Financial Survival Kit

What do you need to be prepared for the future financial turmoil? How can you survive?

Should I Buy Gold?

It seems like everyone is a gold bug these days, but is it the right thing for you?

What Are The Chances?

With all this "end of the world" hype going on, maybe we should consider the chances. What are the chances of a civilization threatening event?

How Much Insurance Do I Need?

Insurance is an extremely broad topic. Hopefully this generalization on the different types and amounts will help straighten things out a bit.

Iraqi Dinar: Scam or Scoop?

Some say it's an easy way to make a million bucks! But do you understand currency markets enough to take advantage?

The financial world we live in is just as wild, if not more, than the mountains and woods we walk through. We are told that the fundamentals of our economy are strong, but we can feel that something is wrong. My unique financial background and survival passion make Financial Survivalist and excellent place to learn and share.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

5 Things to Expect From a Good Agent

There are a lot of bad realtors out there, so having expectations and communicating them is essential. There are some basic things you should expect from every agent that wants to sell your home. Good agents will give you much more, but these are bare minimums in my opinion. If the agent can't or won't do them, go somewhere else.

  1. Supra Key - a Supra Key is an electronic box that stores your house key for other agents that want to show your home. Some agents still use construction key boxes, but it is impossible to control them. A supra key allows you to set limits on time of day and day of week an agent can show your home. It also keeps track of who sees your house and when, that way your agent can follow up and your belongings are safe.
  2. Professional Photographers - first impression is everything, and pictures are it. I've seen agents take pictures with their flip phones! Unless your agent has a professional camera and lens they should not be taking the pictures themselves. Even then, a professional photographer can set proper lighting and showcase your house for a full virtual tour.
  3. Extreme Internet Marketing - Over 90% of buyers start their home search online. Some agents list your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and think they are done. Century 21 will post your listening on over 500 websites, exposing your home to as many buyers as possible and creating demand for your house. More demand = better price.
  4. Actively Search for Buyers - There are two kinds of agents; passive and active. When you hire an agent your hire them to sell your home. A good agent will call other agents and tell them about your home so they can bring their buyers. They will share the listing in office meetings and call around your neighborhood to see if your neighbors know someone that wants to move there. A GOOD AGENT GOES TO WORK!
  5. Sales Skills - Your home is a product. Real Estate is a sales industry. Do you want to hire a salesman to sell your home, or just a realtor? A salesman will get your home sold for the best price possible. If an agent can't demonstrate good communication skills and negotiating skills with you, then how can they do it for your home?
In conclusion, make sure you are comfortable with the agent. Make sure they will communicate. These 5 things are basic and a good agent will do much more. Take your time when choosing an agent and make sure you are comfortable with them.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mormons and Gays

I don't always agree with the stance on Gay Marriage of the Latter Day Saints Church (Mormon's). I have had many Gay friends. However, I respect very much what they have done to try and bridge the gap between the LDS beliefs and homosexuality. The LDS church has announced a new website to explain their position on homosexuality.

The website emphasizes compassion and understanding. I think it is a nobel effort to reach out to the homosexual community considering their belief's on the subject. The LDS church has come a long way on this subject. Take it for what it is. No matter how you feel about it, it is a significant attempt. Check it out at

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Government Funded Propaganda!

The California Federation of Teachers (CFT) has released a cartoon presenting their arguments on why the rich need to be taxed more. The video is extremely biased and offensive. It features gready "fat cats" that cheat on taxes and pay less than everyone else. They use their "extra" money to invest in Wall Street and get even more wealthy. They justify their greedy ways by saying it will "trickle down" and they demonstrate this by urinating on the poor! THIS VIDEO IS ABSURD!

We could discuss how tasteless and biased this video is all day. However, I would simply like to point out a few pieces of hypocrisy:

  1. The narrator is a member of the 1%.
  2. The CFT invests their member's pensions in Wall Street and is one of the largest pension plans there.
  3. Wall Street is where a company can go to get money to hire more people! Apple, Google, Facebook, Adobe, State and Local governments and even the CFT may at times seek investors on Wall Street.

The CFT is one of the two main teachers unions in California. They are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and AFL-CIO. It is one thing to create propaganda that demonizes job creators, but it is a whole different offense if the propaganda is paid for with tax dollars.

Tax dollars fund the government which pays teachers salaries. CFT membership and dues are a requirement in California and all Education Professionals pay dues without option. Those dues then fund cartoons like this.

I cannot believe we have stooped this low. I can't believe that people will actually watch this and believe it. Below is an excelent critique on the video.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Invest Your IRA in Real Estate!

You can use your IRA to invest in whatever you want, with major limitations. One of my favorite places to invest is Real Estate. Using your IRA to invest in real estate has limitations, but it allows you to take advantage of a primed real estate market and grow your retirement.

American Pension Services is one of the few IRA Service Providers that allow true self direction as far as the law allows. They have numerous education resources to help you know how best to use your IRA. With true self direction you can invest in what you know (my favorite way to limit risk). Their fees are a little steep, but it's worth it if you are actively managing your IRA.

There are a few simple rules that you must follow when using an IRA to invest in real estate:
1. You nor a family member can benefit directly from the investment. All benefits are to go back to your IRA.
2. You nor a family member can live in the real estate.
3. You nor a family member can work on the property directly.

