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Posts Tagged ‘Investing’

My mom and I have always been interested in real estate window-shopping. I grew up in one house — the only house she’s ever owned — but we watch MLS listings in our community, reading the house descriptions, flipping through the pictures, and watching the price fluctuations.

It always amazes me: You can tell how expensive a house is going to be by the quality of the listing.

Duh. No really, the quality of the listing directly relates to how nice a house is. While it’s understandable that a $2,000,000 McMansion gets better treatment than the boxy $350K house, the differences in presentation are ridiculous.

I’ll be the first to admit that the houses differ in caliber — and, if free, I’d have a clear choice. Still, as a photographer, Cheap House’s pictures could be dramatically improved with minimal effort. Change the angle, turn on all of the interior lights even thought it’s daylight, kill the flash, move the big plastic toys until the photo shoot is over.

When it comes time to sell our house, I’m planning on giving it the million-dollar treatment. The rooms won’t magically become big, or are furnishings as nice as some of the local lux properties, but there’s absolutely no reason to decrease the “curb appeal” of the house to a buyer because it won’t sell for as much to begin with.

The costs of correct spelling in the listing, or spending a few more minutes on each photo are little. The savings? Potentially quite large, changing the entire vibe of the listing. To me, the important idea is that each home stands on it’s own merits, and isn’t penalized for not being “good enough”.

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Sinking Ship

Oh wait. I meant INTERNSHIP. Same difference, eh?

It’s hard to find an internship. I’m on the young-ish side of applicants, still have a couple of years before I graduate, etc. Most companies look for students entering their senior year, and use the internship as a ten week tryout for full time hires. I found one position, had an interview that went well — and then actually learned about what it entailed, from other students and through some negative reviews online.

Selling insurance and financial products on commission? No thanks.

That just felt wrong to me. I don’t want my income to depend on pressuring someone’s grandma to buy mediocre products. While I like making money telling others what to do (why hello, consulting!) I felt like taking such a position could even look a bit “shady” on my resume down the road.

So I’m debating a crazy idea in my head. What if I worked for myself this summer? I think I could make a sizable sum through tutoring local students, selling things on eBay, setting up an etsy shop (!!), picking stocks, freelancing, and other creative activities. Oh, and I’d blog about it, so that it would be a well-documented project for curious future employers. I would be able to stay at home, and volunteer for either a senate or a governor political races, living in a “hot” 2010 state. (Campaigns are not what I want to do in the long run, but I’m genuinely interested in politics and have clear choices for both elections.)

Money’s not a huge deal for me.  My parents will feed me even if my income is on the teeny side. (I have enough shoes to last a good decade, too.) I have been working on setting long-term financial goals; I think that I could make a sizeable income with crazy-plan above, and probably come a lot closer to creating diversified and passive streams of income.

[Summer school is not covered under my current scholarship money; with 80+ credit hours under my belt, that’s not a very necessary or appealing proposition.]

This could be interesting. One great thing is that I have two 40-hr/week summer jobs from high school, in addition to tutoring and newest photography gig, so my work experience is there.  So far, my resume is fairly plump with leadership positions, volunteering, — hopefully taking the summer “off” from traditional activities wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb.  I could probably also consider a school year position in marketing as a summer activity, too, tweeting and publishing away from the backyard patio.

Am I absolutely nuts… or might this hold some merit?!

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I Will Teach You to be Rich By Ramit Sethi

Workman Publishing, 266 pgs, $13.95

Losing weight and accumulating more money are probably two of the most frequently pledged New Year Resolutions. Fittingly, the introduction to Ramit Sethi’s hit book, I Will Teach You to be Rich, compares the two goals and outlines two methods of failure, ignoring the problem or obsessing over it. Sethi’s continuous no-nonsense approach can seem a little superficial at times, but overall remains amusing and engaging through the entire book.

Outlined as a six-week plan to financial well-being, Sethi’s book is well-written, with plenty of anecdotes to keep the wealth of financial information he shares interesting. His advice is sound — from explaining the important of conscientious spending to opening a Roth IRA asap, points which which I strongly agree — making this book a valuable read, although including information about other important topics such as taxes would have created a more-complete guide.

(I would offer to give my copy away, but I’m pretty sure the local public library wouldn’t appreciate that.)

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