Category Archives: How to Buy Foreclosed Home

How to buy foreclosed home has articles on government foreclosures, bank foreclosures, pre foreclosures, court house step foreclosures, and more. You will learn how to invest in foreclosures using various real estate investment methods. There is in depth information on where to find foreclosure listings. You will learn how one type of foreclosure differs from another, and which one is best for your situation.  Where to find money to invest is also covered, as is how to find a good lender, and how to find a good real estate agent. Short sales are explained in detail. How to sell your foreclosure after you buy it is spelled out for you. There is also techniques on how to buy privately owned homes too.  The best foreclosure websites are revealed to you. How to find deals where no down payment is needed, and where closing costs can be paid for you.  Every aspect of the foreclosure process is spelled out for you.

Gun Safes for Sale

Gun Safes for Salegun safes for sale

As of the year 2017 over 42% of American households own one or more guns. The number of guns manufactured per year in the U.S. is over 9 million.

According to the Congressional Research Service 2017 April report there are 300 million firearms available for possession, and transfer to, by people in the United States.

This is almost 1 gun for every US citizen, as our population is 327 million plus. There is also a direct correlation between the increase in the amount of guns legally owned, and the decrease in violent crime.

Perhaps you are a hunter that owns hunting rifles, and accessories. You may be a sport shooter that has guns for shooting skeet, or for other competitive or leisure shooting sports or activities. Or you may be a homeowner that simply  wants to protect your family, and your possessions.

Or you may be a combination or all three. Whatever the reason you own guns, you know it is imperative that these guns should be protected, kept from the curious hands of youngsters, and available to you in a moments notice should you need them to shield yourself, your family, and your home in a crisis.

The best way to accomplish this, is with gun safes.  I will also tell you the different types of gun safes, what makes one gun safe superior to another, and the different locks that are available on gun safes. I will also make recommendations to you for the best quality gun safes that provide the best value.

Gun Safe Typesgun safes for sale

The two primary gun safe types are gun safes, and gun cabinets for rifles or long guns, and handgun safes. Within these two types are many different variations.

The rifle or long gun safes, and gun cabinets are larger for obvious reasons. There are different interior configurations. Depending on how many guns you want to store, you can find a gun safe to accommodate them.

Many long gun safe interiors, in addition, have shelves for storage of ammunition, accessories, and other valuables. Also, some of these safes offer the ability to store more items on the inside of the safe door.

As these safes can take up a good deal of space, they may need to be placed in a basement, garage, or other area that offers plenty of room.

The new ‘front of the bed’ or ‘under bed’ gun safe that sits on the floor and extends the width of the bed has become a popular model in recent years. This convenient position allows for quick access to your long guns in the event of a home invasion, or other crisis.

Handgun safes or gun boxes are a different animal altogether. These much smaller safes are designed for storage of handguns or pistols, and for quick access.  Most handgun safes only offer enough space to store one or two handguns, and perhaps some ammunition, along with very limited space for accessories. gun safes for sale

Handgun safes can be bolted to the inside of a drawer, bolted on a floor (under a bed within close reach is a popular spot), or really anywhere there is a little room, clear access, and ideally the ability to secure it to a surface.

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What Makes a Good Gun Safe

Gun safes come in many shapes, sizes, types, interiors, and with various types of locks.  Your main considerations for a gun safe is fire protection, burglary protection, and locks that control the exterior door.

Generally speaking, the better the fire protection, burglary protection, interior climate control, and lock, the better the safe.

Fire Protection

Buying a safe that includes fire protection is a very real, smart, and important decision. In the United States alone, fires cause over $6 billion dollars worth of property damage every year.  A home structure fire occurs every 85 seconds.

Ideally, you want a fire rated safe that has the UL listing or designation, or the Intertek ETL Gun Safe Fire Label. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratory.

UL 1 Hour and 2 Hour Fire Labels.

U.L. Label/Class 350°F-one hour, and UL Label/Class 350°F-two hour. For the One Hour designation, the safe will maintain an interior temperature less than 350°F when exposed to fire for a period of one hour at 1700°F.

For the Two Hour designation, the safe will maintain an interior temperature less than 350°F  for a period of two hours when exposed to fire at 1850°F.

The safe must also pass all requirements for the Fire Endurance Test, the Fire/Impact Test, and the Explosion Hazard Test.

Intertek ETL Gun Safe Fire Labels

Intertek ETL is the safe industry’s leading independent testing laboratory for fire ratings of gun safes.  They have a stringent 45 minute, 90 minute, and 2 hour fire rating.

If you don’t see either the UL label or the ETL label on the ‘fire’ safe, you can not be certain that any fire testing was done reliably, and it could well mean inferior fire protection.

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Burglary Protection

A burglary safe is designed to resist and deter a break in of the safe. There are also safes that are built with both fire protection and burglary protection.

A fire rating on a safe is a test classification, as opposed to a burglary rating on a safe which is a construction classification. These different ratings were established by the insurance industry to provide a standard of protection.

The various typical Burglary Protection Classes are:
(Minimum characteristics)

B Rate: 1/4″  thick steel body, 1/2″ thick steel door

C Rate:  1/2″ thick steel body, 1″ thick steel door

TL-15: The requirements for a TL-15 are a UL listed Group ll combination lock, or type 1 electronic lock. Body walls of at least 12 gauge open hearth steel or material equivalent to it. Door at least 3/16″ open hearth steel or material equivalent to it. These safes also have fire protection.

TL-30: The requirements for a TL 30 are U.L. listed Group 2M, 1,1R combination lock or Type 1 electronic lock. Safe body walls of at least 1″ open hearth steel with a minimum tensile strength of 50,000 P.S.I.   Safe weight must be 750 pounds minimum, or comes with instructions for anchoring in a larger safe, concrete blocks, or on the premises where used.

The TL-15, and TL-30 designation safes are primarily utilized in a commercial application.

Gun Safe Interiorsgun safes for sale

Gun safe interiors are designed to accommodate a certain number of long guns, so that they can be stored upright. There is often, depending on the size of the safe, additional shelving, and interior compartments along with the long gun storage configurations.

The inside of the exterior door can be ordered to contain more storage capability such as for handguns, and accessories. There are also interior climate control options.

Using a dehumidifier to keep the moisture away from your guns is a popular choice.  In addition to gun storage, gun safes are also often used to store and protect other valuable such as cash, coins, and jewelry.

Click here for gun safes, handgun safes and accessories!

Locksgun safes for sale

There are many different types of locks that control the exterior door of your gun safe, as well as different locks for any interior compartments you may want to include, although most interior compartments are controlled by a single key lock.

The old stand by combination lock is still used on many safes, but the electronic key pad lock has overtaken it as the lock of choice.

The electronic key pad lock allows for quicker access, and offers additional features that the simple combination lock doesn’t.

The electronic key pad lock can either be a basic lock with a single input code capability, or it can have multiple functions such as multiple user, time delay, dual custody, and armored car override.  Most electronic key pad locks come with a battery power source.

Some electronic key pad locks are available with External A/C Power: Provides power for unlimited use with battery power as backup.

Another popular lock with gun safes is the biometric lock. The biometric lock can be opened by simply inserting your hand into an opening. It works by being programmed to identify fingerprints, and allows for quick entry into the safe.

This will limit entry only to those preprogrammed for it, and can be very valuable when you need to get to your guns right away, such as during a break in at night, or other crisis situation when remembering your code, or fumbling around for your keys can be difficult, noisey, and time consuming.

These biometric locks normally can be programmed to allow for multiple users to access the safe, so that you can permit family members admittance to your safe, if you so choose.

Gun Safe Recommendations

There are many fine gun safe manufacturers, and many very good quality gun safes on the market today. By making a recommendation I am by no means attempting to downgrade the other makers of gun safes. Two of the best known gun safe companies are Browning, and Fort Knox.

However, from my 20 some years in the safe business, I have been able to experience many of these gun safes, and one brand in particular stands out to me as far as quality of workmanship both on their safes, and their locks. Many safe manufacturers don’t make their own locks.

They must add the lock from a different company, which makes you, the consumer, have the added hassle of dealing with two separate companies, one for the safe, and one for the lock, for warranties, and support.

The company I recommend does make their own locks. This company also has an 800 phone number on the safe direct to the 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, and 365 day a year service department to support both their safes and their locks.

The other great feature to this company is they build their safes right here in the good ole US of A. They have a huge factory, and have been in business for many years. They are one of the oldest and most respected safe manufacturers not just in the US, but the entire world.

They also have a great selection of safes and locks, and accessories. The name of this phenomenal safe company is Amsec, which is short for American Security. So, whether you are looking for a gun safe, a gun cabinet, a handgun safe, or any other type of safe, You won’t do better than Amsec.

Click here for gun safes, handgun safes and accessories!

All Gun Owners Need a Gun Safegun safes for sale

American households own more guns than ever before. It is a documented fact that the proliferation of legal gun ownership has a correlation to the decrease in violent crime.  Gun owners may be hunters, sport shooters, or keep their guns for protection of their family, and home, or a combination of all three.

Your guns should be protected, kept from the curious hands of youngsters, and available to you in a moments notice in the event of a crisis situation.

There are rifle or long gun safes, gun cabinets, and handgun safes.  The long gun or rifle gun safes have different interior configurations which are based on the amount of guns that need to be stored.  Based on their large size, and weight, these safes need a good bit or room to be placed in like a basement or garage.

Handgun or pistol safes or gun boxes are much smaller, and generally can only hold one or two handguns, and a small amount of ammunition, and accessories. These safes take up little room, and can be placed, and bolted to a drawer, or to the floor.

A good gun safe will have UL listed or ETL listed fire protection, and B rate, C rate, TL-15, or TL-30 burglary protection. The various locks available on gun safes include combination locks, key locks, electronic key pad locks, and biometric locks.

