My new economic toy that you don't have to be a geek to appreciate:
Bottom Line: We are all familiar with the concept of inflation. These days we’re reminded every time we go to the grocery store or gas station. But how do you easily know what the total impact of inflation is to you year to year or decade to decade for planning purposes. Here is a free inflation calculator from AIER (American Institute for Economic Research). It has accounted for inflation for every year since 1913. So for example…
· $100 in 1913 is the equivalent of $2367 today
· $100 in 1950 is the equivalent of $972 today
· Even in more recent times $100 in 2000 requires $136 today
· For that matter… $100 at the end of 2013 requires you to have an extra 60 cents today for the same buying power today
Here is the direct link for the calculator: https://www.aier.org/cost-living-calculator
Surprise... It's greater than 50% cheaper to buy than rent in our area:
Bottom Line: I’m quick to point out the advantages of buying vs. renting if you’re planning on being in place for 5 years or more. Among them:
· Average rate of real-estate appreciation is 4.1% per year
· Control over decision making
· Sense of community and positive mental attributes associated with ownership
If you’ve been on the fence about whether to rent or buy its understandable if you are skittish after the housing crisis but Trulia has put together a system for comparing rent payments vs. home ownership costs that should very quickly move you off of the fence in our area.
- According to Trulia’s formula its 52-53% cheaper to rent vs. buy a like property in Palm BeachCounty right now
All factors are accounted for (closing costs, maintenance insurance, security deposits, etc.). It’s easy to take these home prices and mortgage rates for granted… But you shouldn’t.
Cost of living in paradise is surprisingly average:
Bottom Line: Sperling’s has a site called “Best Places”. They have provided complete information on demographic, economic and cost of virtually every city, county & state in the US.
I recall looking at it as I was planning to relocate to South Florida in 2005. At the time Palm BeachCounty’s cost of living was 17% higher than the US average. Not surprisingly it was driven by housing cost. As I was working on today’s topics over the weekend I decided to check… Well the news was quite pleasantly surprising.
- The cost of living in Palm BeachCounty is currently right at the US average
- Food is an average of 7% more expensive but utility cost is about 7% less than average
But… It’s even better than those numbers if you exclude Palm Beach from Palm BeachCounty. Naturally the cost of living will decrease.
- Ex Palm BeachIsland the average cost of living in Palm BeachCounty is 5% less than average!
So appreciate what you have, a better place to live at a cheaper price!
Gimmick free iPhone 5S upgrade:
Bottom Line: Radio Shack is struggling to survive right now. More than anything else they need customers coming back into their stores. This may be just the gimmick that has a chance of working in the short term. Radio Shack is offering a free iPhone 5S (the current model) with a trade-in of an iPhone 4S. The only caveat is that you have to sign a new two-year contract with a service provider but that’s standard operating procedure anyway if you want a discounted phone.
The going rate for a 5S with a two-year contract is $199 so this is a really good offer if you’re looking to upgrade. You do get to choose your service provider as well.
Btw, if you don’t have an older iPhone to trade in the Shack is offering a phone for $99 with the two year contract. That’s still one hundred bucks cheaper than the going rate.
The top three financial issues are mental not lack of resources:
Bottom Line: According to Credit.com these are the biggest issue for us not bettering our financial condition:
- Perceived lack of control
- No goal setting
- Feeling like you can’t overcome your debt
So rather than going through each one of those and attempting to explain each one away… Do you notice a common thread? It’s all mental. Yes there are many real world issues that can impact us in the short term. Recession, job loss, loss of investments, etc. Those can all be overcome with time but the only way you’ll truly better yourself is with an intentional plan. And yes goal setting long & short term needs to be the first piece of the puzzle.