Investing In Nashville Tennessee’s Real Estate Market

Nashville, Tennessee is nestled in the beautiful rolling green hills of the middle Tennessee Valley located on the Cumberland River. Known as Music City, Nashville is the home of country music, the world class Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the Bonaroo Music Festival. Walk down any street in Nashville and you are bound to hear music streaming out of the city’s street speakers or someone picking on their guitar. Music is everywhere in Nashville. Maybe that is why the people are so darn friendly and why so many businesses are relocating here. Nashville was voted one of the top ten best places to live in 2003 and remains that way to this day.

Buying an investment property in Nashville is a good idea for so many reasons. Nashville is home to numerous colleges and universities such as Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State, Fisk, Lipscomb, Belmont College, Bethel College, Treveca Nazarene University and the Nashville Auto-Diesel College in East Nashville. Rental homes and duplexes are in great demand and fill up fast. Not only for the students, but for the staff that come from all over the world to teach at these prestigious universities. Nashville is a cosmopolitan and multicultural city with something to offer everyone.

Nashville attracts companies like Dell Computers and Nissan to relocate there because of it’s stable economy and great tax benefits. In 2005 Nashville was named the #1 Best City for relocation and expansion. Nashville is home to Bridgestone, Bell South, Am South, The Gaylord Entertainment Center, Purity and the Coca-Cola Bottling company just to name a few of the many big businesses.

Nashville’s economy remains strong amidst the national slump. While the housing prices have dipped a little in the last 2 years they are on the up swing again. This is why purchasing an investment property here makes a lot of sense.

Nashville real estate is still a great value compared to the national average. A residential home in a hip neighborhood such as Hillsboro Village near Vanderbilt University averages about $360,000. A ranch property in picturesque Leiper’s Fork with 20 acres of beautiful green land is had for about $700,000. Not a bad deal compared to a 3 bedroom home in Los Angeles for around $700,000! You get a lot more for your money here in Nashville without all the traffic congestion!

East Nashville, across the Cumberland River is an area that is set for growth. With its neighborhoods mixed with different socio-economic groups, it is on the verge of renewal. East Nashville is a great area to currently find foreclosures in small need of repair that are eager to be renovated and flipped for a new life.

Of course investing in real estate can be tricky if you don’t know all the ins and outs. That’s why you need a qualified realtor who specializes in residential real estate to help you become familiar with the local market.

Call me, Mark Haining, of Village Real Estate Services and I’ll be glad to show you around town. Whether you want city living in the Gulch or the country life in Franklin, we have it all here in Nashville.

Investing in Property in Thailand

Investing in property in Thailand is full of pit falls and potential scams. I know because I have firsthand experience of buying property in Thailand and I have seen several people lose their money because they did not performed due diligence.

It is essential with any type of property investment to keep a cool head and not to take anything for granted, and this is especially true of Thailand where property ownership laws are very different to in the USA or UK.

When you ask a developer what the property laws are in Thailand you will get a different answer to when you ask a lawyer. Both a lawyer and a developer have a vested interest – the developer wants to push you down the path of a long term lease and the lawyer sees the potential of bigger fees and pushes you down the path of incorporation of a Thai company.

Here is the official line in Thailand – foreigners cannot own land in Thailand. This is repeated so much on the internet, but what is not mentioned is that non-Thai nationals can own property in Thailand. This is paradoxical: you can own a building but not the land upon which the building stands. Developers get round this problem by offering the potential buyer a 30 year lease on the land. This lease is registered at the land office. It requires the owner of the land to appear at the land office. In the typical contract offered by developers 2 renewals of the lease are guaranteed making a total of 90 years leasehold.

Read this next part carefully: the contract obliges the owner of the land to renew the 30 year lease when it expires, but if the owner of the land doesn’t appear at the land office then ownership reverts back to the owner. The lease is immediately invalid. The Thai courts will not uphold the enforcement of a second or third lease because the law states that a lease to a foreigner only lasts 30 years! In other words, your investment is completely at the whim of the land owner.

The alternative route is to use a Thai lawyer firm to set up a Thai company. In the memorandum of incorporation preferential voting rights are given to the foreign share holders. The shares in a Thai company must be less than 50% owned by foreigners, but lawyers can set up a company to give only the foreign owners dividends and voting rights: thus, effectively giving control of the company and its assets to non-Thai nationals. These assets could include a house and land.