Gun safes are available with various interiors. These interiors can be ordered to accommodate a certain number of long guns. They can also have shelving, and interior compartments for storage of accessories, and other valuables. A dehumidifier is also an option.

There are many great gun safe companies out there. Two of the best known are Browning, and Fort Knox. My highest recommendation for quality, and value goes to Amsec, or American Security Products Company, a US company.  Amsec has a complete line of quality gun safes for sale, handgun safes, home safes, commercial safes, and accessories.

Click here for gun safes, handgun safes and accessories!

Home safes

How to Buy Motorhomes

Gun safes for sale

Kitchen Faucet – Repair and Installation

Kitchen Faucet – Repair and Installation

Your kitchen faucet has evolved over the years to include many different varieties, finishes, features, and extras. Yet, the functionality and installation of your kitchen faucet has remained mostly unchanged.

“Kitchens sell houses” is a statement that many Realtors live by, and the type of faucet you have in your kitchen may seem like an insignificant consideration.

Truth be told however, it can mean the difference in selling your home quickly and for top dollar, and never getting an offer.

As a Realtor for many years, I have studied the buying habits of people quite closely. It is true that kitchens sell homes. It is also true that if the woman does not like the kitchen faucet, it is a safe bet that it will be on to the next home on the list.

This is true even despite the fact that changing out a kitchen faucet is not, in most cases, a big job.

I will describe how to fix a leaky kitchen faucet, how to replace a kitchen faucet, and when to know it’s time to call a plumber to do the job for you.

kitchen faucet

How to Fix a Leaking Faucet

Plumbers can be expensive, sometimes very expensive. Many plumbing repairs are relatively simple, and inexpensivly accomplished.

Many of these repairs can be done by the homeowner given a few basic tools, and some plumbing knowledge. There is however, a limit to what the uninformed, ill prepared homeowner should undertake.

The first thing we need to know is where the faucet leak is coming from. Is it coming from the base of the faucet? Is it coming from the handle? Is it coming from the nozzle or spout?

Two Handle Faucet Leak from Nozzle/Spout

Is the leak coming from the nozzle? (Single handle or two handle faucet) This is the most common kitchen faucet leak. If it is a two handle faucet where there is one handle for the cold side, and one handle from the hot side, and the leak is coming from the nozzle, put your finger under the nozzle to see if the drip water is cold or warm to hot.

This is also applicable for most two handle bathroom faucets.

If the water is warm to hot, you know that the leak is coming from the hot handle. Conversely, if the leak is cool or cold water, you know the leak is coming from the cold handle.

In this type of leak where the water is dripping from the nozzle on a two separate handle faucet, the most likely culprit is a  valve seat washer and/or the valve seat.

Once you have determined which side the leak is coming from, go under the sink, and close the shut off valve on the corresponding side.

Make sure it is shut tight. You can also shut the water off at the main, to be sure.  The main shut off valve is normally located close to where the water line comes into the house. Usually in a basement.

With the water shut off,  turn on the faucet to bleed the line of any residual water. Once this is done, you will need a screwdriver to pry the H or C button off the top of the handle.

You will then need either a phillips head screw driver or a slotted head screwdriver to unscrew the screw that is holding the handle on to the .

Then remove the handle (you may need a handle puller if it is stubborn). You will then need a pair of pliers or an adjustable wrench to remove the valve from its base.

Once you have removed the valve, turn it upside down, and you should see a black washer at the valve’s base. It will likely have a large furrow in it, or it may be even more damaged.

If you place your finger in the hole in the faucet, you should feel a raised seat that has chips in it, or has an uneven surface. At this point you have some options.

You can buy a seat resurfacing tool at your local plumbing supply, and a new seat washer. (Be sure to bring the seat washer or the entire valve in to make sure you get the right size)

Use the tool to smooth out the pitted, uneven seat. Replace the seat washer, and reinstall the valve, and the handle. Turn the water back on, and see if the leak is fixed.

Another option is to buy a seat removing tool at your local plumbing supply store. This tool is usually less than 10-12 dollars.  Remove the seat at the bottom of the hole opening in your faucet.

Bring the seat back into the plumbing supply store, and buy a new seat, and seat washer. Install the new seat into the hole in the faucet.

Replace the old seat washer with the new seat washer, and reinstall the valve back into the opening in the sink, and reinstall the handle. Turn the water back on under the sink, turn the water on at the handle, and see if this fixed the leak.

You can also try replacing the entire valve, but if the new seat and washer didn’t fix the leak, it is not likely that a new valve will either, at least not for the long term.

The new washer at the base should work for a while, until the pitted seat forms a new furrow in the washer, and allows the water to leak through again to the nozzle.

If none of these options fix the leak, it is time to look for a new faucet.

Two Handle Faucet Leak at Handle

If you have a leak coming from the handle itself, it is usually an o-ring on the valve that is to blame. Follow the steps above, remove the valve, and either remove the o-ring on the valve and take it to your local plumbing supply for a new one, or take the entire valve into the plumbing supply for a new o-ring.

You may want to pick up on o-ring pic at the plumbing supply or hardware store, but a pin can also do the job. It is a good idea once you have the valve out, to inspect the seat washer to see if it may need to be replaced also.

In addition to the new o-ring, you will need a little plumbers grease to apply to the outside of the new o-ring to ensure easy reinstallation of the valve.

This should stop the leak, but if not, you can try a new valve. If a new valve doesn’t work, it’s time to look for a new faucet.

Single Handle Faucet Leak from Nozzle

kitchen faucet

If you have a single handle faucet where the water temperature, and volume is contolled by a single handle, and the leak is coming from nozzle, you are likely in need of a new single handle repair kit.

Go under the sink, and shut the water off on both sides, the hot side, and cold side. Depending on the maker of the faucet, you should be able to unscrew the nozzle at or near the base of the faucet.

If you use a wrench, use a cloth between the wrench and the faucet to keep from scratching the finish of the faucet. You will also need an hex key set or an allen wrench if your faucet has an allen screw at the back of the handle, which many do.

This should reveal a ball with a stem on it, some rubber barrel type washers, and springs. Note how they are installed, then remove all of these, note the manufacturer of your faucet (you may even want to take a picture of the faucet), and take them to your local plumbing supply.  Buy the correct repair kit, install it, and reattach the faucet nozzle. Turn the water on under the sink, and see if the leak is fixed.

If it isn’t, check to be sure you have the correct repair kit.  If you do have the correct repair kit, and it doesn’t fix your leak, it is time to look at a new faucet.

This is the set up for many single handle kitchen faucets like Delta, and others.

Some single handle kitchen faucets like Moen use a cartridge instead of the ball and stem, rubber washers, and springs. You should approach the repair in the same way, and replace the entire cartridge if applicable.

Single Handle Faucet Leak at Base of Handle

If there is a leak coming from the base area(at bottom of single handle), it is usually an o-ring that goes around the inner section of the base, and the inner wall of the faucet. These o-rings, depending on the manufacturer are usually included in the repair kit.

There also may be a ball with a stem on it that may be the culprit, and may need to be replaced. Again, it depends on the maker of the faucet. Best rule of thumb is to replace the simple, inexpensive parts first, and try the other parts if not successful with the simple ones.

If you have a leak coming from the very bottom of the faucet. (Usually a large rectangular piece that runs along the sink) Follow the instruction above about turning off the water to the faucet. Go underneath the sink, and you will see two or three nuts that secure the faucet to the base of the sink.

Unscrew these nuts, and pull the faucet away from the sink at the top. (You may have to unscrew the water supply lines that are attached at the bottom of the faucet.)

Gently pry the rectangular base away from the faucet. Inspect the rectangular base to make sure there are no cracks, holes, or deterioration.

If not, clean any residue on the area of the sink where the faucet base was sitting. Buy some plumber’s putty from your local plumbing supply, or hardware store. Apply a ring of plumber’s putty around the inside bottom of the base. Reattach, and tighten the nuts that you loosened. Also reattach any supply lines you may have undone.

This should fix the leak. If it doesn’t, it’s time to look for a new faucet.

How to Replace a Kitchen Faucet

kitchen faucet

Replacing a kitchen faucet with a new kitchen faucet is, in most cases, a relatively easy job. This is assuming that the shut off valves under the sink that the control the hot, and cold lines are working properly, and not deteriorating.

This is also assuming that your supply connections under the sink are not soldered together. If you encounter soldering, it’s probably time to call a plumber.

If the supply line valves are working fine, and looking fine, and there is no soldering to the bottom of the faucet,  go ahead and shut the supply valves off.

You may also want to shut the water off at the main just in case. With a pair of pliers, or an adjustable wrench, unscrew the supply lines from the shut off valves, and from the bottom of the faucet.

You will also need to unhook/unscrew any sprayers your faucet may have.

You may also need a plumber’s wrench with a swivel head to help remove the nuts that secure the faucet to the sink. This will depend on the amount of space you have underneath to access the faucet.

Don’t discard the supply lines as you will need to take those with you when you buy your new faucet, so that you will know the size of the thread on the shut off valves for your new supply lines.  I strongly suggest you buy new supply lines even if the existing supply lines look fine.

Supply lines are normally inexpensive, and you don’t want to risk that your existing supply lines are worn out from the inside from being under pressure. You may have to change them anyway depending on the size of the new faucet hook ups.

Unscrew the nuts that are holding the base of the faucet to the sink from underneath.  This should release the faucet from the sink. You may have to pry the base of the faucet from the sink using a putty knife or a slotted head screwdriver.

Once you have the faucet free from the sink, you can either take the entire faucet with supply lines with you into the plumbing supply or home store to buy your new faucet. This will allow you to buy a faucet that will fit your existing sink dimensions.