Always consult a tax attorney when making these kinds of decisions. If you like real estate, it might be worth it to look into this kind of investing.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Dihydrogen Monoxide Kills!

It is surprising how many are unaware of this silent killer in their daily lives. It is estimated that Dihydrogen Monoxide kills 1.2 MILLION people world wide ever year. That is 2.4 times the number of people killed by guns! In the United States it is the 2nd leading cause of death for children under 12! It is time that we make it known DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE KILLS!

The worst part is that all of these deaths could be prevented by simply making Dihydrogen Monoxide illegal! If we imposed a world wide ban of Dihydrogen Monoxide we could save 1.2 million lives each year!

Some would say that criminals would simply ignore the ban. I say that means most Dihydrogen Monoxide deaths would be among criminals.

Some would say that Dihydrogen Monoxide doesn't kill people, that people kill people. I say if people didn't have Dihydrogen Monoxide then they couldn't use it to kill people.

The facts are clear. Dihydrogen Monoxide kills 2.4 times the number of people killed by guns! Support the Global Ban on Dihydrogen Monoxide! Save lives! Share this with your friends and maybe you will save a life!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Now is the Time to Sell Your Home!

If you have been thinking about selling some real estate, now may be the time to do it. "But isn't spring the best time?" Usually, but there are always buyers and sellers.

Inventory is at the lowest level it has been in years. That means less competition for you and more demand. Simple supply & demand. Lower supply and higher demand means better prices!

However, conditions are bound to change. Banks have been holding back foreclosures because the "robo signing" incident. Several large banks were sued by the Federal Government and had to suspend foreclosures. They have since settled and have began issuing NOD's (notice of defaults) again. One of my small areas has gone from a few NODs per month to over a dozen per week!

As these NODs turn into Short Sales and Bank Owned properties, inventory will again rise. Even more significant is that the ratio of distressed properties vs normal listings will rise as well. This will drive the prices down

As a side note, interest rates are about as low as mathematically possible. Eventually they will have to rise and when they do the real estate market will suffer.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

I am Thankful for Freedom!

I hope everyone had a good holiday. My parents visited from California and it was wonderful. I wanted to take a minute and share with you a few things I am grateful for.

Despite my feelings about the administration and the direction our country is headed, I am grateful for this wonderful country we live in. I am grateful for the freedom that we enjoy, that we can live, work and worship how and where we want. That we can travel as we please and strive for happiness and success.

I am grateful for the soldiers that give and gave their lives to earn and protect the freedom we enjoy, and for the soldiers that simply sacrifice being with their family and the comforts at home to do the same.

This is a wonderful country we live in. Always remember how blessed we are, no matter the challenges that lie ahead.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Post Election Day: World Did Not End!

Good morning my fellow Americans. Some of you may be surprised to find that the sun came up, the world is still here, our country is still intact and guns can still be purchased in most states. I think this election season was an extra emotional one and for good reason.

I feel this election was a tipping point. Not necessarily toward the end of the country or freedom, not even between red and blue, but a tipping point of ideas. Two very different pictures of America and where we should take the country. It's not the first time our country as confronted these ideas, just the first time "equal opportunity" has been directly and openly replaced for "equal results."

This election was about free stuff; getting something for nothing. We have reached the point that a voting majority receives benefits that are paid for by a voting minority. There is no turning back. Human nature forbids it. Our path is chosen and our destination set. The only question is how quickly we will arrive.

As much as I would love to stop going to work, we cannot put our lives on hold. Life must go on. In the end, happiness and joy are a choice. Success, though impeded, is still a possibility. Friends and family will still love us.

We have only begun to fight.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Why Debt is Good

Is debt ever good? Why do Millionaires and Billionaires often have mortgages on their home? Every time you deposit money in a bank, the bank is borring money. In fact, the "commodity" of a bank is debt. Banks make BILLIONS and the only thing they sell is debt?

It's called arbitrage. If you could borrow $1million at 2% and lend it at 5%, would you do it? What if your risk was guaranteed? The federal reserve and government pretty much guarantee that banks can't go bankrupt. They are "too big to fail." A 3% gap on $1million is $30,000 a year, plus compound interest!

That doesn't mean that debt is good. Neither you, nor I have a government guarantee. In fact we have no guarantee. Debt is never good, but sometime it is a necessary evil.

I recently purchased a car. I could have paid cash, but the bank offered 2.24%! I only pay $517 in interest over 52 months of the loan! That is uber cheap. The average annual inflation is about 3%. If I can borrow  money at less than 3% then it's basically free money. If I think we are headed into an inflationary cycle, then they are paying me to borrow money.

No, don't borrow money to make money. That's stupid. However, in these uncertain times I feel paying $517 over 52 months is worth having $10k+ in reserves in the event that I need it for another reason. So is that debt bad? Especially if I have the ability to pay it off at any moment?

I'm not going to answer. I would never suggest that someone goes against their principles. If someone needs to be debt free based on principle, I will never say that is a bad idea. However, it might be possible that there are better things you can do with your money. It's a personal decision on a case by case basis. Good luck!

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Driveway French Drain Repair

The driveway was sloped away from the french drain and all the water was flowing into the garage. I installed a drain the entire width of the driveway to prevent further water damage. This is my journey.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Why I Can't Wait For Nov. 6; It's not what you think.