Although the Thai government has recently tried to close this loophole of preferential voting rights, it is still very easy for lawyers to give de facto (if not de jure) control of a Thai company to foreigners.

The downside of this approach is that it is in a legally grey area. Furthermore, you will be required to prepare tax returns twice a year and so you have to employ an accountant and your company has to be seen to move money around to appear like a legitimate company.

My advice is not to buy property in Thailand. I have seen too many people lose their money in Koh Phangan property. Developers have been known to sell land that they don’t actually own. Never buy on Koh Tao – there are no land titles for the island because it was a penal colony. If you just want a holiday home for retirement then a 30 year lease is fine. If you want a serious and safe investment then get a lawyer and get a Thai company. And most importantly, make your lawyer insist on seeing the original land certificates. If you go into a property investment in Thailand without a lawyer you are asking to be ripped off.

Easy-to-do Debt Reduction Strategies

There are a lot of people who are having troubles with their debt right and now and who probably feel lost and helpless with their situation. Being in debt is truly one of those situations that you would just wish could disappear in a snap of a finger. However, it is also a fact that properly eliminating debt will take time, sacrifice, and a lot of effort.  Debt reduction all begins with proper planning followed by strict discipline to be able to stick to that plan. If you are now determined to get rid of all of your debts, then you can pick up a thing or two from these easy and basic debt reduction strategies.

  • Use your savings to pay help pay off debt. There are a lot of people who have this mindset that they would rather put their extra money on their savings than use it to pay off their debts. Although it truly is advisable to start making an emergency fund or savings, it will benefit you more if you get rid of all of your debts first. Especially for those people who already have quite a few debts in their hand, it’s better to direct extra income towards paying off debt. Once you look at the whole picture, you will be able to save more money if you get rid of all of your debt the soonest time possible.
  • Transfer debts to lower interest rates loan. It is a fact that one of the biggest factors that can catapult your debt sky high is the interest rate it carries. If your debts carry very high interest rates, then you may definitely want to consider transferring it to loans with lower interest rates. Reducing the monthly interest rate can result to lower monthly payments and can help you catch up with your monthly payments.
  • Always pay on time. Whether you have small or big amounts of debt, it is always a no-no to neglect paying them on time. Most, if not all, debts are likely to incur penalty fees once payments made are late. The add-on fees may seem small, but when accumulated, they can already help to pay for your food and daily expenses. Always make it a habit to pay on time to avoid any penalty fees or added interest.
  • Try talking to your lenders. Most people would not even consider talking to their creditors about their debt. However, you can get a lot just by politely speaking with your creditors. You can try to negotiate lower terms or lower interest rate. You can even try to let them waive off your penalty fees if you start paying religiously. There are so money other proposals you can try to squeeze in when trying to negotiate with your creditors.

Having debt troubles is truly not the end of the world for you; there are so many tips and strategies that you can try in order to help eliminate your debts faster. Aside from the strategies given above, you also need to truly direct your actions into helping yourself get out of debt as soon as possible.

Health Wealth

When we think of wealth, our attention often automatically shifts towards financial wealth. Of course, this is not the only indicator of how well off we are. Another area of our life that we should focus as much, if not more attention on is our health. How much use is a massive bank balance if we are not able to enjoy spending it? So rather than talk about financial well being, I want to spend some time considering things that we can do to ensure our health balance stays in the black.

There are really just a few things that we have to think about if we become health rich. These are:

  1. Diet
  2. Exercise
  3. Rest

By diet, I am not saying that we have to go on a diet, just that we have to make the right choices about the foods and drinks that we consume. Since we were kids, we have heard of the importance of fruits and vegetables. Not liking them is no excuse. They taste great. If you have never enjoyed fruit and veg then take a look at some juicer reviews and buy yourself one of these machines. There are cheap as well as expensive juicers on sale. Everyone can find at least three juices that they love. Who doesn’t like freshly squeezed orange juice? How about a strawberry, banana and milk smoothie? There are so many options available to us. Not liking fruit is nothing but an excuse. Delicious food and great health are not mutually exclusive.

