Our Story: The Road to Being a Worldschooling Family of Five!

ADVENTURE, BIG, EARLY, EDVENTURE, FAMILY, INCOME, PASSIVE, RENTALS, RETIRED, RETIREMENT, ROAD, SCHOOL, SCHOOLING, TRAVEL, TRAVELING, WORLD, WORLDSCHOOLING http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/03/our-story-the-road-to-being-a-worldschooling-family-of-five

My husband and I have traveled extensively, both independently before we met, and then together. Our first Christmas together was in Paris, our first valentines day we had dinner on a beach in Cambodia with children running by with sparklers. We have the travel bug. If you know what this bug feels like, you will understand that staying in one place for a long time can be painful. You can feel like you have to ignore a part of yourself, because no one else tends to understand it. It feels like being a bird in a cage. Luckily, I have been a lovebird with my perfect match with me, but it has been stifling for both of us.

The History:

When we got pregnant with our first child, we did not have location independent jobs, and we had been working our way around the world using HelpX and WWOOF. We decided we didn’t want to live by the seat of our pants with children; we needed to know everyone would be clothed and fed. So, we headed back to the United States and began settling down into a more ‘normal’ life. We both had given up our higher paying jobs when we left to go travel, and when we came back it was 2009, no one was hiring, it felt like we were starting all over again.

The plan begins. We stumbled upon Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Our vision: We would get enough rentals to give us location independent income wherever in the world we were at, we would be set for retirement, and not have to worry about not contributing to our IRA, 401Ks, and mutual funds, unless we wanted to.

See:  How I never have to pay another penny for my retirement at age 34 on a 30,000 per year salary!

We have now been back in the United States for close to nine years now. We have three beautiful boys now. We are so close to our goal we can taste it! What does that goal look like? $2500 of passive or location independent income per month. Enough to ensure we do not go without food or housing for our whole family in most developed places and live very nicely in places with lower cost of living. But, have you ever been so close to your goal but not been able to realize it? It is excruciating! It makes you want to rush, maybe skimp just a little. So we have set a date to leave, my husbands 40th birthday, which gives us a clear defined date to focus on to get us where we need to be.

See:  Pathway to Financial Freedom Report!!! -Q2 2017

 

What our future looks like:

We plan to slow travel; we will move to a place and live there for a few months if we like the area, trying to use the full length of our tourist visas. We like the beach, so we will try to stay near it most of the time. Since we are so close to the border of Mexico in Tucson, AZ. We plan on just taking our van and heading south and stopping for a few months when we see a place we like. Slow travel and using vehicle will help to keep costs down. Have you ever bought airline tickets for five???

worldschooling

Worldschooling:

As for our children, we plan to worldschool. What is that you say? It is like homeschooling but using where you are to be the catalyst for what topics to be teaching. My husband was homeschooled, and I once upon a time was a scientist, so I feel we will be able to be competent worldschoolers. We, however, will adjust our plans if needed, nothing is more important to us then our children’s wellbeing. But, for now, I will just dream of my little polygots, talking to other children about world history, economics, and current events.

Here is our planned route, this will take several years:

Smart Homes: Cutting Edge or Passing Fad?

Smart Homes: Cutting Edge or Passing Fad Amazon Echo Alexa Google Home Smart Devices http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/03/smart-homes-cutting-edge-or-passing-fad

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


 

First, what is a smart home? It is technology that has been integrated into your home, some of it has to be hardwired into your home while others are devices that communicate via Wi-fi. You now have the potential to control an enumerable amount of devices through movement or sounds, I have even seen some that use vibrations.

Set up your own security system? Check.
Have your entire house change mood lighting with a single phrase. Yep.
Keep an eye on an elderly family member. That too.
A personal assistant who plays music and will help you with your cooking by reading recipes or setting timers all without having to wash those chickeny hands! Yeah, even that.
Save you money by reducing your energy bill. That one is easy!
Control your home remotely? Piece of cake!

Technology has filtered its way into all aspects of our lives, and I imagine that slowly smart technology in homes will become standard. I have noticed as a Realtor, that when I encounter smart technology on a house, the buyers more often than not are excited, and it is one of the things they recall about the house after.

So where do you start?