Anyone that has spent the last few months on planet earth knows that the presidential election is coming. Politics can be seen everywhere you go. I believe that our country is at a tipping point and this election represents a point of no return. Considering how politically opinionated I am, it's ironic that I cannot wait for it all to be over. 

It's not because I think Romney is going to win, or because I want to be friends again with my liberal friends. It's because I want to know how to prepare for the next four years. Based on history, sociology and simple economics, I know how the next four years will look depending on who is elected.

If Romney is Elected:
  • instant hiring will happen because confidence will be restored
  • stock market will skyrocket for the same reason
  • velocity of money will speed up and we will see inflation
  • high interest rates to combat inflation
  • housing market will continue with low inventory and price appreciation
  • though a fiscal cliff will loom, faith will be restored that evasion is possible
If Obama is Elected:
  • the US will most definitely hit a fiscal cliff: tax increases, forced budget cuts, & or debt ceiling
  • stock market will crash; it has stayed afloat with hope
  • hiring will remain sluggish for years
  • housing market will continue with low inventory and price appreciation
  • hyperinflation becomes an actual possibility, but not immediately
  • freedom will become a luxury
  • the cost of healthcare will skyrocket, even compared to recent appreciation
  • the federal debt will hit 20T, maybe not for 5 years, but it will.
  • US credit rating will be slashed again
  • Fed WILL NOT stop printing money
You may not agree with me on any or all of these points, but I don't care. I have done the research. I have studied and observed great societies and their degradation. I am confident in my analysis and predictions. I also still believe Obama will win for the simple fact that I don't have faith in society. I have said it before, if Obama win's I'm headed for the hills. Not literally  but figuratively. My Homestead Project will be kicked into overdrive and I will be up and running by next summer.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ameritopia by Mark Levin

If you watched Ben and Dan on a Log, then you know I was reading Ameritopia by Mark Levin. In Ameritopia, Mark Levin summarizes the ideas of several conservative and utopian philosophers. I love the fact that he allows you to see both sides. He explains the positives and negatives of ALL the different philosophies.

I'm ok if you subscribe to a different philosophy than I, as long as you understand to what you subscribe. What bugs me is ignorance; thinking you support a good cause, but not realizing the negative and possibly hypocritical impact of your actions.

What is amazing about Ameritopia is that while explaining different philosophies in plain language, Mark allows us to see which ones actually work, and which ones lead to the degredation of society. The simple fact is that man is not perfect. Imperfect man will not allow for "perfect" society. Any attempt to achieve it results in horrible consequences. The next best thing is free society.

All in all, it is an excellent book. Mark Levin seemed to try and keep a non-biased point of view. However, it is difficult to maintain a well educated non-biased point of view. Read it! Decide for yourself!

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Freedom vs Free Stuff

Benjamin Franklin said (paraphrasing) "Those who give up freedom in exchange for security will have neither." The exact quote is from a letter he wrote, but you get the point. When we allow the TSA to look at our naked bodies in the name of security, we are giving up freedom for security.

Whenever we depend upon someone other than ourselves we give up some of our freedom and usually do so in order to obtain some sort of security. The more we accept the governments role in our lives the more they will have power to control our lives. Think about the new lunch program Mrs. Obama has promoted. Kids that have government lunches have given up their choice of what they get to eat for lunch in exchange for a free lunch.

You can't have freedom AND free stuff. Yet more and more this attitude of entitlement is growing. The day will soon come in which the government they rely on for so much will dictate how, where or if they can live, and because of their level of dependence they will have no power to object.

I know we are a long way away from being North Korea, but what most people don't understand is that a foundation for that kind of government is being built in front of our eyes. Once all the pieces are in place, and they almost are, it will only require a flip of the switch and the light of freedom will go out.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Agent VS For Sell By Owner

There are many positives and negatives to selling your home yourself.


  1. Save Commission, usually 6%
  1. It's a lot of work
  2. Often lack of experience creates unnecessary risk.
You don't save any money?

The average For Sale By Owner home sells for a price that is $60,000 less than a home listed with an agent!

You can save money and time by negotiating a lower commission! However, when hiring someone that will be negotiating the highest possible price of your home, do you really want someone that can't even negotiate their own commission successfully?

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Does Stimulus Spending Work?

I think this is my favorite video from LearnLiberty. What is the coorilation between government spending and economic growth? Not what you think. I don't care who you are or what you know, you can learn from this amazing video from Learn Liberty.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Ben & Dan on a Log

My buddy Dan from wanted to catch up, so he came on over and we caught up. We decided to archive our gathering and since we were sitting on a log, we called in "Ben & Dan on a Log." Book, Preps and Work! Enjoy, and please leave your feed back so we know if we should do it again or not.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pending Home Sales Dip in August

Pending homes sales dipped in August. Ask me if I am surprised? I look at the market statistics for Utah every week, and I knew inventory was down. Homes were selling faster than they were coming back on the market.

This is mainly because the banks have temporarily slowed their forclosure rate. They were sued over the "robo signing" incedent, they can now keep the properties as rentals, and there are several government housing programs to try stop forclosure. When the number of forclosure sales slows like it has it greatly affects the inventory on the market.

So what does this mean? Lower inventory means a "sellers market." Multiple offer bidding situations are very very common now. In fact, if you don't get multiple offers you may be over priced. Now is an excelent time to sell. Prices in Utah are up for the past 4 months.

