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Want To Become More Productive? Remove Notifications From Your Phone!

Inspired by a recent book I finished, Deep Work, comes this weeks challenge!

Remove all notifications from your cell phone! If you have kids you communicate with, ask them to call you instead of texting. Emails, turn off notifications. Social media platforms, turn off notifications.

Don’t know how to do this? It is simple, go to Settings in your phone. Go to notifications. Under notifications style select off for all apps. This exercise will take you less than 5 minutes. I bet you won’t. Stop finding excuses on why this won’t work for you. You can live for a week without notifications on your cell. What will end up amazing you is the amount of time you will get back in your day from doing this.

Technology Is Taking Over Our Lives

The day and age we live in involves us having many devices pinging us left and right. We are being trained to have our attention bounce between different things. Don’t believe me? There is a good chance you scrolled up to update your feed which is why you are now seeing this post.

Our devices are being designed with the thought in mind to give us constant hits of dopamine. Each time I get another like on a post, hit of dopamine. Each time I get an Airbnb notification, hit of dopamine. Each of these hits keeps us wanting to come back to the source. The source in this instance is the technology we are living with in our pockets.

Back In The Stone Ages

I remember in middle school when cell phones had become a thing. Before cell phones were a hit you had hefty phone books where you would write down all your friends numbers. That is right, you had to remember these 10 digit strings of numbers. The crazy thing was, I remembered upwards of 15-20 10 digit numbers because that was what you had to do. The crazier thing was you had to pick up the phone to call someone if you wanted to speak with them.

Now cell phones were a hit. You now had this mobile device you could take with you and call friends from. Not long after cell phones became a thing, texting was invented! I still remember to this day my thoughts on texting at the time.

My Thoughts On Texting

Why would I text someone when I could pick up the phone and call them!? There was no reason to text someone. If I wanted to talk to them, I would call. Six months after developing this thought process, the common thought was ‘why would I call someone if I can text them’?

Holy crap…how the world has changed even more with apps, social media, machine learning and artificial intelligence. We now live in a world where our technology own our life. They dictate when we wake up, how we interact with others and for a lot of people how they make money.

How times have changed. In this weeks challenge, challenge yourself to remove the constant distractions of technology.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Technology designs focus around providing dopamine hits. The hits you get when your phone sends you a notification is what keeps you coming back.
  2. Removing notifications on your phone allow you to get into a deeper sense of work and focus.
  3. Stop opening your dang phone!!!! Getting a lot of notifications isn’t a good thing!
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Paying The Minimum Balance On Your Credit Card Is Costing You Much More Than You Think

Ready for a crazy statistic from last year!? American’s paid more than $104 Billion in credit card interest in 2018.

That is right. $104B with a B. Americans are living in a world where financial literacy is necessary more than ever.

First, let’s define a clear principle everyone should live by. If you can’t pay your credit card in full every month, YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE ONE! Simple.

Have you ever read the fine print of a credit card application? Most of the time you will see something called an APR number. APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate. This is the interest you will pay if you carry a balance.

Here is where the credit card companies get you. The average credit card interest rate is 19.24% according to the basic google search I did. That is insane.

There is one trick the credit card companies use to get you to pay interest. It might not be what you think. Most credit card companies show you a seperate payment option for the minimum payment required. That is right, they could show the current balance and leave it at that; yet, they want to show you the minimum payment.

I believe they want to show you this number to make you feel like that is a great option. What they should be required to show (by law IMO) is the amount that will cost you in interest. That is right. Right next to the min required payment, they should show the cost to you in interest if done. Could you imagine if they were required to do that what that would do to people?

I am a firm believer if people would change their behavior if shown this data in a different way. People are emotional creatures and nobody wants to pay someone something they feel isn’t fair. It is criminal what credit card companies are doing to people. People don’t understand what is actually happening when they make the min payment. Like compound interest works for us in our favor for investing long term, the same thing can be said for credit card companies.

Know what you are signing up for before applying for credit cards. Know the difference between paying the min payment and paying your full balance. There are massive implications of not paying your credit card in full each month.

Key Takeaways

  1. Paying the minimum payment required on a credit card is not winning.
  2. Don’t sign up for a credit card if you can’t pay your balance in full.
  3. Credit card companies should be required to put a disclaimer explaining the actual cost of paying the minimum payments on your credit card.
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Purchasing First Airbnb Property – How I Reduced The Price by $30k

One of the most fun things about purchasing an investment property is negotiating! Are you a “Let’s figure out how to meet halfway?” kind of person?