If you would rather take measurements, or if you want to buy your faucet online, just measure the distance from the middle of the main holes (hot side to cold side) on the sink or from the middle of the holes on the faucet. This distance is usually 8 inches, but it can vary depending on the faucet brand, and type.

At this point you just need to know what type of new faucet you would like to buy. Most plumbing supply stores, and home stores will have displays set up for you, and knowledgable sales people to help you find a faucet that will provide the look and the features that you want, at a price that you can afford.

Be sure to also pick up some new supply lines, and a tub of plumbers putty for reinstallation of the faucet. Apply the plumbers putty around the inside of the base of the faucet to keep any residual water from leaking on to your counter tops.

A roll of teflon tape to put around the threads of the shut off valves, and around the threads of the hook ups to the faucet is also a good idea. The teflon tape will ensure a leak proof seal.

Prices for new kitchen faucets range from about $25 to as much as $4000. It is very possible to find a good quality kitchen faucet for under $50. I would stay away from generic brands, and stick with a good brand name faucet that will have a warranty, and that will have parts available should you encounter a problem.


Your Options

kitchen faucet

With a few tools, a little know how, and some determination, you can fix, and install a kitchen faucet. You can also check out some good YouTube videos on the topic for more information, and advice.  If, however, you find the task daunting, finding someone to fix or install the faucet for you is only a phone call away.

To save money, you should buy the faucet yourself, and then have the plumber, or handyman install it for you.  In most cases you will save the plumber’s mark up this way.


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When Can I Collect Social Security

When can I collect Social Security is a question many people ask as they hit their 50’s and beyond. For those of us that are nearing retirement age, having a retirement plan in place is vitally important.

The Economic Policy Institute reports that the vast majority of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, and half of all Americans have put away nothing at all for retirement, even in retirement savings vehicles such as 401k’s, and Individual Retirement Accounts or IRA’s.

35% of American adults have only $400 in a savings account, and 34% have no savings at all. Less than 13% of Americans have a pension plan in place.

In a survey by Bankrate, 22% of Americans said their biggest financial regret was not getting started saving for retirement earlier. So, how will seniors, and almost seniors deal with this?  According to Gallup Polls and others, many Americans expect to rely more heavily on Social Security, and contributions from children, and other relatives.

History of Social Security

Originally called the Economic Security Act, the title was changed as Congress considered the bill, Social Security Act was signed into law by FDR, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on August 14, 1935. This act was designed as a social insurance program to provide a continuing income for retired workers 65 years of age or older.

Social Security taxes were collected for the first time in January of 1937, and the first lump sum, one-time payments were made in the same month.  January 1940 was the beginning of on-going, regular benefit payments. Originally, only the primary worker was paid Social Security benefits.

The first person to get Social Security benefits was a man by the name of Ernest Ackerman, whom received a lump sum payment of .17 cents in 1937.

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A law change in 1939 included survivors, and the spouses and children of retirees to collect benefits. In 1956 Social Security Disability benefits were also added.  The original 1935 law also included the first unemployment compensation program, Aid to Dependent Children program, and health and welfare aid to various states.

Cost of living allowances, COLA, became law in 1972, and was initially paid in 1975. Before this, it took a special act of Congress to increase benefits, and happened on an irregular basis.

November 1936 is when Social Security numbers were first issued. Since this time over 453 million numbers have been issued.  From 1937, when payments were first issued, until 2009, Social Security has taken in $13.8 Trillion Dollars, and paid out $11.3 Trillion Dollars.

By law, the the Social Security Trust Funds program assets must be invested in securities guaranteeing both principal and interest. These Trust Funds hold a mix of both short-term and long-term government bonds.

The Trust Funds can hold both ‘special obligation’ securities issued only to federal trust funds, and regular Treasury securities. The majority of the securities in the Social Security Trust Funds are ‘special obligation’ type securities.

In 2015, the program paid benefits to more than 60 million people, made up of 43 million retired workers along with their  dependents, 6 million survivors of deceased workers, plus 11 million disability claimants, and their dependents.

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Current State of Social Security

You may have heard that Social Security is going broke. This rumor simply isn’t true.  According to the 2017 Actuarial Status of Social Security Trust Funds, Social Security isn’t bankrupt or even running out of money. In fact it is currently running a surplus, and is said to be solvent until at least 2034.

You can rest assured that Social Security will be there when it’s time for younger baby boomers, Millenials, Generation Xers, and even younger generations to claim their benefits. There are, however, other schools of thought regarding how sustainable the Social Security Trust Fund really is.

Some feel that after 2034, due to the large amount of draw from the baby boomer generation, that going forward it could cause too large a burden on the system to continue to pay out in full.

Others argue, that due to the smaller family unit of recent, and current generations, as well as abortions reducing the number of potential claimants, that the demand for Social Security will be less. This smaller demand should enable the program to continue with little if any reduction.

When Can I Collect Social Security

The soonest someone can collect Social Security benefits is age 62, as long as you have paid into the program for a minimum of 40 quarters, or approximately 10 years.  Full retirement age is 65 – 67 depending on your date of birth.

For each year you delay in taking your pay out, your benefit amount increases by about 8% until age 70.

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The latest someone can start to collect Social Security benefits is age 70.  If you elect to start taking your benefits at age 62, you will receive a reduced rate at 75% of the full monthly benefit.

The monthly amount you will receive will depend on how much you have paid into the system, and for how long.

If you are a spouse, you will receive 35% of your spouse’s benefit if they begin to take it at age 62. If your spouse waits until full retirement age, you are then entitled to 50% of your spouse’s monthly benefit. Only one spouse can take the spousal benefit.

You can also receive spousal benefits based on an ex-spouse’s benefits as long you were married for at least 10 years, divorced for at least 2, and not remarried, even if they have never filed for Social Security.  Widows, and widowers can collect survivor benefits starting at age 60.

You can also work and collect Social Security benefits starting at age 62. However, if you are under your full retirement age, your benefit will be reduced by $1 dollar for every $2 dollars you earn that is over the yearly limit amount, which for 2018 is $17,040

Your Social Security benefit income may increase as your work continues. Your income will be looked at every year, and you will be informed if there is an increase.

Starting with the month that you reach full retirement age, you can receive your benefits with no limits on your work earnings.  Earnings are considered wages from your job, or from your business, net earnings are taken into account.

Interest, investment income, annuities, pensions, veterans or other government retirement income are not counted.

For more information considering your Social Security, go to:

Other Retirement Plans

Social Security was designed to be a supplementary program to your retirement savings, and/or your retirement pension. It was not designed to be a stand alone program.  The truth is though that Social Security is a stand alone program for many people because they have not saved for, or set up a retirement plan.

“We didn’t plan to fail, we just failed to plan.”

I realize that it is not always easy to set up a plan, and stick to it. Life happens, and priorities dictate how the finances are handled. However, most of us, if we live within our means, and devote even a small amount of money monthly towards retirement, we can accumulate some funds that will assist in retirement.

Time is your biggest ally.  The sooner you get started with a focus on your retirement, the better chance you will have to provide yourself with a comfortable life in your later years.

If you have some years before you are ready to call it quits in the work a day world, I strongly suggest you attempt to set something up. Talk to a financial planner at your work if they offer a plan, or talk to a financial planner on your own, or someone else that you trust in the finance/retirement plan area.

If you just want to go about it on your own, I recommend you look at dividend stocks, and more specifically, DRIP stocks. DRIPs are dividend reinvestment programs.  Some publicly traded companies allow for their stock dividends to be automatically reinvested in the purchase of more stock, instead just paying out the dividend.

Many companies also offer No Fee DRIPs which allow you to automatically reinvest the dividend, and purchase more stock from the company for no fees. This terrific benefit can allow you to accumulate many shares of stock for virtually no additional fees.

DRIP stocks allow for you to take advantage of the power of compound interest.

Know Your Options

It is important to know when to start your social security. The longer you can wait to begin, the larger your monthly benefit will be.  As a spouse you are entitled to receive up to 50% of your spouse’s benefits.  Even as an ex-spouse, you may be entitled to receive social security payments.

You can also work and receive Social Security benefits. Your benefit amount however, may be affected by the amount of your earnings.

Even though Social Security is the stand alone income for many people in their retirement years, it was not designed as such. Time is your greatest ally when considering your retirement plan.

If you have some years before you retire, you may want to consider setting up a retirement plan at work if possible, or on your own.  There are many options to consider, and perhaps the best is DRIP stocks.

With a little planning, and some forethought you can make your later years better than what you may have thought.

You never want to have to say, “I didn’t plan to fail, I just failed to plan.”


What is the average retirement income? 

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Best Stocks to Buy Now



The Best Stocks to Buy Now

The Best Stocks to Buy Now

Stock market investing can be a complex, time-consuming, frustrating process. Stock market investing can also be simple, quick, and exhilarating process. It can provide great financial losses, and it can provide great financial rewards.

Stock market investing can be a source of great stress, sleepless nights, and worry. It can also be provide peace of mind, fulfillment, and happiness.

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Best Ways to Pick Stocks

The two primary ways of picking stocks are: fundamental analysis, and technical analysis.

Fundamental Analysis. The fundamentals of a given stock or company are it’s financials. What are it’s business prospects? What are the chances for the business to grow? Is the sector it’s in improving, or in decline?

Is it a leader in it’s sector and market? Or does it lag behind it’s competitors? What is the condition of the overall economy? It is a defensive stock? Or is it a high risk, high reward play?

Fundamentals look at historic stock prices, price to earnings ratios, revenues, profits, cash holdings, research and development expenses, insider/management holdings, and many other factors to determine if it is a stock worth buying.

Technical Analysis Technical Analysis is the study of charts of companies/stocks. The most commonly used charts are price charts. These charts document a stock’s price movements over different periods of time.

In conjunction with these stock prices are many other gauges of a stock’s performance such as volatility, convergence/divergence, number of stocks bought, number of stocks sold, stock averages, momentum, and many other indicators used to predict whether a given stock’s price is likely to go up or down.

