on that location, but what I will describe here can be used as a general rule or metric to strive for.
I will note that I invest for cash flow and don’t really incorporate potential appreciation into my considerations. Although it would be nice if the property appreciates, I count it solely as a bonus, not as a deciding factor when purchasing real estate.
A few weeks ago I decided that we would take a spontaneous road trip to West Virginia. I was partly inspired by the popular John Denver song which has the lyrics, “Almost heaven, West Virginia”. Plus, we were within a couple hours drive so I thought, “why not?”
Since this trip was partly spontaneous, I didn’t have as much time to do as thorough research as I would have liked, but, for what time I did have I think I did pretty good. We went the last weekend of September which was unseasonably warm. If I could plan the trip again I would probably come when the fall foliage is out in full force.
Before we left, I had made a fancy google map which had our entire route inputted. I knew there would not be good cell phone service but I thought if I pre-loaded the map then it would be fine. Warning, do not hit the “arrived” button when you get to the first destination. I did this and it erased all of the remaining stops plus we happened to be in a no cell service area.
The map below details the route we took, starting with our first destination, Glade Creek Grist Mill which is located in Babcock State Park. To get a sense of direction, this area of WV is located near the southeast of the state.
On our way to the Grist Mill, we passed through a lot of old coal towns which were very depressing looking. It looked like there was nowhere to work and houses were falling down or looked uninhabitable. Later, I looked up houses for sale in these towns and you could buy a house for around $15,000-$20,000.
Onward to our first stop!
Mike has had to work the last few weekends so that usually leaves me at home by myself. Over the years, I think I’ve gotten pretty good at entertaining myself. Here’s my schedule of what I did today:
5:15am – wake up and eat breakfast
5:45-8:30 – read and watch news
8:30-10:30 – fold laundry and clean
11:30 – lunch
12:30 – drive around different neighborhoods to get a feel for what’s going on; I find this a good strategy for knowing how good a neighborhood is whenever a potential investment property comes up for sale.
2:00 – grocery shopping
3:30 – short nap
4:00 – 2 mile walk
5:00 – relax with wine & watch the rain
6:00 – write this blog post
So, there you have it. My entire Saturday. A part of me wishes I had been more productive but there is appreciation to be had in relaxing and just being happy with your own company. I expect some people would be mortified when given the prospect of spending the entire day alone with their own thoughts.
“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” – Henry Ford
I recently got back into hiking and thought it would be interesting to feature some of the hikes I go on. Angel’s rest is located in Pearisburg, VA and is part of the Appalachian Trail. Getting to the trail head may be a little tricky if it’s your first time going. Starting from the Dairy Queen in Pearisburg, begin on Johnston Ave. Turn right from Johnston Ave. to Morris Ave. Morris turns into Cross Ave. and the road soon becomes enclosed by the forest. Total distance from Dairy Queen to the trail head is about 0.9 miles. There is only room for about 5 cars to park alongside the road so I always try to get there early. Here are the approximate coordinates that can be typed into your GPS: 37.329303, -80.751666
Quick Summary of Hike
Out & Back Distance: 5.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,781 feet
Total Time: 2 hours, 2 minutes (2.6 mph)
We’ve all heard that statistic that says “The most common cause of divorce is disagreements over money.” While this may very well be true, it doesn’t have to be true for you.
Mike and I have always been on the same page about money and finances from day 1. A month after we started dating, I gave him the Dave Ramsey financial peace CD set for him to listen to on his way to work. Maybe we are both just weird, but somehow, he did not run away from me.
He started to really get into the whole Dave Ramsey way of life and even read a couple of his books. Whenever we were in the car together we would listen to Dave’s podcasts. It became normal for us to say “What would Dave do?”
Being so open and forthcoming about financial topics early on in our relationship opened the door for conversations about our own personal finances, goals, and ideas.
Team-building. Networking. Meet and Greet. If you’re like me, these phrases make you cringe; wishing you could just curl up under a blanket and forget about the outside world. To be successful in life, you will have to endure these events and activities. You don’t have to like them, but you have to do them.
The Difference Between Introverts and Extroverts
If you read the first three words of this article and felt a sense of energy and excitement, then you are definitely an extrovert. You get your energy by being surrounded by other people. Those kinds of events fuel you up so that you can run all evening long. If you read those first three words and you thought, “Ugh, not again”, then you are probably an introvert. Introverts get their energy by being alone and away from the buzz of the outside world. Being in a room filled with the drone of multiple conversations and trying to conjure up small-talk with a stranger is not an introvert’s idea of a good time.
The word “introvert” has been getting mentioned a lot more lately than it has been in the past. I had actually never really heard of it until a couple of years ago when I read Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
For a lot of people, including me, hearing the definition of introvert is somewhat a sense of relief; relief to know that you’re not in the boat alone; relief that there are millions of other people out there who feel the exact same way you do. Being an introvert is not a bad thing.
It has officially been 1 year since we rented out our first rental house! I can’t decide if we’ve just been lucky by not having any issues *knock on wood* or if my diligent screening process has really paid off.
For the entire year, these tenants were never late with the rent check and only called me once. Zero 2am toilet calls. I’m not just going to assume this is how it will be forever because something is bound to go wrong in a house that’s 60+ years old.
5 months ago, we increased our rental portfolio buy purchasing a duplex. One unit was vacant and we inherited the tenant in the other unit. The rent was definitely below market value but I didn’t want to upset the tenant and risk her leaving by raising it. She keeps the place in pristine condition and pays like clockwork. I think it’s fine that I’m forgoing a bit of extra money to not have to risk finding another high quality tenant.
Okay, now what you’ve been waiting for: The numbers!