It had been a little over a three years since negotiating for an home. This time, the home being an investment property. And…boy…did this not disappoint! Time to detail out the negotiations!

Property Details

First, let’s look at some details on the property:

  • Asking Price: $240,000
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 3
  • Private Pool
  • HOA: $351/month
  • Days On Market: 91

Second, let’s better understand what price points I could make work for the property. A 4BR/3B home in this area should be able to bring in $120 per night on average throughout the year conservatively. The area occupancy rates for a home like this are between 70-85% depending on how well you advertise.

After running my numbers on the property, it was time to figure out what the highest number I would buy at. My target return on investment (ROI) was 10% or higher. With this in mind, I developed a spreadsheet which calculated a max buy price of $215,000. At $215k, I would be able to hit the 10% expected return target.

With all negotiations, if you go in with the first offer being your highest and best, you are setting yourself up for a L!

I asked my agent to put in an offer for the property at $200,000. That is right, asking for a $40k off the top price decrease or roughly 17% off asking price.

With a signed offer in, I was off on a flight to Dallas for a friends wedding. When I landed in Dallas, I received a text from my agent stating the seller countered at $215,000. I knew at this point the seller was serious about selling. When you drop the price the same day of the offer, you know things are looking up for negotiations.

Negotiations Begin!

Now I knew the seller was serious. I bumped my next counter offer to $210,000. I was hoping to meet the seller in the middle (more on their side) as I was still short of my number.

Shortly after, my agent notified me the seller was staying firm at $215,000. Okay. Perfect. I now knew the selling price was no longer something that could we could negotiate. The next thing to negotiate was concessions from the seller. I had an inspector walk the home and notate anything that would need to be fixed at the property.

The Inspection Is In!

The inspection report was finally in! There was definitely some deferred maintenance on the home, but nothing crazy. All small stuff. AC needed to be serviced. The outlet outside the front of the home wasn’t working. The foyer light wasn’t working (a bad bulb).

Like I said, all simple things and not costly to fix. These were all things I was going to have to fix or address on my own. I leveraged the inspection report to get the seller to agree to $2,000 in concessions at closing.

What Does Seller Concessions Mean?

This effectively means the seller and I have agreed to the $215,000 asking price, but they will take off $2,000 of my closing costs. That means I saved $2k by simply showing them the inspection report. BOOM! Simple win. Perfect.

I thought this was it. I thought we had everything locked in, at least it seemed.

Another Curve Ball!

Everything was going swimmingly, or so I thought. I received a call from my lender three weeks before closing. My lender told me the appraisal done came back at $196k when I had the property under contract at $215k.

What does a lower appraisal mean? There are two things that can essentially happen.

  1. I can challenge the appraisal and show data on why the appraisal is wrong.
  2. If I really want the property, I could pay the difference ($19k) out of pocket.

Instead of doing either of those, I went back to look at comps. I found a property in the same neighborhood that sold for $207k the month prior. That property didn’t have granite countertops or stainless steel appliances. That property also wasn’t an end unit lot with a private pool. With those things in mind, I knew my property was probably worth around what I was paying for at $215k.

How I Saved An Additional $5k – Final Negotiations!

Here is where the fun continues! Ok, so now I know my property is worth around $215k. This is what I was thinking though. If I have an appraisal that came back $19k below the agreement price, what if I went back to the seller saying I would back out if they didn’t drop the price lower?

I had the leverage at this point. I asked my agent to go back to the seller with the appraisal and ask them to drop the price to $196k. I knew that was ridiculous, but it was worth asking. The seller was definitely frustrated, but then I got a call back saying they agreed to drop the price to $210k! LET’S GOOOOO!

Just like that, I had dropped the purchase price another $5k! I was pumped. It had been a while since I had negotiated something. I would grade myself as a B for this negotiation.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The negotiation isn’t over until the final paperwork is signed!
  2. Leverage new pieces of information for negotiating the price lower and lower.
  3. Realize the purchase price is not the only thing you can negotiate. There are terms, seller concessions, repairs and many more I am sure I will learn along the way!

But wait…there’s more. Tune in next week for some more excitement in how I learned about the importance of addendums!