World’s Best Stock Investor

Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the last 30 years, it is very likley that you have heard the name Warren Buffet. Known as the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet is considered one of the very best, if not the best stock investor of all time. So, what is Mr. Buffet’s stock picking philosophy?

He says that he picks stocks based on being able to understand, and know the business that the company is in. He must also like the business that the company is in. It must have good fundamentals. He says that he will only sell if the fundamentals that he used when he picked the stock have changed for the worse.

He sets out to hold the stock forever, he says. He also adds to his positions quite often, and accumulates large enough stock holdings to be on the board of directors of many of these companies that he invests in. This philosophy has served him well, as his net worth is now in the $87 billion dollar range. Yes, that’s billion with a B.

How to Play the Market

There are many different ways to play or invest in the stock market. Some of these ways are stock options, mutual funds, shorting the market, penny stocks, value stocks, foreign markets, stock index plays, futures, and others. There are long term plays, and short term plays.

Long term plays are stocks that you buy and hold. Because with this play you have a long term time horizon, you don’t worry about it’s short term stock price fluctuations. Normally, unless something drastic has happened to the company’s business, the stock is not sold.

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Short term plays are investments where the investor is looking to make a short term profit. His time horizon can be from a few minutes to a few months. Often these investors are willing to take a small profit, as long as their money is not tied up for extended periods.

The Best Stocks to Buy Now

So, what are the best stocks to buy now? Should I be a value investor, a momentum investor? Should I try buying penny stocks? Should I buy the big name stocks like Apple, Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble? Does it matter which stock broker I use? Should I use an online broker, or should I deal with the old fashioned person to person approach?

There is much to consider in order to maximize your opportunities in the stock market. In my humble opinion, there is only one type of stock to invest in.

DRIP Stocks What are DRIP stocks? DRIP stands for dividend reinvestment plan, or dividend reinvestment program. These are stocks of which the company that offers them allow for a direct purchase of stock in the company, and for the dividend that they offer to be reinvested in more stock.

This is a powerful investment instrument because it ulitilizes the principle of compound interest. Albert Einstein once said about compound interest, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it, he who doesn’t pays it.”

DRIPs also allow you to reinvest part, all, or none of the dividend. It makes sense to reinvest as much of the dividend as possible, at least until you need to take some of the dividend income to live, as in retirement. The best stocks to buy now are No Fee DRIPs.

No Fee DRIPs

The best type of DRIP stock to buy is the No Fee DRIP stock. This means that certain companies allow you to buy their stock without any brokerage or transaction fees, both for the initial purchase, and for the subsequent dividend reinvestment.

This means that you will be able to maximize your return, as you are not losing some of your investment in costly fees.

This can add up to a significant amount, especially with the powerful compound interest component. In order to speed up the process, additional, optional shares can be purchased, also for no fees.

There may be fees if you set up an automatic purchase through your bank account, and when selling shares.

DRIPs are considered more of a long term play, than a short term one. Generally speaking, the longer you can hold a DRIP the better as you will continue to automatically buy more shares of stock with the reinvestment of the dividend.

Although if enough money is invested, and reinvested, and the dividend is high enough, a considerable amount of shares can be accumulated within a relatively short time.

The only time I would ever consider selling a DRIP stock is if the company has dramatically decreased, or eliminated it’s dividend. This is not a common occurence, but it does happen from time to time. I would then find another DRIP stock to invest in with the proceeds of the sale.

List of No Fee DRIPs

Sleep or Excitement

Some stock investors love the excitement of investing in the stock market. I have seen many stock investors that seem to live for the excitement of the price swings in the market. One day they are up because their stocks are up in price, and the next day they are down in the dumps because their stocks are off.

There are also stock investors that are so heavily invested in the markets that their very existence, and that of their family depends on the performance of their stocks. Personally, I can’t see living this way.

It is difficult to consistently pick stocks well enough to ensure oneself a solid return. This is especially so, if someone is always buying, and selling. With the combination of high fees, and volatile stock prices, it is not an easy proposition to beat the market.

If I am always worried about whether or not my stocks perform to my needed expectations, my stress levels would be a lot higher. This could easily carry over to other areas of my life as well, such as relationships, health, and job performance.

Personally, I like to sleep at night. That’s why I like the peace of mind that DRIP stocks give me. I primarily invest only in DRIP stocks, and within DRIP stocks, I invest primarily in No Fee DRIPS.
No Fee DRIPs are the best stocks to buy now , they will be the best stocks to buy tomorrow, and for the foreseeable future. Which No Fee DRIPs will you invest in?

List of No Fee DRIPs

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Make Cash Online

Make Cash Online

Make cash online

If you want to make cash online, you are like millions of others. Many people have used the internet to go from rags to riches. Some folks have acquired vast fortunes utilizing the internet to further their ambitions.

There are many ways to make money, and attempt to make money online. Some ways to make cash online require little if any work or effort, monetary investment, and very little time.

Other ways require a great deal of work and effort, money to get started, and maintain it, and a large commitment of time.  Still other ways fall somewhere in between the two.

We will look into some examples of these ways to make cash online, and why some ways may be worth taking on, and why other ways should be avoided.

It is also possible to utilize more than one of these online cash making methods. This may depend on your financial situation, your time availability, and areas that you have knowledge of or interest in.

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Skeptism is Healthy

Skeptism is healthy

I have tried and been involved with many different money making opportunities over the years. The best bit of advise I can give you is to be skeptical.

If you are looking at opportunities to make money online, be sure to do your due diligence. I can tell you that there are many folks out there that spend day and night thinking of ways to take advantage of gullible, ignorant individuals.

The internet is still like the wild, wild west in that there is limited regulation, and enforcement compared to the off line world.

This environment draws the unscrupilous shiesters, scammers, and hucksters that want you to believe you can make a lot of money overnight for little if any work, and that there is a free lunch.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Realize in most cases, there is going to be some work, and at least some of your time involved. You will likely have to spend some money, although there are some exceptions to this general rule.

It is ok to take some risks, and chances, after all nothing ventured, nothing gained, but make sure you look before you leap. Assume it is illegitimate until proven otherwise.

Online Surveys

Online surveys

Online surveys are a very popular way to make some extra money online. You likely won’t get rich filling out online surveys, but you may be able to put some decent cash in your pocket if you find the right survey company. Surveys are used by many companies to test products and ideas.

They want your opinion to determine the viability of their new products, or to improve existing products. In addition to filling out forms, survey companies may also be willing to pay you to read your email, and to watch videos.

Surveys can take as little as less than a minute, and as long as several hours. Generally speaking, the more time needed, the more it pays. You can earn anywhere from a few cents a survey to $100 or more depending on many factors, but primarily time needed to complete it.

Other surveys may pay you in points that you can use to buy products.  It is free to join most online survey sites, but there are some online survey companies that do require a fee to join.  Filling out some personal information is usually all that is needed to get started.  There may be some age requirements, but these are usually not stringent.

Some of the better known online survey websites are:
Vindale Research
Opinion Outpost
Inbox Dollars
My Survey
Survey Junkie


Start Your Own You Tube Channel

Start your own YouTube channel - make cash online

If you are not the shy type, and don’t mind being on camera and sharing your knowledge, and experiences, then starting your own You Tube channel may be the go to online cash generator you seek.  Many people are cashing in big with this method.

Do you have an area that you are passionate about? Do you have expertise in a subject, occupation, hobby, or pastime? Chances are excellent that thousands of others do also.

YouTube is one of the most visited websites in the world. It generates millions of visitors who are looking for everything under the sun, much like Google visitors, only with a living, breathing human being to describe, and show them the way.

Ideas that work well on YouTube are: How to’s, travel experiences, product reviews, gamer reviews, food/cooking/recipes, comedy, pet training, and job seeking just to name a few.

All you need to get started is a Smartphone. You don’t need a super expensive camera. Be consistent with your videos, and you could well develop a following.

Share your videos on Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, Linkein, Google Plus,and others. You can also embed your videos on your own blog or website. Email marketing can also be a helpful means of getting the word out.

You can make money with your videos by allowing YouTube to place advertising. Every time someone clicks on the ads you make money. This is called Google Adsense.

You can also monetize by directing viewers to a specific website or link that you have set up to make commissions with. This can be to a link beneath the YouTube video, or to a link on the video itself.

Turn your passion in to a thriving online business. 

Download and Install Apps

Download and install apps - make cash online

This is another idea that you won’t get rich from, unless of course you design your own apps, but downloading and installing apps is about as easy as it gets to make a few extra bucks.

You not only get paid when you download and install the app initially, but you can get paid for every month that the app is on your phone.

This may only equate to a few cups of latte a month, but at least you didn’t have to do much to get it.

MobileXpression – launch this app, and you will be eligible to win prizes each week. You can also play an instant rewards game by joining in on market research.

ShopTracker – just answer a few questions, and you will earn $3.00 on any device. This app helps companies find out what people are buying online, and you will continue to earn money every month that you keep this app on your phone.

Neilson Mobile Panel – this is same company that does the Neilson TV Ratings. You can earn up to $50 a year for installing the Mobile Neilson app, which provides information on how people use their phones.

Other interesting apps are:

Shopkick: Earn money just by walking into stores.
Paribus: Scans your email receipts for changes in price.
Trim: Finds where you are wasting money
Lucktastic: Free scratch off tickets(virtual)

Website Testing

Website Testing - Make Cash Online

If you spend a lot of time online like I do, you come across many different types of websites. Some websites are more user friendly than others.

Some are clear, concise, and easy to understand and navigate around. Other websites can be a challenge to discover how to find the information that you are looking for or interested in.

There is a website that will pay you up to $30 an hour to test other websites.  UserTesting will pay you to open up a website, navigate around, complete a set of tasks, and share and record your thoughts as you are doing it.