I feel this situation is temporary. Forclosures will speed up again. Inventory will begin to come back onto the market and this temporary "sellers market" will be over.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Howard Stern Man On The Street

Howard Stern had someone go out and interview some idiotic Obama supporters on the street. The level of ignorance is outstanding. Granted, I'm sure the sample was skewed. There are conservative idiots too.

However, I wonder if we polled all the idiots, if we would find more conservative idiots or Obama idiots? I venture to argue that the conservative argument requires a certain degree of intellect and understanding.  I would wager large amounts of money that there would be more Obama idiots. After all they say, "If you are young and a liber it means you have a heart. If you are old and liberal, it means you have no brain."

Just to be fair I posted the video by Alexandra Pelosi featuring Stupid Republicans.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

The Road We Are Traveling

America is headed in a specific direction. Do you like where we are headed? Do you know what your children's lives will be like in 5, 10 or 20 years? I think we will arrive at our destination and I KNOW we will arrive sooner than expected. Don't believe me? You should study more history, because it repeats itself. When you study history it is obvious where we are headed.

Where We Are Headed:
  • Financial Crisis: We've been there, we will be there again. When we are it will be worse.
  • A Real Run on the Banks: Some European countries are already experiencing massive amounts of withdrawals. It happens when people don't have faith in their banks, gov't and or currency. Possible here? I think so, but not yet.
  • More Bailouts, More INFLATION: the Federal Reserve is already printing money at the rate of $60billion per month for an indefinite period of time.
  • New Money: There are some reports that a "new dollar" is already printing. Massive amounts of cash are being distributed. The people running the show know what is coming and are preparing.
  • Revolutionary Movements: Occupy Wall Street, Muslim Brotherhood, Anonymous, Fabian Society, George Soros, "The Coming Insurrection"... should I go on? 
  • NATIONALIZED HOUSING: This is the one that scares me, but the "housing is a right" argument has been used before to justify many things. This won't happen until total collapse and revolution.
  • Wage/Price Controls: "It's to control inflation!" This also has been used before here in the United States!
  • Work Armies: "It's your duty." In order to guarantee you will always have work you must give up your ability to choose what that work is. Thank you Marx.
  • No Taxes or Inflation or Depressions: They will make this promise and try to follow through by controlling everything. They will fail.
  • High-Tech Feudalism: Big Brother is watching already! Homeland Security Act, cameras in public areas, police radar that can see through walls, etc.
  • Education as a Tool For Human Engineering: U.S. Department of Indoctrination (Education) has been going on for years. 
  • Regionalism as a Transition to World Government: UN

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Basement Bathroom Remodel

The picture says it all. I had to do something about it. I tore out the tub, surround, floor, toilet, and put in a new tile shower, tile floor and toilet. Now you know why I've been so busy. First video of three below. Take it for what it is.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where Were You September 11?

Every so often there is an event that is etched so deeply into our memories that we will not forget. Pearl Harbor, JFK assassination, and September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

I wasn't alive for the first two, but I remember the last. I will always remember that FREEDOM is fragile and as there is evil in the world, there will always be enemies of freedom. Those wanting to destroy it.

Those enemies may be terrorists, anchormen, or  politicians. They are everywhere and we must always stand firm against them. Always remember September 11. Always remember YOU ARE FREE!

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Laffer Curve: Why Raising Taxes Won't Balance the Budget

The Laffer Curve is a principle that at some point tax revenues begin to decrease as you increase tax rates. The reason is that income is the incentive to work and make more money. The more the government taxes, the less incentive there is to work and make more money.

You might think, "But people need money?" or "A little money is better than no money!" But the Laffer Curve is economic fact. The only question is at what tax rate does tax revenue begin to decrease?

According to the research done by some of the countries most influential LIBERAL economist, that rate is 33%. Raising taxes above 33% will actually decrease the governments tax revenues. Therefore, raising taxes on the rich WILL NOT balance the budget. In fact it will DECREASE tax revenue and increase the deficit. 

However, the people in the country that are currently paying less than 33% may be taxed more in order to increase tax revenues. In fact a flat tax of 33% may maximize the possible tax revenues of the government. Though I am an advocate of a flat tax, I am also an advocate of decreasing expenses and would prefer a flat tax closer to 20%.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Why The Fed Isn't Worried About Inflation

I've been thinking a lot about why the Fed is so willing to print money (ie quantitative easing).  Essentially, there are 3 reasons they are not worried: money supply, velocity of money, and wage deflation.

1. Velocity of money, how quickly money moves through the economy, has to be high for inflation and it is really slow right now.

2. The money supply was extremely decreased by all the debt discounting and write offs that happened as a result of the housing crisis. A decrease of the money supply leads to deflation, which is really bad. To counter that they are printing money.

3. The average median household income has dropped almost 10% recently. This is very bad. When people make less, they spend less. When people spend less there is less money in circulation and that can lead to deflation (ie bad).

The fed isn't worried, and I am not worried, about inflation in the short term because it isn't likely to happen. It's more likely we see a deflationary period that can be very damaging to the already weak economy.

Long term the fed thinks they can take out the extra money by selling the debt they have been purchasing. This is only possible in pristine economic conditions that are not likely.

