Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wise Things to do with Your Money Now

Ok, so this might be a bit long as I am playing catch-up.

So we sold our home, and are not going to get our homestead. We will however be staying right here in our city.

I must admit that I am actually sad that we will not be getting our homestead. I was so certain. But it looks like God has other plans for us for now. But thankfully, we will be able to have a big garden, so not all is lost.

I want to share with you ladies who are not married or who will soon be married or those who are newly married, so that should YOU want a homestead you will be able to get one if it is what God wants for you.

The main reason we cannot get our homestead is a lack of funds. My husband is paid well enough that I am able to stay home and not have to work. But we made several mistakes.

One of the best pieces of advice I was given when I first got married was to take all of my income and put it directly into savings (I know now that we should have been putting it into a ROTH - both husband ABD wife can have a ROTH if the husband is working!!!!). But that way, you get used to living on one income so when I stop working to be home with the children, we aren't missing out on any income we had been accustomed to having and living on. So we had a fairly large nest egg when we were first married.

HOWEVER - and here are where the mistakes start - one year after we were married, we fell for the "get rich quick" scheme. Bought some land in hopes to make some money (wasn't everyone making money in land at that time??). The first mistake was went went to a real estate firm who sent us a mailer saying they would give us a free gift if we come in and talk with them. They were scammers and we were scammed.

We should have done several things different.

First, NEVER goto a real estste office who sends you a gift for coming in just to talk. IT is most always a scam. We learned that out when we went to sell the land because we wanted our money back. Since we had the money, we paid for the land outright rather than taking a loan. We wanted our money back and TRIED to contact the office we bought it from and they were no longer around.

We found a reliable realtor who unfortunately was not able to help us and referred us to another reliable realtor who deals with land in the area we bought our land. She told us that we were ripped off and basically stuck with that land. Not only that, but the "realtors" who sold us that land are no longer realtors (prolly retired on all the profits they made). She asked if it was a family investment as several other owners in the area had the same last name (it was a mass mailing). She said several scammers do that. Set up office, send out mailers, sell off land, and then move on out. She also said that the land we bought happenes to be one of the most undesireable types of land as there is no public access to it (meaning a road cannot be built to it). We were told by the scam realtors that no public access meant a road had not yet been built to it. So now we are stuck paying taxes on land we can never get rid of.

We learned that we should ALWAYS say NO and pray and sleep on it. If God really wants us to have something, it will be the same price tomorrow as it was today and it will still be available at that time. Sellers want to make a sell!! We should have left and prayed on it and we would not have bought the land.

Secondly, we spent money on the little things. We goto Goodwill a lot to buy our clothes (and other necessities). What happens is we have a need (one of the children need new clothes) and go into Goodwill. We see several other WANTS and because they are such a good deal, we buy them. SO then we have a house full of clutter and only continue to collect more and more wants leaving less money for needs.

We should have created a budget of all the necessary things, then budgeted in savings and ROTH and tithe. After that, budget in amounts to spend on necessities: groceries, gas, clothing, etc. What we have done now is to give eachother an allowance each month. It is small, but enough to take the family out to dinner, buy a newly released DVD, etc. So that way we have a "fun" fund and can save up for the more expensive wants, and still build our retirement fund.

Don't think you are ever too young to think about or plan for retirement. Just think about it. If you start now, before you are even married. Then you won't have to wait until hubby is 65 and in a miserable job before he retires. He can retire at 40 and enjoy raising the kids WITH you (instead of always having to work or be thinking about work).

When we calculated the money we could have had by now, we would have not only been able to pay CASH for our homestead (which we wouldn't have done, it sometimes is more beneficial to take a loan out so you can keep growing your money - for example, if your ROTH is getting you 9% interest, and the loan is only costing you 5%, then you are making more money than the loan is costing you by keeping your money in your ROTH!), but it would have been enough that hubby could retire in 5 years instead of 32.

Imagine that!!! He will have to "waste" almost 30 extra years working that he COULD have been enjoying with family NOT working. He could have had the freedom to start up the company he wanted to start up but never had the time (because he is working a job to pay for our house and food and other needs and wants) or money.

We are SO THANKFUL that God has blessed us DESPITE our lack of good stewardship with His gifts. We are not in debt (but we are living paycheck to paycheck). We own our car. And with the sell of our home, we are going to make the profit we wanted to in order to be able to get a bigger home with bigger land (although still not the homestead we both really wanted).

So anyways, I hope that this helps some of you . And thankfully we are finding out NOW about how to do things instead of later when hubby is laid off because he finally reached that age where his company feels they can get cheaper labor from a college grad, despite all of hubby's knowledge, his knowledge is now too expensive for the company to keep him.

I also want to give one last word of encouragement - be accountable to each other on how you spend money. It is so easy to think that you don't need to discuss the dress you want to buy or the groceries you want to buy (after all, I am the woman and know what our family needs and am making all the meals), but I encourage you even in those areas to talk with your husband about it. Maybe he will suggest something that can save you an extra $30 a month. That may seem small now, but in one year, you will have saved an extra $360 plus interest (and if you were able to put that into either of your ROTHS or your husbands 401K that adds up FAST!! :D).

Try to max out BOTH of your ROTH's every year as well as your husband's 401K (your company should have a matching point - max to the matching point). That will help you build up that retirement fund fast.

And if you have a little extra at the end of the year, put it into a high yeild CD. I am hoping in 15 years to have enough money for the entire family (including any other children the Lord may give us) to goto Hawaii for our 25 wedding anniversary. :D

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