#HomeBuying #homeownership #millennials #RealEstate
Contrary to what one might think, millennials actually want to buy houses.
But, the economy is stopping them from doing so, in significant numbers.
As with previous generations, they believe owning is better than renting.
“We’re wasting money where we are right now,” said Chris Eidam, 27, who lives with his girlfriend near Bridgeport, Conn. “We just take our rent and we throw it away. That money doesn’t go to anything,” said Eidam, who was quoted in an article on the subject buy Agnel Philip for Bloomberg News. It was also published in the Jan. 1, 2018, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The article points out that stagnating wages, rising housing costs and lack of supply are hindering first-time home buyers.
Still, the article says, for two straight quarters, homeownership rate among those 35 and younger has increased.
But, these are not their parents’ times. Decades ago, a lender would look at a young person that had a steady job, figure out what payments they could afford and determine whether they could buy a certain house. The lenders actually bet on a person’s good name and reputation and loaned them the money.
Today, lending restrictions are stricter. Buyers, sellers and real estate agents, too, have to hope that the agreed upon price meets the lender’s appraisal. Often, the appraisal comes in less than the agreed-upon price, prompting sellers to back out of the deal. Lenders have encouraged appraisers to be strict, to come in less than the fair market value.
Secondly, today’s young folks don’t have the job security that their parents often did. If their parents worked at, say, the local phone company, and had a decent wage, the lender could look at that as an income unlikely to go away. Today, no job is “secure,” and paychecks could dry up just like that. Lenders don’t really want to own real estate and, during the recession, that real estate often came back to lenders worth less than the money owed. Some of that can be blamed on homeowners playing fast and loose with home equity, but that’s another story.
In the overall scheme of life, stricter lending standards may be a good thing. But to those wanting to buy their first home, they are a detriment.
Lending standards have relaxed some in recent times, the article says, but younger folks are carrying record levels of student debt and can struggle to qualify, according to the article.
Home building today is also geared more toward high-end homes, and away from so-called starter homes, the article says.
Still, the experts, according to the article, believe the home-buying market among millennials will equal, or come close to, that of their parents decades ago, the article quotes Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia.
So what is a young person, or young couple, that wants to buy a home, to do? First, figure out what you can afford. Don’t expect your first house to be perfect, especially, as the article points out, if you expect to change jobs, or move away from your location. You can always trade up, or remodel, later.
If your income, debt load etc. is making home buying difficult, look for a vehicle that can augment your income by devoting a few, part-time, off-work hours a week. There are many, non W-2 vehicles out there to do that. To check out one of the best, message me.
Finally, if you see a house you can afford, and you are reasonably happy with the location, overlook any cosmetic deficiencies. You can fix those eventually with time, patience and elbow grease. Remember, too, that perfect houses, like perfect people, don’t exist. Every house will have something about it you don’t like. Don’t dismiss good deals out of hand over something you can ultimately fix.
Remember, too, that homeownership is not for everyone. It may have been part of the American Dream, but it’s no sin not to own. Owning your own home comes with great responsibility. If you don’t want or need that, rent, and invest in other things. In short, do the math, figure out the kind of life you want and proceed accordingly.


#income #ParentsIncome #earnings
“If you’re born poor, you die poor.”
That’s according to a United Kingdom politician from six years ago. The quote leads off an article by Michael Heath Bloomberg published in the Aug. 30,2017, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The article says little has changed in those six years. Great Britain, France, Italy and the U.S. continue to show a high correlation between parents’ earnings and those of their children, the article quotes a report by Standard Life Investments. The Scandinavian countries, Australia, Germany and Canada show a similar correlation, but to a lesser extent, the article says.
As a result, human capital is wasted and workers are less motivated, the article says. Higher levels of inequality in earnings stunts economic growth, the article says, quoting research.
