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Sensationalism is everywhere and it's hard to know what's real, anymore. The economy is tanking, the marketing noise is deafening, and you just don't know what tomorrow will hold. This site is dedicated to a no-hype retelling of what's working for me in real estate, business, and life. Welcome.

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Emily is available for speaking appearances and flat-rate consulting on the topics of personal finance and real estate. Please fill in the Contact Form for more information.

Archive for December, 2007

Dec
31

Steve Maxwell and Financial Intelligence

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So… it’s midnight on New Year’s Eve…. do you know where your money went in 2007?

As I’m sitting here reviewing my books for 2007 that my bookkeeper sent over last week, I’m struck by the fact that some of the information seems like a "surprise."

In the past, I’ve done most of my month-to-month financial tracking by looking at my bank account balances, investment fund balances, and list of properties and companies to total my net worth.

I haven’t paid as much attention to income and expenses.  I’ve always known that there was "enough" and we were "living within our means" but haven’t necessarily paid a lot of attention to how exactly we were doing that.

With some encouragement and a 1-on-1 financial counseling session from my business partner, Steve Maxwell, I finally decided that 2007 was the year I would get my money organized. 

It took several months, but my bookkeeper finally got everything caught up and up-to-date.  I am almost looking forward to having my taxes done this year, since there won’t be the last-minute rush of adding up a year’s worth of numbers, it will all be there, neatly organized and waiting for us.

Better than that, though, I am anticipating having a monthly report on spending patterns.  This will really help us trim the fat (my husband gulps as he reads this… I tend to label all his expenditures as "fat" and mine as "absolute MUST HAVE necessity items") and have a better sense of how much room we have to absorb the additional expenses of – say – having a baby, while still working toward our objective to save and invest 50% of our income.

Steve’s advice can help you, too, reach ambitious goals – like saving half your income, being able to work from home, and investing in cool stuff like businesses and real estate.  He’s just written a workbook on this very topic so make sure you check it out: Wi$e Up – What you Don’t Know About Money Will Hurt You!

Steve Maxwell - Wise up - What you don't know about money WILL Hurt You!

Let me know what you think. 😉

Categories : Family Budget
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Dec
28

Making 2008 Baby-Liscious!

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So Christmas has come and – an alarming 2 days later – gone…  I am back in my office surrounded by fun new toys, a pile of stationary for writing thank-you notes, and a penchant to blog rather than doing any “real work” since I’m still “transitioning” back into my normal schedule and anticipating another fun 4-day weekend coming up.

Thus far with the New Year of 2008 approaching, I have personally:

  •  Eaten lots of Christmas cookies to get them out of the house before Jan 1 marks the renewal of “healthy eating habits.”
  • Started a new pregnancy exercise program and stuck to it for 2 days in a row.  (Thanks for the workout DVD Laura!)
  • Shopped for maternity clothes at a consignment store (3 pants, 2 T-shirts, 4 outer-wear shirts and 1 baby jumper for $165 – much cheaper than at Motherhood Maternity!) and tryed to start saying “I look pregnant” instead of “I look fat.”
  • Had a great conversation with my Dad and Husband about the stock market and whether we should be bulking-up our cash position with the anticipation of a falling market and buying opportunities to come.
  • And started asking a lot of other people what their 2008 New Year’s Resolutions are.

Yes, I admit it – I’m heinously curious about what other people do and think.  (My husband says I’m hard to converse with at restaurants because I’m too busy eavesdropping on other people’s conversations to conduct one of my own.)

 But the reason I have been asking about others’ resolutions is to get inspired myself.  My mom and I had an interestesting conversation about “giving” the other day at lunch (in a restaurant, I might add!!!).

 We are both looking for ways and places to give that create “meaning” and advance society.  She is particularly interested in education, for example.  I tend to lean toward medical research.  It’s having these conversations, though, that helps me examine what I think and believe, and find new “thought opportunities” and places to challenge myself.

This year I figure that since I am pregnant, I am off the hook for setting a weight-loss goal.  Since I’m making more money than I ever have before (and so’s my husband) we’re good financially even with a baby on the way, and since we are really happy and super-satisfied with everything at this point, there’s not a lot of “want” driving me at this point.   I need a new challenge – I figure my baby will provide that when it comes along (don’t know if boy or girl, yet) – and for now my midwife has been telling me – “Don’t get started on too many new projects – you might have energy now (second trimester) but that may start to fade (big time) in the third trimester.

So… here I am – starting a new project – this blog.  But I figure as long as my projects involve sitting down (I could even see typing from bed, if I want!) and are on my schedule, it shouldn’t be a big deal.

So – Emily Cressey goals for 2008 include:

  • Figure out how to blog and stick with it
  • Pump up the content, value, products and client list for my company’s new website: www.TheRealWealthCompany.com where I am the webmaster (sort of – I don’t “do” technology too well, but I have contractors to help me with it…. ) :)
  • Exercise in an empowering way on a daily basis during the week.
  • Continue to save half our income until the baby comes and Don’t Stress About Money after it arrives.
  • Have a healthy baby and learn to love it and take care of it.

In the meantime, if I have time to I will

  • Close on at least 1 personal investment property (already have a Single Family Home under contract at 75% of “market value” in Charlotte, NC.
  • Invest in $10M more of commercial real estate with www.GrasslandInvestments.com – my commercial investment firm.
  • Find new personal finance and real estate consulting clients to work with on a regular basis.
  • Visit my in-laws in Fort Mill, SC to show off the new baby
  • Visit my grandparents in Milwaukee and go to my Aunt’s wedding (and show off the new baby)
  • Support my sister, Laura, with the purchase of her new Ballard Condo – if she decides to move forward with that.  She’s a GREAT negotiator, so I’m not too worried about her.
    AND 
  • Learn how to post video online with my new video camera.  I have the feeling it will be a red-letter year for home videos… and I may throw some professional video tips in every once in a while, too.

So that’s it… I will not call them New Year’s Resolutions, since that seems kind of – well MAJORLY – cliched.  These are a few objectives, reflections and ponderings.

I’d be interested (and inspired!) to hear what your plans are for 2008!  Post below!

Categories : Objectives
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Dec
28

A Taste of Summer

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So, if you’re curious about Emily Cressey and Family – here is a bit of what we do. This is my husband Ben and our former guide-dog Kera. She was with us 2 years until she was ready to go into professional training with SouthEastern Guide Dogs For the Blind.

Despite all ouf our socialization with her at grocery stores, movie theaters, and train stations, she never really got used to the water… here is Ben teaching her to swim. Won’t he be a great Dad?

IMG_2217

Categories : Just For Fun
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About Emily Cressey

Emily Cressey is a real estate investor and licensed real estate agent living in Seattle, Washington. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa with an Economics degree from UNC-Chapel Hill (Go Tarheels!) her focus has been on building business for cash flow and investing in real estate for wealth. If you have questions about real estate investing, personal finance, or would like some flat-rate, affordable advice on one of these topics. Please fill in the Contact form.