It is more likely that in the long run quantitative easing will cause more economic woes than it has prevented. It has always been this way, and as they say "history repeats itself."

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Real Estate Commissons

A lot of people think Real Estate commissions are out of control! Think about it; a standard commission paid by someone selling their home is 6%. That means a $100,000 home would cost $6,000 to sell. A $300,000 would cost $18,000. A $500,000 would cost $30,000. That's a  lot of money!

Let's take a moment and look at where those commissions go:
1. Photographer - any decent agent is not going to take the pictures themselves. They will hire a professional photographer to get the job done right. The majority of buyers start their search online and good photographs make the difference.
2. Sign Fee - Yes the signs cost money and most agents have to pay for their signs. If they don't put them up themselves, they pay someone to put them up and take them down for them.
3. Transaction Coordinator - there are a lot of papers in a real estate purchase. These papers are to protect you. If you do a real estate purchase and there is less paperwork than when buying a car, you might be in trouble. A transaction coordinator makes sure all the paperwork is in order and copies go to the people that need them.
4. Transaction Fee - Brokerages often charge a basic transaction fee to the agent for essentially "legally" supervising the transaction. It's a base fee regardless of the size of the transaction.
5. Broker Split - A broker split is a % of the commission earned by the agent, paid to the broker for supervising the transaction.
6. Buyer's Agent - if the agent listing the home isn't the one that found the buyer, the commission is usually split between the two 50/50.
7. Lock Boxes - Supra boxes will actually keep track of who enters the home, when and how often. It is a good indicator to help in the sales process. You can also control the time people are allow to enter etc. It is an excellent tool and it is expensive.
8. MLS and Licensing Fees - here in Utah it costs about $2k to get your license. Every two years the license has to be renewed.
9. Business Expenses - many agents have to pay for all of their business and office supplies and expenses.

Don't think an agent on a $100,000 transaction will pocket $6k, or on a $500,000 transaction will pocket $30k. It's not going to happen. In fact, because of the costs a lot of agents won't take listings under $100k. Do what you want to pinch a penny, but I earn my commissions.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

$16 Trillion in Debt!

I remember when I was freaking out over $15 trillion in Bloated Government Debt. Now we are at $16 trillion? This is insane. Just to give you some perspective of how big $16 trillion is.

1 million seconds = 11.5 days.
1 trillion seconds = 31,709 years.
16 trillion seconds = 507,344 years!

I think that says it all!

Government cuts are not a moral issue, they are a inevitable necessity. Either we make cuts and get our spending in check or we all go down the drain and we can't help anyone!

But wait! We can raise taxes! Ever heard of the Laffer Curve? Raising taxes doesn't work! However, every time the government has lowered taxes, every time, tax revenues have increased.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When Good Deals Go Bad: Tittle Issues

A lot of people think that they don't need a real estate agent. That's because they don't know what can go wrong. Paying a small commission can save you a lot of money WHEN GOOD DEALS GO BAD.

When buying "Dream House" everything went smoothly. Inspection, financing, docs, etc. Except for one little title issue.

When you sell a house you are responsible to provide a clean and marketable title. If you still owe money or don't even own the house completely, it has to be cleared up before or when the house is sold. The seller's agent chooses a title company, and the title company makes sure it's clean and clear.

The buyer's agent used a different title company that actually did it's job. Apparently a 20'x300' strip of the property for sale had never been deeded to the current seller. Essentially, the sellers unknowingly had been using and tried to sell property they didn't ever own...Yes. It happens.

The seller's title company refused to communicate with the seller's title company. They insisted they could and had cleared title.

At closing the buyer's title company insisted on seeing how the seller's company cleared title. Turns out the seller's title company didn't even know about the problem and never checked if they did.  Suddenly, closing was canceled and now the sellers were in default.

A Real Estate Purchase Contract (REPC) is a bilateral contract. That means that both the buyer and the seller are committed to the transaction. The buyer has to buy and the seller must sell, with certain exceptions. If the buyer doesn't buy, the seller keeps the earnest money. If the seller doesn't sell, they must match the earnest money. In either case, the defaulting party may be responsible to pay agent commissions as well.

In this case, the seller could not provide clean title. They would be responsible for matching the earnest money, commissions, and some repair costs. In total almost $20k. All because the agent used a bad title company.

The seller's agent blamed the buyer's agent, but the fact is that it was the seller's responsibility to provide clean title. Luckily, the buyer's agent was amazing. He convinced the seller's agent to tell the seller's title company that they needed to honor their commitment to insure. They insured despite the title defect and the transaction was completed.

Long story short, if it wasn't for the buyer's agent, the sale wouldn't have happened. The seller would have been on the hook for $20k, and no one would have been a winner.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

5 Ways To Lose At Life

1. Make Excuses: The number one reason how some one fails at life is they make and accept excuses instead of accepting responsibility. Are you an object to be acted on or are you the one to act?

2. Be Negative: There are things all around to to be happy about, to be grateful for. However, there are also things that suck. You choose which ones you want to focus on. I can tell you which ones will make you happier.

3. Be Lazy: Yes, you can work 16 hours a day. Maybe you don't want to work that much, but don't be afraid to work hard. I don't know anyone that is successful that didn't work hard to get there.