Fortune 500 companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe are clients you could be testing websites for.

Other website testing websites are: Userlytics, TrymyUI, and Userfeel.

It will be difficult to make a full time income with Website Testing because the opportunities are inconsistent, but you could possibly make a good, part time or supplemental income.

Building a Website, Blogging, Affiliate Marketing

Blogging - make cash online

People could, and do make a living by each of these online money making methods individually, or some combination of all three at once. In fact, it is easy to blur the lines of descriptions of each of these types because they can all be utilized at the same time.

You could, theoretically at least, make money selling your website building services to others, assuming you knew how to build websites.

And, you could become a blogger, and depending on your niche, you could sell advertising on your blog site once you built up a large enough following and had consistent traffic.

And, you could become an affiliate marketer by finding online companies that provide affiliate opportunities to make commissions. You would though have to know how and where to market these opportunities in order to generate affiliate commissions.

There is one online opportunity that combines all three of these areas of expertise in one place. They provide all the education, expertise, training, tools, and support needed for you to realize the power of combining these online disciplines.

The good news is, it is easier than you might think. There is unparalleled support within the community, and it is FREE to start.  They also give you 2 free websites, and provide training to get you off the ground.  The name of this company is Wealthy Affiliate.

You only need to provide an area that you are passionate about, and a willingness to learn, and to build an online presence, and a business along with it. Wealthy Affiliate basicly holds your hand for you all along the way.

This is not an opportunity that is get rich quick. It is, however, an opportunity that you can build a business with that will last you for many years.

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There are many other ways to make online income such as stock trading, network marketing aka multi level marketing, currency trading, writing an ebook, offering your pro services on fiverr, elance, Upwork, or 99Designs, and many more.

Remember to be skeptical about any online or offline opportunity. Do your due diligence before you commit your valuable resources, and time.

Kick the tires, and get a feel for it before you go all in. Choose one or more of the numerous online opportunities, and you too can make cash online.






How To Affiliate Marketing

How to Affiliate Marketing will assist you in your quest to learn how to become an affiliate marketer. I will explain to you what affiliate marketing is about, what is entailed to become an affilate marketer, the best place online to educate yourself about it, and how to set yourself up with what you will need to begin.

I will also tell you what programs to align yourself with that will provide you with products, and services to help you make an income, and where to go in order to get your questions answered, and how to get the support and encouragement you will need along the way.

What Affiliate Marketing is About

The best way to describe affiliate marketing is that it is much like a salesman, or a manufacturers representative in the offline world. An online company or a company with an online presence allows people (affiliates) to market/sell their goods and/or services in exchange for a commission.

An affiliate can earn commissions by bringing someone to a company’s website, and if they perform a certain function like filling out an application, clicking on a link, or making a purchase.

The commissions will vary depending on the type of business, and what the company/website has agreed to pay it’s affiliates for a specific action.

For instance, selling a product usually pays more commission than capturing an email address for more information, or for filling out a form and agreeing to receive a phone call from a company representative, such as what is often the case for a home loan.

How to Become an Affiliate Marketer

Almost anyone can become an affiliate marketer. All that you need to do is to find a company or product that you would like to market online, and sign up as an affiliate at that business’ website.

Often times a company will use an affiliate network to handle their affiliate program for them. Some of the more well known affiliate networks are Commission Junction, aka CJ, Share a Sale, Rakuten, and ClickBank.

You will first need to be signed up with and approved by the affiliate network, and sometimes you will also need to be approved by the company or website itself before you can begin marketing for them.

Some of these networks, and their companies want to see that you have some knowledge, and experience in the online world. Some will require that you have a website set up, and that you have at least a minimum of know how in marketing products or services online.

I have found that you don’t need a website to be approved for some networks, such as ClickBank, but it does help ensure your acceptance to many networks if you do have a website.

Once you are approved by an affiliate network, you then will have many more options to represent different types of companies, products, and opportunities.

Approval means that you will have access to affiliate links, affiliate banners, photos, videos, and pre written ads for the various companies, and their websites.

At this point you are ready to spread the word about the company that you now represent as an affiliate. There are many different ways for you to go about this.

How to Market Your Affiliated Company

Now you have been approved by an affiate network, or directly to a company that offers an affiliate program. You have access to the affiliate links, and other advertitisng for the company to help you earn affiliate commissions. So, it’s time to get the word out, and make some commissions.

There are various ways for you to go about this. There is email marketing. Email marketing allows you to contact others by email to tell them about what you have, and to attempt to get them to do what you need in order to earn an affiliate commission.

You can buy email lists so that you can target your audience, and you can use various other means of sending emails to your potential customers.

Autoresponders like Aweber provide tools to help you market and follow up to an email list, and take much of the work out of it for you.

Social Media is another very popular and effective way to for an affilate marketer to bring prospects to a website. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Quora are some of the best known social media websites.

Facebook offers numerous advertising options for affiliate marketers, and can be a very useful way to pinpoint target prospects.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is a great, free way for you to bring targeted traffic to a website, but you will need your own website in order to take advantage of this potentially extremely powerful way to boost your affilate commissions.

PPC, or Pay Per Click is advertising that can also be very effective for you as an affiliate. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo offer the ability to advertise with them by choosing related key words to your offer, posting short ads describing your offer, and you are then charged a pre set fee every time someone clicks on one of your ads.

Other types of online advertising available are CPA, or Cost Per Action, Google Ad Words(useable only if you have your own website), and Retargeting.

Having Your Own Website

If you are serious about becoming a successful affiliate marketer, your best course of action is to have your own website. Having your own website will enable you represent many different types of affiliate products, and opportunities, and it will provide you a great chance to get ranked by the search engines.

Becoming ranked by the search engines can bring in large amounts of FREE traffic to your website, and your online products and opportunities of which you are an affiliate.  Many affiliate networks, and companies require that you have your own website before they will approve you to represent their companies.

This shows them, and the rest of the online world that you are someone that is professional, and can be trusted to carry out a successful affiliate marketing campaign.

Your own website affords you the opportunity to be ranked on the search engines, and is done by writing related content on your website with the use of key words.

If done correctly, with time you can be ranked on the big search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.  Being ranked highly means traffic, and traffic can mean conversions and money in your pocket.

In order to have your own website, you will need to purchase a url or domain name such as http://howtobuyforeclosedhome….  You will also need to purchase hosting to provide an online parking place if you will, for your domain.  There are different places online that you can buy these needed website services.


You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

Don’t worry. If you like the idea of becoming an affiliate marketer, but you know you need some education and guidance, there is a place that has a stellar reputation for providing EVERYTHING that an affiliate marketer wants and needs. You may have even heard of it. It’s called Wealthy Affiliate.

Wealthy Affiliate will take you by the hand, and give you the education, tools, training, resources, and support to ensure you can become the successful affiliate marketer that you strive to be.

Starting with Wealthy Affiliate is FREE, and they also give you 2 FREE websites, along with training right off the bat, so you can kick the tires and make sure it is right for you.

All you need is to have something you are passionate about or interested in. Wealthy Affiliate will teach you to turn your passion into a thriving online business.

You are never alone at Wealthy Affiliate. If you ever have a guestion, or need direction, there is an large community of like minded affiliates that are ready to help you.

There are many ways of making cash online. Affiliate marketing is a way to sell products and services online, and be paid a commission. Becoming an affiliate marketer is a tried and true way of generating an online income.

Almost anyone can become an affiliate marketer. Signing up with a company that has an affiliate program or with their designated affiliate network is the first step.

You then need to be approved to get started. There are many different ways to market your offer online to earn a commission. If you are serious about your affiliate endeavor, you should establish your own website.

The best way to learn about affiliate marketing, and have all the tools, training, and support you will need is to start as a free member with Wealthy Affiliate.

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How to Affiliate Marketing

Top Dividend Stocks

Top Dividend Stocks

Top Dividend Stocks


What are Dividend Stocks?

Dividend stocks are stocks that pay out a portion of their earnings or profits to shareholders. These payouts are usually done quarterly, and there are a few stocks that will pay their dividends monthly, but are they top dividend stocks?

Dividends give shareholders an added incentive to own or hold the stock even when the stock price is not rising or even dropping. The amount of the dividend is done as a percentage of the share price.  Typically, the dividend percentage runs in the 1% – 10% range with some stocks paying less, and some stocks a bit more.

Dividends can be raised, lowered, or even done away with by the company, although the outright elimination of a company’s dividend is somewhat rare.

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What are Top Dividend Stocks?

So, how does one define top dividend stocks? There could easily be many definitions of top dividend stocks.  They could be stocks that have a high dividend yield. Or stocks that have increased their dividend over the years.  They could be stocks that have a high dividend yield, and have increased their dividend over the years.

They could be top performing stocks that have recently decided to include a dividend. They could just be solid, stable companies that pay a dividend, no matter how small or large the dividend yield or payout. In my humble opinion, top dividend stocks are also DRIP stocks.

What are DRIP Stocks?

I am glad you asked.  DRIP stocks are dividend reinvestment plans, or dividend reinvestment programs. Some companies that pay dividends allow for the reinvestment of the dividend payout to shareholders into the purchase of more stock in their company.

Many of these companies also allow for the direct purchase of their stock initially with no fees. They also allow for the reinvestment and additional purchase of shares with no fees. Did you catch the no fees part? Stock investing simply doesn’t get any better than this.

DRIP investing is more of a long term strategy or play than a short term one. By having the dividend reinvested in more stock, instead of taking the dividend payout, you are harnessing the power of compound interest.

Over time this can accumulate into a substantial number of shares which can provide a significant source of income, while maintaining, and even growing the principal, which in the case of DRIPs is stocks.

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This can all be accomplished over time even if you don’t invest more in the program. If, however, you want to speed up the process, and increase the number of shares, as well as the corresponding amount of the total dividend payout, you can invest more money into it with periodic purchases.

