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How to Avoid Making a Huge Financial Mistake

So, I am terrible at consistently blogging. It’s been like 10 years since my last post. My kids are grown now (not really). I really should try harder. For the 4 people who keep up with this blog I am sorry (Just kidding, there’s actually 7 of you). Anyway, my excuse for this last hiatus is somewhat legitimate, during this time I fixed up my old house to sell, sold it for a decent profit, purchased a foreclosed property, and have done quite a bit of work fixing it up. This brings me to my most recent (almost) financial mistake. Yes, I make financial mistakes. I would like to think I make less than most, but I still make some. Recently, at my new house the heater went out. This is a very dangerous situation to be in literally and financially. Rule 1 for large financial decisions is do not make them based on fear or emotion. The problem is, when you are literally freezing (or melting if your a/c goes out in the summer) in your own house there are few options but to fix the problem very quickly. Sometimes it takes days to get people out to give bids and that is not really acceptable. However, it is also not acceptable to spend $4-$8k if you do not have to, even if it means being cold for a few days and/or spending a few nights at a hotel or with family. Let me break this down.

Remember, you should spend at least 3 months salary on a new system! (or is that diamonds?)

Remember, you should spend at least 3 months salary on a new system! (or is that diamonds?)

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Ryan DeLeon in Being Smart with Money,Common Sense on November 20 2014 » 0 comments

The Ultimate Guide to Losing Weight in 4 Easy Steps (hint, stop lying to yourself)

I never thought I would write about this, but crazier things have happened (this is my most popular blog). It took me a while but I was inspired by this Maria Kang picture.

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The whole sensation with this fascinated me. Was the picture a little bit of a humblebrag? Yes. Ok, maybe it was a slap you in the face humblebrag, but so what? Did she not accomplish something pretty awesome through hard work and dedication? Isn’t that the type of things we should be praising instead of ridiculing? I mean I understand being annoyed when a trust fund kid shows off their riches, or someone with the natural athletic gifts brags about being so good at sports. These things annoy us because the person didn’t do anything to earn these things. But when someone works hard and does something that most people don’t, (not because they can’t but because it is not a priority to them) then it is worth at least a “good job”. You don’t have to like her, but don’t hate on the accomplishment. And please don’t then start saying things like “Yea I could do that too if I had 8 hours a day to train”, or “We aren’t all blessed with great genetics”, or “Some of us have thyroid problems, I have a doctors note to prove it”. Why do people feel the need to cut others down to make themselves feel better? Stop making excuses and be honest with yourself. Unless you’re the very small fraction of a percent of people who have some crazy medical condition that causes you to uncontrollably gain weight (for which there is no remedy), then you do not have an excuse. You simply have not made it a priority.

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What are most People’s Biggest Regrets?

I find that most people you speak with have regrets about how their life has gone up to that point. Even if they are happy, there is always something they wish they would have said/done/accomplished etc. Given this knowledge wouldn’t it make sense to study what the biggest and most common regrets are and try to avoid them? I researched numerous articles and studies and have compiled the most common responses. Most of the studies focused on the elderly as they have lived most of their life and tend to reflect on what it is they wish they would have done. Some people might say just be happy and grateful with your life, but that is very narrow minded to me. We only live once and we are here for a short time, we should not spend it just getting by and not fully experiencing life. At least that is my opinion. Who are we to argue with those who have lived most of their lives and are telling us to do these things because we will regret them if we don’t? I have broken these things down into common categories:
  • Education, Career, and Expectations
  • Doing things that matter
  • Expressing Yourself
  • Relationships
  • Health and Happiness

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Ryan DeLeon in Accomplishing Goals,Family,Parenting on March 03 2014 » 0 comments

Buying Cars: New, Used, or Lease? Cost per Year Analysis

So you want to buy a car? Read this first and decide what is REALLY important to you, and know what you are actually paying for.

