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A 9.62% ROI Virtually Risk-Free?

life hacking May 20, 2022

Most interest-bearing checking accounts return less than 0.25% on your money. My High Yield Savings Account is at 0.7% right now. Getting better but not great.

How would you like to earn 9.62% virtually risk-free on some of your money over the next 6 months & probably close to this amount virtually risk-free for another 6 months? Too good to be true?

Believe it or not, the Series I US Government Savings Bond (I Bond) is offering an initial interest rate through October of 2022 of 9.62%. Yes, you read that right. 9.62%!

These bonds were introduced in 1998 & this is the highest inflation rate the bonds have earned since then. The highest in 24 years! Wow!

The reason I say “virtually” risk-free is because the US is not likely to default on its debt. These are backed by the full faith & credit of the US government. Treasuries are considered some of the most conservative investments out there. Much like a High Yield Savings Account.

The I in these Series I Bonds...

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Avoid Buying Now If You Can

house hacking May 13, 2022

Warren Buffet once said, “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

I’ll give you one guess which situation the housing market is in right now.

People are greedy!

The market has been incredibly hot.

The median home price in the US has increased around 15% from this time last year. 15%!!!! In some markets, it’s way above this! Whoa!!

You’ve probably heard that many homes are selling far above the list price. And, often, there is a bidding war that decides who wins.

In our part of the country, I’ve heard of homebuilders having auctions to sell their new houses. And the highest bidder has to waive the appraisal contingency to win. In other words, the builder knows you are paying so much money, the bank will never appraise it for that price. So they make you waive the contingency so you don’t opt out when the appraisal comes in low. You have to come up with the difference in cash.

It’s a great time to be a...

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Should You Buy Long-Term Rentals?

flip hacking May 06, 2022

You may be thinking, “Chris, you talk a lot about flipping real estate on this blog, but what about long-term rentals? Isn’t it even more important to create long-term income, rather than just a quick profit that you have to generate again?

This is a great question.

When most people talk about real estate investing, they think in terms of long-term rentals. And you haven’t heard me mention it much here.

There’s a reason for that.

I’m going to share my personal opinion. Clearly not everyone will agree with me, but you’re reading this blog because you want my perspective. So, I’ll give it to you.

In most cases, I think you should only buy long-term rentals if you can pay cash.

And since most people can’t pay cash, I focus in this blog on income producing forms of real estate that don’t require you going into debt.

Now, having said that, I think rental properties are great. My wife and I own rental properties. I just happen...

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Don't Forget About Business Cards

travel hacking Apr 29, 2022

If you are serious about racking up travel rewards, you definitely don’t want to miss the big bonuses often offered on business cards.

Many people assume they can’t get business cards because they don’t own their own business.

But, credit card carriers aren’t as picky as you might think about what constitutes a business.

You don’t have to have an LLC or a corporation or a partnership formed to be a business in the eyes of the credit card company.

You can simply be a sole proprietor.

Here are some examples of businesses you may already have (or could start) that would qualify:

  • Real estate agent
  • House flipper
  • Airbnb host
  • Landlord
  • Blogger
  • Tutor

You get the idea. The list could go on.

And if you don’t currently do anything that would qualify as a business, why not start something small on the side? It would provide another stream of income in addition to qualifying you for these business card bonuses.

Even if you don’t have a long...

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Do You Really Need An Emergency Fund?

life hacking Apr 22, 2022

I mean, after all, you’ve never had a big emergency so far, right? And the likelihood of a future emergency is also low, right? Why save up all that money for something that probably won’t happen?

This is the unfortunate thinking of so many Americans. And it’s the reason why most Americans live paycheck to paycheck and have very little savings.

“It will never happen to me,” they think.

Well, they’re wrong. Emergencies happen to all of us. And even if somehow they never encountered an emergency, just the fact that they aren’t prepared for an emergency is an emergency.

You need a buffer between you and life.

An emergency fund is of critical importance.

How much should be in it?

Some financial advisors say 3 months of expenses, others say 6 months, and some say a year. The more the better.