These periodic purchases are also no fee, in a no fee DRIP.  Some even incorporate dollar cost averaging, which can provide a much healthier long term outlook for you.

Albert Einstein once said about compound interest:  “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it, he who doesn’t pays it.”

This combination of no fees, and dividend reinvestment, make DRIPs are very attractive long term investment strategy, and separate DRIP stocks from other types of long term investing such as mutual funds, index funds, etc.

Another great benefit of investing in DRIPs is the option of reinvesting part of the dividend in more stock, all of the dividend in more stock, or none of the dividend in more stock.

This could become very important once you have enough stock accumulated to start taking some dividend payouts, such as for retirement. or if you just need some extra cash.

You can take say a 75% payout of the dividend, and leave 25% in for reinvestment, keeping your stock principal growing. You can take more or less, or all or none, it is entirely up to you.


Which DRIP Stocks Should I Choose?

The DRIP investing strategy that I suggest is one where you invest in strictly NO FEE DRIPs in different sectors of the market to give you some diversification. You should pick stocks that have at least a 2% dividend yield, and ideally you want companies that have shown great stability, and increased their dividend consistently over at least the last 20 years.

Some sectors to consider are Health Care, Energy, Insurance, Real Estate (REITs), Pharmaceuticals, Manufacturing, and Automotive.

Some NO FEE DRIPs within these sectors to consider owning are:  AFLAC, AbbVie, Emerson Electric, Exxon/Mobil, HCP, Genuine Parts Company, 3M, and Johnson and Johnson.

The only real risk with DRIPs is a reduction or an elimination of the dividend, and of course with the company itself. If you invest in solid companies stocks though, you will have minimal risk in the underlying company going out of business.

It is possible that the dividend could be reduced. If this happens, you may want to consider selling, and buying another DRIP for your portfolio, but I would only sell if the dividend reduction was substantial, and if it happened more than once within a relatively short period of time.

Also, if there was a significant problem with the company’s business, you should consider selling the stock. These scenarios are somewhat rare, but you should monitor your DRIP stocks on a consistent basis to make sure that everything is hunky dorey with your investment.

Even if there is a drop in the stock price, as long as the dividend remains the same or only slightly lower, and there aren’t any serious problems with the company’s business, I would hold the stock. Remember this is a long term strategy. It is likely that there will be some price swings during the time that you own it.

It is very easy to check on your DRIPs online anytime you would like, day or night.

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Your TakeawaysTop Dividend Stocks

I believe DRIP stocks are an excellent way to set yourself up for the future. You can buy these NO FEE DRIPs without up front fees, or fees for the reinvestment of the stock dividend. You are harnessing the powerful principal of compound interest by utilizing DRIPs.  You can add to your position without fees of course, to accelerate the process.

A good way to add to your position is with dollar cost averaging. Buying these DRIPs in different market sectors will provide you some diversification, but if you buy solid companies with good businesses, and a track record of earnings/dividend increases, you will have little worry about issues down the road.

Another great feature of DRIPs is that you can take none of the dividend, and reinvest it all, or take some of the dividend, and reinvest the difference, or all of the dividend.  By reinvesting some or all of the dividend, you continually increase the number of shares that you own, ensuring in almost every case that your principal will always be there when you need it.

Time is truly of the essence with this long term strategy. The sooner you get started, the more you will have in later years. If you do you will never have to say, ‘we didn’t plan to fail, we just failed to plan.’

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2018 Wealthy Affiliate Reviews – Scam or Legit


2018 Wealthy Affiliate Reviews – Scam or Legit

If you are at all like me, you have looked at, and joined many online money making opportunities.  You have wasted not only money, but precious time as well.  In 2018 Wealthy Affiliate Reviews – Scam or Legit we will delve deeper into this program.

2018 Wealthy Affiliate Review - Scam or Legit?

I have learned to check things out thoroughly before jumping into any opportunity. I have also learned to stick my big toe in the water first before I take the plunge.

So what is the deal with Wealthy Affiliate? I’m sure you have seen it in many other places on the internet, and it has likely piqued your curiosity as it did mine.

Is this just another opportunity that will get my hopes sky high, and dash them like an ocean wave crashing against the rocks? Or does it really have merit? Is this a legitimate program that will deliver, and provide me a way to make a living online?

Will Wealthy Affiliate afford me that ability to work from home, or at the office, or at the beach, or wherever I choose? Will I finally be able to stay home with the kids, and not have the stressful early morning, dangerous commute to work every day?

Will I be able to work just as easily from my winter destination in Florida, as I can from my home in Chicago? Can I build something that will provide enough income so that I can quit my 9 to 5 job at some point in the not too distant future?

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What Wealthy Affiliate Is Not

Wealthy Affiliate is not a get rich quick scheme! It is not an opportunity where you will be dazzled by the fancy cars, big houses, or huge checks of the person in front of the camera. You won’t find a guy or gal that will tell you their ‘success’ story of going from rags to riches because they found the same program that they are telling you about.

You won’t watch a one hour hype video to get you excited about a get rich quick opportunity that you will be badgered to buy at the end. You won’t be constantly made to feel like a loser if you don’t upgrade to an expensive level, only to be upsold again once you get there.

You won’t have to worry if you can pay your bills at the end of the month because you were forced to spend so much money just to stay in an expensive program that is full of false promises.

You won’t have to spend every spare minute trying to learn, and practice some questionable or even ‘black hat’ tactics that could land you in hot water, and force the program to be shut down by the authorities.

You won’t be left alone to fend for yourself if you have questions, need advice, or just want to see how someone else handled the same situation.

Can Anyone Join Wealthy Affiliate?

Wealthy Affiliate does not require extensive, or specialized education to join. You won’t need a lot of online experience or expertise to join or to become proficient in the activities.

You will never need to invest a lot of money in Wealthy Affiliate to either join, or stay in the program, or get to a certain level in order to qualify for bigger commissions or bonuses like so many other online programs.  In other words, you will never feel trapped, or taken advantage of.

Almost anyone can join Wealthy Affiliate. No experience is necessary. No technical knowledge is necessary. It is helpful to have at least a basic understanding of computers, and the internet, but likely you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have at least that.

There is no real age limit to join Wealthy Affiliate. As long as parents give permission, even kids under the age of 18 are welcome to join.

What Wealthy Affiliate Actually Is

Wealthy Affiliate is about teaching you, and providing all of the tools, and support you need to build a long term business online from scratch.  You provide a passion or passions, and WA provides the education, the websites, the hosting, the community, and the support to make you successful.

Everyone is passionate about something. So, whether you are passionate about fishing, motorhomes, macrome, the stock market, drones or just about any possible subject or aspect of life, you can build a business around it at Wealthy Affiliate.

You choose an interest, and Wealthy Affiliate shows you how to build a website(building a website is simple within Wealthy Affiliate), attract visitors, and earn revenue.

What interests you? What are you passionate about? We all have a hobby or something that gets us excited and motivated when we think about it. There are MILLIONS of different ideas that you could potentially tap into online and we are going to help you come up with your very own “topic” within Wealthy Affiliate.

Building your very own website is SIMPLE within Wealthy Affiliate. The process takes less than 30 seconds to build a beautiful looking, mobile-ready, and revenue ready website. Your website is going to be the foundation of your business and what will ultimately lead to a successful venture.

Your goal before you try to make money with any website is to focus on getting actual people to that website. Without people, you have nobody to sell or advertise to. This is a critical aspect of your business.

Once you have an audience (traffic), one way you can drive revenue to your website is through special programs called “affiliate programs” which are completely free to join.

Affiliate programs allow you to promote pretty much anything you can imagine without having to own or create the product yourself. No inventory. No shipping. No product support. And you can be located and operate your business from anywhere in the world.

What is your dream of success? $500/month? $1000/month? $10,000/month, 50,000/month? Beyond? These are all fully possible with the education, the skills, the websites, and the helpful community you are going to be able to make full use of at Wealthy Affiliate.

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What is Wealthy Affiliate Like From a Member’s Point of View?

I have been a member of Wealthy Affiliate for just under 2 years. I can honestly tell you that WA has far exceeded my expectations. I have been involved in and wasted a lot of money and time in online programs that only disappointed me.

Wealthy Affiliate is an affordable, honest, exceptional online business opportunity that does all it says it will, and much, much more.

They have provided me an exceptional online business building education, and provided me with state of the art tools, and services that are needed. The help, and support is 24/7, and has helped me numerous times.  Possibly the best thing about WA is the enormous community of other like minded WA members that all have a helpful, friendly attitude.

These like minded members, many of whom I also call friends, have given me boosts of motivation, as well as suggestions that have helped my business along the way.

I, of course, have helped other members as much as possible, to the extent of my knowledge and expertise, and if I don’t have the answer, I suggest they pose their question or concern to either support, or other members to get their questions answered or their situtation resolved.

I also really like that Wealthy Affiliate has in addition to 24/7 Support (Live Chat, SiteSupport, Q & A), they have Personal Mentoring, Training Courses, Step by Step, and Weekly Live Classes (and 100’s of hours of replays).

Wealthy Affiliate has enabled me to share a lot of the knowledge, and expertise that I have gained in my life with other people. It is a good feeling to be able to educate, and otherwise help people that need assistance within Wealthy Affiliate and/or are interested in what I have knowledge of, and have experienced in my business and personal life.

In addition, I am able to monetize my websites with affiliate links, and banner ads, among other advertising means that help me grow my business.

It is a great feeling to share my passions with others, and make money too!

Joining Wealthy Affiliate is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I fully intend to be a WA member for life.

How to Get Started

You can get started as a Starter Member in Wealthy Affiliate for FREE! You will get 2 FREE websites, access to training classrooms, live support, and you don’t need a Credit Card to join! This awesome FREE membership will give you a chance to experience Wealthy Affiliate and everything that it can offer you. There is zero risk to you.