4. Have No Direction: The world will stop and stand aside for a man who knows where he is going.

5. Have No Motivation: If you don't know why you are doing something, you will get distracted and discouraged. Your "WHY" is what get's you through the tough long days.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bill Nye Epic Fail: Creationism

I use to like Bill Nye. In fact in 6th grade they called me Ben Nye the Science Guy. Well Bill provided me with an EPIC FAIL by saying Creationism is not appropriate for children. And evolution is?

Creationism and Evolution should be taught side by side as two different guesses to a question for which we have no answer.

Can we evolve from bacteria? Sure. That isn't a big leap. However, going from nothing to a single cell organism is an incomprehensible leap. A single cell is an extremely complex thing compared to nothing. To say an amino acid can randomly turn into an organism is like saying you can solve a Rubix cube by closing your eyes and randomly turning pieces.

4,325,200,327,448,985,600! That's how many possible positions of a Rubix Cube. The record for fewest moves to solve a Rubix Cube is 20. That means that the probability of randomly solving a Rubix Cube is less than 1/325200327448985600^20. I couldn't find a calculator to compute that. I realize the actual equation for this probability is a little more complex, but you get my point.

If someone closed their eyes and randomly solved a Rubix Cube, wouldn't it be more likely that they had some kind of help? Likewise, isn't it more likely that something helped evolution along than it is that a cell magically appeared?

I'm not saying either is right or wrong. I'm saying that WE DON'T KNOW and therefore should teach that there are questions to which we have not yet found the answer. Bill Nye. Sorry bud, but even you don't have all the answers.

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Creationist Response

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dave Ramsey Epic Fail: IRA Tax Savings!

This morning I heard a Dave Ramsey moment on the radio. Dave said that a fully funded IRA, after 20 some odd years would amount to some $9 million. Ok, that's fine. We can assume the stock market never crashes and you earn Dave's token 10% rate for enough years to accumulate $9 million. That's not what I had a problem with. Every finance guy likes to tout his latest variable as if it is a fixed number.

Dave then went on to tell us that if it was a normal IRA it would all be taxable, but if it was a Roth it would be tax free! What a miracle! WHAT A LIE!

Let's compare the two. I'll make it super simple. Let's assume we invest $100 for one year and it earns Dave's famous 10%. That means at the end of the year we'd have $110. What Dave said was that if it was a traditional IRA we would owe taxes. Assuming 30% tax rate, that means $77 would be ours. However, if we had used a roth IRA it would be $110 tax free.

Where Dave EPICLY FAILS, is the assumption that we would have the same amount of money to invest in a Roth and as a Traditional IRA. Truthfully, if we had invested the $100 in a Roth IRA, that means we paid taxes on the money in the year that we contributed it. Essentially, we would have contributed $70 and paid $30 in taxes, assuming our 30% tax rate. After our year of magic 10% Dave earnings, we would have... *drum roll please* $77.

Just to recap: Traditional IRA $77, Roth IRA $77. Uh, Dave? Roth and traditional IRA are NET TAX NEUTRAL!!! Even if we still contributed the max to either account they have different maximum allowed contributions to accommodate this. Uncle Sam has to get his and ROTH vs TRADITION ARE NET TAX NEUTRAL!!!

The real questions for Roth vs Traditional are; will you be in a higher tax bracket now or later? Do you expect tax rates to be higher now or later? Do you want to owe taxes to the government or pay your tax debt now?

I'm a fan of the Roth IRA, but as I've said many times before; the real problem Dave has is that there is no one size fit's all answer.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

When Good Deals Go Bad: Meth

Some people think buying a house is easy as buying milk. It is possible. However, there are an endless number of things that can go wrong. The following is one of my experiences and how it went wrong. Names and places have been changed to protect the innocent.

Property A started out as a multiple offer situation on a bank owned property. This is annoying, but often unavoidable when it's a really good deal. Nevertheless, we got it under contract. When doing the inspection, the property tested positive for meth. We told the bank to do remediation or cancel our contract. They canceled our contract.

Note: there are different levels of meth contamination. If someone is cooking than the house is wasted. If someone is smoking it, then the levels may still pass legal levels. This contamination is not as serious and can be solved by simple remediation. The levels on this property were barely past legal.

A week later the property was back on the market with no mention of meth in the listing. So we called the city and gave them the results of our meth test. The property was suddenly back off the market and listed as one of the cities "meth" houses. Essentially, the bank had tried to list it knowing it was uninhabitable. We got a call the next week from the listing agent wondering if we wanted to submit another offer. We submitted the offer requiring the bank to do the meth remediation and it was accepted.

I'd like to tell you we closed and everyone lived happily ever after, but not true. In fact the underwriter for our loan went out of town and the lender would not transfer the file. We couldn't close on time because we couldn't secure financing. At the last minute we switched loan officers and the new one was able to close the loan in a week.

Unfortunately we were past the contract deadline requiring us to pay $1,000 per day we went over. On the day of closing the listing agent wanted another $1,000 even though he was the one that held us up the last additional day. We threatened to sue for non-performance (failure to close). He allowed us to close.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Economic Truths of Human Behavior

A lot of people base economic opinions on mathematical equations (2-1=1). For example, tax the rich. If we tax the rich more it will give us the money the government needs for it's budget. The problem is that economics is a social science. It envolves psychology of large groups of people and how they react to economic decisions. For example, if you tax the rich too much, they move and take their money somewhere else that doesn't tax them as much. So in this case, an increase of taxes would result in a loss of tax revenue (see Laffer Curve).

