“There are never enough I Love You’s.”
– Lenny Bruce
Get Ahead of What You Need to Do…
If you might be moving this year, plan ahead to minimize surprises and last minute work! Let’s get together to map out what you need to do. It’ll give you peace of mind.
I understand the true value of your home is measured in memories you’ve made there, BUT when it’s time to sell, understanding the market value of your house is essential. I can provide you with a comparable evaluation and explain how factors like location & future developments affect the price you can command. Once your house is on the market, you can rely on me to help you find a home to build lasting memories. I would be honored to assess your options, just give me a call to schedule an appointment. I care ~ XOXO, – Danielle
Win a $10 Chateau Cafe Gift Card — Quiz Contest
Last Month’s Question & Answer:
Q: If you were running a race and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now?
A: Second place.
Congratulations to last month’s winner ~ Ms. Melanie Lacombe
Enter to win next month’s quiz contest. Scroll down in the newsletter to find this month’s quiz question. Then send your answer…it’s that easy! Each month, one correct answer will be drawn to win.
Start Strong – Financial Planning for 2020
2020 marks the start of a new year and a new decade. It’s a good time to take stock of your financial situation and take monthly actions to improve your financial control. Here’s a list of suggested activities.
- Map out a spending and savings plan. Rather than thinking of savings as a chore, think instead about an upcoming vacation or impending retirement, sending a child to college, or replacing an old car with that extra money you find between the rhetorical sofa cushions. Use tools like Mint and Goodbudget.com to help systematize your savings.
- Increase automatic savings. After carving out some extra savings, increase your automatic savings by that amount. Out of sight and hands off!
- Review your insurance, will or trust, investment accounts, and medical directives. Update your beneficiaries. Make sure your contact information is all up to date. If you don’t have a will or trust, now is a good time to create one. Make a list of these important documents for your beneficiaries.
- Make sure your beneficiaries know where to find your passwords list. If something happens to you, they’ll need access to financial accounts, but also they’ll need to cancel accounts that have recurring payments.
- Pick two big financial goals for the year. They could include getting out of debt, paying off high interest rate credit cards, increasing your income by $1,000/mo, buying a house, learning how to invest in stocks, or taking a family vacation. Imagine what accomplishing just those two goals will do for your life! Map out the plan for how you will accomplish your goals. Take time to do this in writing…it will help you focus.
This can be a lot to bite off in one sitting. Perhaps you can set aside one day each month dedicated to these actions. Calendar a day when you can spend time alone or with your spouse to plan. I promise you’ll feel like a million bucks when it’s all done!
How to Make Deeper Adult Friendships
If you’re like many people who loved watching “Friends,” you may have wished you had a friend group like that…people who knew you, loved you despite your quirks, and had your back no matter what. But those kinds of friend groups are surprisingly rare. In fact, many adults complain that it’s hard to make really close friends as an adult. If that’s the case for you, then here are 6 ways to make closer friendships:
- Be a friend. Be consistent, available, reliable, responsive, and predictable.
- Pay close attention. Really be with the other person, listen deeply to what they’re saying, and empathize. Ask about their story, don’t simply start telling your own. Engage in their experience.
- Let yourself be known; be vulnerable. If you want to be seen for who you are, you have to be willing to stop pretending to be somebody cooler or smarter than you are. Admit that you binge watch “Honey Boo-Boo,” or you’re jealous of other people’s accomplishments. Share a worry you’re having right now. Be willing to show vulnerability.
- Ask for help. If you can ask for and get willing help from a potential friend, you deepen the relationship. People like to be asked for help, if the need is truly there. You can ask for advice or physical help, like if you need a ride or need someone to look after your pet fish for the weekend. Be sure to reciprocate.
- Be aware that they may not need the same level of friendship you do. Invite them on outings or over for game night. But they may not be as determined as you are. If they have other plans, don’t let that deter you from asking again in the future.