2018 Wealthy Affiliate Reviews - Scam or Legit

Click here to join Wealthy Affiliate FREE

2018 Wealthy Affiliate Reviews – Scam or Legit





What is the Average Retirement Income

What is the Average Retirement Income

What is the average retirement income
Most folks don’t have much when it comes retirement age.

What is the average retirement income? Whatever your age, retirement is something you should be thinking about.  And, the sooner you begin to think seriously about your retirement, the better off you will be when it comes time for you to retire. That is, if you take action.

“We didn’t plan to fail, we just failed to plan.”

What is the average retirement income. In the year 2015, the median income, which I believe is a better indicator than average income which can be skewed due to a small percentage of people making a lot money, is less than $20,000 per year, or about $1666.00 per month for most people.

This means that because the average social security retirement  income is about $1384.00 per month, only a few hundred dollars per month comes from savings or other income sources for the majority of retirees.

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What is the average retirement income is a question you should ask in order to avoid the doldrums of a sparse retirement. What with typical expenses such as food, insurance, medical bills, auto, upkeep of home, cable, internet, mobile phone, and that is if you don’t have a mortgage on your home, you can see how it is very difficult for most people just to meet their basic obligations during retirement.

This, of course, leaves very little, if anything left over to travel, buy food, enjoy good restaurants, attend concerts, sporting events, buy clothes, buy gifts, etc.  Many people are forced to take part time employment to supplement their limited income just to get by.

What is the average retirement income
Retirement expenses can often eat up any retirement savings.

These typical retirement jobs usually pay very little, and are often demeaning, and undignified for someone that has worked their entire life, raised a family, and been a solid, tax paying, contributing member of society.

Some folks are less mobile as they age, and even going to a job a few times a week, can become a very daunting task.  I personally know of many people, my own mother included, that are dependent on the support, and generosity of their children, and other relatives to provide the funding needed to meet their needs as they age.

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This can be a huge burden on relatives, and can create problems other than just financial.  It can put a strain on family relationships, and bring on stress which can lead to health, and drug and alcohol dependency issues.

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The costs of assisted living senior centers can be astronomical. The elderly are now living longer than ever before.  Many seniors live well into their 90’s and beyond, so these related expenses can deplete even well funded retirement plans.

Long term care insurance can cover many of these costs, but the high price tag for these plans rules out the vast majority of people.

Best Retirement Savings Plans
With retirement plans, time is your greatest ally.

What is the average retirement income is less than you will likely need. Obviously, the younger you are, and the further from retirement you are, the better chance you have, and the easier road you will have to create a wonderful retirement.   Time is your greatest ally.

Being disciplined is also an important factor to a successful retirement. The sooner you undertake your retirement planning, the better.

This is not to say that someone that is close to retirement age cannot improve his or her ultimate retirement situation by some careful planning.  You certainly can.

The sooner you start saving for retirement the better. But what are the best retirement savings plans?  Assuming you won’t have a pension, a guaranteed retirement income, or a very generous relative that will cover all of your costs and give you some leftover to enjoy life in your later years, these are your best bet to have significant money at retirement.

Matching 401K or other company retirement plan.

If you are lucky enough to have a company retirement plan such as a matching 401K, you should max this out. Many of these plans will match up to a certain percentage that you put in, which is essentially free money.

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The fact that this money, not including the amount that your company matches, is taken from your paycheck, it forces you to save for your retirement. It essentially protects you from yourself.

Don’t touch your retirement savings until you retire.

If you look at this money as taxes, or money that you can’t touch, you will maximize it’s benefits. These company organized retirement plans are a great way to save for retirement.

If you are unlucky enough to not have a retirement plan at work, or if you are self employed, and haven’t set up a SEP or other self employed retirement plan, you will need to find a way to save, and/or invest to accumulate those much needed funds for your golden years.

There are many other ways to save or invest your money. Today, a typical savings account pays tiny interest percentages. You may pay more in monthly bank fees that what you would earn on their savings account.

The best thing about leaving your money in a savings account is that you will likely not lose your principle as it is protected by the FDIC, or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.  You will not gain much, if at all, but there is very little risk of loss in this type of investment.

A better bet may be stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CD’s or certificates of deposit, or annuities.  There are varying degrees of risk in these types of investment instruments.  Of these CD’s would be the least risky, then mutual funds, annuities, bonds, and stocks would hold the highest degree of risk.

Do I need to hire a financial planner, or financial advisor?
What is the average retirement income
A financial advisor may or may not be right for you.

If you ask, what is the average retirement income, you are likely someone that is looking to improve your current retirement plan, or perhaps you don’t have a retirement plan at all.

If you are someone that has little knowledge about finance, and investments, or if you feel you have too little time to devote to this important subject, then a financial planner, or financial advisor may be for you.

Even if you do have a lot of knowledge, and interest in this area, a true devoted expert with a good track record, and reputation could still be a good choice for you.

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I would recommend however that you go with an advisor that works on a fee only basis. There are many advisors that work on commission.

These commission folks make money by putting you into certain investments like annuities, and may not have your best interest at heart.  Fee only advisors provide a consultant role, where as commission based advisors are  primarily salespeople.

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Would you rather be consulted with, or sold to?  It’s all about trust. Retirement planning is enormously important. You should interview 3 or 4 potential advisors. Be sure that they are reputable, and have all the professional designations.

Make sure the company they work for, if they don’t work for themselves, has a stellar reputation.  Ask for testimonials.  See if they will treat you as an individual, or try to service you with a broad brush.  Stay away from the general approach.

Ask how they will make their money.  Make them explain all their fees and commissions. Find out their investment philosophy. If they gloss over this part, kick them to the curb.

Educate yourselves as much as you can prior to meeting with your prospective financial planners. Remember, you don’t want a commission based, or a combination of fee based and commission based planner.  You want a strict fee based advisor, or consultant.

Retirement Income
You will need an income to replace your work income when you retire.

What is the average retirement income is much more for those who simply plan. What you will need come retirement day, beyond everything else, is an income.

If you are able to save a good amount of money, that’s great, congratulations.

But, even if you have a large nest egg saved up, you will have to draw from it in order to live.  You may live another 30 or 40 years beyond the time you quit work, and retire.

Many additional expenses can, and likely will raise their ugly head.  If you haven’t figured out a way to generate an income without depleting your savings, it may not be long before you will be clamoring for help.

So, unless you have a solid job related, or government pension, I highly suggest you find a way to create an income that never runs out.  How does one create an income without having a pension or federal retirement income, especially an income that never runs out of money or principal?

Best Retirement Income

We all need an income to replace the income, or at least most of it, that we had when we were working, once we are no longer working.  The ideal income would be one where the principal that the income is derived from never goes away, and even better grows larger as time goes by.

Is this scenario possible? It is not only possible, but very plausible. In other words, it is real.  Although you can also create an income with insurance annuities, as well as with dividend stocks, there is one investment that trumps all of the others.

What is the average retirement income
An insurance annuity is one form of retirement income.

Insurance annuities are not ideal, as you will have to provide a large sum of money to effect an income.  You will have a steady income with this investment instrument. However, you lose control of your principal once you invest in annuities.

With some annuities you can recover some of your principal, but you will pay a large penalty in order to do so.  Also, there is no chance of your large investment in annuities to grow with time.

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Dividend stocks are a good retirement income source.  Once again, with dividend stocks like annuities, you will have to provide a large sum of money to invest in these instruments in order to create an income.

A benefit of dividend stocks over annuities, is that you can liquidate some or all of your investment principal most anytime you wish.  The downside risk is that if the underlying stock goes down, your dividend payout could decrease, and if the company’s profits disappear, the dividend may as well.

But, the worst that could happen with a dividend stock investment if the dividend goes away, you would have to sell your stock and possibly take a loss, which is likely not too bad.  But, you can always buy another dividend stock, if you want, and create another income stream.

Part time jobs are common among retirement age folks.  Being retired doesn’t necessarily mean to stop working altogether.  Many people feel they have to continue working  in order to supplement their social security income.

Others keep working to fill their time, or to stave off boredom.  Today, with the advent of the internet, there are money making opportunities that are available from the convenience of the home computer or laptop.

These opportunities can provide additional income, and give purpose, and meaning to people in their later years.

This flexible option for retirees or semi retirees is also desirable in that your computer can be accessed from  anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

So, if you want to spend your summers in say Minnesota, and your winters in Florida, you will have the ability to work online in both places.

Among the most popular, and viable internet opportunities is affiliate marketing.  This enables you to represent online vendors such as Amazon or Ebay, and make a commission every time someone you send there makes a purchase.

The most reputable, and legitimate online company that provides education, and guidance in affiliate marketing is Wealthy Affiliate.

What is the average retirement income
DRIPs are an excellent retirement income source.

DRIPs are the absolute best, numero uno retirement income investment available, in my humble opinion.  DRIP’s are dividend reinvestment programs.

What is the average retirement income for a DRIP investor, you may ask.

Many publicly held companies allow you to purchase their stock directly from the company.  Often times this stock can be bought for very little, if any fees, both from the initial purchase, and any subsequent purchases.

Based on this benefit, you are immediately further ahead of the game versus having to go through a stock broker, and pay sometimes hefty commissions and transaction fees.  These DRIP companies allow for the reinvestment of the dividends that they pay out.

This dividend reinvestment can be for the entire amount of the dividend, part of the dividend, or you can take the entire dividend as a payout. It is up to you. And you are not locked into the way you want to treat your dividend. You can change it at any time.

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What makes this retirement investment so special is that it allows you to use the power of compound interest.  By reinvesting the dividend, you buy more stock in the company.