For me, I just started my journey into changing our house into a smart home last year. Being a mom of three boys, I NEVER buy anything for myself. So when my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I felt like a splurge. After watching countless Youtube videos and articles, I told my husband that I wanted a Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit, and an Amazon Echo. I chose the SmartThings Starter Kit because I like all the things you can do with security, cameras, alert you if a window is open. (Good for burglars and wayward children!) The company is also large and more prominent in the Smart Home field which while slightly more costly, is better supported than some of the smaller companies. The Echo, I chose because it seemed better established than the Google Home, who just entered the scene in 2015 and has some catching up to do program wise. The Echo has had a large impact in my life; music is so much more often playing in my home now, which means more dancing and lifted spirits.

Now, if you are more interested in lighting, I would suggest a Philips White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit to start instead.

How does it work?

First, you must get a hub, this device receives and delivers transmissions to all your other devices and allows for their control. A few of the devices such as the Nest Learning Thermostat  and the personal assistant devices, while able to integrate with the hub can operate independently if you wish.

You can control your hub through your computer, smartphone, or through a personal assistant device like Amazon Echo, or Google Home.

How a smart home is set up.

Click to Enlarge!

 

What are the downsides?

Where ever technology goes there is always someone ready to exploit it, will this make your home vulnerable to hacking? There have already been some reports of abuse.

This is a rapidly developing technology, and it can be costly, and wildly variable. There are so many products out there it could take you weeks of research to learn everything.

Conclusions?

Setting up a program with your hub so you can holler at your personal assistant to turn off the lights or turn on the tv, while having echoes of a starship captain commanding his ship, in reality, is spending quite a bit of money and time to set everything up. If you want your Smart Home technology to perform useful tasks, you will have to buy several other devices after the starter kit. Our decision? We just ordered our Nest 2 Outdoor and 1 Indoor Camera Bundle.

 

34 Breathtaking Images from Madagascar!

34 breathtaking images from madagascar travel fun and adventure

Once upon a time in Mexico, I walked along ancient ruins, and I met an older man from England. He told me he had visited almost every country in the world. I asked him, as so many people ask me now, what was the favorite country that he had visited?! He did not hesitate.  No, “Oh I love them all for so many different reasons.” He told me simply, “Madagascar. It is so different, and it is so wonderful.” So when I saw a flyer on a bulletin board in my Biology building a few years later for an intern program in Madagascar, I jumped.  I spent three months in the bush of Madagascar, working for an NGO named SEED Madagascar in the Pioneer Program. The experience was overwhelmingly positive and transformative,  I would suggest it to anyone. The kindness shown to me by the people of this wonderful country was unmatched in all my travels. The diversity of nature astounding.  I owe that man I met in Mexico, long ago, a great debt.
Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure
Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure  Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar travel adventure

What you need to know before you buy a home!

What you need to know before you buy a home, financial freedom, money, real estate, Tucson, AZ http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/03/what-you-need-to-know-before-you-buy-a-home/

Here is the honest truth about renting versus buying.  The popular line is you are just throwing your money away renting when you could be paying yourself! Right? I know all the investing books I read seemed to tout that line.  It, however, is so much more complicated than that.  So here it is the nitty gritty, no slanted views, pros and cons to owning versus renting.

Renting:

Pros:

You have more freedom.  Leases can somewhat limit this, but you are not tied down.  You don’t have to be in a good seller’s market to leave quickly.  If you get a new job and the commute is far, just move.  Want to take a three-month sabbatical traveling?  Just plan it between moves for no at home costs.

-Simplicity.  You get to pay one lump sum for many housing needs. Maintenance? That isn’t you.  Property Tax? Included! Sometimes even your utilities are included.  Does something need a repair? Just call! No stress for you, one less thing to think about.

-Amenities.  If you are renting an apartment, you get access to many luxuries through communal space.  Pools, Gyms, Lounges, and more. Houses with those amenities can increase price drastically.

-Low upfront costs. An application fee, a security deposit. These can be very small compared to the upfront fees of purchasing a house.

Related:  How to Buy a Property With No or Low Money Down!

 

Cons:

-You have no control.  A landlord can choose not to renew their lease with you, and you will have to find someplace new.

-Your rent will increase.  Your rent should keep pace with market conditions and likely will go up unless the property is in disrepair.