Let’s think about this. Perhaps children go into the same, or similar, professions as their parents. More likely, however, parents probably have told their kids that their potential is limited because of finances, innate ability etc. How many have been advised by parents, or other trusted elders, to seek security, rather than follow dreams?
The article says researchers tracked the proportion of 30-year-olds who earned more than their parents did at that age, and found a significant downtrend: just 50 percent of children born in the 1980s earned more than their parents at the same age, compared with nearly 80 percent of 1950s-born kids, the article says.
Another figure the article quotes: in the American Midwest, just 41 percent of children born in 1984 earned more than their parents at the same age, compared with 95 percent of those born in 1940.
Certainly, decline in manufacturing, as the article says, has much to do with that. Inflation is certainly another factor. People working in the 1940s and 1950s were paid much less than their children would earn. But wage stagnation is real. And it’s obvious in just about every industrialized country.
So what to do? Most everyone could sense this problem that the article actually quantified. The security that one’s parents may have advised their children to seek is just not there. A young person today – even some who’ve invested in a college education – can expect, unless he or she is truly fortunate, that his job and career he starts with will change, or end, before he wants it to.
And the change that happens usually means more work for less money, or having to take a new job that pays less.
There are ways to combat this. First, don’t be afraid to change careers. See what the market is looking for, learn the appropriate skills, and change. Second, save your money. That may require forgoing frivolous pleasures so that you can bank, and properly invest, money over time. The time trajectory, remember, may not have a person working to age 65. It may only last until, say, age 45.
Finally, be open to checking out different ways to make money. Perhaps you are unaware of the many good ways to make money that have nothing to do with a W-2 job. To check out one of the best, message me.
Though the article paints a gloomy income picture, it doesn’t have to be that way. It may take a desire to want a better life, a willingness to looking at things that may look uncomfortable and a belief that YOU can ultimately control your own situation.
The security your parents may have told you to seek is likely imaginary. Therefore, not only is there no harm in pursing your dream, there could be a real benefit to doing so. Remember, too, that pursuing a dream can also allow you to help others do the same.


#DoWhatYouLove #LoveWhatYouDo #BuildALife
If it weren’t work, they wouldn’t pay you for it.
If you do what you love, you’ll never work again.
You work so you can have the things you want in life.
Instead of building a life around income-producing activities, build a life – then figure out how to make money.
All of these axioms are true. Depending on the type of person you are, some ring truer than the others. If you hate your job, the first and third ring especially true. If you love your job, the second one probably fits you. If you are among the few who’ve looked for, and found, ways to produce income WITHOUT having a traditional or typical “job,” the fourth statement can be your mantra.
As the job scene changes, we don’t have the luxury of reliving the past. We have to find a way to deal with what is today. The economic downturn of 2008 changed a lot of lives. Some people’s jobs were lost and will never return. Those who stayed employed may have found their jobs have changed – probably forever.
If the first axiom rings true for you, and you lost your job, you are probably out pounding the pavement looking for another one. If you’ve found another one, you are lucky. If you are still looking years later, perhaps a new strategy is needed. You may have to figure out what your skills are, and figure out how to parlay those skills into a business of your own. When you own your own business, no one can fire you, or lay you off. However, you can do it to yourself if you give up on it too soon. If you need an immediate income, you may have to resort to finding a different job, even if it pays less – and most do – than you had made previously.
If you’ve saved well, invested well and were wise about how you’ve lived – and have lost your job — you may now have the luxury of starting a business and staying with it until it succeeds. If you do this successfully, the second axiom could ring true to you. If you have a business, you’d better love what you do, or learn to love it, because it will take the routine out of your previous life. It could consume you, especially if it is either wildly successful, or a real struggle to keep afloat. Remember that being in business for yourself involves more than just doing what you do. You have to market yourself, and find ways to let others know you are out there and available for them. That may not come easily to most, but it’s vital to your success.
