Betting the Ranch

Theresa Sarappo  |  May 2, 2022

IT WAS 2010, I was age 52, I’d just divorced—and I found myself with neither a home nor a fulltime job.
As part of the divorce, we’d sold the house. Between the cash from that sale and some savings I’d amassed when I was single, I had a modest nest egg. I also had a teenage daughter who needed to stay in our current school district.
The rent on my lovely two-bedroom townhouse was devouring my savings.

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Seven Figure Sale

Dennis Friedman  |  Apr 7, 2022

MY WIFE DECIDED to sell the house she bought before we were married. We’re both retired and I view it as another step in our ongoing efforts to simplify our financial lives as we age.
My wife and I interviewed a real estate agent who was recommended by a friend. Steven suggested we do some minor repairs before listing the house. Steven also gave us his opinion on the sale price. He told my wife she had a nice little starter home and we should list it in the middle of the estimated price range.

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Talk About Hot

Kristine Hayes  |  Mar 23, 2022

WHEN I PURCHASED a house in Portland, Oregon, in 2018 for $375,000, my plan was to stay in it for four years. By 2022, if everything went according to schedule, I’d be set to retire from my fulltime job. Then I’d sell the house, and my husband and I would move to Arizona, where we’d purchased a second home in 2019.
Conventional wisdom suggests that homeowners should plan on remaining put for at least five to seven years to come out ahead on a home purchase.

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Cutting Their Cut

Tom Kubik  |  Feb 11, 2022

LET’S SAY YOU bought a few stocks on the advice of your financial advisor for $300,000. One year later, that same advisor says you’ve done really well on the stocks—which are now worth $400,000—and you should sell. After the sale, you net a $100,000 profit. Would you be willing to pay your advisor a 6% fee on the $400,000, equal to $24,000, for the advice he gave you?
If so, I’d think you were crazy.

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On the Move

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 23, 2021

AS WE GROW OLDER, maintaining the family home can become a burden. Eight years after I retired, my wife and I moved to a 2,000-square-foot condo. It’s about the same size as our old house. But it has no stairs, no basement—and no attic full of stuff. There’s also no exterior maintenance or landscaping work required of us.

I’ve been asking near-retirees how both downsizing and relocating figure into their retirement plans. Although there’s much talk about it,

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Betting the House

Michael Flack  |  Oct 7, 2021

ONE THING THAT BILL Gates, Warren Buffett and I have in common is a keen appreciation for the book Business Adventures. Issued in 1969 by The New Yorker business writer John Brooks, this collection of articles is still as interesting, funny and relevant today as it must have been then. The author doesn’t assault the reader with paradigm shifts, rubrics or lessons learned. He simply presents engaging business stories to be enjoyed.

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Hammered Home

Michael Flack  |  Jun 24, 2021

ALMOST 20 YEARS AGO, we renovated our entire Washington, DC, home. The memory is still quite fresh. If you’ve ever renovated a house, you’ll understand.
A home renovation has similarities to personal finance: You can do it yourself (DIY), you can pay someone to do it for you, or you can do something in between. This last approach has worked well for me—both with renovations and financial matters.
Our home consisted of a three-level townhouse.

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Show Me the Cash

Jiab & Jim Wasserman  |  Jun 4, 2021

THERE ARE A GREAT many terrible problems. Having too much cash typically isn’t seen as one of them. Yet that’s where we are. Following our move back to the U.S. from Spain, we found ourselves with an abundance of cash sitting in our brokerage account. And these days, with interest rates the way they are, that cash doesn’t do much more than sit.
The upshot: We decided to purchase some rental properties. We have one rental unit already—our former home—but we plan to make it our home once again.

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Through the Roof

Mike Zaccardi  |  May 12, 2021

STOP LUSTING AFTER homes on Zillow. It’s time to get serious about the property market—and ask whether houses today are a good value.
Make no mistake: Real estate is red hot. Bloomberg recently reported that demand is so strong that almost half of U.S. homes sell within a week of coming to market. The S&P Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index surged 12% over the 12 months through February, with the Phoenix and San Diego markets leading the way with 17% gains.

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Moving Right Along

Richard Connor  |  May 5, 2021

MANY DREAM of retiring to the beach. My wife and I just did it. We recently sold our primary home outside Philadelphia and moved to our vacation home on the New Jersey Shore. The decision wasn’t easy. It was the result of a number of events coming together, including the pandemic, the hot real estate market and an attractive, but unexpected offer on our primary home.
We’d lived in our old home since 1994.

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Renters’ Revenge

John Goodell  |  Apr 30, 2021

MUCH IS WRITTEN about whether it’s better to rent or own your home. Not nearly enough ink is devoted to the issue of renting from a bad landlord.
Perhaps personal finance writers avoid the topic because they’re wary of providing legal advice when discussing potential remedies. On top of that, landlord-tenant law varies greatly from state to state, with some states offering greater protection to tenants and others affording landlords wider latitude.
I know a fair amount about this because I not only spent 14 years as an active-duty Army servicemember who had to move frequently,

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While We’re at It

Richard Quinn  |  Apr 20, 2021

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am the antithesis of the DIY guy. I was completely banned from home repairs many years ago after I set out to replace an electrical outlet—but switched off the wrong circuit breaker before doing so.

We’ve undertaken two major renovations in the past 12 years. The first was an addition to our vacation home. The second is ongoing—a new kitchen at the same house.

We spent months on the plans. In the case of the addition,

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Taking on Tenants

Juan Fourneau  |  Mar 29, 2021

IN MY EARLY 30s, I was a typical blue-collar worker. The only way I invested was through my employer’s 401(k) plan. But I was a good saver, putting 25% of my income into the plan, which was the maximum allowed, plus I got a generous company match of 8%. Still, I was on the lookout for ways to increase my savings and my investment returns. That was early 2006.
I read a variety of books to further my personal finance knowledge.

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Housing Gone Wild

Joe Kesler  |  Mar 18, 2021

THERE’S SOMETHING very emotional about our homes—and how we think about their value. Take the conversation my wife and I had a couple of weeks ago.
“Did you see the house behind us went up for sale this week? They have it listed at 141% more than what we paid for our house.”
“Well, there’s no way their house is worth that much.”
“Oh really? I just talked to our neighbor—the one who’s a realtor—and he said they had five offers the first day it went up.

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About the House

Richard Quinn  |  Mar 9, 2021

MY FATHER WAS A CAR salesman who, for many years, worked totally on commission, with no paid vacation. In 1953, when I was 10 years old, we went to Cape Cod for a week. A friend gave him a tip on a great place to stay. In his enthusiasm, my father booked for a week and paid in advance.
The place turned out to be worse than a Second World War army barracks. My mother refused to stay.

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