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Keep Dreaming

This article is going to compare 3 different methods of vehicle ownership (leasing being more of a rental). I am using the average length of ownership of 6 years. So this means (2) 3 yr lease cycles as I am comparing leasing as a method to drive a vehicle. People who lease tend to do so in order to continuously drive new cars. If they wanted to buy back the car at the end of the lease, than they should have just bought it to begin with. This is not comparing someone who buys new and trades it in every few years, because they should be leasing instead. This is comparing those who lease and those who buy. Within those who buy I am using the average length of ownership of 6 years, so they buy the car and have it for 6 years. I will mention these points more than once but I want people to understand the premise. Factors could be changed to fudge results but these are very typical ways to own/operate a vehicle. Those who lease tend to do continue to do so, and those who buy tend to own longer than a few years.

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Ryan DeLeon in Being Smart with Money,Budgeting,Cars on November 12 2013 » 0 comments

How to Save Money on Car Repair

Ok, so we all know that friend who always has a “guy” for everything. When it comes to car repair, you need a guy. Sorry for all the mechanics out there who work at garages, but you guys get a bad name for a reason. If we were to look at markups in the automotive repair industry you would be astounded. Not to the mention the labor rates, which are based on a book. Seems fair right? If your garage uses the standard labor rates, that’s just what it costs to get it fixed. Not so fast, Let me tell you a recent story about car repair that made me want to write this article.

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Ryan DeLeon in Being Smart with Money,Cars,finding deals on September 30 2013 » 0 comments

The Pyramid of Personal Finance

There are other pyramids out there, but this one I developed myself when I was a financial advisor. My company had given me one to use and I didn’t agree with everything on it and felt like it was missing some key components, so I adjusted it accordingly. Here is a copy of the pyramid, and I will go over each section in depth.
 
Section 1: Just starting out
If you have neglected your personal finances, or if you are just starting out on your own, you probably fall into this category. I will try to break it down into parts.
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A. Insurance (Everyones favorite type of salesperson!)
P&C Ins. (or renters ins.)-If you own a home and have a mortgage, you must have insurance, same for cars in most states. However, you want to make sure you have enough coverage. Do not skimp on coverage and limits. For auto insurance go for the highest limits you can afford. As long as you have a good driving record the higher limits ($1 million or $500,000) don’t always make a huge difference. If you rent, you MUST have renters insurance. I personally know 2 people who have been robbed and you are not covered unless you have renters insurance. It is usually very cheap ($10-$20/month), so there is no excuse for not having it.
Health Insurance- You may think you can’t afford health insurance, but the truth is you can’t afford not to have it. Full coverage insurance can be very expensive, however there all alternatives. You can always go with a high deductible plan and use an HSA to pay for healthcare costs.
Long Term Disability- Probably the least known insurance. People assume if they become disabled that the government will take care of them. First of all, do you really want the government to take care of you? Second, if you know anyone who has gone through it, trying to get on social security disability income can be extremely difficult. Also, depending on your “credits”, you may not receive near as much as you need. Long Term disability is based on your current income and depending on the policy will provide you income until age 65. The cost is based on your risk, so the more dangerous the job the more expensive. However, for most people it is very affordable ($18-$25/month).
Life Insurance- Life insurance gets a bad name because of pushy salesman, but it is so important. If you have anyone who depends on you (children or spouse), then you need life insurance. Be sure to go for term, not whole. Term insurance is much cheaper and because there are so many companies the rates are very competitive. For example, I have $1 million, and only pay $38/month. My wife has $500,000 on her for $23/month. How did I come up with these figures? First, you must determine what your value is economically speaking. It may be morbid, but necessary. For me, we considered how much we would need to pay off the mortgage, put enough in savings for a large emergency fund, have enough to fully fund our kids college, and have enough for my wife to live on and go back to school. Term policies are typically for 10, 20, or 30 years. So if you get a 20 year policy in your 20’s, and then (as long as your are healthy again) in your 40’s, by the time you are in your 60’s you shouldn’t need it anymore as you should be financially independent.
Long term care (if you are over 60)- If you would prefer to have your choice of care when/if you become unable to care for yourself, then I suggest purchasing long term care insurance. Statisitcs show a very small amount of people needing care before age 60, so you can probably wait until you are closer to that age to purchase it. Be prepared, it is expensive, but how much is it worth to not be put in a welfare nursing home?
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B. Budget