If you are working, and don’t think your job will ever disappear, remember we are in an age in which companies reorganize often. You might want to take to heart the fourth axiom. Look around for any number of ways to produce income. To learn about one of the best vehicles for that, message me.
You can set up an income stream without it interfering with what you are doing now. Never believe that you’ll always be able to work at a job on YOUR terms. Try to make yourself “retirement ready,” even if you are young and believe you have a lot of good years left.
Who knows? You might be so successful at your part-time gig, you’ll have forgotten how much you loved your old job. Remember, too, that anything good requires some effort. Starting now to build a part-time income can reap big rewards later. You may even have fun doing it!
Work is changing. So are the ways people can make money. No matter your situation, look to leverage your time and income to build the life you’ve always wanted.



#jobs #employment #income
Is the job you have the one you want?
Are you enjoying what you are doing for work, or are you just going through the motions to draw a paycheck?
Stephanie Merry tackled this subject for The Washington Post. The article was published in the Feb. 6, 2017, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Merry’s article features the story of Dan Nicholson, who earned a physics degree from Purdue University, and got a job as a laser engineer.
He hated it. And it apparently showed. He lost his job.
But, he liked working on houses. So, he became Handy Dan.
His story illustrates that even if you get a degree in the right thing, and get a job in your chosen field, it may not be for you.
Merry points out that some folks would prefer to get back to nature, create something tangible, move to the Caribbean and manage a store or restaurant, or just sit on a sailboat and float around – as opposed to working 20 or more years at what they are doing.
As a reality check, it’s better to make a living than not. So many people want to make a living, but are working hard and barely getting by.
Others are so stressed and overworked that they have no time – even if they have the money – to do whatever gives them pleasure.
Wouldn’t it be grand if we could all dump the jobs we hate and earn a living with the hobbies we love?
Sometimes, it’s not about the job. It’s about the income.
What if one could pursue a hobby, while having a different source of income?
There are many good potential income sources out there, for those who wish to look for them. To check out one of the best, message me.
Meanwhile, if you feel you must stay in a job you don’t particularly like so you can make a living, here are a few tips: First, find some things about the job, besides the paycheck, that you like. Perhaps those might be the people you work with, the customers you deal with or some other perks that might have enticed you to take the job in the first place.
Second, keep your job and use non-work hours to find what really motivates you. It may not be working on houses, as it was for Nicholson, but perhaps there is something else you can do that you love, and that adds value to someone else.
“There’s no right path for everyone, and each one has its own risks,” Merry writes.”So, for those who aren’t living their dream lives, what’s the next step? You might start by sitting on a beach. Just leave your phone at home,” she writes.
Of course, sitting on a beach isn’t necessarily going to make you a living. But if you like sitting on a beach, it could give you time to think about what your life will be like five, 10 or 20 years from now, if you keep doing what you’re doing.
If that’s not what you want to be doing long term, it may be time to pursue an alternative.


#workers #consumers #voters #power #RobertReich
As a worker, consumer and voter, do you feel powerless?
Do you feel that the world favors those with more than you, and tramples you because you might be in their way?
Robert Reich, the former U.S. secretary of labor and current professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley – and a frequent commentator on TV news programs — discussed this in a May 3, 2015, column in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“A large part of the reason” that people feel their voices don’t count, “is we have fewer choices than we used to have,” Reich writes. “In almost every area of our lives, it’s now take it, or leave it,” he continues.
Companies are treating workers as disposable cogs, and most working people have no choice, he says. The once-powerful private-sector unions have lost much of their clout, he adds.
As consumers, we find that as companies merge and deliberately create fewer choices, we pay the price. “U.S. airlines, for example, have consolidated into a handful of giant carriers that divide up route and collude on fares,” Reich writes. In 2005, there were nine major airlines. Now, there are four, he adds.
Even in the political arena, there is less competition because so many districts have been gerrymandered to be safe for the incumbent – or at least the incumbent’s political party. “(More than) 85 percent of congressional districts are considered ‘safe’ for their incumbents in the 2016 election,” Reich says.