I’ve personally kept 3 years worth of expenses set aside for years now. That’s a huge buffer, I know. More than necessary for sure. But...

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The Costs of Getting a Real Estate License

agent hacking Apr 15, 2022

Getting a real estate license is much less costly than you might think. And it’s a great way to get started in real estate.

I’m going to share the approximate costs to get your real estate license in Texas and it’ll likely be similar in your state.

Sales Agent Application = ~$150-200

This is the fee you pay to the state board when you first submit your application for your real estate license.

Real Estate Education = ~$400-600

This is the fee for the online courses you have to take to get your license. There are many course providers out there & I’ve shared more about some of the options in the blog - The Best Places to Get Your Real Estate License. You should also look around for coupons like on Groupon which could further reduce the price of the courses. If you take in-person classes, this will likely be more expensive.

Exam Fee = ~$30-60

This is the fee you pay to take the final exam to get your real estate license.

Fingerprint Fee =...

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$68,000 and $1,200/mo

house hacking Apr 08, 2022

House Hacking is a great way to supplement your ministry income!

You can use it to make extra money and also reduce your monthly expenses to nearly $0/mo.

I shared in another post about our current house hack, and in this post I want to share about our previous house hack.

In order to take advantage of both house hacking benefits listed above, we knew we needed to do a few things:

  1. We needed to find a house off-market at a good price so we could make extra money by selling it for a profit a few years later. We also wanted the house to require some updating so we could fix it up some & increase our profits even further.
  1. We needed to find a house with some kind of detached structure that we could convert into habitable space.
  1. We needed to live in an area where there was a high demand for rentals (like near a college campus).

Here’s how we were able to accomplish each of these:

  1. My wife began door knocking in a neighborhood where we knew homes sold for a premium. She...
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The Power of Knocking on a Door

There’s almost nothing more powerful in buying houses (either personal or investment) than having face to face conversations with homeowners who have homes you’re interested in purchasing.

Direct mail, calls, texts, & web forms of marketing all work. But nothing is quite like being face-to-face.

The problem with face-to-face is it’s hard to scale. And because it’s hard to scale, you won’t have a lot of competition when you show up at someone’s doorstep.

We’ve bought so many houses this way, especially personal ones.

Here are some advantages:

  1. People like selling their home, especially if it is sentimental, to people they know & trust.

    As you meet a homeowner at their door & build a relationship with them, you’ll often find that they become more comfortable with the idea of selling to someone they’ve met. When Realtors are involved, it’s more uncommon that the seller actually meets the buyer.

  1. You’ll...
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Easily Earn Thousands of Extra Points

travel hacking Mar 25, 2022

Did you know there’s a way to earn thousands in travel rewards each year without applying for any new cards? I love earning points this way!

It’s through Refer-A-Friend bonuses.

Many cards will give you bonus points for referring a friend who signs up for the same card. I try to max out these friend referrals each year because they give you tens of thousands of extra points.

Not all cards have refer-a-friend bonuses & not all cards that do have the same bonus. And, on top of that, the various cards often change the bonuses.

Here are some examples (I’m going to focus on Chase cards here but other carriers will have them as well):

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card - 15,000 bonus points for each friend who signs up with a maximum of 75,000 per year. If you get 5 friends to sign up & receive the 75,000 points, that’s equal to approximately $1,500 in free travel (~2 cents per Chase point).
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Should You Listen to Dave Ramsey?

general tentmaking Mar 18, 2022

I love this question because it is hotly debated online.

I’m guessing most of the readers of this blog have heard of Dave Ramsey. And perhaps many of you have been through Financial Peace University or hosted it at your church.

If you’ve never heard of him, he’s a radio host of a call-in show where people call to ask for financial advice. He’s written many books on personal finance & he also developed a personal finance course that many churches use to help their congregations manage their money well.

If you have heard of him, chances are you know people that really love him & well, people that really don’t. Haha!

He’s often known as the “no debt guy” and the “cut up your credit cards guy.”

So, should you listen to him for financial advice?

My answer: It depends on what he’s talking about!

Let me share a few things I agree with Dave about & a few things where we don’t see eye to eye.

But before I...

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