20 Style Rules for Men

So, apparently people don’t want financial advice as much as they do fashion advice. At least that’s what my site stats tell me. My article about the essential mens clothing items is by far my most popular. That doesn’t mean I am going to make this a fashion blog , but I have been sitting on this information since I posted that blog a while back. Just to be clear this is not my own personal work on all of this. I compiled information from several sites and combined it into one, I will post a link to the articles I pulled from. I added my own commentary but many of the main bullet points are from these articles. I pulled what I felt were the most important/relevant/entertaining.

 

20 Style rules for men

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Ryan DeLeon in Clothes,Dressing Professional on June 10 2013 » 0 comments

Passing Judgment, and Other Fun Topics to Discuss with Family

It has been a while since my last post, I wish I was able to keep up posting better. I am almost finished with the semester and hopefully this summer I will be able to do a bunch of blogs as I will not be taking summer classes. This semester has been pretty rough, 10 credit hours to go along with working full time and 2 kids. The credits may not sound like a lot, but because it is split between 4 classes (Bio and Chem each with labs) it made for a rather difficult schedule. Luckily my employer was willing to let me work around it. But this meant coming in at 630 am and working until 5 Monday through Friday going to class in between on most days. Then I hear a story about a guy going back to school at 35 with 3 kids, working 2 jobs, and took 65 credit hours in a year in order to apply to med school. Then I realize what I am doing isn’t THAT hard. I am fairly confident I can pull an A in chemistry but I think a B in Biology is more realistic. There goes my 4.0 only 2 semesters in. Oh well, enough about school. My wife is still being awesome and staying home raising our two children while I am gone more than I would like (Shout out). They are both growing really fast. Anyway, on to the blog.

Growing Fast

Claire and Gabriel-Growing Fast

Ryan DeLeon in About Me,Family,Parenting on May 09 2013 » 0 comments

2 Invaluable Apps for Studying and Note taking: Brainscape and Notability

Last time around when I was in college I didn’t have an iPhone or iPad. Now I have both and it has made my studying so much easier. I wanted to write this blog about 2 apps that completely changed my college experience, in class and out.

1. Brainscape

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The 20 Essential Men’s Wardrobe Items (plus a few more)

My wife and I recently came to the realization that despite how we feel, we are actually adults and no longer in high school. We then realized we probably should stop dressing like we are in high school. This meant ditching some clothes and doing some research. We both searched the essential items every man/woman must own. I searched numerous articles and websites and have compiled a list of the items most frequently listed as “necessities” or “basics”. If you are like me and do not have the disposable income to justify purchasing new fashions every year, than the smart thing to do is buy the old classics. These are the basic building blocks to a man’s wardrobe and with these things you can look nice anywhere you go. This is especially important for those of us in the professional world  or looking to get a job. Regardless of how you feel about it you are being judged by your appearance in your interviews and at the workplace, so look the part. Also, there is an argument for looking nice wherever you go, you never know who you will run into or meet that could lead to new opportunities. Here are a few general tips before we get started:
Gabriel is breaking so many fashion rules here.

Gabriel is breaking so many fashion rules here.

  • Pay attention to clothes care and wash instructions and follow them, especially for your nicer items.
  • Compare prices, it takes 10 seconds to copy and paste your item into google search, amazon, or ebay. Play it safe and check all three. No reason to pay more if you don’t have to. Always check for coupon codes as well.
  • As always, stick within your budget, you do not have to buy the super expensive brands to get a quality product. That being said you do usually get what you pay for, so for these essential items be willing to spend a bit more than usual and get something that will last. In the end you will spend less because it will last much longer than it’s cheaper counterpart.
  • Hit the Sales! Stores like Banana Republic and Express have items on clearance in store and online at a fraction of the original price. Great time to get deals. My wife and I recently went to Banana Republic and found very nice shirts and sweaters for $10-$20 a piece after the discount.
So here is my list of the essential items every man should have in his wardrobe.
Purchase many of these from my store here.
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