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Could you live in a “tiny house”?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

May 21, 2015 8:00:00 AM

HOTW_May_21 It may not be as crazy of an idea as it sounds.

What exactly qualifies as a “tiny house”? U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a tiny house as one that is fewer than 320 square feet. That is room about 20’ long and 15’ wide that are generally hand-built, and constructed on a trailer.  

So why has this becoming a booming industry? In most cases it makes living costs more affordable than buying or renting.

A tiny house generally costs around $23,000 for approximately 186 square feet. The average starting price for a new home in the U.S. is $277,000 for 2,600 square feet. The cost of living in a tiny house is much lower. Electricity, heating and air, all cost less.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Don’t get into the college loan trap.

Posted by Chuck Bentley

May 20, 2015 2:23:00 PM

Millions of families are preparing to take their college student off to college for an education but for most, it will also likely include the risky business of a college loan. 

College loans or student tuition loans are not a good idea for a number of reasons. 

One, they may not be worth what you receive in return. The numbers of people who are underemployed following their undergraduate or graduate degree is reported by a variety of sources to be in excess of 50%. That means their degree did not deliver the expected job results.  

Two, significant debt loads often thwart your ability to get on with your life.  New graduates are reporting significant issues like delays in buying a home, pursing their life calling and starting a family because of their student loan burdens

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Topics: Personal Finance

Do you rent your home? Be careful you are not paying too much….

Posted by Chuck Bentley

May 19, 2015 8:00:00 AM

 

HOTW_May_19Recent Census data revealed that more than one in four U.S. renters have to use at least half their family income to pay for housing and utilities.

That's the finding of an analysis of Census data by Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that helps finance affordable housing. The number of such households has jumped 26% due to the Great Recession. The recession pushed more millennials, former homeowners who faced foreclosure and low-wage workers into rental housing.

Since the end of 2010, rental prices have surged at nearly twice the pace of average hourly wages, according to data from the real estate firm Zillow and the Labor Department.

Just as buying too much house can strain your budget, so can rent.  To avoid the trap of ever rising rental costs, here are some tips:

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Topics: Personal Finance

Crown Says Don't Exchange Your Cap And Gown For A Financial Ball And Chain: Make Plans To Win The “GAME OF LOANS”

Posted by Chuck Bentley

May 18, 2015 10:00:00 AM

“Graduates across the country need to make plans to avoid a debt that may never go away,” advised Crown CEO Chuck Bentley. “Winning the ‘Game of Loans’ is possible, but too few achieve that victory.” Today, seven in 10 graduating seniors at public and private colleges have student loans, totally about $30,000 per student. And while many people don’t know this, bankruptcy is generally not a get-out-of-jail free card when it comes to education.

“Just like home values collapsed when the housing bubble burst because loan amounts and home values didn’t match up, more and more graduates find that they can’t find jobs to pay for the degree they earned,” said Bentley.

For making a plan for a debt-free degree or at least minimum loans, Crown launched a special website for students, parents, grandparents or anyone who wants to invest in a graduation gift that lasts a lifetime, where a number of on-line resources and unique job-find tools are available from Crown Financial Ministries. Crown offers everything from strategies for graduating debt free from college, to Career Direct skills planning to a outline for job seekers found in Robert Dickie III’s The Leap: Launching Your Full-Time Career in Our Part-Time Economy.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Thinking of buying a used car? Here are some tips..

Posted by Chuck Bentley

May 18, 2015 8:00:00 AM

HOTW_May_18I think buying a quality, used car about 2-4 years old is a great way to save money…as long as you don’t get ripped off…Here is how to avoid it.

First, determine what you can really afford. It is best to be able to pay cash. I once bought a car for $800 and drove it two years without any major maintenance issues. I sold it for $750.  That was one of the better deals I ever made on a car.  It was ugly, but it was paid for.

Second, be well informed of the prices and values of the car you want. Use websites like Edmunds.com, KBB.com or NADA.com, AutoTrader, EBay and Craigslist for the true market value so you come up with a feel for the price. Clark Howard recommends CarGurus.com, which lets you put in your zip code and the make/model of the vehicle you're interested in at their website. They'll comb through some 2 million listings available on published databases and rate the vehicles available for sale with notations of "great price," "good price" "fair price" and on down.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Are you adequately putting enough money aside for retirement?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

May 14, 2015 8:00:00 AM

If you feel you’re falling short on your retirement savings plan, don’t feel alone. One third of Americans report they are not saving much at all.

A study by Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald and Associates showed that 28% of Americans have only set aside $1000 for retirement; 34% say that they haven’t even started saving. A popular assumption is that to live comfortably in retirement one must put aside $1 million, but David Marotta, president of Marotta Wealth Management, says that $7 million is necessary to live without fear of running out of money. The reason for this is inflation.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Have you lost your peace because of financial problems?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

May 13, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Worry, stress and financial bondage can destroy our peace and take control of our lives. We all want to find peace, but how do we achieve it when it seems impossible in your current circumstances. 

Jesus said in Matthew 6:24:

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.  In this passage, we are given a choice to make… who we will serve. The root issue is to determine our true Master and serve Him only.”

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Topics: Personal Finance

If you are married, today I have a strategy to maximize your Social Security benefits…

Posted by Chuck Bentley

May 12, 2015 8:00:00 AM

According to Blackrock, the world’s largest investment firm, if you are married, the decision of when to collect Social Security benefits is more than just a question of longevity. You may be able to switch between individual, spousal and survivor benefits throughout your lifetime in order to maximize your Social Security income. Although each couple's situation is unique, you may receive higher lifetime benefits by adopting one of the two simple strategies.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Have you heard of the Shemitah?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

May 11, 2015 8:00:00 AM

According to Prophecy Newswatch.com the Shemitah year, or the Jewish Sabbatical year began on September 24, 2014, on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The Shemitah is the seventh year in the seven-year agricultural calendar of Israel. According to the Torah, personal debts were to be canceled and a sort of financial reset occurred in ancient Israel during the Shemitah.

Time was set aside for the nation to rest and devote themselves to worshipping and fellowshipping with God. Disobedience to the Shemitah law brought God’s judgment! (Exodus 23; 10-11, 2 Chronicles 36:20-23)

Bestselling author of The Harbinger and the new book, The Mystery of the Shemitah, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn has uncovered a connection between the Shemitah and the financial markets here in the U.S.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Have you heard about the $70,000 minimum wage? Stay tuned….

Posted by Chuck Bentley

May 8, 2015 11:20:00 AM

Dan Price, chief executive and founder of Gravity Payments, a credit-card payment processing company, is implementing a $70,000-a-year minimum wage from an average salary of $48,000 currently. He also cut his own $1 million annual salary to $70,000, according to a report in the New York Times.

He will use 75% to 80% of the firm’s projected $2.2 million profit for 2015 to pay the salaries, the paper reports.

Price was reportedly inspired by the 2010 study on happiness by the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” Emotional well being rises with income, but there is no progress beyond $75,000 per year, it found.

Well, don’t get too excited that this is going to start a trend.  The company is actually establishing more of an employee profit sharing plan than a real “minimum wage” shift. In other words, if the company profits decrease it is likely the new wages will also decrease. 

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Topics: Personal Finance

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