What’s the average person to do? Certainly circumstances have occurred that are beyond the average person’s control. But there is also good news: the average person can take advantage, if he so chooses, of ways to combat the apparent lack of choice.
As consumers, we can, as individuals, adjust our behavior to fight the put-up or shut-up attitudes of the companies that serve us. Using the example of airlines, there isn’t much an individual can do about delays, whether they be caused by a mechanical problem, weather or some other issue. No one would want to fly unsafely just to get to a destination sooner.
But, as an example, to combat the big airlines’ recent policy of charging a fee to check a bag, we can learn to pack more carefully, so that everything fits into smaller luggage that can be carried on the plane. On full flights, if people come prepared to carry on their luggage, airlines will ask that some of the suitcases and other items be checked. Then, they cannot charge you.
As voters, we can vote defensively, if we don’t like the ideology of the candidates most likely to win. How? If your state laws allow, vote in the primary of the political party whose ideology is generally opposite yours. Find the candidate(s) with records of statesmanship, i.e. working with the other party to get things done. Vote for those candidates, even if they would not be your choice in a general election. Negotiation and compromise are the essence of governing. The problem in politics, regardless of one’s political beliefs, is too much ideology and not enough statesmanship.
Finally, as workers, we need not to think of a job as the only way to make an income. There are many other ways out there with which people, regardless of education, background or skills, can earn substantial income without having to put up with an employer’s whim. For one of the best, visit
As for unions, they did wonders for workers and the middle class many decades ago. However, today’s global business world requires companies to have extreme flexibility and efficiency. Unions decrease both of those things, but years ago, productivity gains and other business progress occurred much more slowly. It’s best to presume that no matter what your job, and no matter how good you are at it, it will probably go away before you want it to.
In conclusion, Reich is largely correct about the state of the world, and our place in it. But, just as circumstances we can’t control can hurt us, the world has provided more options for those who choose not to tolerate those circumstances, and want to make their lives much better.


#cheapoil #OPEC #gasprices

The elements of an improving economy may not be obvious to everyone.
But the shrinking price of gasoline certainly is.
In fact, gasoline is as cheap as it has been in many years.
Why is it so cheap and how long are these prices expected to last?
On Thanksgiving Day 2014, OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) decided not to cut crude oil production to raise prices.
On top of that, the United States, Canada and other regions are producing more oil, according to an article by Rick Jervis for USA Today. His article appeared in the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville Nov. 23, 2014, prior to the OPEC meeting on Thanksgiving.
Jervis’ article pointed out that while OPEC could still influence the oil market, it doesn’t have as much clout as it did years ago. In fact, a decision by OPEC – whatever that was – would have made the front page of every U.S. newspaper years ago. On Friday, newspapers ran the story but most ran it on the inside, or on the front of the business section.
Sure, we are loving paying less at the pump. It’s real money going back into our pockets. Still, the oil industry doesn’t like these low prices. OPEC was between a rock and a hard spot. If it cut production to raise prices, it would encourage more oil exploration in the United States and elsewhere. Getting oil out of the shale and tar sands of North Dakota and Texas, though it has been a blessing for us consumers, is still more expensive than getting it out of the deserts of the Middle East.
The lower prices are discouraging more exploration here and, as Jervis’ article pointed out, OPEC was keenly aware of that. The oil industry is not in business to give us cheap gasoline, though that has been the result of alternative oil sourcing.
Another big bonus for the United States is that it is not so reliant on countries who may not like us much. Though any new skirmish in the Middle East could send oil prices soaring again, it would also encourage more exploration here.
Also, we are using less oil and gasoline here. Vehicles are more fuel efficient. Many vehicles are only partially fueled by gasoline. Some vehicles are not fueled at all by gasoline. Less demand keeps prices down.
