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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 Just For Fun

Apr
15

Do You Know How To Twitter?

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I know I’m shamefully late to the party, but I am finally up and running with Twitter.com

You can follow me at http://twitter.com/ecressey.

I’ve actually been on twitter for a while now, but I didn’t really “get” it or use it before.

Now, I’ve installed tweetdeck.com which integrates twitter with facebook and leaves me logged in all the time… and I’ve seen what other people tweet about, so I think I’m finally starting to get it.

If you are interested in twitter, but haven’t figured it out yet. There is a great free twitter tutorial here.

The basics are easy, just create an account, post some short messages and start following people you know.

You can start with me… twitter.com/ecressey.

Have a great day!

Emily

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Feb
25

Free Subs at Quiznos

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Hi there,

This is random, but I just tried it and it was fast, free and easy.

Trade your email address to Quizno’s for a free sub. 😉

Check it out here. www.millionsubs.com

Yum!

Have a great day!

Emily

Categories : Just For Fun
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Although I’m not the biggest fan of Suze Orman, it’s hard for me to pass up the opportunity to read some well thought-out financial tips from a nationally recognized advisor.   If you haven’t heard, you can download Suze’s latest 2009 book for free from Oprah’s website until Thursday, January 15 at midnight.  You can also buy it for $10 at Amazon.com

Suze Orman’s Advice on Saving For College

Since I have been working on setting up baby Blake’s college savings recently, I skipped to page 160 to read her chapter about college savings.  It was focused primarily on “What to do about college now that your college savings tanked when the stock market took a dive…” There was a lot of discussion about loan options and financial aid that didn’t really interest me.

What did interest me was the following few points – my personal takeaways from the chapter:

  1. Keep your child’s college savings 100% invested in stocks until your child is 14 years old.  Between the ages of 14 and 17, gradually divest until none of the portfolio is in stocks.  – My husband and I have talked about this one, he feels that 100% in stocks is still too risky.  My rule of thumb is: Don’t put anything in the stock market that you can’t afford to keep there for at least 5 years.  With that in mind, I might start shifting the portfolio balance toward bonds/cash a little earlier than this.
  2. Use a 529 Plan.  She mentioned Coverdell plans, but 529’s were the emphasis.
  3. Don’t get a private loan for college under any circumstances.
  4. Save for your retirement first and THEN put away an appropriate amount for your child’s savings.  Don’t put your child’s college savings ahead of your own retirement, in terms of saving priority.
  5. Visit www.saveforcollege.com to get more information on saving for college.

I actually did visit this website, which had a handy-dandy college-savings calculator.  It told me that I should be putting away $602/month for my child’s college savings.  Not far off from the $641/month I calculated on my recent article on financial planning for college.

 

A lot of the advice in the book seems to be working under the assumption that you have been negatively affected by the recent stock market crash and are experiencing job loss, panic selling, getting behind on your house payments, going through a personal credit crunch, or experiencing other problems with your finances right now.  It’s pretty much a back-to-basics tome coming from a conservative, “the sky’s not falling, but you do need to be safe” perspective, encouraging you to pay off your credit cards and make sure you have health insurance.

This may be timely for some families, but I did not find it especially relevant or inspirational.  However, it’s free, so I can’t complain.  Thanks, Suze!  Be sure to pick up your free copy and let me know what you think!

 

Emily

Jan
05

A Day In The Life of A Small Business Owner

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Ok, I think I’m back – again.

Ben and I both got a viral pink-eye infection that seemed to be accompanied by a pretty severe cold.  Blake was spared.  It makes us very grateful for the invention of Kleenex, Tylenol and indoor heating.  Every time I get sick, I wonder what it must have been like for the pioneers and other people who didn’t know what they would have, if it would kill them, how it spread or how to get better.

So, in 2009 I am very thankful for HEALTH!

Today is “peek over my shoulder” day.   Here’s a list of some of the things on my To-Do List:

  1. Write a series of 5 posts (2 already completed) on investing in real estate with your self-directed IRA.  This will be posted on our commercial real estate investing blog.
  2. Interview Real Estate Brokers – still have 2 on my list to meet for the first time and 2 to follow up with.
  3. Do real estate coaching for some single-family home investors.
  4. Put up some affiliate marketing ads on some of my other web sites.  Have been doing this to generate some extra cash flow.  I wrote 10 articles recently, one featuring a little pitch for a dog training manual and have garnered 1 sale so far – $68.
  5. Review test results from Google Analytics… I am comparing two sales letters for my how to knit dog sweaters ebook.  If one is clearly more successful than the other, I can improve my conversion rate.  I already get plenty of traffic.
  6. Meet with bookkeeper and property manager to write quarterly investor updates for some of our commercial properties.
  7. Read The Long Tail by Chris Anderson.  I recently got a copy of this after learning more about long tail and small business.
  8. Deposit rent checks and pursue collections from my tenants.

It’s not exciting – but it’s real, it’s honest, it’s transparent.  There will probably also be a nap and lunch thrown in there somewhere.

I’ll try to make it more sexy next time.  Maybe I’ll sip margaritas, have a party by the pool, or go sky diving, but the truth is moving forward is about small steps every day.  It’s also about FOCUS – something I need to work on a little more. 😉  But that’s for another post.

 

Emily

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Dec
12

An Allegory of the US Tax System

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Did you ever feel like the farther ahead you got, the more Uncle Sam became an anchor around your leg, slowing down your upward momentum?

Well, you’re not the only one.  My cousin, Bill Davis, sent me this humorous, but cynical story about tax cuts and how they affect the poor, middle class, and the rich.

It was attributed to David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D., although according to his website, he is not the author.

Thus – we don’t know who wrote it or where correct attribution should go.

However, it is still a humorous piece that will get you thinking.  Which tax bracket are you in?

 

Emily

 

Our Tax System Explained: Bar Stool Economics
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that’s what they decided to do.
The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. ‘Since you are all such good customers,’ he said, ‘I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.’ Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.
But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’ They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should p ay.
And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
‘I only got a dollar out of the $20,’declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,’ but he got $10!’

‘Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. ‘I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I got’

‘That’s true!!’ shouted the seventh man. ‘Why should he get $10 back when I got
only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!’

‘Wait a minute,’ yelled the first four men in unison. ‘We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!’
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
University of Georgia

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Categories : Just For Fun, Taxes
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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.