-Does not build net wealth. You are building someone else’s net wealth not your own.

moving boxes financial freedom minimalism real estate renting vs buying

Buying

Pros:

-You have control. While HOAs (Homeowners associations) if you are in one, lenders, and the government has some say on your property it is relatively minimal.  You can change things in your home.  No one can kick you out unless you are seriously delinquent and do not catch up in time.

-The mortgage does not increase. When you buy your house, if you chose a fixed rate mortgage, your mortgage payment is set at the market values when you purchased your home.  This means that your debt will become less significant as inflation increases.  Property taxes and Insurance which are lumped into your payment, however, can and will increase.

-You build net wealth.  Yes, you can build net wealth in your home, but you will also be giving a lot of other entities a cut. There is money lost to fees of buying and selling, and of course, the interest which is front loaded into those first years.  It takes a long time! The longer you hold the home the better.  I would suggest not buying a home, if you do not plan 100% on owning it for the next five years, even then you are gambling on the market to have been stable or good to be able to get out without financial harm so try to plan for ten years.

-You get options. You could rent out your home and make money.  In a tough spot (While generally not advised it is better than credit cards if done correctly.) you can take out equity from your home.  Paid off your home? You could Seller Finance out to get a nice high predictable rate of return that is secured by a property you know better than the buyer.

 

Cons:

-If you are not careful, it can end up a financial trap.  If markets dip as they have done before home value can go down and you could end up stuck in your house for a very long time.  My methods of protections are never buying a home that if rented the price fetched would not cover the mortgage, insurances, and taxes and still leave some wiggle room.

-You cannot control everything.  A methadone clinic could move in close to your house.  A large employer could go belly up.  Your neighbor could let their house go to pot.  All of these can tank the value and your ability to sell your home.  Bye, bye equity.

-It can be an expensive hassle.  Insurance, taxes, maintenance, repairs.  These are all things you have to plan for and come out of your pocket.  Unseen, non-mortgage costs can sneak up on you in a house. Doubling your electricity bill, all those tools and stuff you end up buying, that urgent repair that comes up and costs three thousand dollars.

Owning a Vacation Rental – Ready to Have That Winter Home and an Investment Too?

Owning a Vacation Rental, ready to have that winter home and an investment too jessica coaches real estate blogger life coach http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/03/owning-a-vacation-rental-ready-to-have-that-winter-home-and-an-investment-too/

Have you thought about buying a property near the beach? The mountains? You could vacation there whenever you want, a little home away from home, but it seems out of your reach? Or maybe you just hate finding, and paying inflated rates during yearly events, like our International Gem Show here in Tucson, AZ because everything is full, but wouldn’t imagine buying a house here because it would just sit empty for the rest of the year.

What if I told you: You can have that vacation home, and not only break even, but make a profit!

I have owned a vacation rental for a little over two years now and the gross yields off that vacation rental are over DOUBLE the gross yields of what it was getting as a month-to-month rental.  Keep in mind that vacation rentals have significantly more expenses though.  But, that means if you bought two homes, lived in one, and managed your own vacation rental out of the other it could potentially pay for both homes!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are all the things I have learned during this time:

The Good-
1. No more hotel bills when you visit your favorite vacation spot! You have a home there. You can have all your stuff locked away in the garage or a storage cabinet so you feel like you just left.
2. Great money. In general, the yields off a vacation rental are higher than a normal rental. People will pay significantly more for shorter stays.
3. Lower wear and tear. On average you have a lower occupancy rate with more dates that no one is using your appliances, walking on your floors ect. The premises are also being cleaned regularly which helps with this a great deal.
4. There are management companies that will take care of the whole thing for you.  These vary widely in how much they charge and the extent of what they do.

The Bad-
1. Most of the time you want to go to your rental when everybody else does. I have decided to stay with family instead of at my vacation rental because I really wanted that 2k paycheck!
2. You might be the one stuck paying all the utilities and bills for the property if your manager does not do that. These homes tend to have everything you do at your home, internet, cable, water, ect. This is mostly just an inconvenience but something to keep in mind.
3. The risk is higher than a month-to-month rental. There are periods of time when you might have no renters, such as low tourist season. You will still have to pay all those bills, and maybe a mortgage, while there is no money coming in. This will need to be planned for by saving back some earnings from better times of the year.