- Spread out. Don’t expect a few new friends to become best friends. You may have to look far and wide to find people who are ideal friend material, so invest time in new hobby groups, join a club, volunteer. Don’t be afraid to invite people to dinner or out for drinks. They may be wishing they had more friends, too…but not know what to do about it.
WARNING – Don’t Abbreviate 2020 on Legal Docs
Authorities have warned us not to sign documents or checks with an abbreviated 2020, as in 01/29/20. Why not?
Up to now, we could abbreviate the year to save a few pen strokes. We could write 02/13/19 and all’s well. But if we write 02/13/20, some nefarious person could add an additional two digits to the end, making it 02/13/2018, for instance.
Let’s say you had a contract that stipulated you were to pay someone $10,000/year for the time between 02/13/2020 and 02/13/2025. If you wrote 02/13/20 on your contract, that nefarious person I just mentioned could add 18 to the end of the first date, becoming 02/13/2018. That effectively adds two years to the payment period, which I suppose they could sue for! Or a tenant could add 21 to the end of a date, giving them another year of residency. Or someone could add an earlier date to a check, making it un-cashable (though I can’t think of a reason they’d do this).
I don’t know how serious of a problem this could be, but if it saves just one person from a bad situation, it’s worth making an extra few pen or keyboard strokes.
Free Report: What You Really Want in a Mortgage Broker
A good mortgage broker or loan officer can be a real asset in your house hunt. But there are all kinds of mortgage companies, and each will be able to offer you a specific range of loan options. I have what you need to know. Click below to read these tips.
My Real Estate Advice
“Is it OK to ask Realtors to show you houses you know you can’t afford?”
I get it. One of the hardest things to do as a home buyer is accept your price point. You want to see other homes above your qualifying price range. Or maybe you’re simply curious. There are a lot of reasons you might want to see homes you can’t afford…even homes that are ridiculously out of budget.
Keep in mind, though, that a Realtor is spending a lot of time to make that showing happen. It’s also time the seller might take to clean and vacate the home while you’re looking at it. If you want to see homes out of budget, then keep your eyes out for open houses. That’s a perfectly acceptable way to tour homes, and a fantastic way to see what’s out there, both in and out of your price range.
But if you’re not sure of your budget, or you think you might be able to stretch it for the right home, then let me know you’re dying to see a home that’s out of your price range. I’ll probably ask you some more questions, but as my client, you’ll have my full attention.
Sitting Is the New Smoking
You already know that sitting for a long time makes you feel stiff. But did you know it’s genetically unnatural? In his book, Get Up! Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, James Levine, M.D., says that “for every hour we sit, two hours of our lives walk away.”
His conclusions are based on three decades of research about how we evolved to move, and how sitting affects our circulation, blood pressure, obesity, cholesterol levels, and more. Sitting can even cause clinical depression as our brains adapt to lack of movement.
The science is fascinating, but what to do about it?
Intensity doesn’t matter: You don’t need to do Crossfit while standing at your desk, because the frequency of physical movement is the most important consideration, not the intensity of the movement. So just make sure you’re not sitting for more than 20 minutes at a time. Setting an alarm will remind you to move.
Other ideas: sit on a yoga/fitness ball, do chair yoga stretches, alternate between standing and sitting desk positions, or Levine’s personal favorite: get a treadmill desk. He even invented one! Curious about the science, and further solutions? You can get Levine’s book on Amazon.
February Quiz Question
I’m two in a corner, one in a room,
zero in a house, but one in a shelter. What am I?
4 Pre-Spring Cleaning Tasks to Do this Winter
Want to get a jump on spring cleaning? Here are a few indoor items you can knock off your list while the weather outside is still frightfully cold:
- Clean walls, baseboards, and light switches. These things take time, and your spring cleaning list will already be long enough without adding those surfaces.
- Clean faucets and shower heads by soaking them in vinegar and water.
- Take down and clean light fixtures inside and out.
- Clean out your closets and drawers. Now’s a great time to do away with last year’s old clothes…and make way for a new spring wardrobe, maybe.
Completing these four tasks before the days get longer will help you feel on top of it when spring finally gets here.