A common excuse I hear is that I don’t have time to exercise. Well, do you have time to watch TV? Do you have time to go drinking at a bar? We find time for things that are important to us. Saying that we don’t have the time is simply lying to ourselves. Exercise doesn’t have to mean, going down to the gym. We could take a brisk walk, go for a cycle, play some sports or join a pilates class. There are loads of options available to us so even if one isn’t suitable, we could try something else.

Finally, we should not underestimate our need for rest, relaxation and sleep. While we may not need more than 8 hours sleep each night, if we are regularly getting less than 6 hours of sleep then this will surely eat into our health account.

A three pronged attack of eating well, taking regular exercise and getting a good night’s sleep is the best way to ensure our physical health and keep us in the best condition to be able to look after our financial well being.

Why Are US Baby Boomers Considering Central America For Retirement?

According to Generation Mortgage Co, almost 80 percent of US baby boomers are afraid they wont be able to retire comfortably. They’re facing shrinking nest eggs, investment properties that have lost value, a weak job market, and a rising cost of living. Add to this expensive health care plans and under-insurance, and it’s no surprise that a growing number are starting to shift their perspective beyond US shores.

The US Social Security Administration reported that the number of retired Americans receiving benefits overseas has increased 32 percent since 2002. That number is set to grow. Many are bypassing Florida for their retirement and heading a little further south to countries like Costa Rica, Belize, Panama and Nicaragua.

The Central American region benefits from a close proximity to the US mainland and the number of direct flights from Miami, Houston, Los Angeles and Atlanta increases each year. But the key attraction is a massively reduced cost of living, making the promise of a full and rich retirement still possible despite the trying financial times. Retirees who have made the move say they can “live a life of luxury” for under $1500 a month. In Nicaragua, some US baby boomers scale that number down even further to $950 a month, and that still includes a full time maid.

Added to this are a host of extra benefits and incentives available to retirees under government designed retirement residency programs. In Nicaragua and Belize for example, the retirement age is just 45 and ‘retirees’ are eligible for exemptions on local taxes and are not taxed on income earned out of the country. In Panama the retiree program also offers discounts on a number of medical, travel and entertainment expenses.

The real estate in the region remains highly affordable. A report by international property site showed that Nicaragua real estate in particular stands out as offering very low cost property options, significantly lower than Costa Rica and Belize, for example. With beachfront property available for a fraction, even 1/10 the price of property in the US, that ocean side retirement dream is no longer out of reach for many US baby boomers willing to make the move.

Importance of Saving Money When You Are Young

We all understand the need to save money regularly. But do you know just how beneficial it can be? A 10 year old setting aside just $20 per week into a savings account until they are 18 adds up to $7,680. When interest and the time value of money is figured into the equation, the amount would exceed $10,000. Young people who understand the importance of saving money may never have to worry about seeking out fast debt solutions later on in life. Saving for our children’s futures ourselves is another option.

Teaching Kids About Saving and Managing Money

Kids who are taught how to save and manage money at very young ages often grow up with “money smarts”. A great way to introduce the concept of saving money to a child is by using a piggy bank and depositing money into it occasionally as a reward for good behavior. As a reward for diligently saving their money, the piggy bank can be emptied and partially (or even entirely) used for a special toy or game. Allowing kids to buy their own toys will show them the importance of making wise choices with their money; you can only spend that money once!

Kids who are slightly older can learn about saving money if they are given a reasonable allowance on a weekly basis. Opening a savings account for a child is also a good idea – especially with all the savings account incentives available for minors. Parents should encourage their children to save some of their allowance money for things they really want or need, rather than spend it all as soon as they receive it. When kids learn first-hand that money doesn’t grow on trees and that you generally have to do something to earn it, they may be less likely to get in debt for things they can’t really afford as they get older.

Saving Money Goes Beyond Putting Away Cash

There are lots of other practical ways to save money besides physically putting it away in a safe place. Parents can set good examples for their children by living frugally. This doesn’t mean doing without anything extra at all, but rather, making children understand that things that cost money shouldn’t be taken for granted or wasted. Some parents put this idea into practice by limiting “treats” like fast food to once or twice per month rather than multiple a times a week and reserving expensive gifts for birthdays, the holidays, or whenever a child has saved up enough money on their own to buy what they want.