 

What are your experiences? Do you own a vacation rental or would you like to?

How to Buy a Property With No or Low Money Down!

How to buy a property with no or low money down investment real estate http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/03/how-to-buy-a-property-with-no-or-low-money-down/

Most of us have heard that it is smart to have 20% downpayment to purchase a home.  And it is.  Your payments will be lower, less interest will be paid over the course of the loan with a large downpayment.  However, if you are using these loans as a vehicle to purchase an investment, meaning not just a place to live but to make money, it can be a wise choice for a variety of reasons to come in with no or low down payments.  There are also people who just prefer to own a home, though sometimes it does not make sense.  Check out this article about the pros and cons of homeownership:  What you need to know before you buy a home!

Loan Types
1. FHA – Federal Housing Administration. 3.5% Downpayment.
Pros: Low down payment, good for up to 4 unit properties, accepts lower credit scores.  It does not have to be your first home or only loan, just your only FHA loan.
Cons: MIP (Mortgage Insurance Premium)  this is additional insurance you must purchase and pay monthly with your mortgage which lowers buying power.  If you are competing with other offers with everything but the financing being the same, FHA tends not to get the contract.  This is because FHA loans have a base quality standards the house must maintain to loan on it, and the lender will often require repairs.

Can I get an FHA Loan? LendingTree.com

2. VA – Department of Veterans Affairs Loans 0% Downpayment
Pros: No down payment, good for up to four-unit properties, mortgage insurance is only a one-time premium which gets wrapped into the loan.
Cons: None to speak of.  If you have access to a VA loan you should have a house.

 

3. Insured Conventional – 3% Downpayment
Pros: Low down payment, good for up to four units
Cons: Not as widely advertised, PMI (Premium Mortgage Insurance), this is additional insurance you must purchase and pay monthly with your mortgage which lowers buying power.

 

4. Seller Financing (Seller Carryback, Land Contract) – terms vary widely but can be low or no downpayment.
Pros:  You are dealing with a person so you may be able to negotiate your terms as there are no standards anyone is being held to. Closing fees will be lower as the mortgage company will not be charging fees such as the origination fee.  You can sometimes get this type of financing with lower credit scores.
Cons: They are harder to find, most people just want all the cash up front when they sell.  The interest rates can be much higher than standard loans.  When you default on a seller financed home the property reverts to the owner and does not go through a standard foreclosure or trustee auction.

 

5. USDA Rural Loans – 0% downpayment
Pros: No downpayment, low-interest rates, not just rural also encompasses small towns, available to people who would normally not qualify for loans.
Cons: There are strict property and borrower restrictions.  Check those out here: https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-direct-home-loans

 

Related: How I never have to pay another penny for my retirement at age 34 on a 30,000 per year salary!

Additional ways to get that downpayment and keep upfront costs lower
1. Negotiate in 3% closing cost coverage into your purchase offer.  This will cover all other fees and leave you with just the down payment.  Be considerate of the seller though and know that this is worse for the seller then selling the property for 3% less due to commissions.

 

2. Purchase a HomePath.com property.  These are foreclosures and short sales.  They have low 3% down payments and often give 3% in closing costs.  They also work to accommodate the first time buyer, giving some homes owner occupant preference and try to make it easier to qualify for.

 

3. Pathway to Purchase Programs.  This program may or may not be renewed with the changes in the government.  It was downpayment assistance program.  There are income and purchase price limits, but they are relatively high.  There is a limitation to what cities the program is in.  For Tucson, AZ they would give up to $20,000 toward your mortgage.

 

4. NHF Grants (National Homebuyers Fund Inc.). http://www.nhfloan.org/programs/index.shtml   Non-repayable grants up to 5% of the mortgage amount.  Not available in all states.  Low to moderate income requirements.

 

5. Other Downpayment assistance programs.   Check out  http://downpaymentresource.com for a search of programs you could be eligible for.

 

6. Ask your lender to see what fees they will waive.  I have found the big lenders more willing to waive fees than small lenders.  Small lenders tend to work harder to get borderline qualifiers into loans though!

 


Do you have any experience with any of these?  Any that I missed?