The following are Natural Laws of Human Behavior in Economics originally created by G. Edward Griffin, author of Creature From Jekyll Isle.
  1. Long-term price stability is possible only when the money supply is based upon the gold (or silver) supply without government interference.
  2. For a nation to enjoy economic prosperity and political tranquility, the monetary power of its politicians must be limited solely to the maintenance of honest weights and measures of precious metals.
  3. A nation that resorts to the use of fiat money has doomed itself to economic hardship and political disunity.
  4. Fractional money will always degenerate into fiat money. It is but fiat money in transition.
  5. When men are entrusted with the power to control the money supply, they will eventually use that power to confiscate the wealth of their neighbors.
Most of these laws are referring the monetary policy, which is one of the most prominent methods for economic interference. These laws are not all inclusive, but they are a good start. It makes the point that economic decisions cannot be made by equations and people cannot be expected to act like numerals.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How To Buy a House

When I first purchased a piece of real estate, I was surprised to find out how little I knew. However, purchasing your first home is a lot easier than most people think. For anyone that might be thinking about purchasing their first property, I have put together a very brief list of the steps to owning real estate.

1. Find An Agent: A good agent is very important. There are an endless number of things that can go wrong in a transaction, some of which could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is worth it to find someone you trust. I always recommend someone that has owned real estate.

2. Get Pre-Qualified: You can't look at homes until you know how much you can afford. A good loan officer is just as important as a good real estate agent. Any good agent will have a team of professionals    to which he can refer you.

3. Shop: This is the fun part. Get to know the neighborhoods. Decide if you want a fixer upper or a new home.  Your agent can help narrow the search and show you what is on the market. A good agent will also look for properties that are not on the market yet.

4. Put In An Offer: Don't be afraid to put in multiple offers, especially with short sales. Not all offers are accepted and once an offer is accepted you still have many ways to get out of the contract.

5. Due Diligence: There are several deadlines in the Real Estate Purchase Contract (REPC). The most important in my opinion is the Due Diligence deadline. Essentially, if you find something about the property that you don't like, you can cancel the contract and get your earnest money back. Your agent can help you know what due diligence you should do.

6. Close & Move In: Closing is exciting. You sign a million papers and when you're done, you own a house! Don't forget to wire the rest of the down payment!

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Monday, August 13, 2012

The Best Thing About Civilization!

This weekend I went backpacking. I was gone for four days, did about 32 miles and climbed Utah's highest peak, Kings Peak (13,527). The entire time I was gone I had no cell reception. That means no news and no internet. It was nice being disconnected for a while.

When getting back to civilization I was excited to hear some news. The first thing I found out is that I hadn't gotten a new niece yet. Something unexpected was that Mitt Romney had chosen his running mate! PAUL RYAN!

I remember when Paul Ryan gave the official Republican response to Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address. Right then and there I knew he was an excellent politician. Since I have learned much more about the House Budget Committee Chairman. He also has his own budget plan to get us on track.

Besides his excellent plan to get the country fiscally on track, my favorite thing about Paul Ryan is his ability to articulate conservative values. He understands where our rights come from and how to preserve them. I would rather have him for President, but VP is a good consolation.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kyosaki

I cannot believe I haven't done a review on this book earlier! Rich Dad Poor Dad is a Financial Survivalist classic. Not only is it a must read, but it is a must read again.

The book is the story of Robert (the author) learning about the different attitudes of money. He has a "Rich Dad" (friend's father) and a "Poor Dad" (his father). In the book he compares the two different attitudes about money that his two dads have.

Some of the topics are:

  • the difference between assets and liabilities
  • what the rich teach their kids that the poor do not
  • you house is NOT an asset
  • financial intelligence
  • corporations spend first and then pay taxes
  • the importance of investing and entrepreneurship
Poverty is a cycle of ignorance. This book is probably my favorite first step out of the rate race!

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Water Harvesting Legal In Utah!

I've been doing a lot of planing and research for my Urban Homestead Project, and one of those topics is rain catchment. I have thought for some time that rain catchment is illegal in the state of Utah. They have some pretty funky water rights laws.
For those of you who read the comments on this video, no this is not because of mormon's or because of republicans. It is because Utah is a very dry state and the water rights are based on highest priority (ie farmers and city water).

However, while studying for my Real Estate License I learned where one can look up water rights. I went to the water rights web page and found under FAQs that water catchment is legal in the state of Utah as of May 11, 2010! I can use the rain that falls from the sky! I would have any way, but it's nice to know that it is officially allowed. The details on the law are below.

  • Is the practice of harvesting rainwater legal in Utah?

  • Rainwater harvesting is now legal in the state of Utah, starting May 11 2010. Senate Bill 32 was approved in the 2010 session that provides for the collection and use of precipitation without obtaining a water right after registering on the Division of Water Rights web page ( There is no charge for registration.Storage is limited to one underground 2500 gallon container or two above ground 100 gallon containers. Collection and use are limited to the same parcel of land owned or leased by the rainwater collector.
    To read SB 32 in its entirety click here.
    To register to harvest rainwater click here.
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    Monday, August 6, 2012

    You CAN Dig a Hole and Call it a Pool!