Saving with E-cigarettes

One of the worst things about smoking cigarettes, apart from the fact that your nicotine habit is slowly killing you, is the fact it now costs a small fortune to keep yourself stocked up with your preferred tobacco products. In fact, with a pack of cigarettes in many states now costing over $9, a pack a day smoker will find themselves shelling out well over $3000 a year to get they regular fix. That’s a lot of cash in anyone’s language so it’s no wonder more of us than ever are trying to quit in these tough economic times.

The only problem of course is that nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs on the planet and giving it up is far easier said than done. For this reason many electronic cigarette retailers are quick to point out the money saving possibilities of their untaxed products in relation to tobacco. They want us to believe that we can save fortune if we use e cigs as a replacement for whatever we happen to be smoking at the moment.

If you visit many of the web sites dedicated to the e cigarette you will see they contain a saving calculator which informs us of how much extra cash we’ll have after a year of using the device. All of them will tell you that you will get an awesome discount if you make the switch, and as a user of e cigarettes myself I wanted to investigate to see just how much extra cash I’ll have in my bank account after 12 months.

Let’s take a look at just how much of a saving you can make if you decide to switch over to this interesting new gadget:

Green Smoke e cigarettes are one of the most popular products on the market, and in my opinion also one of the best. A complete starter kit from this company will cost you $130 and contains everything you need to get underway. This seems like quit a bit of cash but it’s a one off purchase after which your costs are greatly reduced. The refills come in at $61 for 20 and I, as a former 20 a day smoker, use one each day.

So I’ve worked out that I will need approximately 365 carts a year at $3.05 each, which comes in at a total cost of $1113.25 to keep myself in nicotine.

One thing to keep in mind is that the batteries which come with your starter kit aren’t going to last you forever as they eventually lose their ability to holda charge. I reckon you will have to budget for 3 or 4 new ones each year at a cost of about $140. You’ll also want to pick up a carry case for $20 so you can carry your kit around with ease.

So let’s add all that up and see how much we can save using an e cigarette for a year:

Cost of a year’s supply of tobacco: $3285

Green Smoke Starter Kit: $130
Nicotine Cartridges: $1113.25
4 spare batteries: $140
Carry case: $20
Total cost for e cigarettes: $1403.25

Approximate savings: $1881.75

As you can see the average smoker can make a substantial savingif they are willing to use the e cig instead of tobacco. It’s not quite as much as most of the retailers would have you believe but it’s more than enough money to make it worthwhile for anyone who is trying to cut costs. Not only that, but most smokers find that their health improves when they make the switch thanks to the fact they are no longer inhaling tar and carbon monoxide. Electronic cigarettes are certainly something you will want to take a look at.

Is A 401k Rollover The Right Choice, Right Now?

If you’re employed and your company offers a 401k plan where they match the contributions, you would be crazy not to participate. A 401k plan helps you secure your retirement years so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. You didn’t work hard for nothing, right? Not only is investing a smart choice but another great benefit of the 401k is that you can roll it over to a new employer if you ever change companies. This allows you the opportunity to keep your money moving as you move. There are however some situations where a 401k rollover to a new employer may not be the right option for you to take at this point. Maybe your new employers investments aren’t that appealing or they may have limited options to choose from. In a situation like this, you may consider these options:

o You can leave your current investments right where they are, so long as your previous employer allows it.

o You could cash out your 401k.

o You can enroll in an outside account such as an IRA.

The choice you make out of these 3 options is going to depend greatly on your current situation and financial needs, for example:

Not Sure What To Do

If you are not sure what to do or need some time to research your new employers 401k options, keep the money where it is if it’s allowed. You may have to pay some maintenance fee’s because you’re no longer employed but if your 401k is doing well you may be better off leaving it there for while or at least until you can get financial help from a professional.

Your Needs

Sure, you are saving for retirement but as we all know emergencies can show up on our doorstep uninvited and unexpected. This may be a situation where you would need to cash out your 401k. You will pay some big fines and penalties but sometimes you’ve run out of financial resources. Another option, a smart option, would be to roll it into an IRA account and withdraw money as you need it. The penalties you pay will be a lot less.

Your Choice of Investments

If the investment options that are presented to you from your new employer aren’t great, consider an IRA. Your portfolio should include stocks and bonds and mutual funds and so if you’re not satisfied with the 401k offerings an IRA may be the right place for you to rollover your funds.

Think carefully about your situation and remember that unless you absolutely have to, don’t cash out your 401k. Rolling over is a much better option to ensure that your money continues to be invested.

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