And, as The New York Times recently reported, alternative fuels, such as wind and solar power, are becoming nearly as cost-effective as coal and natural gas. That will trend well toward keeping oil and gasoline prices down.
In the last several years, many of us have been hurt by a troubled economy. We’ve been hurt so badly that we don’t see what’s good about today’s economy.
What should we do? First, put the money you are saving at the gas pump into a savings vehicle. It will take you a while to see financial recovery that way, but it would be a start.
Second, if you truly aren’t feeling the good economy, check out the many other ways there are to make money outside of a job. For one of the best, visit You’ll find average people making above-average incomes, and helping others do the same.
Just because you can’t see everything happening in the economy doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. The gasoline prices are obvious to all of us. The rising stock market may not be obvious to all.
The lesson for all of us is to be optimistic about the future. Don’t let the naysayers tell you we are heading for hell in a hand basket. The future looks bright. And, you can make your own future bright by taking action you may never have thought of taking. Go for it! You won’t know what there is to gain until you look for it.


When you were young, even now, were, or are, there people telling you that you’ll never be whatever it is you want to be?
Are they telling you to accept your station in life, even if YOU believe you don’t have to?
Are your (pick one: parents, relatives, teachers, friends) telling you that you should stop dreaming and start thinking practical thoughts — a job, with benefits, pension etc.?
Is all the talk about finding your passion being blown off by those closest to you?
First, there are some things you might never be. For example, to be an opera star, you have to have both the natural voice and the rigorous training. You might have the drive and passion to go through the training, but without the natural voice, it might be futile.
But, more likely, those close to you are telling you things like, “you’ll never be rich.” Or, “you’ll never go on a trip like THAT!” Or, “you’ll never live THERE!”
Perhaps you grew up in a working-class household. Your parents wanted a better life for you than they had, but their goals for you may have yet been limited. After all, they are working-class parents. They see what the kids of rich families have, and didn’t want you to aim too high. Parental wealth begets privileges and opportunities that you don’t have.
There is nothing wrong with the working class. We certainly need people to do certain jobs. They make the world a better place. But if you have something inside you that tells you that you can do better, don’t brush that aside. Don’t think yourself unwise to aspire higher than those close to you have mapped out for you.
Here’s the thing: in today’s world, having a traditional job is risky. Most in your parents’ world found safety and security in working for someone else who paid them a decent salary, benefits and pension. They made a life – even a good life – out of their 40-40-40 life. They worked their 40 hours, for 40 years and believed they could retire on the 40 percent of the income they earned. It may not have been a luxurious life, and there may have been things they believed they had to do without, but in their minds, things worked out.
Those set-for-life circumstances are hard to come by. Jobs come and go. Technology and cheap overseas labor are making the secure jobs of your parents’ era nearly impossible to find. A college education is certainly desirable, but, if college isn’t right for you, you should not be forced into it. You should not be forced into accruing the debt it takes to get through college. Depending on what you study in college, the time and work you spend on education may be as futile as operatic training without the natural voice.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t fulfill your dreams. With a computer, a good idea and a little knowledge of the Internet, you can do lots of things. Even without a lot of knowledge, you can do lots of things if you are willing to explore non-traditional income avenues. For a look at one of the best of those, visit . If you have the dream and the drive, and don’t want to listen to those who would limit you, you might find just the thing to change your life.
So when someone uses the words “you’ll never be …” referring to you, listen with the proverbial third ear. Are they saying you’ll never be … because they weren’t? Would THEY be more comfortable to see you limit your potential? Would it make THEM feel better if you followed their advice? If you hear that in your third ear, take heed. They may not necessarily be talking about YOUR best interests.
Remember that if you want something badly enough, unless you’re an opera buff without the voice or have some other God-given limitation that will keep you from certain pursuits, you can get it if you find the right thing to be passionate about.
If the naysayers try to stand in your way, tell them you are doing today what they won’t, so you can do tomorrow what they can’t.