    I've been doing some research on building a pond in my back yard. I wanted something that I could raise fish in. Because of the small size of my yard, I will most likely use Koi or Bluegill. However, I also wanted something I could cool off in. I started searching for swimming pond and found this.

    Natural Swimming pools are an ever more popular permaculture trend in Europe. I had never heard of nor seen them in the United States. I plan to bring it to my back yard... eventually.

    I think it is an excellent alternative for someone considering a pool. You can plant edible pond plants, grow edible fish, and use natural biofiltration to keep it clean. Not to mention the potential water storage. You might not save a ton on the construction, but maintenance is sure to save you an arm and a leg.

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    Friday, August 3, 2012

    How To Eliminate the Fed

    I have to admit that this is not my plan. In fact, I'm not even sure ending the Federal Reserve would be a good idea. This plan is outlined in the book "The Creature From Jekyll Island." The point is that you can't just make the fed disappear overnight, because that means our currency, literally the blood of the economy, would disappear as well. There has to be a systematic plan to break our dependence of the fed, and replace our currency with something better. Although, some of the steps are simply summarized, this is the path. This is how it could be done.

    Step 1: Repeal Legal-Tender Laws: Right now the Fed note is legal tender for all debts, public and private. By repealing legal-tender laws Fed notes will still be accepted to pay your taxes, but private individuals will be free to reject or discount them as they see fit. It will also no longer be the "official" currency of the United States, freeing it up for Step 6.
    Step 2: Freeze the Fed: Freeze the amount of Reserve Notes except for what is needed in Step 6 & 10.
    Step 3: Restore Silver Dollar: Define the "real" dollar in terms of precious-metal content (ie silver dollar). Silver is a classic and historical success. It is by far the most successful currency of the past and hopefully the future.
    Step 4: Establish Gold Back Up: Establish Gold as an auxiliary monetary reserve which can be substituted for silver when necessary; not at a fixed ratio, but whatever ratio the free market allows.
    Step 5: Restore Free Coinage: Allow anyone to bring in precious metals and have the mint turn them into gold/silver coins. This allows for the market to adjust the money supply as required to avoid inflation and deflation due to money supply constraints.
    Step 6: Pay Off National Debt: Pay off the national debt with Fed notes. Yes, this will cause Fed notes to inflate, but the deed has already been done. Congress decided long ago that we would use Fed notes to pay off the national debt. It's the only thing we have available to do so, but by doing Steps 1-5 we can free the economy from some of the consequences so it can live to thrive another day.
    Step 7: Pledge the Fed's PM Reserves: The Federal Reserve claims to have a horde of gold. That gold should belong to the citizens and needs to be used to back currency like it was originally intended.
    Step 8: Determine Real Value of Fed Notes: Determine the weight of the Fed's Gold and Silver reserves. Determine the number of Fed Notes in circulation. By knowing the number of notes and the amount of reserves, determine the actually value of Fed notes in real silver dollars.
    Step 9: Retire Fed Notes: Now we know what they are worth, offer silver and gold reserves in exchange for Fed Notes. This will retire the Fed notes from circulation and add Silver Dollars into circulation in equal numbers.
    Step 10: Issue Silver Certificates: When retiring Fed Notes, give the option to take the coinage or notes that are 100% backed by silver. Silver certificates will become the new paper currency.
    Step 11: Abolish the Fed: We have basically eliminated all that the Fed did and therefore all reason to have the Fed. It's time to abolish the Fed.
    Step 12: Re-Itroduce Free Banking: NO MORE BAILOUTS! Cut them loose from all protection at tax-payer expense. Replace FDIC with private insurance. Require banks to keep 100% reserves for all demand deposits.
    Step 13: Reduce the Size of Gov't: The scope of government should be limited to the protection of life, liberty and property. NOTHING MORE! When the government tries to do too much, it does nothing well. It becomes a strain on the people and the economy. The Fed is our 3rd national bank. BIG GOVERNMENT = NEW FED. There is no point in eliminated the Fed without decreasing the size and scope of the government's power. Otherwise, we will just get a "new" Fed in a few years.
    Step 14: Restore National Independence: Big Government and Tyranny is a threat on the domestic and international level. The only way to protect ourselves from global tyranny is by limiting our interdependance with foreign governments.

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    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Chick-Fil-A! Enough Already!

    Ask a conservative Christian, owner of a restaurant chain that is closed on the Sabbath, how they stand on gay marriage, and still act surprised!? What did you expect!?!?!?!? How can you be surprised that they support traditional marriage?

    It's ok to have a parade to celebrate your right to be gay, but the moment someone celebrates their right to be straight everyone cries intolerance! WTF?

    It's not like Dan Cathy, owner of Chick-fil-a, said anything against a persons right to practice homosexuality. It's not like they refuse to serve people that are homosexual. All he did was exercise his right of free speech to state his position on gay marriage.

    “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that," (Blaze).

    So, in support of Dan Cathy's freedom of speech, and his courage to stand up for what he believes in this world of hating hypocrites (ie liberals), Rick Santorum spoke out in support of Chick-fil-a and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee delclared August 1st Chick-fil-a appreciation day.

    This is how supporters reacted.

    This is how liberals reacted.

    Wait? Who is Intolerant Again?

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