Once you set that you want all or part of the dividend reinvested, this will happen automatically.  You can then, if you choose, make optional purchases of additional stock.

Many of these DRIP programs can be started for as little as $50 USD.  If you start this program early enough, you won’t have to put much additional money into it, to have a nice amount built up when you are ready to retire.

What is the average retirment income
DRIPs are a relatively low risk investment.

Of course, the more you can add to it, the more you will have.  Even if the price of the stock dips, as long as the dividend remains, it will  continue to purchase more shares of stock for you. The risks are that the company will lower or do away with their dividend.

If this happens, you always have the option of selling the stock and buying another DRIP stock.  Also, when you go to sell, there are usually some standard fees involved, but not more than a standard stock investment, in most cases.

I strongly suggest that if you decide to buy a DRIP that you purchase more than one DRIP, if at all possible. You should purchase in different economic sectors, for instance, an insurance DRIP, a utility DRIP, and a REIT (Real Estate) drip, would give you some diversification without spreading yourself too thin.

What is the average retirement income for those who add dividend stocks and/or DRIPs to their portfolio will be likely significantly higher than for those who don’t.

You lose some of the power of the compound interest by buying more DRIPs, but, at the same time, you mitigate your risk. All you need to do is to monitor your DRIP stock to be sure that there are no major changes in the dividend payout or the price of the stock.

You should do your due diligence to determine what the selling fees are, prior to buying into the DRIP.  Most DRIP stocks pay at least a 2% dividend, and some pay upwards of 10% or more.

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What is the average retirement income
Albert Einstein was fascinated by compound interest.

Albert Einstein once said about compound interest:  “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it, he who doesn’t pays it.”

Another great benefit of a DRIP stock is, when you are ready to retire, and start taking the dividend as a payout, you can take part for income, and reinvest part to keep your principal growing, so that you will have less worry about always having a sufficient income to live on.

You could for instance, take 75% as a payout, and keep 25% in to buy more stock.  Or if you don’t need as much income, you could take say 50% out, and leave 50% in.

DRIPs are a great vehicle to purchase once you take your lump sum payout from any other retirement plan you may have.  Buy some DRIPs and live off the interest.

I only wish that I had discovered DRIP stocks sooner.  But, this investment is so good that even starting late should turn out great.

Whatever retirement vehicle, or vehicles you choose, you should get started now.  Time is your greatest ally when it comes to retirement planning. With time and some discipline your retirement income funds will be there for you when you need them, and your retirement years can be the best time of your life.

What is the average retirement income for you?

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Probate Real Estate

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Probate Real Estate

Probate Real Estate

Probate real estate
Probate real estate is legal distribution of assets.

Probate real estate is the proving of a will, or establishing the validity of a will as it pertains to real estate ownership of the deceased.

Probate real estate is the process whereby legal title to the decedent’s property held in the decedent’s name only and not otherwise distributed by law is handed over to beneficiaries and heirs.

Probate real estate is normally a portion of the entire probate process, which also involves payment, and dissolution of debts, and transference of ownership of other property owned by the decedent.

Probate is proven in a court of law, and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased, determined by judicial process.

Probate real estate.
Probate involves a lot of paperwork.

How Probate Works

Primarily what happens in probate involves clerical work.

In virtually all probate cases there is zero difficulty, no parties contesting, absence of the usual reasons for proceedings of the court.

Probate, unlike normal court proceedings,  almost never requires  legal research, a lawyer’s trial abilities, or drafting.

The main function of the probate attorney, and the probate attorney’s secretary, is to fill out a large stack of forms and stay on top of filing expirations, and related procedures.

Depending on the state, the lawyer may only need appear in court a few times.  In other states, everything can be accomplished by snail mail.

Probate real estate
Probate fees can be considerable.

What do Probate Fees run?

Probate has expenses or fees associated with it.

As with most other legal issues, the lawyers are front and center. This will be your largest expense, and it can often be quite substantial in relation to the value of the estate.

How probate attorney fees are determined can vary from state to state.  Some states allow for these costs to be what they deem as fair and reasonable in relation to the size of the estate being settled.

Other states may provide that the probate attorney fees will be a set percentage of the estate. It is not unusual for these percentages to run as much as 5% and more of the total value of the estate.

So, as an example, if the total gross value of an estate is say $500,000, the lawyer fees could cost you as much as $25,000 or perhaps more.

Another potential large fee or expense is for the executor of the estate.  However, if the executor is in line to inherit a significant amount from the estate, it is not uncommon for him or her to forego their fees.

Additional fees may be tax preparation fees, appraisers fees, court costs, administrative fees, and other costs.

These legal fees and court expenses are paid from the proceeds of the estate property which would otherwise go to the heirs or descendants who lawfully inherit the property of the deceased person.

Probate real estate
You can lower probate fees.

How to lower Probate fees

The most impactful way for you to reduce your probate fees is to have your executor handle things himself, without the services of a lawyer. This is called pro se, or pro per.

This idea however, may not be pragmatic, as there are often complex laws, and processes to navigate through, and it may prove to be more of a challenge than a non attorney can handle.

There are publications, and websites designed to assist those that are willing to attempt to avoid using a lawyer for this purpose.

Although the attorney fees can be steep, these fees can often be money well spent.  Good probate attorneys can save you time, and a good deal of stress.

Lawyers can also save you from responsibility from errors, and omissions that a do it yourself encounter may create.

Another way to reduce fees is to negotiate a lower amount or percentage with your lawyer. You may also be able to have your executor handle some of the process, and allow your attorney to deal with the rest.

Probate real estate
Probate poses problems.

Problems with Probate

The issues or problems with Probate are time, and extra expenses.  It is not uncommon for a court to take up to 2 years to settle a deceased person’s estate. This means it could take 2 years or more for those entitled heirs or beneficiaries to receive their proceeds.

Another big problem is the large fees and expenses that are incurred with the Probate process.


Probate real estate
Avoiding Probate may be your best route.

How to avoid Probate

Yes, you can avoid Probate, and it’s related headaches, and it’s often exorbitant expenses and fees.

The single best way to avoid Probate is to create a Living Trust.  A Living Trust places your property and other assets in a trust.  A will simply distributes your property and assets.

Because with a Living Trust your assets are already distributed to a trust, which your designated Trustee manages for the benefit of your heirs, and beneficiaries, probate can be completely avoided.

Another huge benefit to setting up a Living Trust versus allowing your estate to go through Probate, is privacy.  A Living Trust, unlike a will, will not be made public upon your death.

With a Living Trust your estate will be distributed and disbursed in private.  With a will(Probate), all of your assets will be distributed as part of public record.

Another benefit of having a Living Trust is, should you become incapacitated, or ill, your Trustee can immediately take over your affairs.

With a Living Trust, however, your personally selected Trustee can handle your affairs with no court intervention, and because the trust is a revocable one,  you can retain control yourself, if you challenge your incapacity.

Another way to avoid the time consuming, and costly Probate process is to designate beneficiaries on your bank accounts, investment accounts, and retirement accounts.

Pension plans, IRA accounts, 401K plans, life insurance policies, and stocks and bonds, are all considered ‘payable on death accounts.’

Banks, insurance companies, and brokerages will provide payable on death forms for you to fill out if you request them.  This simple act can save you and your beneficiaries a lot of stress, time, and money.

Another terrific way to keep your property from the clutches of Probate, is to use Joint Tenancy with a Right of Survivorship or similar forms to allow you to hold your property jointly with a spouse, or significant other.

Generally speaking, the larger the estate, the greater the need for a Living Trust.  Talk to your tax planner, your accountant, or your investment professional to see if a Living Trust is suitable for you, and your situation.

Probate real estate
Probate real estate investing.

Probate Real Estate Investing

The first step in probate real estate investing is finding the deals.  You can find these deals in the newspapers.  They are in the notices section, the obituaries, and in the real estate ads. You can also find them in marketing areas where there is a large elderly population.

You can also go to the county courthouse, either in person, or on their website.  The homes/estates in probate will be listed for you. You will likely need the assistance of the clerk’s office to help you find the probate information you need at the county offices.

It is important for you to know how to value properties. If you aren’t an active real estate investor in a certain area, I suggest you hire the services of a good real estate agent, or a real estate appraiser.

These folks know what homes sell for in certain areas, and can also assess the value of a particular property based on amenities, and condition.

Once you find a home or estate that you are interested in, it’s time to get in touch with the executor of the estate.  The executor is the person appointed to handle the affairs of the estate.

This is often a very stressful, emotional time for the family of the deceased.  You can provide a much needed service to the family of the deceased by simplifying the process of the estate sale for them.

Probate real estate
A good realtor can help you with probate real estate.

By agreeing to purchase the home and the other estate property, you can make this an easy and quick solution for them. This way they don’t have to deal with the headaches, and hassles of selling the property. What the family wants is quick cash, and no stress.

After you have determined that the home is worth looking at, set up a viewing with your realtor, or directly with the executor.  It is important to build a rapport with the executor.  This person holds the key, pun intended, of your success with the estate they represent.

Once you have completed your due diligence, which includes determining the current state of the condition of the property, what comparables in the area have sold for recently, and the state of the overall real estate market, you can put your offer together.

Once again, I recommend the services of a good real estate agent to assist you with this.  I also recommend making any offer contingent upon inspection, as many times the ‘surface’ condition does not reveal all of the flaws of a property.

If your offer is accepted, the property will close like any other type of residential real estate transaction.  The paperwork will go to the title company, and they will do a title search,  provide title insurance, and set a date for the closing.

Many real estate investors believe that probate is the best area of real estate investing for various reasons.  The primary reasons are that probate usually has the least competition with other real estate investors, and that bargains can be had as grieving family members are often willing to take less money to effect a quick sale.

Probate real estate investing is definitely worth looking into if you are serious about your real estate investing career.

How to invest in real estate

Do it yourself legal!

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